Although kettlebells have been around for many years, they are coming back lately with a vengeance. Kettlebells are a fresher face in the gym world, as some facilities have yet to own any, and others offer kettlebell-specific classes. The spectrum is broad, but the benefits are undeniable. Why choose kettlebells over dumbbells? Well, let’s explore the benefits of training with these interestingly shaped weights.
1- Because of the design of kettlebells, the ever shifting center of gravity of the weight makes the body work even harder, thus setting this piece of equipment eons apart from the normal dumbbell.
2- Range of motion and mobility of joints is improved by training with kettlebells.
3- Workouts don’t take long. That’s right, you can get in an awesome workout on days where you only have 15-30 minutes to spare.
4- Aerobic and anaerobic work concurrently- two birds with one stone, er, uh, kettlebell!
5- Mega calorie burning.
The list goes on as far as benefits, but now that you have an idea as to why you may want to invite kettlebells into your workout world, let’s check out some routines for the lower body. Before we do this, understand that kettlebell training often involves movements that are unfamiliar (most especially compared to traditional weight training) and multi-joint. Because of this, it is imperative to learn correct form and execution before diving in. there are many resources online, and specialized gyms (crossfit, boutiques, etc) and trainers who can also help guide you along.
It is recommended that men start with a weight of 25-35 pounds. Weights may be increased as needed once techniques are mastered. Because perfecting form and getting used to the never stable motion of using a kettlebell, it is recommended to start with exercises that are otherwise familiar but incorporate using a kettlebell. For beginners, anywhere from 3-6 sets of about 10 reps is a good start. Once you start feeling more comfortable, up the reps to about 12-20, keeping the sets around 3-4.
Squats- kettlebells can either be held by the handle or by the “cannon,” depending on which you prefer. You can also hold it overhead for this exercise. Take a shoulder width stance with kettlebell in both hands. Squat as low as you can, keeping proper form (knees not over toes, etc) as you would with a traditional squat.
Tactical Lunges- these are done in a fashion similar to regular lunges. To perform this exercise, lunge forward with the left leg, kettlebell in right hand. When the left knee comes to the ground, raise the right arm until it is fully extended. Return to starting position and perform a total of ten. Switch kettlebell to the left hand and lunge with the right leg.
Single Leg Deadlift- holding the kettlebell with both hands, take your left leg and move it to a parallel to the floor position behind you, as you allow the rest of your body to lean forward, keeping the core tight. Lower the body until the kettlebell has nearly touched the floor. Return to starting position. Finish repetitions on this side before switching to the right leg.
While some of you reading this may be wondering what’s so magically different about the same basic exercises you already know but with a kettlebell- don’t bash it before you try it. Once you get used to using these in your workouts, you can gradually incorporate entire body moves and really work up a nice total body sweat.
Kettlebells have been around since Ancient Russian times and were used as a form of entertainment in strongmen contests. If men centuries ago knew about this secret to strength and endurance, maybe we ought to take a hint.