Cardio Workouts, CrossFit, Strength Training

GUEST POST: Kicking it into Gear with Kettlebells

Hi guys! I am in Charleston for the week and I have a great post for you from Alicia about kettlebells. As a CrossFitter, I use kettlebells at least once a week in the workout of the day (WOD) and I love them. They can be used for so many different exercises and they kick your butt! Thank you Alicia (and her husband for posing for the pictures) for sharing this with us!

It’s taken the fitness world by storm and even caught the eye of celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, and Penelope Cruz.  And if you’re a runner looking to shape up, slim down, and a snag a few fast times this fall, it’s the perfect way to supplement your training regimen.  It’s a kettlebell workout, and if you haven’t tried one yet, you’re missing out on some awesome benefits.  Here’s why:

Benefits of the Kettlebell

-Ketttlebells allow you to get in a full-body workout in a short amount of time, thanks to the fact that these workouts target multiple muscle groups.

-Using a kettlebell torches calories at an insanely fast rate, equating to approximately 300 calories burned in just 20 minutes.

-Kettlebell workouts train both cardiovascular and anabolic systems simultaneously, meaning you can tone and define your muscles and improve your overall fitness at the same time.

It’s crucial to think about your goals when it comes to building muscle.  That being said, there are some things you may want to consider before beginning your workout, such as the items listed below:

Things to Keep in Mind

-If your aim is to enhance muscular endurance (which is the goal of most distance runners), use lighter kettlebells and do more repetitions.

-If you want to develop speed and build muscular power, use heavier weights and perform fewer repetitions.

-The timing of your training is also important: you should always have at least 24 hours in between kettlebell workouts and races to give your body enough time to rest and recover.

Now that you’re aware of the benefits and the important factors to consider, it’s time to get started!  Here’s the routine for a circuit from Sean Armstead, owner of Phenomenal Fitness in Chicago:

Kettlebell Circuit Routine

Kettlebell Swing

  1. Hold the kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet wider than hip width apart.
  2. Squat down until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor.
  3. Move quickly from squat position to standing and swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
  4. As the kettlebell comes back down, bend at your knees and squat, swinging the kettlebell in between your knees.
  5. Repeat 15-20 times.

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The Windmill

  1. Stand with your feet placed wider than hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell in your left hand.
  2. Raise it so that it’s beside your left shoulder and then press it overhead.
  3. Rotate your chest towards the left and look up at the kettlebell while trying to touch your right hand to your right foot.
  4. Hold, then return to starting position, keeping your left arm out.
  5. Do 5-10 reps, and then repeat with your other side.

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Around the Body Pass

  1. Place the kettlebell in front of your torso, holding it with both hands and standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Release the kettlebell into your left hand and move both arms behind your back.
  3. Grab the bell with your right hand and bring it back in front of you so that you complete a full circle around your body.
  4. Do 10 before switching directions, and repeat without rest breaks in between repetitions.

Dead Lift

  1. With your feet hip-width apart, stand with the kettlebell on the floor between your feet.
  2. Keeping your back flat, squat down and grab the handle with both hands.
  3. Engage your abs, squeeze your glutes, and slowly push down into your heels while standing up, keeping your arms extended.
  4. Do 10-12 reps.

Figure Eight

  1. Stand with your feet placed wider than hip-width apart, back straight, chest up, and knees bent into a quarter squat position.
  2. Hold the kettlebell behind your right leg with one arm on each side of your leg.
  3. Grab the bell with your right hand and swing it in front of your right leg, between your legs, and behind your left leg.
  4. Grab it with your left hand and swing it in front of your left leg, between your legs, and behind your right leg.
  5. Repeat for 10 reps.

Bent Row

  1. Hold the kettlebell in your left hand, do a slight squat, and bend forward from the hips until your torso is nearly parallel with the floor.
  2. With your arm extended, let the kettlebell hang down towards the ground.
  3. Pull the kettlebell up towards the side of your chest while keeping your torso still with your elbows near your side.
  4. Lower back to the starting position.
  5. Do 10-12 reps, and then repeat on the other side.

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Half Get-Up

  1. Lie on the floor with your face towards the ceiling, keeping your legs straight, and with the kettlebell placed in your left hand straight above your shoulder.
  2. Bend your right knee, put your foot on the floor, and hold yourself up with your right arm.
  3. Maintain alignment between your shoulder and the weight and sit up until your back is straight.
  4. Return to starting position by reversing the movement.
  5. Do 5 reps, and then switch to the other side.

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Front Squat

  1. Stand with your feet placed hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell with both hands in front of your chest, keeping your elbows bent and near your body.
  2. With your back straight and your chest up, push your hips back and bend your knees until they are at a 90 degree angle.
  3. Press down into your heels and then go back to standing.
  4. Do 10-15 reps.

FYI:  If you’re looking to incorporate some additional exercises into your circuit, that’s easy to do when you consider that you can use a kettlebell for almost any move that you could do with a dumbbell.

Complete these eight exercises nonstop, then rest for 2 to 3 minutes, and repeat so you do the circuit a total of 2 to 3 times.  Use a 10 to 15 pound kettlebell, and follow this routine 2 to 3 days a week.  Once you get started, you’ll see results in no time, and the benefits of kettlebell training will speak for themselves.

BIO: Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for WebpageFX SEO and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her articles have been published by Her Fitness Hut, Examiner.com, and Ask Miss A.

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2 thoughts on “GUEST POST: Kicking it into Gear with Kettlebells”

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