Swing your way to success with this versatile piece of equipment.
You have probably seen kettlebells stacked in your gym. Or spotted your favourite fitness gurus handling them effortlessly them on Instagram. But if you haven’t used a Kettlebell before, this piece of kit can be a little intimidating. They can be heavy, unwieldy, and even dangerous if you don’t use them correctly. That’s why I have put together a few rules and simple exercises to get you started. Remember, no guide can beat in-person expertise – so, if you get the chance to work with a trainer – make sure you ask for some Kettlebell tips.
What is a Kettlebell?
This funny-looking piece of equipment has had a long and strange journey to the racks at your local gym. Originally used as a counterweight to measure farm produce, they eventually ended up as part of strongman acts in the circus, before being adopted by the Russian and US army as a training tool. In the last decade, they have become incredibly popular in gyms around the world. A Kettlebell is made up of the bell (round, cannon-ball shaped part); handle (flat, top part of the grip); and horns (the sloping pieces that connect the handle to the bell). The challenge of the kettlebell is that the centre of gravity lies away from your grip – this makes it more challenging to deal with and promotes a really effective workout.
What are the benefits of a Kettlebell?
The Kettlebell is extremely versatile, meaning you can use it in a variety of ways. Adding weight to traditional exercises like squats and presses or providing the foundation for uniquely Kettlebell-focused exercises, like swings. The challenging weight distribution of a Kettlebell encourages users to improve their form and posture. It’s easily portable, doesn’t require a huge amount of space to work out with, and can create excellent core strength.
Where do I start?
Selecting the right Kettlebell is a great place to start. There is a huge variety out there, designed for competition, versatility, and all manner of niche needs. A great beginner’s Kettlebell is the traditional cast iron design with a slightly rounded handle. This is versatile enough for almost everything you could want to do with a kettlebell. The weight you choose will be dependent on your underlying fitness and strength, but for complete beginners around 8kg for women and 12kg for men is average.
Which Kettlebell exercises are suitable for beginners?
Although swings may seem like an obvious place to start, they can be dangerous for beginners who have not learnt to stabilise their load and move their hips safely. Halos, goblet squats, overhead presses, and rows can be a useful way to begin incorporating the Kettlebell into your workout.
Can you give me some tips on the Kettlebell swing?
The Kettlebell swing is a dynamic movement that works almost every muscle in your body. But it’s also tough to get right. Form is everything here, so take your time and practice. Start with the two-handed swing and ensure you are hinging at your hips and NOT your lower back – that’s a good way to pull some muscles. Remember to put your weight through your heels (not your toes), keep a flat back and stand up tall. It’s a lot to remember, but practice – even without any weight at first – makes perfect.
I hope you’re inspired to make the Kettlebell part of your workout routine. They are one of our favourite pieces of equipment here at FitFusion PT and our expert and friendly trainers are always happy to help improve your form. Get in touch to set up a session or to join one of our fun group classes! Next week, I will be talking about prepping your body for summer, and there isn’t a fad diet or crazy workout routine in sight! Join me to see what small, lasting changes you can make to help you feel confident and healthy on the beach.