The kettle-bell is a fitness tool nearly everyone is using. Affordable, portable and easy-to-use the kettle-bell can be found at studios, gyms and Cross-Fit alike. Historically, the kettle-bell was originally used by the Soviet Army as part of their physical training and conditioning programs in the 20th century. Additionally, they have been used for competition and sports throughout Russia and Europe since the 1940’s. Typically, ‘swinging’ is the foundation of all kettle-bell workouts, which helps to build strength and endurance, particularly in the lower back, legs, and shoulders.
Since the kettle-bell’s center of mass is extended beyond the hand, a swing motion comes very naturally. However, proper technique and training should be done with a fitness professional prior to beginning a workout of this nature. Instead, I bring you (3) basic kettle-bell exercises you can do without having to ‘master’ the kettle-bell swing. These motions target upper and lower body, as well as your core, and can be done as a supplement to your current strength training program. All three exercises can be performed for repetitions and sets, or using a stop watch for time. You can focus on both muscle strength and endurance gains by increasing your volume of repetitions. I would suggest starting with a smaller kettle-bell (10-20 lbs) especially if performing these movements for the first time.
This exercise targets your shoulder, back and core. Hold kettle bell in right hand with legs wide, left food pointed laterally and right food turned in slightly. Press the right arm overhead while keeping the left arm at your side. Slowly bend at waist and lower the left arm just inside the shin to the inside of your ankle, while keeping that right arm pressing the kettle-bell overhead. Don’t let your body roll forward or back, keep your body in a straight line. Slowly stand back up, engaging your core muscles. Perform 8-15 repetitions on one side and then switch arms.
Squat, Catch and Shoulder Press
This exercise targets your shoulders, arms, glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings. Start with feet wide, toe and knees slightly turned out. Holding the kettle-bell by the handle with both hands, slowly lower into a squat. Driving through the heels, stand up and and high-row the kettle-bell tossing it into your hands (now holding the base or ball of the bell). Continue the movement with a mini-squat into a two arm shoulder-press overhead. Lower it to the starting position by sliding hands back to the handle on the way down. Perform the movement for 8-15 repetitions and repeat for 2-3 sets.
Reverse Lunge with Figure 8 Loop
This exercise targets your arms, abdominal muscles, glutes and legs. Hold the kettle-bell in your right hand with feet together. Draw the right leg back into a reverse lunge as you draw the kettle-bell underneath the legs with the left leg planted. Left hand should grab the kettle-bell as soon as it clears your legs. Repeat the motion by drawing your left leg back and passing the kettle-bell through your legs (underneath) from your left hand to your right hand. Perform the exercise 8-15 times with each leg for 2-3 sets.
If anything is unclear or you are worried about maintaining proper form, always consult a fitness professional for further guidance and instruction.