Kettlebells have reemerged over the last decade right along with the functional training craze that has been changing how people workout. Kettlebells offer a different stimulus than other free weights, such as the typical dumbbells and barbells, most exercise enthusiasts are accustomed to. Kettlebells can be used in much the same way as a dumbbell for numerous movements and are a preferred weight for many exercises including the following:
When it comes to using a kettlebell, deadlifts are a great starting point. It’s important to focus on proper posture when picking up a kettlebell or any weight from the floor. A kettlebell deadlift is a fantastic exercise that utilizes a variety of musculature and puts a primary focus on the posterior chain of the body. Exercisers should have a good grasp on the technique and posture of a kettlebell deadlift before moving on to the next exercise, the kettlebell swing.
The kettlebell swing is a great exercise to introduce exercisers to the concept of power. Kettlebell swings are a great example of a movement designed for power. This movement gives the exerciser many of the great benefits of increased power while also having some cardio respiratory conditioning benefits as well.
Squats have often been called the master of all exercises, and goblet kettlebell squats are a great variation. A goblet squat changes the stimulus of a squat ever so slightly by adding an external load in front of the body, placing a different demand on the exerciser’s core and balance. The individual can use these for strength work or stamina and endurance depending on the load (weight utilized).
Kettlebell Farmer’s Carry
The farmer’s walk is another great exercise that can utilize kettlebells for improved grip strength, posture, core control, stamina, and upper and lower body strength. When performed correctly, farmer’s carries can contribute greatly to an exerciser’s capacity to easily perform activities of daily living with better posture and more stamina.
Along with farmer’s carries, waiter’s walks are another great tool for developing muscular coordination, strength, and stamina. Both farmer’s carries and waiter’s walks provide shoulder strength and shoulder girdle stability work. These can be great for postural awareness and stabilization training of the shoulder complex including the rotator cuff, other muscles around the shoulder blades, and the shoulder (deltoids) muscles themselves.
Kettlebells Turkish Get-Up
A challenging and rewarding exercise with numerous benefits for strength, balance, stability, motor control, and mobility is the Turkish get-up. This multifunctional exercise ties various fitness goals into one movement that’s really hard to top. Starting from laying on the ground to finishing in a full standing and overhead position, the Turkish get-up is a fantastic exercise for people of all fitness levels. This exercise can provide training to those that struggle to get off the floor. It gives stimulus to the core, which retrains motor patterns that may have been dormant for decades. Exercisers with less than optimal hip and shoulder mobility will find this exercise challenging but a great benchmark to measure progress throughout their fitness journey.
Another kettlebell exercise that helps develop power is the kettlebell snatch. This is a great all-around exercise for strength, stamina, power, and core control. It is more of an advanced movement, but it can benefit many with its use. The unilateral variety, which is most common, really stresses core stability while taxing so much of the body at one time. This makes it an ideal conditioning tool for stamina and muscular endurance.
The kettlebell clean is another exercise that helps develop power similar to the kettlebell snatch. Both the snatch and clean come from those in the weightlifting world (think Olympic weightlifters) who demonstrate some of the best examples of human power generation on the planet. For the average exerciser, the kettlebell clean presents an opportunity to learn how to lift weights more efficiently with the use of larger muscle groups and power. The translation of the strength, power, and technique gained from performing kettlebell cleans makes a wide variety of daily activities easier when an individual is faced with heavy lifting and/or sometimes oddly weighted objects.
Deadlift High Pulls
Deadlift high pulls are another great exercise example of a movement that translates to coordination and strength outside the club to make daily activities easier. This compound movement initiates with a deadlift and the requisite leg and core strength. The exercise demands the exerciser to transfer this lower body strength through the core and into the upper body, providing great muscular coordination. This is a great exercise for posterior chain involvement as well as it also provides conditioning.
Kettlebell Press (Bottom Up)
Last but not least is the bottom up kettlebell press. This exercise can be performed in a number of positions from lying supine, seated, or standing. The grip strength and shoulder stabilization required can be surprising if someone has already established strength in these positions while pressing dumbbells and barbells, as the use of a kettlebell bottom up press can be an eye opener. The bottom up position will stress the importance of a healthy and stable shoulder and train control and stability in pressing.
Kettlebells have a wide variety of benefits and uses that can keep your fitness routines interesting and challenging. If you’re new to using kettlebells, we have a variety of different personal trainers at each of our Village Clubs that are well versed in the use of kettlebells and they would all be happy to work them into your fitness routine.
Ready to try these workouts? Join us for our Kettlebells and Cocktails event!