Any workout you’ve ever done before can probably be done with a kettlebell. And any kettlebell workout you’ve ever done can probably be done without it, so why use one? To be more direct…
What makes a kettlebell any different from a dumbbell?
Well, there is science behind the differences in weight displacement with a kettlebell versus a dumbbell. If you want to read more about how weight displacement affects the muscles and the effectiveness of the exercise, you can read more at, barbend.com. But if you just want to know why to pick a kettlebell over a dumbbell, here is the relevant bit: “[...] A kettlebell’s off-center of gravity can challenge a muscle when loads aren’t a concern — making them a good pick for growth.”
Personally, we like kettlebell workouts, because they get your heart pumping and burn a lot of calories. With a high-intensity kettlebell workout, you can burn around 20 calories per minute or around “400 calories in 20-minutes.” So if you were just enjoying your life this past couple of months, don’t worry, that’s life. As long as you were living and enjoying yourself, you can always step back into your health and fitness routine. Plus the typical interval-training nature of kettlebell workouts means you don’t have to work out for an hour to feel the burn, just 20 minutes should be enough.
Kettlebell Farmers walk. This one is as easy as it sounds, and as challenging as you want to make it. Grab two kettlebells and take a walk. The key take-aways for this exercise is to stabilize your body by engaging your core. While keeping in mind, that while the kettlebells will hang by the sides of your legs, but you don’t want them knocking up against you as you walk. Keep your shoulders pulled back and away from your head (don’t scrunch up). Try walking a distance of 50-100 feet.
Figure Eight. Take it back to basketball practice with this move. Get into a good sturdy wide-legged squat and stay there. Weave the kettlebell in between your legs in a Figure Eight motion. Take care to keep the movements fluid. The hand-off should be executed without disrupting the shape or kettlebell. This move is all about control.
Overhead Hold. This one is the easiest of them all, but only in theory. Use this exercise to mentally check in with your body. While holding the kettlebell straight up for 60 seconds with each arm, focus on the mind-body connection. Keep good posture and stay rock-solid.
Kettlebell swings. You know this one, it has you covered in sweat in no time! Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and it’s absolutely crucial that you are grounded with your core braced. The movement is the combination of a hip-hinge and a table-top position to a standing plank position (arms out long in front of you as you snap the kettlebell up with your hips). The movement of a Kettlebell swing should not resemble a squat.
Seated Russian Twist. Work your entire core with this one. We think using a kettlebell for a Russian twist is a nice way to spice things up. You can keep your heels on the ground or lift them into the air for an extra challenge. Keep your hips and legs still for this exercise, it’s all about the core.
Overhead Push Press. Work your upper body and your lower body at the same time. With your kettlebell in one hand, resting against the back of your wrist, at shoulder height. You’ll dip into a half-squat and then by squeezing your glutes, tensing your lats and core, push up, and power your kettlebell straight-up into the air. You’re following through with the movement by using your shoulders and triceps to slowly (with control) bring the kettlebell back down to shoulder height.
Complete every workout in sets of 3-4. As a finisher go back to the overhead holds and complete some burnout holds. By the time you run through these six workouts, and a burnout hold, you will be 20-minutes in and 400 calories down. Not to mention you should be feeling that euphoric rush of that after-workout dopamine, right about now.