The kettlebell’s shape, which creates an uneven distribution of weight, makes exercises more challenging. Researchers now say that kettlebell workouts as well as improving your strength/ muscle mass, can improve your balance and reaction time too.
“When you’re swinging, passing, or flipping the bell, your body intuitively counterbalances the weight,” says Lorna Kleidman, the three-time kettlebell world champion. “This teaches your muscles to respond faster in other situations, whether you’re playing tennis or trying not to fall on a slippery surface.” What’s more, the kettlebell exercises train multiple muscle groups at once and on every plane of motion, increasing your strength and overall calorie burn.
At boot camp we use a range of exercises with the kettlebell to improve our core strength, muscle mass and overall balance. Here are two to give you an idea of the type of exercises we do with them. Use a 3 or 5 kg kettlebell and try these, resting for 30 seconds after each one.
Lateral Lunge and Pass
Hold the kettlebell in your right hand at shoulder height, elbow bent. Take a big step to the left and sit back into a side lunge, passing the weight under your left knee and grabbing it with your left hand. Release your right hand and press through your left heel to return to standing, raising the kettlebell to your left shoulder. And repeat, not forgetting to do the same number on each side.
Hold the kettlebell in your right hand at shoulder height, elbow close to your body, feet hip-width apart, and knees slightly bent. Keeping your core tight and back flat, straighten your legs and press the weight overhead until your arm is straight. Pause, then slowly lower back to start. And repeat, not forgetting to do the same number on each side.
‘Good Morning’ Kettlebell lunge
Stand with your feet hip width apart, bend forward to put both hands on the kettlebell whilst raising your left leg. Hold your leg at 180 to the ground for count of 5, lower your leg and stand, lifting the kettlebell with both hands as you come to standing. And repeat, not forgetting to do the same number on each side.
Using a medicine ball and your own bodyweight, you can easy work up a sweat, tone and build muscle as well as burn calories. Kettlebells and Medicine Balls used in combination are an awesome work out.
Medicine Ball Twists
Lay on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor while holding a medicine ball to your chest. Raise your body up by using your core muscles so your torso is about a 45 degree angle from the floor, then bring the medicine ball to one side, twisting as far as you can. Twist to the opposite side as quickly as possible, and repeat.
Medicine Ball Toe Touches
Lay on your back with your feet pointing straight up while holding a medicine ball at your chest. Engage your abs as you lift the medicine ball towards your feet as high as possible, then lower down with control and repeat.
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart holding a medicine ball at your chest. Squat down as far as you can while still holding the weight at your chest, then stand up explosively while bringing the weight over your head. Return to the starting point and repeat.
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Text modified from articles published on mindbodygreeen.com