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10 Exercises with Kettlebells to Gain Strength and Muscle

Looking for a workout that works all the muscles in your body, allows you to gain strength and lose weight? Kettlebells are perfect for you

Kettlebells, which look like cannonballs with handles, have become a popular strength-training alternative to traditional barbells, dumbbells and resistance machines.

Kettlebell exercises often involve several muscle groups at once, making them a very effective way to exercise arms, legs and abs in a short amount of time. They can improve both strength and cardiovascular capacity.

Kettlebells were originally used as agricultural tools in Russia, but were reinvented as exercise weights after strength artists used them to perform impressive feats.

El kettlebell o pesa rusa es una de la herramientas más poderosas para hacer ejercicio.

You can create a full-body workout using only kettlebells, or you can choose specific kettlebell exercises to add to your strength training regimen.

In this article, we’re going to introduce you to 10 must-do kettlebell exercises to work your muscles in a different way and reach your goals sooner

Beneficios de los ejercicios con kettlebells.

The growing popularity of sports like CrossFit and Strongman have contributed to the widespread use of kettlebell training, but the idea is not new. In the 19th century, circus strongmen used kettlebells-originally intended for weighing crops-to modify their physiques, which gradually led to a rise in kettlebell training

Here are some of the benefits you can get from kettlebell training:

Benefit 1: Simplify your workout

Thanks to their design, kettlebells are one of the easiest weights to move during your workout and can be easily stored, from the trunk of your car to the garden shed or garage. You need nothing more than a kettlebell in combination with your body weight to effectively train strength, bodybuilding and fitness

Kettlebell exercises allow you to involve multiple muscle groups in a single exercise, which will make your workout simpler

Benefit 2: Cardiovascular Training

don’t like cardio workouts and are looking for an alternative?

Generally, kettlebell workouts feature a high repetition range, which means you work several muscles at once. If kept at a steady pace, they can offer aerobic benefits similar to HIIT training

During a 2010 study, it was found that participants performing a 20-minute kettlebell snatch workout burned 13.6 calories per minute, which is equivalent to “running at about a 4-minute-per-kilometer pace.”

Benefit 3: Work your core with intensity

Exercises like kettlebell swings can help get your heart rate up and burn extra fat muscle, but when it comes to building strength throughout the posterior chain-the muscles at the back of the body-they’re really helpful. Plus, their shape and size work your muscles differently than barbells and dumbbells.

Benefit 4: Improve your mobility

Kettlebells are an incredibly useful tool for those looking to build their strength base and mobility, so if you’re struggling with your barbell back squat, for example, using the kettlebell squat is a great way to practice proper form with a safer exercise that can then be improved as your strength increases

Kettlebells give you the opportunity to move athletically with additional resistance from a variety of angles and positions that are more challenging than traditional weights

Benefit 5: Improve Muscle Imbalances

Many kettlebell exercises are unilateral, meaning only one arm or leg is used. This gives you the opportunity to train both sides equally, rather than relying on your stronger side to perform a movement

It can help address your weaknesses and make you stronger overall. Training one limb at a time also has a beneficial effect on balance. You are forced to stabilize yourself to manage the movement. For example, pressing overhead with one arm forces you to stabilize through the trunk.

Benefit 6: Increase your range of motion

Most kettlebell exercises require you to move in multiple planes of motion, from swings, presses and weights to more dynamic movements, where a dumbbell or barbell may be more difficult to use. This will help you increase your range of motion and work your muscles from additional angles

1- Swing

This is the Kettlebell exercise par excellence and a must in your routine if you want to get the best results

This is an excellent exercise to increase muscular strength and cardiovascular capacity. Although the shoulders and arms will do some work, most of the effort should come from the hips and legs.

You may need to start with a lighter weight at first to get used to the movement and technique. Maintain a firm grip on the kettlebell throughout the exercise.

what muscles does the kettlebell swing work?

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a kettlebell centered just in front of your feet on the floor.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and roll your shoulders back.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees.
  • Grasp the kettlebell with both arms.
  • Inhale and pull the kettlebell back quickly until your wrists are between your thighs and the kettlebell is slightly behind your legs, near your buttocks.
  • Exhale as you perform an explosive forward motion with your hips to swing the kettlebell up and out in front of you.
  • Your arms should end up parallel to the ground.
  • In one motion, lower your chest toward the floor and push your hips back to swing the kettlebell between your legs and behind you.

Discover the best abdominal exercises with weights

2- Kettlebell Deadlifts

Another essential exercise that can not miss in your routine with kettlebells is the deadlift. This classic exercise works your quads, glutes and lower back

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place a kettlebell on the floor between your feet.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and lower your shoulders while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees to reach the handles of the kettlebell.
  • Firmly grip the kettlebell, keeping your arms and back straight and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Slowly lift your chest and press your hips forward until you stand up.
  • Pause and inhale before lowering your body.

3- Goblet Squat

A good routine with kettbells is not complete without adding squats

Squats are an excellent lower body exercise that works many different muscles. Using a kettlebell adds more effort to the squat.

With the goblet squat, which is the one we explain below, you will work your quads, calves, glutes and abs

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Hold a kettlebell with both hands around the sides of the handle, not from the top, and hold it close to your chest.
  • Slowly bend both knees so that your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Keep your elbows forward and your back straight.
  • Using your leg muscles, with your upper body still, raise yourself back to the starting position. Feet should remain firmly on the ground.

4- Kettbell Lunge

Similar to traditional strides, kettlebell strides target the glutes, quads and hamstrings. It’s also an effective balance exercise.

You can do them in different ways:

  • With a kettlebell, alternating the kettlebell hand in each set
  • With a kettlebell in each hand
  • With a kettlebell, holding it with both hands

Here are the instructions for performing the kettlebell strides, in this case with only one kettlebell

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Hold the kettlebell by the handle with your right hand, with your arm at your side.
  • Keep your shoulders back and your chest upright.
  • Slowly step forward with your left leg, bending at the knee while keeping your right foot in place.
  • Pause for a few seconds and then push down with the leg in front of you to move your body up to a standing position.
  • When you finish the reps with one leg, switch sides so that the kettlebell is in your left hand and your right leg comes forward.

5- Russian Twist

The Russian Twist is one of the most popular ab exercises in kettlebell workouts

If you don’t have a kettlebell, the Russian Twist can also be done with a weighted medicine ball or barbell plate.

If you use a kettlebell, be sure to grip it firmly so you don’t drop it on the floor.

  • Sit with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Holding the handle of the kettlebell with both hands, lean back so that your torso forms a 45-degree angle with the floor.
  • With your heels a few inches off the ground, rotate your torso from right to left, swinging the kettlebell slightly across your body.
  • Twist from side to side 6 to 8 times.
  • When you’ve completed the reps, return to the starting position.

6- Snatch

The snatch is one of those exercises that works your whole body and we’re sure it will become one of your favorites

It works your biceps, triceps, shoulders, upper and lower back, quads, glutes and hamstrings in one exercise. What more could you ask for?

  • Holding a kettlebell in one hand between your legs, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Propel yourself upward with your hips and knees, and when the kettlebell rises to shoulder height, rotate your hand and push it up until your arm is locked out.
  • Squat down and return the kettlebell to the starting position. Repeat with one arm and then switch sides.

7- One-handed rowing

Strengthen your back muscles, including your trapezius, lats and other stabilizer muscles with a one-arm kettlebell row

This rowing uses a lunge position. As such, it is more athletic and requires full-body activation. One-arm exercises are also great for identifying if you have a weak side. If you do, this is a great way to bring it up to speed and balance your strength.

  • Stand with one foot forward and one foot back, toes pointed slightly outward. The kettlebell should be placed next to the front foot, on the inside.
  • The arm on the side of the back foot will do the rowing. To do this, place the other arm over the front thigh to support the upper body. Keep your back straight and the center of your back engaged.
  • Hold the kettlebell with your rowing hand, palm facing in.
  • Pull the weight toward your chest. Keep your elbow close to your torso, but let it extend behind your body. Concentrate on not letting your torso twist.
  • Release the weight with control.
  • Complete the set on one side before switching arms.

8- Clean and Press

The one-arm kettlebell clean and press is a strength move to work almost every muscle in the body

First, it uses the strength of your legs to propel you from a squat. Second, your shoulder and back muscles pull the weight of the kettlebell up, then pull it out overhead. Third, your entire core is engaged and working hard to make sure you don’t fall and bruise your body or ego. Lastly, because you’re dealing with such large muscle groups, it’s an amazing cardio workout that’s sure to get the blood flowing.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Holding a kettlebell with one hand between your legs, squat down until your knees are at 90 degrees.
  • Lifting off the ground, use your momentum to bring the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Catch the kettlebell with a half squat, then push up to a standing position.
  • Squat back down and, again, push up through the floor and use your momentum to press the kettlebell overhead until your arm is straight. Catch the kettlebell with a half squat, then push up to a standing position.
  • Lower the kettlebell back down to your shoulder and then between your legs.
  • Complete the set on one side before switching arms.

9- Farmer’s Walk

The farmer’s walk with kettlebells is a full body exercise. This kettlebell exercise will strengthen the grip and upper back, work the leg muscles and activate the core

Carrying more weight while walking makes the leg muscles work harder. Also, by holding weights and then adding momentum, it forces your abs to compensate for the weight shift. Then, the upper arm and back muscles are activated to help support the load and take pressure off the forearms. Plus, it’s handy for carrying groceries inside in one trip without breaking a sweat.

  • Hold two kettlebells, one in each hand, with your arms at your sides.
  • Next, walk, with short, quick steps, concentrating on keeping your body straight and your core.
  • Keep walking, or spinning, until you feel your grip weaken. You should lower the weights before you fail completely to avoid breaking toes, tiles or floorboards.

10- Thruster

Take your kettlebell workout to the next level with this exercise. This move is a total body workout that is extremely effective and will get your heart racing

First, work the quads, calves and glutes in the lower body. Then, in the upper body, work the pecs, delts, biceps and trapezius.

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, back straight and trunk engaged.
  • Holding a kettlebell in each hand at chest height, squat down until your knees are at 90 degrees. Be sure to bend at the hips, pushing your butt back, but keeping your chest up.
  • Lifting off the floor, return to the standing position. However, you’re going to maintain momentum and push the kettlebells up into a shoulder press, fully extending the arms.
  • When you lower the weights to chest height, drop back down into another squat, continuing the loop for a full set.
Precauciones a la hora de hacer ejercicios con kettlebells.

Kettlebell training can add a lot to your workout, but it also comes with some injury risks:

  • Forearm. If the kettlebell swings as you move, the weight can hit your forearm. You could end up with a bruise or a more serious injury.
  • Wrist. If you hold the kettlebell handle incorrectly, you can strain the tendons in your wrist and hand.
  • Lower back. The movements of some kettlebell exercises, such as the swing, can increase the risk of lower back injury. The risk is higher if you have a low back condition or if you have trouble keeping your spine in a neutral position during exercise.
  • And don’t forget your feet. If you drop the kettlebell, you can injure your foot or any other body part in the kettlebell’s path. Keep a controlled grip on the kettlebell at all times so it doesn’t hit you or anyone else.
David A.

David A.

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