By now, you know what kettlebells are. There are hundreds of articles explaining their history and their use. They are being widely adopted by health clubs and fitness trainers world wide. And the reason is because the use of kettlebells produces results.
Women are adopting the use of kettlebells at a very rapid pace, because kettlebell workouts for women produce results faster than most any other fitness discipline. Let’s take a look at why this is so. How can it be that a lead ball beats out a circuit training machine or an aerobics class for weight loss and muscle development? Don’t get me wrong, I am not denigrating circuit machines (like Nautilus or Life Fitness Machines) or aerobics classes. But, adding kettlebell workouts to your fitness plan will accelerate your results.
Let’s start with the basic kettlebell swing. This article isn’t meant to train you on the use of kettlebells, but let me briefly describe the swing in case you haven’t seen it done before. An athlete starts standing with feet at slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the kettlebell is on the ground between the feet. Keeping your back straight, bend at the hips and knees and grasp the handle with both hands. The idea is to swing the kettlebell between the legs (football hiking position) and straight forward. As you swing the kettlebell back, bend at the hips and knees (back straight!). As you swing it forward, push up and snap your hips forward, sending the momentum of the bell forward and up to shoulder level. As you progress, you can use one arm swings, alternating between right and left.
This is not a shoulder exercise, so don’t lift the kettlebell to shoulder level. You are to keep your arms straight and let the momentum of the bell carry it forward and up. The coordinated effort of your legs, hips, and lower back move the kettlebell through the arc. The kettlebell is heaviest at the bottom of the arc, so your legs, hips, and lower back have to do the work of swinging through the bottom of the arc to get the kettlebell to travel to its highest point. The muscles in your legs, hips, and back are the largest muscles in your body. When you rigorously work these muscles together, you are building strength and burning calories at a rapid pace.
Circuit training machines are meant to isolate a particular muscle through a range of motion. This has its benefits, but when was the last time you played tennis and only used your bicep? When you play sports, whatever your game is, your muscles all have to work together. It only makes sense to train your muscles taking that fact into consideration. That is why kettlebell workouts for women produce results that can transfer directly to the field, court or pool. Kettlebells uniquely train for strength, and produce terrific aerobic capacity as well.
The kettlebell clean and press works less of your lower body, and more of your upper torso strength. Again, the kettlebell trains many of your muscle groups in a coordinated fashion. This is a two part exercise. Start in the same position as you did with the swing. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart with the kettlebell between your feet. The idea here is to pull the kettlebell up with one hand and “flip” it so that it is resting on the outside of your forearm. In essence, it is racked on the “V” formed by your upper and lower arm when bent at the elbow. It is important to master this movement before doing the press.
During the clean movement to the rack position, consider the swing again. Use your legs, hips and lower back to swing the kettlebell to the rack position. Snap your hips forward, and tighten your buttocks. It is important to support your lower back. Your whole body should be tense, preparing for the press. Keeping your forearm completely vertical, press the kettlebell somewhat outward to the side as you press it up. Remember to keep your whole body tense to support the effort. Again, every muscle in your body is working in conjunction to do the work. When lowering the kettlebell, lower it to your chest with strength and tension. Don’t just let it drop. The clean and press work out all of the shoulder structure at the same time.
There are many other kettlebell movements that build incredible strength and joint mobility and stability. The kettlebell getup is another example of a complete body workout that is responsible for developing an iron core and resilient shoulders. The getup starts with you laying on the ground flat on your back. For a right hand getup, the Kettlebell is on the ground on your right. Grip the bell with your right hand and then reach over with your left hand and help the kettlebell to your chest. Press the kettlebell straight up with your right hand and keep your arm locked straight. It would take a home workout DVD to show you the exact technique, but try to imagine what it would take to stand up. You would first have to sit up, engaging your core and both shoulders. As you stand, you are working both shoulders for all angles. Then, to finish you reverse the process to get back on the ground. I used to have chronic shoulder problems until I found this one exercise.
These are just three of the hard core kettlebell workouts for women and men. There are very many kettlebell circuits that you can learn that will keep your workouts fresh and challenging. Do yourself a favor and work to master the kettlebell. It is a lifelong pursuit that will provide extreme benefits.
Dave Krigger has spent 35 years as a Fitness Enthusiast and is a staunch believer in the Excellent Benefits of Kettlebell workouts and body weight exercising. Dave Provides tips on fitness and working out at home at his blog [http://Home-Workout-DVDs.com]. Contact Dave there with questions and comments!
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