Tips for Working Out with Kettlebells
Kettlebells are versatile tools that can lead to an incredible workout. According to WebMD, a 20-minute kettlebell workout can burn as much as 400 calories, making it easier to see results and get in and out of the gym faster. Though it may look easy, it’s important that you know how to use kettlebells to your advantage before you start building an entire workout around them.
Learn the ropes
Perhaps the best way to acclimate yourself to kettlebells and their various uses is to get with a personal trainer or employee at your gym. They can help you not just when it comes to recommending types of movements and exercises, but also in helping you perfect form and procedure. While you can watch videos on YouTube that will help you learn the movements, having hands-on help will better ensure that you don’t do something incorrectly and injure yourself in the process.
You may even be able to sign up for a class that focuses specifically on using kettlebells, which will give you access to a certified instructor as well as classmates who are familiar and comfortable with kettlebells. Leverage a classroom setting to learn as much as you can about proper kettlebell use and be receptive to constructive feedback.
Work your way up
It’s important that you start slow and at a level appropriate to your skill level. This means you’ll want to start with a lighter weight until you are absolutely confident in your proficiency with kettlebells. Dr. Melinda Ratini tells WebMD that you should treat your workout with enough respect to emphasize form and posture before trying to go too heavy with the weights. You’ll also want to make sure that the kettlebell you work with is one that you are able to grip fully and correctly.
According to personal trainer and Men’s Fitness editor Mike Stehle, a good place to start before swinging kettlebells is to master the kettlebell deadlift. Doing so will teach you to respect the weight, adapt to the way it rests in your hands, give you a firm idea of how to maintain control of the weight through a movement and, most importantly, maintain neutral spine posture. Not keeping your spine neutral when working with a kettlebell is a quick way to come away with injuries to your neck, back or shoulders. You’ll also want to take into account any past injuries you have endured as they could be reaggravated.
Get the full experience
Once you’ve become comfortable with kettlebells, you’ll quickly realize just how versatile they are and how beneficial they are for your workout regimen. According to WebMD, kettlebells target many of the major areas that you’ll strive to hit with your workouts, including your core, arms, back and legs. Because it’s a high-intensity workout, it’ll also accommodate your need for cardio while fulfilling your strength-training demands and promoting better flexibility.
When you’ve mastered the deadlift and the swing, you can expand your horizons by learning new movements and techniques. Among the exercises recommended by Shape are the bottoms-up press, which functions like a unique shoulder press; the pull and drag, which works your core and improves your balance; and the Turkish get-up sit-up, which also builds core strength as well as scapular stability.
Talk to your primary care physician before engaging in a new approach to exercise. While kettlebells are quite useful, you’ll only be able to take full advantage if you are healthy enough and willing to learn best practices.
This article is presented by Capistrano Mazda.