Kettlebell workouts have quickly become one of the most loved and sought after ways to get into great shape by both men and women. Why? Because it works your entire body… your buns, abs, arms, legs and back, plus it is in incredible Cardio workout! Kettlebells are great for both men and women, the number one reason I hear why women don’t want to use weights is because they fear they will “bulk” up, which is just untrue!
Why women should use weights:
- Better muscle tone from head to toe
- Slimmer neckline and shoulders
- Firmer underarms
- Slim, trim, firm core and mid drift
- Tighter butt with lift and shape
- Lean, shapely legs
In a recent study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, participants using kettlebells burned approximately 20 calories per minute–that’s 1,200 calories per hour! Yeah baby!
If you haven’t tried a kettlebell workout, then you are missing out. Kettlebells may seem a bit scary and a little intimidating at first, but you will love the way you feel. The workouts are very effective and also fun. Kettlebells themselves take up barely any room, and so they very easy to store. You also don’t need a lot of space to do a good Kettlebell workout, just be sure the kids aren’t running around, a kettlebell to the head is a bad day. They are a fantastic addition to any home gym.
Which kettlebell do I pick?
Typically women should choose a kettlebell between 12 to 26 pounds and men between 25 to 35 pounds to start. You want to choose a kettlebell that will engage your hamstrings and glutes when you swing it. Also, you want it to be comfortable in your grip, be sure to choose one with a smooth handle so that you don’t hurt your hands. You want to be able to comfortably swing it, but keep it difficult enough to create good resistance. Too light and you won’t get the desired results, too heavy and you won’t be able to properly do the exercises and could injure yourself.
Here are my top 12 kettlebell exercises. Do each of these exercsies and follow the reps and you my friend will have a great workout today!
#1 Kettlebell Swing (two arm):
Targets: glutes, hamstrings, back, and shoulders. Plus awesome Cardio.
Reps: Swing for 1 – 2 minutes.
A. Stand with feet approximately shoulder width apart or slightly wider and grasp the kettlebell with both hands.
B. Pushing your butt back and bending your knees slightly, swing the kettlebell back between your legs. Your torso should bend forward and your hips should move back for balance. Do a few small swings between your legs with the kettlebell, to start the momentum.
C. Extend your knees and hips to drive the weight forward and up to shoulder level. Really Squeeze your buns everytime you swing the kettlebell up and push your hips forward. Be sure not to swing the kettlebell higher than eye level. Do not lock your elbows.
*Good form is essential, if you feel you are about the throw out your back or you can’t swing your arms up to shoulder level, you probably have a kettlebell that is too heavy. Try one that is lighter.
#2 Kettlebell Shoulder Lift
Triceps can often be a trouble area, especially for us ladies. This is one of my favorite tricep and shoulder exercises!
Targets: shoulders & triceps
Reps: 12 reps each arm, repeat twice.
With your feet just over hip length apart, squat down, hinge forward and pick up your kettlebell with your right arm. Be sure to keep pelvis tucked and your abs engaged to protect your lower back. You do not want to arch your back. Inhale.
A. In one explosive motion, exhale, raise the kettlebell (keep your elbow high) by squeezing your butt muscles and driving your hips forward. Near the top of the move, rotate your elbow around and under the kettlebell to end with your wrist facing up and the bell slightly behind your shoulder .
B. With knees slightly bent, continue pushing the bell up over your head, extending your arm
C. hold for a second. Reverse the motions to return to starting position; that’s 1 rep
#3 Kettlebell Tricep Extension
Targets: flabby triceps
Reps: 12 each arm, twice
A. Stand hip distance apart, soft knees and abs engaged. Hold kettlebell with both hands.
B. Bring kettlebell up, letting it hang at the back of your wrists.
C. Bring elbows forward and pushing together and slowly lower kettlebell behind head. Be sure to maintain full control, straighten arms above head concentrating on your tricep muscles.
#4 & #5 Kettlebell Walking Lunge with combination squat
Standard walking lunge with the addition if a kettlebell does wonders for your legs! Always be in full control of your kettlebell, keep your abs engaged and your back straight to protect your lower back. Check out this sweet Sims character below, haha. This exercise can also be done with a weighted medicine ball.
Targets: Quads and hamstrings
Reps: 5-10 reps each leg, 2 times
A. Stand with both feet together while holding the
kettlebell at chest height, close to your body.
B. Slowly put your right leg in front of you and lunge, be very aware the your knee does not go over your ankle.
C. Stand up and repeat, switching your leading leg.
# 5 Kettlebell Squat:
This is a great exercise to combine with the walking lunge, or to do by itself.
Targets: glutes, quads and hamstrings
A. Between each “lunge” do a full squat.
B. When you stand, be sure to really squeeze your glutes.
Doing a squat in between your walking lunges will help keep your stability, while giving you an extra glute workout.
#6 Bent Row & Advanced Plank Row
Beginners, use the bent row, once you feel that is too easy then try the plank row.
Targets: Back, biceps, and core
Reps: 12 Reps each side, repeat twice
A. Get into a squat position, with your hips hinged and bent forward, keeping back straight and abs in tight.
B. Pick up kettlebell with right arm and lift, keeping your arm very close to your side.
# 7 Advanced: Plank Row
A. Get into plank position with one or two kettlebells, be sure to keep your core tight and your back straight. Do not dip your hips.
B. Lift kettlebell keeping your arm close to your body. Do not twist your body while lifting, keep full control of the kettlebell.
C. Repeat by either alternating arms, with two kettlebells. Or do all reps with one kettlebell and switch arms.
#8 Pass Around
This exercise may seem a bit silly, but it is a great exercise to strengthen your biceps and core. Just don’t drop it!
A. Hold the kettlebell by its handle and pass it around your body while standing. Passing the kettlebell from hand to hand around your body.
B. Further challenge your midsection by quickening the pace at which you transfer the bell from hand to hand. When you master this move, start walking while doing it.
C. Repeat going the opposite direction.
#9 Figure Eight
Target: quads and core
Reps: 20 figure eights
A. Stand with your feet wider than hips-width apart, toes slightly pointing out. Squat down and hold a kettlebell with both hands between your legs. Make sure your back is flat and your abs are engaged, to protect your lower back.
B. Let go of the handle with your right hand and bring your arm behind your right thigh. Pass the kettlebell to your right hand.
C. Swing the kettlebell around the front of your right thigh, through your legs, and behind your left thigh. Transfer the bell to your left hand. Swing it around the front of your left thigh, through your legs and behind your right thigh, transferring the kettlebell to your right hand. Repeat motion for 20 figure eights.
#10 Sitting Russian Twist
This takes ab workouts to the next level, you can also do this with exercise a medicine ball.
Target: Abs, obliques, core
Reps: 30 passes
A. Sit on the floor, legs out in front of you, palming a kettlebell in one hand. Press your elbows tight against your ribs and lean back until you’re almost falling over.
B. Quickly pass the kettlebell from hand to hand, like a hot potato.
#11 Standing Russian Twist
This is a great core exercise, it can also be done easily with a weighted medicine ball.
Target: Core, abs, obliques
Reps: 12 to each side, repeat 2 times
A. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold a medium kettlebell with both hands.
B. Keeping the elbows bent and into the body, contract the abs and rotate the torso to the right, only rotating as far as you comfortably can and focusing on the abs. Keep the lower body stable and the hips square.
C. Rotate the torso to the left, again focusing on the obliques.
#12 Kettlebell Curl
This exercise can also be done using a weighted medicine ball.
Targets: Chest, biceps
Reps: 12 reps, repeat twice
A. Stand up straight, roll back shoulders. With elbows tight at your sides, lift kettlebell to chest.
B. Repeat for 12 reps
I recommend ending this workout with 1 minute of the Kettlebell swings.
Are you sweaty? Are you out of breath? Do you feel worked?
You’ll feel this one tomorrow. Now go drink your Results & Recovery Drink!