Kettlebells have been around for a long time but are quickly gaining popularity for their cross training benefits. The thick handle of the kettlebell will challenge your grip and the balance of the weight will strengthen your core. Try this beginner kettlebell routine that combines weight training movements and high intensity cardio. If you’re new to kettlebell training, choose a weight that allows you to complete 10-12 repetitions for each exercise.
1) Kettlebell Figure 8
With a kettlebell in your left hand, take a stance wider than hip-width. Your toes should be turned out. Stabilize your torso. Sit back into your hips as if doing a squat, with most of your weight in your heels. Open your chest by pulling your shoulders back. Begin by moving the kettlebell between your legs. After changing hands, begin standing as you bring the kettlebell back toward the front of your right thigh. As the kettlebell moves past the front of your right knee, squat back down again pulling the kettlebell back through your legs and transferring it to your left hand. Remember to keep your lower back flat by keeping your core tight and engaged to avoid injury.
2) Kettlebell Staggered Bent Over Row
Start with the kettlebell placed on the inside of your left ankle. Take a big step backward with your right foot. Lean forward from the hips and rest your left forearm on your left knee. Stabilize your torso. With your right hand palm facing your leg, grasp the center of the kettlebell handle. Pull the kettlebell straight up. As you lift, imagine pulling your shoulder blade down and towards the opposite buttock cheek. Pause briefly when the kettlebell handle approaches your hip. Slowly lower the kettlebell back towards the floor without setting it down. Continue until you have finished then switch sides. Focus on keeping your weight on your heels rather than your toes to keep your back from arching.
3) Double Overhead Kettlebell Press
Stabilize your torso and clean two kettlebells into the racked position. Hinge at your hips instead of squatting. Be careful not to trap your fingers between the two handles. Stand with your feet up hip-width apart and slightly turned out. Exhale as you slowly move your elbows out from your sides pushing the kettlebells upwards. Squeeze the handles until both arms are straight. Lock out your elbows when the kettlebells are completely overhead. Lower your shoulders keep your core stabilized, hold for a moment. Inhale as you slowly pull the kettlebells back into the rack position.
Written by Cindy Elsliger — Certified Personal Trainer at Steve Nash Downtown Sports Club