5 Exercises To Get You Started With Kettlebells
Strength training is VITA!
Especially for women because women lose muscle mass quickly as we age.
What I love about strength training is how empowered it makes you feel. Strong... confident... defined.
I love seeing muscle definition... not bodybuilder muscles... feminine, strong muscles. It feels so good.
Plus strength workouts go by insanely fast.
And no other style of training burns body fat better. No, not even cardio.
Add in kettlebells to your strength training and things get amplified even more.
- Kettlebells are the perfect mix of cardio and strength training
- Kettlebells work more muscle combinations across your body than anything else.
- You can go lighter... go heavier... mix and match... they are the best.
Kettlebell training is also technical... which means you have to learn how to use them correctly so you don't injure yourself.
Let's get your started today... the right way... the safe way with:
5 Beginner Kettlebell Exercises
A simple exercise but so important because you'll learn how to properly hip hinge.
The hip hinge is the foundation nearly all kettlebell exercises are built on. So it's important.
The kettlebell deadlift is all about the hip hinge.
- The key is to push your hips back...
- Keep your spine straight...
- Balance over your entire foot (NOT the front of your foot... and not too much on your heels).
- When you hinge... let your knees bend slightly. Don't keep them locked.
Keep in mind too... the difference between a hip hinge and squats...
- During a squat, your hips are moving down.
- During a hinge, your hips are moving back.
During a deadlift, your knees are NOT straight. I can't stress this enough.
A lot of beginners think you need to lock out your legs. Don't do it. Straight legs disengage your hamstrings and make your back the primary mover.
When you deadlift... move your hips back but also have a slight bend in your knees.
This not only properly loads your hamstrings, but it will help with making sure you don't use your back.
Once you groove your hip hinge, you're ready for...
Low Kettlebell Swings
I call them low because... you'll purposefully keep the kettlebell super low during the swing.
I've found over my decades of training that most women (and men) new to kettlebell swings use their arms too much to create force.
They pull with their arms... rather than push (thrust) with their hips.
Plus a lot of women new to kettlebells think they need to get the kettlebell high in the air. You don't and you shouldn't.
By keeping the kettlebell low you're essentially doing a dynamic deadlift.
The focus is squarely on the hip thrust. Plus, it's easier to feel and keep your balance as well.
Make sure you don't keep your arms tight though. You still want movement from your shoulder joint with loose muscle tension.
The kettlebell swing (along with most kettlebell exercises) is a dynamic, momentum driven exercise. So there are many times during a move where your muscles are loose and not engaged at all.
Don't lock your shoulder's and become stiff.
One more thing...
The low swing also helps you to groove returning back to a loaded position (the hip hinge position).
Your hands (and arms) hit your hips and lead your hips back. Not you hips first... or many at a high speed camera... they both move back together.
The idea is you don't want your hips to go back too early... this will load your back and you'll lose all your power.
Let's change directions completely for a bit.
This is a fun exercise, but it's so much more than that too.
As you get better you'll start using heavier kettlebells. And it's important to learn how to properly pick up a heavy kettlebell.
Hint... hint... you do it using the pop squat.
First things first... now you are squatting. Your hips will go down and your torso will stay tall.
- Stand over your kettlebell so the handle is in line with you ankles.
- Squat down and grab the the handle... at the top.
- Explode through your legs out of the squat as you pull on the kettlebell at the same time.
- As the kettlebell is floating from your waist to your chest (momentum)...
- Slide your hands under the handle to secure the kettlebell as you catch it at your chest level.
This is a great exercise to do.
I think it helps you focus on balance because you'll tend to lean forward as the kettlebell goes up and down... keep your weight centered!
But again... this is so fundamental because it is the proper way to pick up a heavy kettlebell and you want to groove these habits early on.
Ready to go back to the hip hinge?
Cleaning the kettlebell is a great exercise, and it's another good way to pick a kettlebell up safely.
Not as efficient as the pop squat though.
The clean is the first exercise that get's technical with how your hand punches around the kettlebell into a rack position.
And that's where the modified clean comes in.
- Grab your kettlebell with the hand you're going to end up racking it with.
- Take your other hand and lightly wrap it around the hand holding the kettlebell.
- Keep the handle of the kettlebell vertical as it goes through your legs (hip hinge position)...
The Key Clean Moment
As you're swinging the kettlebell... and it's coming through your legs... the moment it passes your hips as you're practically standing up...
PULL THE KETTLEBELL UP!!!
Keep your elbow close to your body.
And as it's floating up (momentum) just slide your hand a little around the kettlebell and catch it in rack with both hands still on the kettlebell.
This takes practice to get... but you'll get it quickly.
You'll probably practice with a light kettlebell. Make sure you don't overpower the weight to get form correct. You have to feel the weight so you can use momentum and achieve proper timing.
If you overpower the weight (go too light)... things get janky and you'll never get the right movement pattern down.
Practice and you'll get it.
Squat To Cannonball Press
Last move. Hang with me.
This time we'll practice squatting again... no more hip hinge... and with a new way to hold the kettlebell.
This is what cannonball style looks like...
The handle of the kettlebell is in between your hands and forearms. There's a really good reason for this.
With the handle between your arms you won't hit your chin or face.
Most women want to hold the kettlebell like this...
But this is dangerous because the handle is sticking out towards your head and can easily hit you in the chin.
I've seen this happen. It's dangerous because it will clasp your mouth shut and you could chip a tooth or bite your tongue.
Back the exercise...
What I love about a squat to press is the total body communication it takes.
It's not a squat and then a press.
It's a squat straight... and fluidly... into a press.
- At the bottom of the squat you are loading your muscles.
- You fire them and create upward movement.
- You use the momentum your legs created to move the kettlebell up and over your head.
The entire exercise is one smooth motion... and not just up... but straight back down as well.
Start Practicing With This Workout
- 10 deadlifts
- 5 low swings
- 40 mt. climbers
- 10 low swings
- 6 modified cleans
- 40 big flutter kicks
- 8 pop squats straight into
- 8 low swings straight into
- 4 modified cleans straight into
- 8 modified rack squats
3 rounds of each circuit before you move to the next.
This shouldn't take long... it will help you get practice... and give you a chance to start doing real kettlebell workouts at full speed.
Give this workout a try!
And if you want to workout with me for full length LIVE classes... go learn more about FWW LIVE ... our premium strength training program for women.
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