Five Seasons Family Sports Club Blog

4 Ways to Add a Kettlebell into Your Routine

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 3/30/17 9:00 AM

Ah, the kettlebell to some, it's a fantastic exercise tool; to others, it's a cleverly disguised torture device. Whatever your feelings might be about kettlebells, it's hard to deny that they're one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment around. While there are some workouts that utilize the kettlebell exclusively, many fitness enthusiasts don't necessarily want to quit their current exercise programs – they would just like to enhance them a little bit by adding some kettlebell movements into the mix. Below are 4 ways that you can add a kettlebell into your routine to improve your strength, muscle tone and endurance. 

1. Lunges

Kettlebells seem like they were custom-made for exercises such as lunges. Try performing a standard lunge while holding a kettlebell in each hand, keeping your arms down by your sides. As you lower your body into the lunge position, be mindful to keep your arms in the same position throughout – in other words, don't swing them forward as you lunge. You'll quickly notice how the added weight of the kettlebells on each side will force you to negotiate your balance more carefully. Just remember to keep your movements slow and steady, and don't "plop" down into the lunge. Try doing three sets of 10-12 reps for each leg.

2. Squats

Squats are already a fantastic exercise for sculpting your thighs, hamstrings and glutes, but when you add a kettlebell into the mix, you can recruit your arm muscles as well, since they will be responsible for stabilizing the kettlebell during the movement. There are dozens of different kettlebell squat variations, but one of the most common involves holding one single kettlebell with both hands directly in front of your waist/groin area. Let your arms hang down naturally in front of you, gripping the kettlebell handle overhand (palms facing toward your body) and your thumbs nearly touching each other. Keep your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed out at about a 45-degree angle. Now lower your body into the squat position, being mindful to keep your back as straight as possible, and keep your arms hanging straight down as well. When you come back up, try to keep the kettlebell stable and smooth, and don't try to jerk or "heave-ho" it back up when you return to the starting position. The kettlebell should remain at arm's length throughout the entire exercise. Try three sets of 10-15 reps for this one, depending upon the weight of the kettlebell. 

3. One-Arm Rows

Kettlebells are perfect for arm exercises as well! Using a kettlebell for a one-arm row is a great way to tone your shoulder and bicep muscles, as well as those back muscles near the shoulder blades. Start by putting your left knee on a bench or chair, and your right foot flat on the floor. Bend over and support yourself on the bench with your left arm, while holding the kettlebell in your right arm. Your back should be as flat as possible (i.e., parallel to the floor), and your right arm should hang down naturally. Now pull the kettlebell up towards your chest, being mindful to keep your arm as close to your side as possible. Now lower it slowly and smoothly (no herky-jerky movements here) to return it to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10-12 rows for each arm. 

4. Abdominal Twists

Using kettlebells with abdominal twists is a great way to work your abs and obliques, so that you can shred those love handles and shape up that waist! Start off in a seated position, holding the kettlebell in front of your chest (you should use a relatively light one for this exercise). Now lean back enough to where you feel your ab muscles begin to engage, and then try smoothly twisting your body to the right, almost as if you're trying to put your elbow on the floor behind you. Now slowly bring it back to the center, and then twist to the left, doing the same thing. The key is to keep your arms as still as possible and allow your waist to do all the movement; otherwise, you've turned a core exercise into one that works your arms instead. Try doing three sets of 10-15 reps, and remember to go slow!

The above exercises are only a small example of all the different ways you can incorporate kettlebells into your regular routine. So go ahead and put that kettlebell to work!

Take the challenge for a fitter, healthier you!

Topics: Fitness

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