Kettlebells are all bells, no whistles. Resembling a mini bowling ball with a handle, kettlebells are great for cardio, strength, and flexibility training . Start by picking up the weight of your choice—women usually grab between eight and 16 kg weights, while men go for 16 to 32 kg, though these weights vary depending on the exercises of choice. (No harm in starting low and working your way up!) Reps and sets will depend on intensity and fitness levels, for most of these moves, we recommend aiming for 3-5 sets of 10-30 reps with good form. (We suggest starting with a trainer or kettlebell aficionado to make sure everything’s kosher). Ready to rock? Let’s give these ketlebells a swing, snatch, or clean!
1) Russian Kettlebell SwingTargets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs (Level: Beginner)
How to: To do the perfect kettlebell swing, stand up straight, with feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. Grab the handle with both hands, keeping the palms face down and arms in front of the body. Maintain a slight bend to the knee and drive the hips back, lowering the body—but not too low (this isn’t a squat!). Then, in a fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettlebell, keeping the glutes and core engaged. Remember: The motion should come from the hips, not the arms, as the body returns to standing. Lower the weight back down between the legs and keep this swinging motion going for 12 to 15 reps.
2) Single-Arm Kettlebell SwingTargets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs (Level: Beginner-Intermediate)
How to: This movement is just like the two-handed swing, but uses one hand at a time. Swing the kettlebell up with one arm, but still swing the other arm to help drive momentum. Alternate hands when the kettlebell is behind the legs; aim for 10 to 12 reps with each arm.
3) Two-Arm Kettlebell RowTargets: Back, arms, shoulders (Level: Beginner-Intermediate)
How to: Grab two kettlebells for this one. (Double the pleasure,double the fun, right?) Place them in front of the feet and bend the knees slightly. Next, bend over to grab both kettlebells and pull them towards the stomach, keeping the elbows close to the body and the back straight. Lower the weights, repeat for 12 to 15 reps max, feel like a champ.
4) Kettlebell Figure-8Targets: Arms, back, abs (Level: Intermediate)
How to: Looking to impress a certain someone at the gym? Then try this: Start with legs a bit wider than hip-width distance apart, and lower yourself into a quarter-squat position. (Keep that back straight and chest up!) Grab the kettlebell with the left hand and swing it around the outside of the left leg and then back between the legs. Next, pass the kettlebell to the right hand and swing it around the outside of the right leg. Keep this motion going, similar to the classicbasketball drill! Can you do a minute straight? (Be sure to switch directions half-way through!)