Kettlebell fans love the heavy, round-shaped weights for a reason — kettlebell exercises combine cardio and strength training for a time-saving calorie burn. The amount of calories you can burn using kettlebells can be amazingly high: a study by the American Council on Exercise found that the average person burns 400 calories in 20 minutes when doing kettlebell exercises. More research has found that regularly exercising with kettlebells significantly reduces back, neck, and shoulder pain by strengthening core and upper body muscles.
If you’ve never done a kettlebell workout before, know that starting out is a little bit more involved than just lifting weights. Because many kettlebell exercises involve a lot of swinging moves, you need to make sure that you are handling it correctly to not injure yourself. Start with a lighter weight, and try these three exercises to determine if it’s the right size. Once you’ve figured out the right fit, read on for more effective kettlebell exercises.
Deadlifts are extremely effective for correcting your posture, and the fact that they give your butt a nice lift doesn’t hurt either. Hold a kettlebell in one hand to do this single-leg deadlift; remember to bend at the waist while keeping your back straight and control your movements as you raise back up. Here’s how to do a single-leg kettlebell deadlift correctly:
- Hold a kettlebell (between 10 and 20 pounds) in your right hand, and lift your left foot slightly off the ground.
- Keeping your back neutral, lean your entire torso forward while raising your left leg, which should stay in line with your body. The kettlebell will lower toward the ground. Keep your left shoulder blade pulled down your back.
- With your back straight, return upright, coming to your starting position.
- This completes one rep. Maximize this move by keeping your right foot off the ground as you go through your reps.
- Do 12 reps on each leg, for three sets.
Yes, your arms will be tired after you’ve done this move, but they’ll also be well-defined and strong. Here’s how to do the Turkish Get-Up:
- Begin lying on your back with your right arm pointing toward the ceiling and your right knee bent. Your left arm should be out to the side and a little lower than your shoulder.
- Keep your eyes on your right hand, and come to sitting without lowering your right arm. Lean onto your left hand to prepare you for your next move.
- Press down into your left hand to lift your pelvis off the ground. Keep your eyes trained on your right hand.
- Shoot your left leg backward, putting weight on your left knee, which you should place directly under your left hip. Your arms should be in a straight line with left hand on the floor and right hand toward the ceiling. You are bent to the left, but your eyes will still be focusing on the right hand.
- Push off the floor with your left hand, so your torso is upright. Keep looking up at your right hand.
- Come to standing. Bring left leg forward to meet the right.
- Reverse the sequence to return to starting position on floor.
- Do six to eight reps with your right arm up, then switch sides.