If you want results quick, kettlebell training is for you! Kettlebells are solid cast iron balls with handles that work your entire body as you go through dynamic kettlebell exercises. Instead of isolating single muscles or single muscle groups, kettlebell training delivers full-body fitness. Kettlebell expert Sarah Lurie, owner of Iron Core Kettlebell Fitness Center in San Diego, California recommends the following four full-body kettlebell exercises to get you fit fast.
According to Lurie, kettlebells originated in Russia more than 100 years ago. Kettlebells are solid cast iron balls with a suitcase handle that range in weight from eight pounds to over 100 pounds. A long-time bodybuilder using freeweights and machines to get buff and cut, Lurie experienced a weight-lifting injury that required comprehensive rehabilitation. She discovered kettlebells and found that they not only allowed her to quickly rehabilitate but she was also able to regain her elite level of fitness.
Lurie says, “My hips were always tight from squatting in the gym, but they soon became loose and powerful from the foundation kettlebell exercise – the swing. Countless reps of lunges, squats and deadlifts could not even come close to the results I got in a few weeks of swings, cleans, Turkish get-ups, snatches and presses [with kettlebells].”
The benefits of kettlebell training are boundless – not only do you get a superb strength training workout, kettlebells boost your cardio and tone your body like no other exercise modality.
If you are a beginner to kettlebell training, use a 10 to 15 pound kettlebell. Do 2 sets of 10 for each of these exercises. As you get stronger and more adept at using a kettlebell, gradually increase your weight and do 3 sets of 10.
This exercise targets the lower body but requires full-body movement, delivering results to your core and upper body.
1. Stand with your feet wider than hip-distance apart, holding the kettlebell handle with both hands in front of your body.
2. Sit back in the hips, knees slightly bent, keeping your shoulders back and chest up, moving the kettlebell between your legs.
3. Swing up, standing tall, squeezing your glutes, tightening your thighs, and lifting the kettlebell to shoulder height.
4. Repeat the swing movement in an uninterrupted motion for a set of 10 to 20.
This exercise works the arms, back, and core muscles.
1. Begin in a pushup position on your toes, holding a kettlebell in each hand, arms straight, and shoulders over the kettlebells.
2. As you use your core muscles to balance, pull one kettlebell back toward your hip, elbow to ceiling, then lower down.
3. Repeat with the other side. Make this a fluid motion, pulling one elbow back as soon as the opposite arm has lowered and touched the kettlebell to the floor.
Lunge and Press
This is another full-body exercise that works the core muscles as well the upper and lower body.
1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a kettlebell in your right hand. Hold the kettlebell at shoulder-height, elbow bent, in a rack position.
2. Lunge forward with your right foot, keeping your core muscles tight, and press the kettlebell to the upwards until your elbow is straight.
3. As you step back to standing position, lower the kettlebell to your shoulder. Repeat for 10 reps and switch sides.
This exercise targets your lower body and core muscles but also works your arms.
1. Start in a standing position holding the kettlebell handle with both hands in front of your body.
2. Lift one leg and bend the knee of your other leg, as you lower your rear to the ground. Bend the elbows and bring the kettlebell up into a bicep curl as you lower down.
3. Drive through your heel to return to a standing position, lowering the kettlebell. Perform 10 repetitions on one leg, then repeat on the other side.
Note: If you are a beginner or have trouble with your knees, do not lower your body all the way down. Start by bending and straightening your standing knee slightly, progressing down lower as you get stronger.
You can get more kettlebell training by checking out Lurie’s DVD series Kettlebells the Iron Core Way or download Lurie’s kettlebell workout videos at Lurie’s site IronCore Kettlebells. Pick up a set of Lurie’s GoFit line of kettlebells at Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sport Chalet, Big 5 and other sporting goods retailers. Kettlebells begin at $29.99 and come with a beginner level DVD.
For more illustrated exercises to get fit fast, check out these links:
Illustrated Pilates exercises
Desk-side yoga poses
Tighten your tummy with these three exercises
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