The kettlebell has easily become my favorite piece of workout equipment. That one cast iron bell with handle is a power-packed, punch to the gut workout that you can pretty much do anywhere. As many of you know I instruct Kettlebell AMPD at the studio and at Cazenovia College, but did you know that I incorporate kettlebells into my personal training sessions, circuit trainings and personal workouts? I've been joking as of recently that I feel like a traveling salesman because I have been traveling around CNY with a suitcase full of at least 70 pounds of kettlebells at any given time. During a class I stick to using a 5, 8, or 10 lb bell depending on the day or circumstance. At home or in the gym for my personal workouts I use between 10 and 20 lb bells.
Let's start with a brief history of kettlebells.
I incorporate traditional russian style kettlebells into my workouts, training, and classes. Russian kettlebells can be dated back to approximately 350 years ago. They were used as counterweights on the scale in the marketplace to help with weighing out dry goods. People started to toss them around and juggle them for fun and eventually were used for weight lifting. Russians measured items in "poods" so kettlebell weights were reflected in poods. 1 pood is 36.11 pounds or 16.38kg.
We will fast forward to 1948 where kettlebell became the Soviet Union's National Sport and then in 1985 a specific set of rules, regulations and weight categories were finalized. Fun fact: the Russian Military requires its recruits to train with kettlebells. In the 90's a Russian Former Special Ops trainer, Pavel Tsatouline brought his russian style kettlebell to the US. From then to know the kettlebell phenomenon has exploded especially with the help of the popularity of CrossFit and other olympic power training.
Let us talk about the reasons I love kettlebells and then I will treat you with my favorite quick Kettlebell Anywhere Workout.
1. A kettlebell workout can be done anywhere.
All you need is a bell and a few feet of safe space around you. Your apartment, front lawn, beach, studio in a gym.
2. Improves your cardio-respiratory fitness.
Constantly changing the center of gravity, swinging and fluid movements get your heart rate up and also employ the afterburn effect.
Try sprinting to catch a train while carrying a heavy package or pushing a stroller, did all that “cardio” training you did in “step class” or on the recumbent bike really help that much?
3. Builds powerful forearms and a strong grip.
Kettlebells possess a thicker handle than their barbell and dumbbell counterparts taxing your grip and developing greater forearm strength. Grip training becomes a combination of dynamic and static muscular contractions in an attempt to control that moving center of mass.
4. Allows you to reduce overall training time.
Kettlebells combines cardio and strength training. Combining the 2 facets will help reduce your overall training time.
5. Builds a strong core.
The kettlebell is designed to constantly change your center of gravity which helps to build a strong core.
6. Easier on the joints with fluid movements.
The moves are smoother, with many passes and swings. This reaches muscle fibers on a deeper level, you will moves parts of your body that you don't normally target in an average exercise. Less impact, as well.
7. Builds power, agility, and endurance.
Kettlebells increase power endurance and strength endurance which will make you a better athlete, have longer and stronger bouts of training or output.
8. Helps increase muscle mass.
Build a lean muscular physique. No, women won't bulk up. It employs whole body movements that are superior to machines that isolate muscles. This helps improve muscle tone, body composition and strength. Kettlebells also strengthen tendons and ligaments which will make you less susceptible to injury.
9. Helps with functional training.
Functional training helps with you with movements of everyday life, especially as you get older. Many moves that are done with the kettlebell replicate moves in everyday life. Doing these moves will help you keep those skills as well as the balance, tone and range of motion needed to do those skills. Think: stand taller, carry packages easier, climb stairs with less effort and have more energy. Not to mention reducing your chance of injury.
10. Never boring.
You can endlessly combine a bunch of basic drills into compound sets, circuits and intervals to challenge yourself differently every time. The only limit is your imagination.
Kettlebell Anywhere Workout
(I would recommend a lighter than kettlebell weight to start. You can always increase for the successive sets or at another time.)
10 squats, bell in basket hold
10 bicep curls, basket hold
10 crunches bell in basket hold over diaphragm
30 second russian twist
10 2-handed Russian style swings
5 2-handed deadlift
10 tricep raises
10 alternating front lunge with twist
30 second V sit , arms extended
10 chest presses holding squat
Open to sumo squat, 10 alternating calf raises
10 R bicep curls followed by 10 L bicep curls
10 R tricep raise, 10 L tricep raise
10 R hand swings, 10 L hand swings
Added Bonus to Ramp it Up:
30 second plank taps
10 offset push ups R
30 second Mountain Climbers
10 offset push ups L
If you give this workout a try let me know what you think!