Resembling a cross between a cannonball and a handbag, the kettlebell is quickly gaining fans in gyms across the country, and for good reason -- this odd-looking hunk of cast iron is a booty-shaping marvel. The secret? The offset handle lets you use the kettlebell not just for traditional glute-blasters such as squats and deadlifts, but also for explosive moves such as swings that combine weight training and cardio for serious backside buffness.
Swings are a classic kettlebell butt burner. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out slightly. Grasp the kettlebell's handle with both hands, keeping your elbows straight. Push your tush back by bending your knees slightly and hinging at your hips. As you flex your hips, swing the kettlebell between your upper thighs, then stand up explosively, letting the kettlebell swing forward and up to chest level. Repeat the movement, establishing a steady rhythm. To spare your lower back, keep your spine extended and your chest lifted the entire time.
Kettlebell squats also shape your backside. Hold the kettlebell by the handles in front of your chest with your elbows bent. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes turned out slightly. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your thighs drop just below parallel, then stand up, extending your knees and hips. Track your knees in the same direction as your feet. Don't allow your back to round, which can stress the disks of your lower back. Instead, keep your chest up and your back straight.
Deadlifts are another powerful derriere developer. Start with the kettlebell on the floor between your feet, with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes a little turned out. Hinge at your hips to take hold of the kettlebell's handle with both hands. Keeping your spine extended and your elbows straight, stand up holding the kettlebell, then return to the starting position. To add more resistance, try deadlifts with two kettlebells. Hold one in each hand alongside your thighs. Hinging your hips, lower the weights to the floor outside your feet, then stand up again. Maintain a straight spine and lifted chest during any deadlift variation.
Stiff-Legged One-Leg Deadlift
Fire up one cheek at a time with single leg deadlifts. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a kettlebell in your right hand in front of your right thigh. Keep your right elbow straight. Lift your right leg into the air behind you as you hinge forward from your hips. Bend your left knee slightly so that your back can remain straight. Lower the kettlebell to the floor in front of your right foot, then stand up with it, coming back to the starting position. As in the two-leg version of the deadlift, keep your spine extended and chest lifted to stabilize your lower back.
- Kettlebells for Women; Lauren Brooks
- The Ultimate Kettlebell Workbook; Dave Randolph
- ACE GetFit: Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the Time?
- ExRx.net: Kettlebell Exercises
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images