Russian kettlebell training is not just for men -- many women engage in kettlebell training to increase their strength level, relieve stress and reshape their bodies. The kettlebell was introduced into American from Russia in the late 1990s. The Russian kettlebell swing is lower, reaching chest level whereas the American swing extends overhead. The shape and design of the kettlebell provides an intense workout as your body is constantly aware of the shifting weight and works against the resistance through a longer range of motion, states Russian kettlebell trainer Lisa Shaffer. If you have never trained with a kettlebell, don’t be intimated, start with a light weight and beginner-friendly exercises.
ShapeFit.com considers the kettlebell swing a beginner-level exercise. It's one of the easiest to perform and when performed correctly, the exercise primarily works your glutes and hamstrings. Hold the handle of the kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Allow your arms to hang in front of your body with your palms facing your thighs. While keeping your chest up and back flat, bend your hips and knees and swing the kettlebell back through your legs. Keep your arms straight and forcefully drive upward with your hips to swing the weight chest high. Allow the weight of the kettlebell to swing back between your legs and repeat. Perform 15 swings.
To firm and tone your thighs and butt muscles, perform the kettlebell front squat. Start by holding the kettlebell upside down with both hands in front of your chest and stand with your feet hip-width apart. While keeping your elbows close to your body with your head up and back straight, bend your hips and knees and lower your body into a squat position. When your thighs become parallel to the floor, push with your legs to return to a standing position. Repeat 15 times. Concentrate on keeping your knees over your toes when you are at the bottom of the squat.
Sometimes called around-the-body pass, the kettlebell sling shot focuses on your arms, back, abs and obliques. Hold the handle of the kettlebell with both hands and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms and hold the weight waist high in front of your body. This is the starting position. Release your right hand and swing both arms in an arc behind your back. Grab the handle with your right hand, release your left hand and swing your arms in an arc back to the starting position. This completes one repetition. Concentrate on keeping your hips still throughout the exercise. Perform 10 reps.
The high pull is a beginner exercise that focuses on your shoulders, arms, back, butt and thigh muscles. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and place your kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Start by standing upright with your arms hanging by your sides. While keeping your back straight and head up, bend your hips and knees, move your butt backward and lower your body into a shallow squat. Reach down and grasp the handle of the kettlebell with your left hand. In one continuous motion, push with your legs, stand upright, drive your left elbow high and pull the weight up to your left shoulder. Lower the weight to the floor and repeat. Perform five pulls and then switch arms.
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