When you want your workout to really push the limits, add in some ballistic moves. These moves are performed with maximum velocity and acceleration. By doing ballistic moves with kettlebells, watch your body transform, and soon you’ll be the girl everyone else is asking for workout tips. Be aware that kettlebells can cause injury when not used correctly. Before tackling a kettlebell workout, you need a solid fitness base that includes strength and coordination. Take things slowly; start with lighter weights and move slowly. Gradually increase your weight and speed.
While kettlebells may seem like the new hot exercise, they have been around for centuries. This basic piece of gym equipment looks like a bowling ball with a handle on it. It comes in a variety of sizes ranging from eight to 100 pounds. With kettlebells, you can increase muscular endurance, build lean muscle mass, promote fat loss and improve muscle strength. The best part: This tool doesn’t take up much space; you can get a workout in your apartment, garage, backyard or gym.
Any time you are doing ballistic moves, your muscles are firing at a rapid rate, only contracting briefly and producing a high amount of force. Over time, this teaches your muscles to be faster and stronger. When you add in kettlebells to these moves, you get a cardiovascular, strength and flexibility workout all at once. While you can use kettlebells to do basic exercises such as curls and rows, the ballistic movements are the ones that really push your fitness to the next level.
When designing your kettlebell workout, you need to consider your fitness goals. If you are looking to increase muscular endurance, do exercises with a lower weight but do a high number of repetitions. If you want to build muscle, select a higher weight but do fewer reps. Examples of ballistic kettlebell exercises are snatches, swings, jerks and cleans.
Kettlebells not only build strength and endurance; they also train your body in a functional manner. This means that regardless of what sport you are playing, kettlebells will make you faster, stronger and able to go farther. To tone from head to toe, grab a set of kettlebells and do these five moves: one-arm swings, one-arm alternative swings, two-arm swings, around-the-body pass and figure eights. To do the around-the-body pass, grasp a kettlebell’s handle with both hands in an overhand grip. Hold the bell out in front of your body with a slight bend in your elbows. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Release your right hand so the bell swings behind your body to your left side. Grasp the bell with your right hand while it’s behind your back and bring it around your right side back to the starting position. Do the exercise for 30 seconds and then repeat, going the opposite direction.
- Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology: Ballistic Movement: Muscle Activation and Neuromuscular Adaptation
- Shapefit.com: Kettlebell Exercise Guide
- Mahler’s Aggressive Strength: The Benefits of Kettlebell Training for Fat Loss, Strength Training, Explosive Power and Muscle Building
- Ideafit.com: Kettlebells: 5 Full-Body Exercises
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.