Most Effective Exercises for the Kettlebell

A proper warmup is a key component of any kettlebell workout.
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Kettlebell training is a fun and effective fitness trend. You might have seen a kettlebell and not even have known it. The weight resembles a cannonball with a handle, and is most commonly used to perform dynamic movements such as the two-hand swing. The unbalanced construction of the kettlebell calls the entire body into action, helping you burn more calories to get better results in less time.

Getting Started

    If you are new to kettlebell training, it is a good idea to work with a trainer or coach to learn proper technique. Then, start slowly by picking a challenging but manageable weight. Once you get the hang of things, try creating a circuit of the most effective kettlebell exercises.

Exercise Options

    The kettlebell is an extremely versatile fitness tool. By engaging multiple muscle groups at the same time, you can use kettlebells to build lean muscle and burn more fat than traditional exercise routines. Consider using the two-hand swing, thruster or deadlift high-pull to build lean, functional muscle. Perform the kettlebell swing by holding the kettlebell with both hands on the handle, then sinking into a squat with the weight between your legs. Resist the urge to pull with your arms -- use the legs and hips to drive out of the squat while swinging the bell to chest level. Once you get the hang of the form, create your own kettlebell workout routine.

Kettlebell Workout Routine

    Kettlebell workouts are more effective than traditional training routines or stationary exercise machines. Instead of training isolated muscle groups, kettlebell routines use compound movements to increase the calorie burn and number of muscles being activated. That means you can get spectacular results from three 20-minute kettlebell workouts per week. After warming up, choose three or four exercises to perform four sets of 25 repetitions. Allow up to two-minute rests between sets. Then, repeat a similar circuit twice more through the week to stay on track toward your fitness goals.

Common Kettlebell Mistakes

    Typical mistakes create lower back, hamstring or neck strains. Be sure to maintain an upright torso position, with the core flexed. Otherwise, it is possible to hinge at the waist and collapse forward as the kettlebell pulls the upper body toward the ground. Instead of using the lower back to propel the kettlebell, use the muscles of the lower body to drive the weight forward.

    Bruising on the wrists is also a telltale sign of improper form. During single-arm exercises it is common to to flip the bell over the top of the hand, causing it to slam onto the wrist. Avoid this mistake by rotating the elbow down as you pull the kettlebell up, catching it at shoulder height. The weight should be absorbed into the body while you squat slightly and keep the wrist in a neutral position.

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