Kettlebells are the way to go if you want to improve your core strength and improve your posture. A kettlebell is basically a heavy, metal ball with a handle. You can use kettlebells to strengthen your back, core and shoulders for better posture. You get an added bonus of getting a good cardio workout while strengthening your muscles to improve your posture. Start with 14-pound kettlebells and do a light workout the first time you use them. Focus on form when doing kettlebell posture exercises. Remember to warm up first by doing some light cardio and stretching.
Benefits of Improved Posture
Slouching, slumping and droopy shoulders make you look tired and unfit. More importantly, poor posture can lead to a number of physical problems. You are at risk of back pain, injured muscles and falls when your posture is not at its best. According to a study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," doing kettlebell exercises improves your ability to avoid falling when you lose your balance. Good posture also helps prevent neck and back injuries. You'll look better and feel better when you ditch the slump.
Core and Back Strength
Strengthening your core, or abdominal, muscles is an effective way to help improve your posture. Plus, you'll firm and trim your waist by doing core strengthening exercises. Your core muscles contract to stabilize your body and help to maintain proper posture when you swing or lift a kettlebell. Kettlebell core exercises also work your buttocks, thighs and back muscles to help improve your posture. Posture-improving kettlebell exercises include the one-arm snatch, the lunge and kettlebell squats.
Beginners should start by learning a few basic exercises. It's best if you are coached by a fitness professional when you first start using kettlebells to avoid injuring yourself. Kettlebells are different from dumbbells, because the handle and shape of the weight move in many different directions compared to dumbbells, which you use in an up and down motion. The basic swing works your entire core and back muscles to help improve your posture. Hold the kettlebell between your legs, squat slightly and the swing the kettle bell up as you push your body upright with your legs. Push the kettlebell straight up over your head from a slight squat position to do a push press. Figure-8s take a little more coordination as you move the kettlebell around and between your legs switching the weight from one hand to the other.
After you learn how to use kettlebells, exercise some basic safety precautions to avoid injury. Kick off your shoes when using kettlebells or wear non-skid, thin-sole shoes to keep your body stable and avoid slipping. Don't do kettlebell exercises on consecutive days. Always allow at least 48 hours between exercises. Make sure you understand the proper form and execution of each exercise before you attempt to do a kettlebell workout. Warm up by doing some light exercise, such as brisk walking, jumping rope or riding an exercise bike, until you start to sweat and your heart rate is slightly elevated.
- Shape: Kettlebell Workouts: Top 7 Ways to Make the Trend Work for You
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; National Strength Conditioning Association; Effects of Kettlebell Training on Postural Coordination and Jump Performance: A Randomized Controlled Trial
- Federation of Holistic Therapists: Sports Massage and Kettlebell Training
- Well Balanced Chiropractic: Kettlebell Exercises For Better Posture
- Kettlebells: Strength Training for Power and Grace; Smith Vatel
Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.