Kettlebells have been around for centuries and long have been used in Russia to train athletes and the military. Kettlebells differ from traditional weight training because of the swinging motion that offers additional resistance and the need for muscle engagement for control. The wood-chop exercise targets the core -- abs and back, while also using the legs and glutes.
Choose a kettlebell weight appropriate for your fitness level. If you're not sure, start with a low weight -- 2 to 5 pounds -- and increase it if necessary.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your body.
Squat by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, while bringing the kettlebell down to your right.
Straighten from your squat while simultaneously swinging the kettlebell up and across your body until it's over your left shoulder. Engage the abs to control the movement and avoid over-rotating or torquing through the torso.
Return to the start position by bringing the kettlebell down to the right while squatting. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions on each side.
Perform another set of wood chops starting with the kettlebell on your left and swinging up to the right.
- Because kettlebells use momentum, engage your abs and control the movement as much as possible to avoid back injury.
Leslie Truex has been telecommuting and freelancing since 1994. She wrote the "The Work-At-Home Success Bible" and is a career/business and writing instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Truex has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Willamette University and a Master of Social Work from California State University-Sacramento. She has been an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America certified fitness instructor since 2001.