Kettlebells, rounded weights with handles, are often referred to as "an all in one gym," because with them you can work your entire body and achieve both strength and cardiovascular fitness goals. An American Council on Exercise-sponsored study in 2010 found that a sample group of people from their early 20s to their late 40s burned about 14 calories per minute doing two-minute kettlebell workouts. This is the equivalent of running a 10-minute mile. You can get the lean and sculpted body you have always wanted with kettlebells, but start by learning a few Russian kettlebell training secrets.
Train Don't Strain
A common training secret used by trained kettlebell instructors is the "train don't strain" method. Straining to the point of exhaustion is not only unnecessary, but also very often counterproductive and dangerous. Steady, continuous and strenuous activity leads to results. Pushing yourself beyond exhaustion provides no greater results and only causes a lapse in posture and technique, which can lead to serious injury. If at any point during your training session you feel pain or complete exhaustion, take a break.
Pick the Right Weight
Generally speaking, women should begin with a kettlebell weight somewhere between 8 and 18 pounds, depending on your fitness level. Anything heavier may result in poor form and injury. Keep in mind that while kettlebell training is about developing strength, you don't have to swing a tremendous amount of weight to see results. The key is in the form and consistency. Once you are comfortable with a particular weight and are executing good form, you can move up to a heavier bell.
Execute Proper Form
One of the most important Russian kettlebell training secrets is to execute proper form. It is not so much about what you do as it is how you do it. Kettlebell exercises involve some basic functional movements, but anything less than perfect form results in wasted energy and fewer results. When doing any kettlebell exercises, it is paramount to keep your center of gravity in your abdominal region. Not paying attention to your center of gravity results in compromised form and possible injury. If you are new to kettlebells, always have a qualified instructor lead you through the steps for perfect technique.
Work and Rest Principle
One of the keys to success in kettlebell training and perhaps one of the best Russian kettlebell training secrets is the work and rest principle. According to a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, a high-intensity interval training routine brings rapid fitness results. Alternating between a 15-second kettlebell exercise such as a swing or snatch with a 15-second rest period, sustained for 20 minutes, pushes the body to burn almost 20 calories per minute. The only other exercise that burns more calories is cross-country skiing at a remarkably rapid pace. Three of these 20-minute workouts a week promotes cardiovascular and muscular strength.
Susan Patterson is a health and gardening advocate. She is a Master Gardener, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and a Certified Health Coach with vast experience working with organic gardening and nutrition. Her passions include sustainable living, organic foods and functional fitness. Patterson has been writing and presenting on health and gardening topics for 10 years.