Working out at home has increased in popularity since many countries entered lockdown. One issue people faced was that many suppliers ran out of dumbbells and barbells. Interestingly, kettlebells seemed to still be in stock – or at least, the issues faced with buying cheap kettlebells were not as bad as with other types of weightlifting equipment.
Perhaps it is because kettlebell workouts are not as popular as other exercises. For that reason, we have prepared this guide to 3 kettlebell exercises you should try at home.
Regarding your safety – if you’re trying this exercise for the first time, start off with a lightweight kettlebell and work on your form – either in front of a mirror or by filming yourself with your smartphone. Better still, have a personal trainer work with you to get the moves right to prevent injury.
How to Choose Which Exercises
When looking to build muscle and get lean, there is no doubt that lifting weights is necessary. With literally thousands of exercises to choose from, it is nearly impossible for a beginner to know which exercises to include in their workout.
Compound moves are a great way of maximizing strength and muscle growth and are more efficient than isolation moves. Popular isolation moves you might have heard of include dumbbell curls and triceps extensions. These moves recruit one joint and isolate the muscle associated with moving that joint.
Compound moves (sometimes called multi-joint exercises) recruit multiple joints and therefore multiple groups. With this in mind, you should program your routine around the core compound moves which include:
- Bench Press
- Shoulder Press
Kettlebell swings are an awesome move to finish a workout with. Their explosiveness means that they will also tick the cardio box during your exercise session. You’ll torch fat, build muscle, and improve your overall health at the same time.
This move can be performed with two hands (which is the first variation you should try) or one hand – often referred to as a single-arm kettlebell swing or the kettlebell one-hand swing.
While the kettlebell swing is a great exercise, compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts reign supreme.
You don’t need a barbell or dumbbell set to perform squats. In fact, you don’t need any equipment whatsoever.
That said, kettlebells are a cheap option to get started with.
The kettlebell squat variation targets leg muscles in a different way from barbell squats. As with the kettlebell swings, there are a few variations you can try which include the two-handed kettlebell squat, kettlebell goblet squat and kettlebell rack squats.
Along with squats, deadlifts are one of the most important compound lifts you can do. As you might expect, they can also be performed with a kettlebell. The standard deadlift works almost the entire posterior chain – so you’ll feel it the next day from your calves all the way up to your traps!
You can also adjust the width between your feet to alternate between a standard deadlift and a sumo deadlift or turn it into a Romanian deadlift to target more of your hamstrings and glutes.
Kettlebell Push Presses
Kettlebells do have their limitations and they come when you’re looking to target your chest and shoulders. There is no denying that dumbbells and barbells are superior in this department, however, there are still some moves you can try.
Push presses target the shoulders and triceps but for these you will require two kettlebells of the same weight. This is a problem because many kettlebell sets come with one of each size so you might need to buy a second set of kettlebells to make sure you can perform this exercise.
Kettlebell Triceps Press
The triceps press (sometimes called the triceps extension) is a popular move to perform with a dumbbell or weight plate, however, a kettlebell is the perfect shape for this. By holding the kettlebell with both hands around the body of the bell (not the handle) you can find a decent grip whereby you simply straighten your arms above your head to get a great triceps workout.
You should look to get a full range of motion by locking your elbows out at the top so that the muscle is fully stretched.
While dumbbells and barbells will always remain the favorites for building muscle in the commercial gym, kettlebells certainly have their place. They are a great option for those working out at home and are often cheaper and take up less space than other types of weight sets.
The exercises listed here are great moves to perform during a beginner’s full-body workout and before too long you should be lifting heavier and heavier and packing on some serious size!