A typical kettlebell will either be made from cast iron or steel. Sure, there are others that have a vinyl covering or even ones that are made completely from rubber. However, they are prone to wear and eventually might break or crack. If you’re just starting out with kettlebells, you’ll probably want to invest in a light weight or a small set of kettlebells. While I encourage everyone who begins kettlebell training to give it at least a month, inevitably there will be people who will try it once or twice and decide it’s not for them.
While the information contained in my guide is straightforward, it doesn’t mention the different types of kettlebells. Depending on where you do your research, you’ll likely come across two main variations – regular style or competition style. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that one is superior over the other. Rather it truly depends on what your personal goals are.
Recently, after 6 months of working out with a 35 lb. kettlebell, I purchased a new 45 lb. kettlebell to further challenge myself. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy adjustment, however, I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be. Obviously, the more weight that is added, the harder my muscles would need to work in order to execute various kettlebell exercises properly. This wasn’t a surprise, although, I hadn’t considered other factors besides the increase in weight. I’m still excited about performing at a higher level, it’s just that I’ll need to change my approach and expectations as I continue to build strength with my new kettlebell.
Working out with kettlebells is mostly comprised out of 4 basic motions that you later combine for more elaborate exercise routines. These movements are: swinging, holding the kettlebell with both arms, holding it using one hand, and snatching. Which of these motions you prefer should depend on your fitness goals and the weight of the kettlebell.
I have no idea who coined it, but the appropriately named monster kettlebell should only be used by serious lifters. While there is no set definition, it’s assumed that any kettlebell weighing over 100 lbs. fits that description. Unless you’re Hercules, exercises that require the kettlebell to be lifted overhead are near impossible. Typically, exercises with monster kettlebells include squats, rows, and deadlifts.
Muscle and Motion created a short video showing of a skeletal frame with muscles performing the kettlebell swing. If you’ve ever wondered what is happening inside your body as you perform kettlebell exercises, this video details the effects on your muscles and body. It also illustrates the proper technique of the swing, specifically the importance of keeping your back straight throughout the entire movement.
Last year I had the privilege of interviewing Kettlebell Sport World Championship gold medalist Jordan Tyjeski. Competing in various kettlebell events consisting of 16kg and 20kg weights, her efforts landed her not 1 but 3 gold medals. Now, several months later, that effort and dedication continued to pay off with impressive showings at the Arnold Sports Festival earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio.
There are many videos online that demonstrate the kettlebell swing. If you’re like me, you’ve probably watched several of them to observe proper technique. The majority I’ve come across, that are performed by certified instructors, show the hip swing variation. However, there were a few that didn’t look quite right to me, almost unnatural.
The kettlebell clean is one of the first moves you should learn if you’re new to kettlebells. Many popular kettlebell exercises use it as an integral part, usually as the first step of that exercise. The concept is simple enough. Lift the kettlebell from the floor or between your legs with one hand and transition into the rack position. The problem that most popular have when learning the clean is that the movement of this transition causes banging on the wrist and forearm. When done correctly, the floor to rack position movement should seem fluid and seamless.
The kettlebell windmill, which generally refers to the high variant, involves raising the kettlebell overhead as high as you can. Keeping your arm extended upward, you then bend at the hips to touch your toes with your free hand. Compare that to the kettlebell low windmill which essentially switches what hand holds the kettlebell. Both are great exercises but the high windmill is obviously more difficult.
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