If you haven’t swung a kettlebell before, now’s the time! The funky looking fitness toy has been around for centuries for a reason. The concept of a kettlebell is simple. It is a heavy iron ball with a fixed handle on top. What really makes them special, though, is that using them regularly can yield unique results.
Before swinging a kettlebell, learn the lingo regarding its parts so you can master correct technique. The bottom of the kettlebell is called the “ball.” The open space between the handle of the kettlebell and the ball is called the “window.” The sides of the handle are called “horns.” And the top turns on the horns are called “corners.”
When you choose a kettlebell, start conservatively when it comes to weight. Take time to learn proper form before increasing the weight you swing. Adding velocity to any weighted movement requires you to control both acceleration and deceleration. Protect your joints! Work on mobility and explore your range of motion sans equipment before adding weights to the movement.
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Kettlebell 101 – Master These 3 Movements First
1) Kettlebell Swing
– Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes forward.
– Hold the kettlebell by the handle, palms facing your body.
– Bend your knees and stick your butt back while taking the kettlebell between your legs.
– As you straighten your legs, swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height.
– Squeeze your glutes and thrust your hips forward at the peak of the swing.
– Stay in control as you swing the bell between your legs again to repeat the movement.
2) Goblet Squat
– Grab the horns (or the ball) of the kettlebell and hold the kettlebell close to your chest.
– Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
– Keep your torso upright as you start bending your knees.
– Press through your heels and focus your weight toward the back of your body.
– Keep dropping until your tush drops lower than your knees.
*Keep in mind this is a deep squat. For joint health, it is essential to keep your weight focused on your heels so as not to put too much stress on your knees.
– Press into your heels while returning to start.
3) Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlift
– Hold the handle of the kettlebell and let it dangle by your right side.
– Shift your weight toward your right foot and lift your left foot off of the ground.
– Keep your right leg straight, but your knee soft.
– Start leaning forward, hinging at your hips while bringing the kettlebell down toward the front of your right foot.
– Keep your left leg lifted and straight as you tap the kettlebell on the ground.
– Start returning to the upright position, but let the left foot hover off the ground.
– Repeat the action without letting the left foot make contact with the floor!
– Try it on the other side.
Ready for a whole kettlebell workout? Try this one from the American Council on Exercise!