Kettlebells- you see them in your gym, in magazines, and all over crossfit boxes. What are these medieval looking weights? Well, according to Wikipedia, a Kettlebell is a cast-iron or cast steel weight (resembling a cannonball with a handle) used to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility. They also happen to be one of my favorite pieces of kit in the gym! Kettlebells are a functional tool for burning fat and building muscle. When I say functional, I mean this is working your muscles in ways your body works day to day. For example, lifting up a toddler, putting on a seatbelt, lifting up a box, carrying a bag, reaching for a glass- you get it! Kettlebells will make these tasks easier for you by training your body in different ranges of motion and preparing you for day to day activities. Your core strength will also develop drastically because your core is engaged for every single movement. Having a strong core leads to better posture and prevents injury.
When working with kettlebells, you are also recruiting almost every muscle in your body to work. Your body gains momentum to swing the kettlebell in different directions, and recruits major muscles from your legs and butt, and smaller stability muscles in your core throughout your entire workout. Since you are recruiting so many muscles, you can keep your kettlebell workout to a minimum. Crunched for time? No problem! Just aim for 30 minutes of a kettlebell circuit and you will burn hundreds of calories before you even start your day.
Aside from the kettlebell swing, the kettlebell windmill is one of my favorite exercises using the kettlebell. This movement is a great way to stabilize shoulders and lumbar spine, strengthen your core and lower back, work on spinal mobility and glute activation, and increase flexibility in your posterior chain.
- Start by getting the kettlebell over head. You can clean and press it above your head or just carefully get the kettlebell to your shoulder, then press it straight over head.
- Lock the kettlebell overhead and push your hips out to the side that is locked. (Right arm up, right hip pushed out) Pushing your butt to the right, reach down towards the ground with your free hand (left) all while keeping your eyes on the kettlebell that you hold over head the whole time.
- After a quick pause while reaching down, slowly stand back up to start position. Make sure you rotate your wrist so it faces forward.
If you are new to exercise or don't have access to a kettlebell, don't fret! This exercise is perfect if you are just starting out with no weight. It will help increase your flexibility in your lower spine and get you ready to progress with a weight. Need a video? Check out my Instagram! Enjoy!