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Best Kettlebell Exercises

kettlebell exercises

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Training with kettlebells has been an absolute blast lately. As a competitive BJJ athlete, we understand the importance of staying in the weight room and making sure we are getting our lifts in but maybe you are not a BJJ athlete and you enjoy swimming, maybe lacrosse, or tennis, this article is still for you. When we walk into the gym we do not want to lift like a bodybuilder because, well, we are not one, and don’t plan on trying to be one. Kettlebell exercises are a great way for us to stay nimble and not only get the strength training we need but also work in mobility. Staying athletic is a number one priority for us and anyone who does a sport recreationally (or competitively) can benefit from adding these exercises to their routine!

(Best) Kettlebell Exercises for Abs

Your abs are one of the most targeted muscles with kettlebell training, the reason for this is that kettlebell exercises do not have strict movement. As a result of this swinging and high-velocity movement, your core and abdominal muscles play a big role in keeping your upper body more stable.

You should know that all kettlebell exercises target and put stress on your core to an extent and because of this you don’t need to directly train it. However, there are some great kettlebell exercises that focus more on your abs than others. In terms of the best, the Turkish Get Up is the absolute staple in core training.

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Turkish Get Up

The Turkish get-up is an exercise that starts with lying flat on the floor with a kettlebell in your hand at the bottom of the movement. From there you must press the kettlebell weight to complete lockout in the elbow on top of you and then try to stand up by first doing a sit-up followed by getting on your knees and simply standing up.

This exercise is known to smash some egos as it is easier said than done, do a few sets of these making sure to switch hands after each set. This movement guarantees your core muscles will be on fire in a matter of minutes.

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Kettlebell Windmill

Another excellent option that directly fires up your abs is the kettlebell windmill. This exercise puts some serious strain on your obliques and will take a toll on your hips and shoulder as well. This movement is great for strengthening your shoulder mobility and after a few sessions of these, a new more flexible you will surely prevail.

This movement is for the slightly more experienced athlete so it is better you first do it with light weight. The technique for this is to stand tall with your legs slightly wider apart than your shoulders with the kettlebell overhead pressed to lockout. After which you slowly bend to your side whilst keeping your core engaged and using your other arm to balance if needed.

The key for this is to go nice and slow, a five-second eccentric will do your core wonders and also avoid injuries.

(Best) Kettlebell Exercises for Arms

When training with kettlebell weights, one should understand that this equipment does not exactly target singular muscle groups, rather it targets movement patterns that exercise multiple muscles as one. Before trying to train your arms you should have an understanding of the basic anatomy of the arm which consists of the bicep, tricep, and also the forearm.

Kettlebell Shoulder Press

There are different ways to target the triceps but the most efficient will always be any sort of pressing movement. The most versatile press is the standing kettlebell shoulder press. This movement is great because it challenges your core, shoulders, and also triceps. Moreover, all you need is one kettlebell.

The simplest way to do this is to normally stand with your feet at shoulder width and hold the kettlebell in the front rack position from the handle such that the bottom part of it rests on your wrist. After which you may brace to engage your core which will keep you tight as you press the weight above you until full lockout.

You should note that it is recommended to keep your back straight during overhead pressing movements. Other good overhead press exercises for triceps include kettlebell floor press and kettlebell tricep kickbacks.

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Kettlebell Curls

As for the biceps, the best way to train them with kettlebells is with curling movements like standing or seated kettlebell curls by holding the weight from its handle. Another great variation to target the biceps in the standing position or the lengthened position is the concentration curl which is where you keep your arm pressed against your knee and curl against it strictly.

For forearms you do not necessarily need to do any direct training, the reason being that all kettlebell exercises train your grip strength which in turn translates to stronger and more defined forearms. Moreover, any other kettlebell bicep exercise also targets the forearms very well

However, if you do want to directly train your forearms, your best option is by far heavy kettlebell farmers’ walks. These are simple and effective, you simply grab yourself a pair of heavy kettlebells and just walk around while squeezing the weights as much as possible for as long as possible.

(Best) Kettlebell Exercises for Legs

If there is one thing that kettlebells train like no other, it’s your lower body. Kettlebells of lighter weight or heavier weight provide great results to strengthen your entire legs, hips, and lower body mobility. Whether you want to gain some muscle down there, improve cardiovascular endurance, or just strengthen your mobility, kettlebells have got you covered!

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Goblet Squats

You only need a few slightly advanced kettlebell exercises to build yourself a great pair of legs. The first exercise, the Goblet squat is one of the best and is known for its versatility to hit all parts of your legs including the glutes, quads, hamstrings as well as calves. The beauty of goblet squats is that they are also a core exercise and you easily progressively overload them over time.

The kettlebell goblet squat, like others, has quite a simple technique that most can easily follow. You start with your feet slightly apart shoulder width with the kettlebell held at chest height and elbows tucked into your stomach. The next step is to brace with your core and squat straight down as deep as comfortably possible. The goal is to feel a good stretch on your quads and glutes before standing up explosively.

A side note and tip are to keep your back straight during this exercise and also elevate your heels by putting something like a small weight plate under them, this helps with ankle mobility and shoulder stability and allows you to squat deeper.

Kettlebell Swings

Next is one of the most famous and versatile movements in kettlebell workouts, none other than the kettlebell swing. The reason for the popularity of this movement is that it targets almost the entire body like a compound movement from your shoulders to your lower back and even to your entire lower body.

The swing consists of two main movements, the hinge, and the thrust. The first step is to stand upright holding the kettlebell with its handle, keeping your feet around shoulder width apart. Next is to bend in a hinged manner to let the weight freely glide backward between your legs, at this point, you should feel a good stretch in your hamstrings and glutes.

This stretch is the green light for you to thrust the kettlebell in front of you, pushing with your glutes. You should note that at this point your arms should be loose allowing the weight to move freely in front of you after which you return to the original starting position.

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(Best) Kettlebell Exercises for Back

We all love the aesthetic of having great abs, a defined chest, huge shoulders, and shredded arms, however one part we all neglect is back. Our back is arguably more important than the front in terms of versatility and practicality.

Kettlebell exercises are a great way to target all parts of the back including the upper back and traps, the lower back, and the last to get that Dorito V shape. Many options are not only compound exercises but also isolation exercises in case you want to target a weak point.

Renegade Row

One of the most recognized exercises is none other than the kettlebell Renegade row which is one of the best compound kettlebell movements. This movement is versatile and can be done anywhere, you also do not need heavy kettlebells for this movement.

To perform this exercise you will need two kettlebells of moderate weight and must be on all fours in the push-up position, you should have your hands and feet slighter wider than shoulder width, however, you may find what feels comfortable.

After setting up your position holding the kettlebells from the top of their handles, engage your core and pull the weight up and toward your hips like you would with any other regular variations of rows. If you want to make this an even more efficient exercise variation, add a pushup between each rep.

Single Arm Kettlebell Deadlift

Another excellent option to target your lower back is the single-arm kettlebell deadlift. This variation is better compared to a regular kettlebell deadlift because of the added strain on your lower back and core muscles to stabilize the body, as you will be lifting from one arm.

The technique for this is very similar to a normal barbell deadlift. The only difference is that you keep the kettlebell in between your legs which should be shoulder width apart, after which you lift with a neutral grip making sure to keep your core braced.

(Best) Kettlebell Exercises for Chest

When it comes to kettlebell training, staple moves like the kettlebell swing and kettlebell clean, and kettlebell snatch do not target the chest at all. However, this does not mean that there is no way to train your chest with kettlebells. There are many basic kettlebells moves to efficiently build your chest.

Kettlebell Pushups

The first exercise and the most basic are kettlebell pushups. Doing these are just as simple as it sounds, just like a normal pushup the only difference is that you will need to balance your weight distribution on top of the kettlebell handles. What makes this better than a conventional pushup is that the kettlebell creates a space for you to stretch deeper into the movement.

Another not-so-advanced kettlebell exercise is the kettlebell floor press. This movement is great for not just your chest but also your shoulder mobility and triceps. The technique is also simple and similar to a normal dumbbell floor press.

This is a double kettlebell exercise where you hold it from the handle with the bottom part resting on your wrists, after which you press the weight from your chest to complete shoulder flexion at shoulder width apart.

(Best) Kettlebell Exercises for Hamstrings

The hamstrings if built well can be one of the most aesthetic and practical muscles you can have. They provide great lower-body stability and can be trained with any lower-body exercise. Although most kettlebell exercises like the kettlebell swing train the hamstrings to a decent level, there are options to directly isolate this part.

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Kettlebell Deadlift

Firstly is the stiff-legged kettlebell deadlift or the kettlebell Romanian deadlift. This is a partial deadlift that focuses only on the top half of the movement, especially on the eccentric to properly load and stretch the hamstrings. The Romanian deadlift trains the hamstrings in the lengthened position all in all making it a solid choice.

Another good option that is slightly advanced and better if you only have lighter kettlebells available is the single-arm kettlebell deadlift. The technique for this is that you have to keep one of your legs elevated during the entire movement, keeping the entire load on only one leg. This movement is also elite for strengthening your core muscles.

(Best) Kettlebell Exercises for BJJ

Kettlebell training provides phenomenal support towards groundwork sports especially BJJ benefits are endless and include:

 

    • Improved endurance

    • Better grip strength

    • Lower and upper body explosiveness

    • Full body mobility

    • Core strength training

As far as specific types of exercise go, many excellent options will translate to becoming better at BJJ. Exercises may include Turkish get-up, kettlebell snatch, kettlebell clean, kettlebell swing, goblet squat, and many more.

(Best) Kettlebell Exercises for Explosive Power

Explosive power does not just contribute to sports but also to our everyday lives, therefore making it a priority when training is a great idea. Kettlebells are a phenomenal way of increasing your explosive power in any movement because the exercises have high-velocity movements throughout the exercise.

Most exercises with any sort of explosive movement will do a great deal to train your explosive power, exercises may include Kettlebell swings. Kettlebell pushes press, kettlebell pistol squat, and double kettlebell front squat.

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Pacing your kettlebell workouts

Pacing essentially means the amount of time taken off between sessions and between exercises during a kettlebell workout. Rest is key to making progress over time whether it’s getting faster, stronger, or gaining muscle over a period of time.

It is recommended to not train with kettlebells more than three to four times a week as your muscles need at least 48 hours of rest in between sessions to fully recover. Overtraining is common among beginners and can cause injuries.

As for during workouts, it is recommended to not be more than 90 seconds between sets to maintain a decent intensity. This will allow you to get a good pump and make sure you are training hard enough to make some serious gains.

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The Benefits of Training With Kettlebells

 

    • Endurance is improved

    • Grip strength gets stronger

    • Explosive strength increases

    • Solves mobility problems

    • Core stability increases

Kettlebell Exercises that can be done at Home

The beauty of kettlebell exercises is without a doubt the simplicity of performing them. You could have just one kettlebell and have a whole workout that will have you gassed out at the end which proves the versatility of having a pair of bells.

Every single kettlebell exercise can be done at home whether it is a beginner movement like the kettlebell bicep curl or a slightly advanced movement like the single-arm kettlebell deadlift, you name it, you can do it right in the comfort of your own home.

This is great for those just starting out who do not have the time for going to the gym and is also good for people who might have anxiety going to the gym and worry about being judged. With kettlebells, all your problems are solved and there is no excuse to not work hard to get in the best shape of your life!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective kettlebell exercise for Grapplers?

Although one might find several exercise variations to cater to kettlebell exercises that serve to build muscles and achieve a great cardiovascular pump it is important to understand how every specific exercise is led by a specific goal. This applies to sports that require being skilled at grappling like BJJ and other ground combat sports.

If we talk about the most effective exercise for Grapplers, the Turkish Get Up is considered a very successful exertion. The physical benefits that it brings are worth reinforcement because it deals with the entire body in movement. Moreover, it stresses on important body enhancement such as mobility and stronger legs and back. Health benefits include strong and fit shoulders and functions by having the body exercise one work-specific motion while still under stress.

The Turkish Get Up is a very effective, useful, and technical move that is worth adding to your workout. Upon mastering, this essential art of exercise will bring forth numerous health benefits along with strengthening your inner ability of endurance and developing sheer tenacity of coordination of muscles that work like a unit in this exercise.

Will I lose weight doing 100 kettlebell swings a day?

Kettlebell workouts are an effective exercise and very simple to perform and can be executed in your home in under 15-20 minutes. Performing 100 kettlebell swings per day is indeed a productive manner of close to 100 calories every day.

This one-motion kettlebell workout is the answer to all your health-related benefits: losing fat, getting in form, bulking up muscles, and increasing your overall work capacity. Losing fat is a very common advantage seen by doing kettlebell swings over time. All in all, kettlebell squats and swings both are a form of HIIT workout which means that it burns way more calories than regular steady-state cardio exercise such as running, cycling, and rowing.

For a prolonged period of kettlebell exercise, such as that for an hour, an individual is capable of losing as much as 1200 calories! Thus, proving kettlebell workouts are a great way of losing fat and building muscle groups simultaneously over some time.

Is 500 kettlebell swings a day good?

When it comes to exercise and body fitness, one should not hold back until the muscles give away because keeping in mind what our body can easily manage is very important. Taking our stamina and proper technique into account, 500 kettlebell swings don’t usually pose any harm to the body. Without proper form, workouts can cause more harm than good.

In the case of kettlebell swings, trained athletes are recommended to go for 100 reps a day divided into four to five sets. This is a standard count for achieving the perfect balance of good shape, fortified muscles, and improved cardiovascular health. However, a total of 500 kettlebell swings can also be easily practiced by the body broken into endurable sets, preceded by a warm-up.

This acts as a full-body workout and a complete training session! 500 reps can sound a bit too tedious but really, if followed by an experienced instructor our body can easily adapt to the change. Pushes your limit, provides endurance, and hits your cardio, resistance, and core. Putting it in a nutshell, a single workout can leave you with unbelievable benefits.

It should be noted that doing 500-rep kettlebell workouts with just one exercise is not the most efficient way to train. It would be a far more productive training session if you were to focus on a few sets of different kettlebell exercises with decent intensity.

 

Are 20 minutes of kettlebells enough?

Many times in our life, we plan to follow a specific workout regime but usually end up in vain. The reasons can be endless: some people find it hard to extract crucial work hours from their day to dedicate to the gym instead. While others argue that workout machines can be costly and space-consuming. It is almost a wonder how kettlebells have got you covered in every obstacle that halts your fitness routine.

Kettlebell exercise not only provides us with enthralling health factors but also acts to be time friendly. Results can be observed in very little time, as less as 20-30 minutes. Four to five kettlebell exercises thrice a week with decent intensity are enough to build strong cardiovascular tissues, give solid mobility and strengthen the back and leg muscles. A total of 400 calories can be burned in 20-30 minutes.

Given the real health benefits, in minimum workout time and with limited sessions every week, kettlebells are what provide us with an all in all functional regime in the world of workouts. This exercise is sure to condition you with the best form of health and also not get in the way of life.

What exercises are done in kettlebell?

Kettlebells are on the rise, by their fame bandwagon, and for good reasons. We have discussed the astounding benefits and reasons why kettlebells are the most favored and efficient exercise skill. They also include many variations in their training. The best are The Turkish Get Up, the Swings, and the Goblet Squats.

The benefits of the Turkish Get Up exercise are wonderful and unending. It gets the entire body in flow, resulting in thorough muscle groups stimulating and contracting. One ends up with a better posture, enhanced coordination, and reduced chances of muscle pain.

As for the Swings, it’s a powerful calorie burner that results in a stronger posterior chain and improved cardiorespiratory fitness. Lastly, for the Goblet Squats or any squat, the quality which stands out the most is the endurance and strength it brings. Plus it tones the lower body and strengthens your core.

The most looked-up aspect of kettlebells is how one can devote to a type of exercise depending on their body exertion, strength, and the result they aim for. Fitness enthusiast has the option of exploring as much as they want in this extensive web of skills.

What is the most important movement in kettlebell swing?

The kettlebell swing is considered one of the most important kettlebell exercises. It hits the major muscles that are widely known and recommended for losing fat, building muscles, and getting an overall static posture.

Not a single movement, but the exercise in itself is equally important. To reduce the risk of injury or pain, it is crucial to learn how to carry out this exercise. It targets the most pivotal muscles of the body including the glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

It gets the entire body in movement. Hence, a proper and careful commitment is suggested. When performing a kettlebell swing, focus on hinging the hips during the lowering phase, which will help build up the power to perform the move safely and effectively.

Focus on the hip dominant and the knee-dominant fashion. As a result, the benefits to the body that it brings are incredible. However, the execution must be just as smooth and hurdle free. Focus and have a great grip on your form and this exercise will you do wonders!

 

Can you build muscle with kettlebells?

Kettlebells are a magic wand to any fitness enthusiast because, on a sway, they can shed fat, bulk up muscles, and develop a fit and stoic structure in a limited period with limited resources. Kettlebells are usually known for being an instant remedy for building up muscles and reducing body fat.

Similar to other strength training routines, this exercise is also dependent on intensity, overall training volume, rest periods, and recovery. The beauty of kettlebells is that it works as a compound exercise, interacting with multiple joint muscles altogether.

This leads to the release of high-quality testosterone. With kettlebell squats, movements are carried in more depth. The muscles are contracted in their full range meaning maximum capacity. This too, provides fortification of muscles, making sure you pack some serious mass.

Therefore, kettlebells are a powerful tool for gaining some size on your frame. If taken with the right approach and use for it, it can be just as useful as a barbell to gain muscle. The correct approach can be that of choosing effective exercises and performing the correct sets of reps with an adequate mass.

Getting good nutrition is also among the key factors which usually go neglected. Lastly, getting good amounts of rest and letting your muscles respire will restore your power to hit back. Taking all these measures into account, it is guaranteed that one can build a significant amount of muscles in a regulated, aerobic, and steel manner.

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