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You need to be working out more like a functional athlete! Learn how to incorporate both kettlebell and bodyweight workouts into your exercise routine and watch your gains got through the roof!
Working out does not need to be made hard; as a beginner, you can get a great workout in by just using your bodyweight weight, that too in a short period of time. All it takes is choosing the right exercises for you, which is truly the beauty of exercise.
When you feel like you have progressed enough from bodyweight exercises, only then should you start to add some resistance, using resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells. For beginners and those with busy routines, using kettlebell training or resistance training, is an absolute gold mine of gains because of its versatility and a wide plethora of benefits.
Understanding Your Goal
The route you take will always depend on your goal and the same goes for exercise. If your goal is to lose weight, you should eat less and burn more calories and you will lose weight. If you want to lose fat, you should eat less and burn more along with eating plenty of protein.
If you want to gain muscle, you should eat more, eat plenty of protein and lift heavy weights, and over time, you will build muscle. For endurance sports like running you might need higher reps with lower weight, while powerlifting requires heavier weights with low reps, and the variations go on.
In the end, the program that would work best for you would be based on your own sport-specific goal.
Kettlebell Training Made Easy
Kettlebell training is essentially a very easy way of training, as it requires little to no space and also very little equipment, as a matter of fact, you can have a good full-body workout in 15 to 20 minutes with just one or two kettlebells.
Most kettlebell exercises are easy to perform and provide great results which is a great combination for the average busy person, looking to get into shape. Three full-body workouts with kettlebells every week is enough to start making some serious strength, muscle, and cardiovascular fitness gains over time.
What Size Kettlebell Should You Start With?
More often than not people assume that 5 or 10-lb kettlebells are good enough for a beginner kettlebell workout. However, this is not at all the case as if you go too light you are simply wasting your time going through the movements.
It is very important to safely challenge yourself; to do so you must pick a decent weight to work out with. The sweet spot for most kettlebell workouts for most women is 10-25-lb kettlebells, and for men, it’s 25-45 lbs. Anything under this, and you probably won’t break a sweat using them and you’ll just be doing the movements with no real benefit.
Kettlebell and Bodyweight Workout
Training with kettlebells is a great way to achieve all your fitness goals. Whether your ultimate fitness goal is to lose a few pounds, gain some muscle, get stronger or to just improve your mobility, kettlebells have got you covered.
Kettlebells will cater to all your needs with just a short 15 to 20-minute workout with as few as one or two kettlebells. They are versatile and won’t break the bank to help you get to where you want to be.
Bodyweight training is also a great option, especially for beginners looking to get into fitness but do not have the time or capital available to get training equipment, go to personal trainer or join a gym. Another factor that makes bodyweight training better is that you need minimal equipment.
You also do not have to face the fear of being judged at home. Exercises like pull-ups and push-ups are amazing exercises to really build strength and noobie gains and you can easily progress at them by doing harder variations over time.
Full Body Training
Full body training workouts are one of the best ways to start out on your journey of bettering and strengthening yourself. A full on bodyweight training workout thrice a week is more than enough for a beginner to start making some serious progress, regardless of if they do it with gym equipment, free weights, kettlebells, or just bodyweight exercises.
Performing a single kettlebell swing isn’t really rocket science. The Russian Kettlebell swing is the most effective and easy way to outdo this exercise. Start off by making sure your heels are grounded firmly against the surface, engaging the core. Remaining steady in a crouched position, lift and swing the kettlebell across between the legs and back. This is where your rep training starts.
Kettlebell Turkish Get-ups
The Turkish get-up is another kettlebell movement that is on the slightly harder side. However, this is one best exercise to get your core engaged and be burning fat in no time. There’s a lack of stability during the entire movement from the starting position when flat on the ground with the weight pressed only on one side, till the top of the movement when standing up straight with the weight overhead pressed.
The entire movement targets your whole body and will surely have you humbled within a short period of time, even with a lower weight. Other than your core, this movement exercises your legs, back, chest, shoulders, and also your arms, making it an excellent choice if you are short on time and only have one kettlebell.
Variations include kettlebell thrusters single-handed and double-handed exercises. This works by bending your knees while grounding your feet in a sumo position. During this position, the kettlebell remains on the same plane as the chest.
As you rise to stand, stretch your arms overhead, all with of course the kettlebell in hand. Major sets of muscles such as the hamstrings, triceps, and quadriceps are activated during this exercise. This exercise works your cardio, stimulates hundreds of muscles, and produces explosive hips, glutes, and legs.
Upper Body Training
A strong upper body is the pivot of torque and motion. The stretch and flexibility provided through exercises for the upper body have a range of benefits. Increased muscle mass and hence improved bone density and better cardiovascular health are just some of the many advantages.
The chin-up is a compound exercise, known for its movement in the frontal plane and the vertical plane. This exercise, chin ups particularly, targets back strength, significantly the lats and also biceps, and upper back.
This can be achieved using a ‘pull-up’ bar. As you start, make sure your arms are shoulder width apart and your palms facing you. Now, all you have to do is slowly lift your chest using your arms as it engages the core and upper back. Continue this motion of strength until your chin is above the bar level. Now gradually drop your body weight as you reach your starting position and repeat the movements.
Single-arm overhead kettlebell press
This exercise challenges the core strength, adding to the improved health quality of stabilizer muscles, and shoulder muscles. The uneven weight of the kettlebell plays a unique role in stabilizing body coordination, all while working through weight.
To execute this movement, assume a standing position with the grip of a kettlebell in hand. Curl the kettlebell in a front-racked position. Start by pressing into full flexion overhead as the elbows lock out. Finally, gradually bring the kettlebell down from where you started and repeat.
Push-ups might be the most popular variation of exercise. Similar to a typical push-up, kettlebell push-ups are almost the same thing. The only difference, however, is grasping a kettlebell in hand as you perform it. Using a full kettlebell exercise involves additional chest, abdominal, and shoulder strength because of the deeper range of motion.
5 Bodyweight Push-Up Variations
Wide Grip Push-ups
Wide grip pushups are an excellent way of progressing your chest strength. Perform these by putting your hands wider than shoulder width on the floor and doing a normal push-up. This targets your chest better and it takes tension off of your triceps.
This variation is a great way to progress strength in your triceps. Perform these by forming a diamond shape with your hands on the floor, or by just having your hands at less than shoulder width. This shifts tension from your chest to your triceps.
This variation is a powerful tool for building shoulder strength, recruiting your core, and prepping you for a handstand. This can be done in steps by starting in a plank position with the hands and feet firm on the ground.
Make an inverted V shape by lifting the hips up and keeping the arms and legs erect. Now lower the body by bending the elbows, and after a small pause push back up into an inverted V position.
Reverse hand Push-up
This is a traditional push-up in every way, except for the position of hands on the ground. As the name suggests, all one has to do is reverse the hands so the fingers point downward in the direction of the feet. Through this variation, you can bring in more stress to the bicep muscles. Bringing in greater strength and muscle mass on the forearm.
Although Spiderman push-ups might not actually make you a superhero they sure can develop superhero-level core strength. All you have to do during a regular pushup is to draw out your knee towards the elbow when the body is lowered. Switch the knee side with every push-up.
Lower Body Training
Training your lower body including the legs and glutes is very important, as they hold most of the strength of the body. One can easily do this with the use of kettlebells in training these variations.
Kettlebell goblet squat
The goblet squats are a very effective workout method to strengthen your core muscles and lower body. The goblet squats’ after effects include having an upright torso, increased tension in the abdominal muscles and better mobility and balance.
Tuck your elbows next to the body with the kettlebell held on chest level and the feet apart but firm. Start a squat in a lowering motion, like that of sitting in a chair. Remember to keep the thighs parallel to the ground. Return the squat back to your start position and repeat.
The kettlebell lunges are an extremely versatile and powerful cardio exercise to work body muscles like that of the legs and buttocks. Coordination of muscles is strengthened leading to better mobility in hips.
Start by standing with a shoulder-width distance between your feet and a kettlebell gripped next to your chest. Lunge the leg out, opposite to the arm holding the kettlebell, and finally, remaining in the same position, stretch one leg over the arm with the kettlebell overhead and switch sides. After this, start over, with the kettlebell against chest and switch sides.
Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift
This workout is the basis of the deadlift and can be used by beginners to seasoned athletes. It predominantly focuses on a stronger core sling system, promotes smooth synergy of human movement patterns, improves mobility, and stimulates hundreds of muscles.
This exercise can be simply performed by standing with feet apart and arms dropping down with a kettlebell in the clutch. Lean and balance your weight onto one of the legs. Now gradually extend the other leg behind you, perpendicularly to the ground. Remember your arm is still in hold of the kettlebell. Now, gradually retain the standing position by bringing in the leg.
Bodyweight Exercises for Core Training
Core training is no rocket science, you can create a Greek God-like core at home with no serious training or gym equipment used. Master a few different exercises with perfect form and lose a bit of fat and you will surely reveal a beautiful 6-pack.
The plank is said to be a strength building exercise that places emphasis on the core body composition. Additionally, engaging a number of muscles and thus helping fat loss. To do this, begin with a plank position by stretching out the entire body length.
The arms should be stretched, but not locked, under the shoulders and the legs straight as you rise onto the balls of your feet. Keep your line of vision straight and your neck in line with your spine. Maintain this position for about 20 seconds.
Crunches have a similar workout regimen to that of sit-ups. However, one is not required to stretch our abdominal muscles as much as sit-ups. The results aid in building better core strength, cardiovascular health and to top it off, full body strength.
Motion your body in this workout by laying straight on the ground. The knees must be bent with feet hip-width apart and hands behind the head. Lift your head, neck, and shoulder blades by curling up forward. The key is to lead with your chest pulling you upwards, but not up till a sitting position.
Sit-ups are the most common abdominal muscle exercises; however, they also do work chest power, core strength, and cardiac health. Similar to crunches, lie straight next to the mat but with your knees bent and hands behind your head. Help yourself up to a complete sitting position. Exhale as you lift. That is pretty much it for this easy yet effective exercise.
This full-body exercise is a plyometric plank movement; a bodyweight workout with a great deal of health benefits. This exercise is responsible for developing glute strength, leg strength, and core stability.
Mountain Climbers, as suggested by its name, resembles the motion of ascending a peak. Stack your hands directly under you in a plank position. Engaging your abs sticks one of your knees out towards your elbow. Return to your plank position, and draw your opposite knee out. Carry this movement out with alternating legs and increasing the leg movement as you do so.
Bodyweight Exercises to Improve Mobility
Mobility is key to really opening up your fitness potential, stretching before workouts will go a long way in terms of flexibility. All you need are a few different poses during bodyweight workouts to make sure you remain injury free and make the most out of the efforts you make in your training.
Child’s Pose to Downward-Facing Dog
Being an essential part to yoga practice and all for good reasons-helps in building arm and legs strength, and improved physical endurance. This yoga pattern can be easily accomplished by positioning your feet wide and hands straight on the mat.
Tuck your chin in, towards the chest and raise your hips forward to form an overhead tunnel. In doing so, keep your legs straight and feet glued to the mat. Now your body should resemble an upside-down V.
Frog Pose to Deep Squat
The frog pose is an advanced yoga pose that can increase circulation and improve posture. Furthermore, it opens your hips, eases back pain, helps in pelvic floor relaxation and further enables your stretch ability as you practice slow, and mindful breathing.
It can be carried out by placing your hands under your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Lean your weight onto your hands. Gradually, scoot out your knees in an angled posture. Now, you may rest on your forearms with your feet forwards and elbows beneath your shoulders. Sit back onto the hips to add extra depth to your pose.
The hitchhiker is a great exercise, relieving major body aches including neck, upper back or shoulder pain. Results in a upright posture and can even be used to treat headaches or tensions. Start off by maintaining a Standin position, with your arms stretched in a fist and thumb pointing out, like hitchhiker.
Stretch each corner of the tension band with either of your hand. Now, rotate your arms outward and stretch the tension band. Hold this position and return your starting posture. Continue as per requirement.