The overall benefits of kettlebell exercises are legendary. They are a great cardiovascular workout in addition to being a superb way to build your overall strength. Before we delve into what kettlebell exercises we recommend for building strength, let’s first look at how you would go about building muscular strength in the first place through any style of exercise.
Great kettlebell exercises
How do we build muscular strength?
Muscle is made up of protein. Every time we exert force onto our muscles – through weight-bearing exercises such as weight training or Pilates – they tear microscopically. This doesn’t cause much damage – besides possibly fatigue – and the muscles rebuild themselves using the protein that is present in them. We can aid in this rebuilding by taking protein shakes made up of, for example, whey protein, so that the muscles have more protein to use during the rebuilding. This increases muscle strength.
What kettlebell exercises are good for building muscle strength?
Just as is a dumbbell or a barbell a kettlebell is a piece of gym equipment that can be used by gym goers to build strength and muscle. Using a kettlebell instead of the ‘usual’ free weights provides an interesting variation on routine exercises.
One such exercise is the squat. Using a kettlebell, which is hugged against your chest during the movement as opposed to holding one dumbbell in each hand, forces your legs to work more as you come up. This is because – as opposed to the bodyweight squat – you are needing to bring up your upper body as well as the kettlebell.
Here’s how to do this:
- Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Swing the kettlebell up and catch it on the sides. The kettlebell should be touching your chest.
- Keep your elbows pointing down and towards the inside of your knees. Make sure that your shoulders are retracted.
- Push your tailbone out and keep your feet flat on the floor. Go down into a full squat.
- Squeeze your glutes, brace your core and drive up from the bottom of the squat. When you come up lead with your head and not your lower back.
- Do as many reps until your desired results have been achieved.
Watch a video of how to do this:
Another great exercise is the Kettlebell Russian Twist which targets your abdominals. By adding the kettlebell to the movement the additional effort that needs to be exerted by keeping your legs lifted during the movement your abdominals get a superior workout.
Here’s the correct form for this exercise:
- Lie on your back with your feet together. Bend your knees at 90 degrees.
- Roll your upper body off the floor by contracting your abdominals. In this position take a suitable kettlebell by the sides. Remember to opt for a lighter weight while you are perfecting the exercise so that you don’t compromise your form because you’re trying to cope with the additional weight.
- Lean back with your upper body to 45 degrees. Contract your lower abdominals to lift your lower body off the floor. This V shape sit is your starting position.
- Twist your upper body side to the side holding the kettlebell while exhaling. Inhale once you’ve reached the outer aspect of your twist and return to your starting position.
There are loads of other exercises that can be modified with kettlebells to enable you to improve your strength. However, if you’re unsure of anything we recommend that you consult with a personal trainer who is specifically trained in how to use kettlebells correctly so that they can monitor your form and ensure that you don’t injure yourself.
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