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5 Starter Kettlebell Exercises

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While you have probably seen a few kettlebells laying around your local gym, chances are you left them right there and went for the free-weights instead. However, next time you just might want to reconsider, because you can get one heck of a workout from them.

In fact, according to Women’s Health Magazine, you can burn over 300 calories from just a 20-minute kettlebell exercise. So if you are looking to burn more than a few calories, build some lean muscle, and switch up your monotonous workout routine, read on.

Before you get started on your kettlebell workout, there are a couple important things you need to know. First off, kettlebells have a slightly higher risk of injury compared to free-weights, but this is mainly because people do not know how to use them properly. Form is the key to kettlebell exercises, so make sure you follow instructions carefully, and don’t try anything crazy at first.

Also, for starters, you want to make sure you are using a weight load that you can easily handle. A 10-25 pound kettlebell should be pretty close to what you want to start out with, depending on your muscle strength. Once you’ve found a couple kettlebells you feel comfortable with, you are ready to get started.

1. Kettlebell Squats

The kettlebell squat is a good exercise to get your feet wet, and it will give you a good feel for what the rest of your kettlebell workout will be like. Start with two kettlebells, one in each hand, and bring your hands up to your chin with your elbows bent slightly outward so that they are on the side of your body and not the front. The kettlebells themselves should be hanging down and resting on the outside of your forearms.

Once your form is correct, proceed to squat down to the ground, making sure that your back is straight. After you are down in the squat position, explode upwards back into the standing position, and lift the kettlebells above your head in the same motion. Now you have completed one kettlebell squat, so get back in the rack position and you are ready for another. About three sets of ten reps a piece should do the trick. 

2. Kettlebell Deadlift

The kettlebell deadlift is just as it sounds, but instead of using free-weights, you are using a kettlebell. Start with your feet just a tad wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes slightly pointed outwards. Like the squat, you are going to want to make sure you keep your back straight throughout the entire rep.

With the kettlebell placed on the floor directly in front of you, squat down with your legs to grab it with both hands, making sure your back is flat. Proceed to push up on your feet while bracing your abs and glutes, and once you are back in the standing position you have completed a rep. Try to knock out ten reps and three sets as well.

3. Around the Body Pass

For this exercise, hang the kettlebell directly in front of you, gripping it with both hands. Make sure you are standing with your feet at just about the width of your hips.

Swing the kettlebell around to the backside of your body with your right hand. In a fluid motion, reach around with your left hand to grab the kettlebell while letting it go with your right hand, bringing the kettlebell around your body and back to the starting position. You have now completed one rep, so try to do fifteen more for a complete set. For the second set, reverse the motion and swing the kettlebell around the other side of your body.

4. Kettlebell Swing

Start this exercise holding the kettlebell with both hands, and with your feet shoulder width apart.

Proceed to a squating position with your thighs just about parallel to the floor, with the kettlebell hung down between your legs. Next, push up with your legs to the standing position while swinging the kettlebell upwards and outwards in front of you until they are at the height of your shoulders. Once you have reached the height of your swing, simply go back into the squat position while swinging the kettlebell back down between your legs for a full repetition. Try and do about fifteen to twenty reps per set, and two to three sets per workout.

5. Windmill

For this exercise, start in the standing position, with your feet just outside of shoulder width apart.

Hold the kettlebell with your right hand, and extend your right arm straight up into the air. While keeping your right arm extended straight up into the air, bend forward and proceed to grab your left toes with your left hand, all while looking up at your right arm. Hold it for a second or two, and go back up to the starting position. Do about ten to fifteen reps with your right arm extended, and then do ten to fifteen more with your left arm extended.

What are some kettlebell exercises you like to do?