You’ll have noticed kettle bells becoming ever more prevalent and popular in gyms across the country in recent years. Unlike other free weights, they’re not just for building and toning muscle, but they’re also fantastic for cardio work outs as well.
In this series of videos, Everyone Active’s Master Trainer, Sue Wilkie shows us six great exercises that will make best use of these fantastically versatile pieces of kit.
Six Kettle Bell Exercises
Kettle Bell Swing
Place your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, bend down at your hips, with slightly bent knees, a straight back and grasp the kettle bell by the bar. Lift it slightly off the ground to about knee height and swing it forward up to about shoulder height and let it come back down between your legs, using your glutes and your hips to swing yourself – and the kettle bell – forward. Repeat this in a swinging motion, engaging the whole body
The Benefits of the Kettle Bell Swing
This is a great whole-body exercise as it recruits both your glutes and your hip muscles, but you’re using your arms and shoulders to lift and swing the kettle bell through its arc.
We start in a similar position to where we began with the kettle bell swing above, with our feet placed slightly wider than shoulder width apart and the kettle bell between them. Bend down at your knees, keeping your head looking forward, take hold of the kettle bell and lift up, engaging your glutes and your thighs, keeping your back straight at all times.
Benefits of the Deadlift
This exercise is absolutely superb for working your quadriceps, hamstrings and your glutes, helping to build strength, power and muscle endurance too.
You’ll need a lighter bell for this exercise, grabbing it on each side of the handle, supporting the body of the weight with your thumbs. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, and bring the kettle bell up and hold it in front of your chest. Then, circle your head with the weight like a halo, taking it round the body and back down in front of your chest, lifting your elbows nice and high and repeating several times and in the opposite direction.
Benefits of the Halo
The halo is a fantastic workout if you’re trying to build up strength and flexibility in your shoulder muscles and deltoids.
Alternating Kettle Bell Swing
Stand in the same way as you did for the standard kettle bell swing, but instead of using two hands, this time you need to use just the one arm. Take the kettle bell behind you, use your hips and your glutes to swing the kettle bell forwards and then exchange hands at the top of the swing. Again, be sure to keep your back straight at all times and repeat several times.
Benefits of the Kettle Bell Swing
This will have similar benefits to the standard kettle bell swing, but due to the fact that you’re only using one arm, it’ll work the hips and the glutes a little bit harder and work each shoulder harder as well.
Figure of Eight Squat
Once again, we’re in the standard starting position, reach down and grab the kettle bell with one hand. Squat down and, as you’re doing this, pass the kettle bell through your legs and take it with your other hand. Try and do this with a non-stop motion, passing it through your legs, from hand to hand as you go from the standing position to the squat. Be sure to keep your back straight and your head looking forwards at all times.
Benefits of the Kettle Bell Figure of Eight Squat
This exercise specifically targets the glutes and the thighs and helps to improve your lower body strength, power and endurance. Furthermore, this workout will also work your core, your shoulders and your arms, as well as giving you a great cardio boost.
Clean and Press
Start with the kettle bell on the floor between your legs, bend down at your hips, with a slight bend in your knees and drive up, rotating your wrist to bring it up to the rack position underneath your chin. From there, drive the bell up high above your head, straightening your arm as much as possible. Then, take the bell back down to the rack position and back to the floor again. Change hands after each repetition.
Benefits of the Clean and Press
The clean and press is a remarkable exercise that works and recruits muscle groups all over your body, including the hamstrings and glutes, your quadriceps, abs, hip muscles, upper back muscles, lats and trapezoidal muscles, as well as your upper chest, shoulders and triceps. It’ll build strength and stability in all these muscle groups, as well as building power and co-ordination too.
So, next time you’re in the gym and see the kettle bells, why not give these work outs a go and see how you find them?