Why use kettlebells?
Man exercising with kettlebells

Why would you use kettlebells when you can use dumbbells and barbells? Well, there’s actually a great deal of benefits to switching your routine and changing the point of gravity pulling in your muscles. Below are some great points about kettlebell workouts, provided by the experts at Maxi nutrition.

Swing In The Changes

A kettlebell’s centre of gravity actually shifts during the course of the exercise and can help you burn a high amount of calories, while building lean muscle all along the posterior chain of your body. Other benefits that you can garner from the bells include an increase in so-called functional strength, as many of the everyday objects you pick up – stuffed cases, bags of cement, even wriggling children – can have a shifting centre of gravity, while kettlebells can also make you more supple and boost your flexibility.

How To Do It

Stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet a bit wider than your shoulders. Hold the kettlebell by its handle with both hands in between your feet. Without changing the bend in your knees, swing the bell up from between your legs and out to just higher than chest level, keeping your arms straight.

Use paradoxal breathing to help create a virtual weight belt to protect your back. Take in huge gulps of air as the bell swings back to the floor and exhale at the top of the swing. You should find that it’s a low-impact move that will really get your blood pumping before the end of your sets and can fire your metabolism for a few hours afterwards.

Any Advanced Variations?

You could try turning the swing into a crush. This builds on the classic move by requiring you to release and catch the kettlebell when the swing is at chest height. This variation will boost your core and chest, help strengthen your grip and improve your coordination. Just remember to take it easy, starting off with a smaller weight than you are used to with the standard swings. Make sure you are on a soft surface in case you do drop it!

Also, you can take advantage of the kettlebell’s unique shape to flow from one exercise to the next. Basically, you switch from one exercise to another after one rep without putting the bell down.

Try This

Grab a kettlebell with one hand, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Swing it between your legs as before, this time when it reaches chest level, flip it behind your forearm and press it overhead in a snatch motion. The flow then continues as, with the kettlebell still overhead, you alter your stance so your toes point away from the weight at 45 degrees. Bend at the waist and slide your opposite arm down your corresponding leg. Pause, to really test your obliques and shoulders, then reverse the move to all the way back to the start.

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