Alright Ladies, let’s talk about the Summer and getting ready to rock that sexy beach body. It might only be the beginning of winter, but what’s stopping you from setting your goal on getting bikini ready.
If you’ve never worked out with the kettlebell, you might at least have seen this bell shaped tool lying around the gym and thought, ‘well that’s an odd looking thing’. While it may look odd, its design is no mistake. Unlike other types of muscle building equipment , the kettlebell offers a whole lot more than your average dumbbells and weights in the gym. It is a complete workout equipment in itself.
The kettlebell is both a cardio and a resistance training tool, which means that it’ll help you burn calories while also making you stronger. It is designed to support all kinds of functional training movements that engage not one, but several muscle groups in succession. And, the best part, it won’t get to you bulky or big in any part of your body. Instead, you’ll develop a strong core, toned arms and shoulders, a great butt and attractive legs that’ll have heads turning everywhere you go.
Are you ready to do this? Okay, great, but before, we get into the workout you should be aware of the consequences of being fool hardy with this piece of equipment. Most kettlebell exercises are full body exercises that may or may not require moving the kettlebell through the air at different speeds, so it’s important to first warm up and learn proper technique, before you go crazy and start performing high volume repetitions.
Before you get to the actual exercises of your workout, it’s always a good idea to the get the heart rate up and get blood flowing to all the extremities of your body. Hence, the term ‘warm-up’. This ensures that your body is prepped and firing on all cylinders before you get to the real work load in your routine.
Here is a basic warm-up to get your body workout ready:
Do some light skipping for 2-3 minutes.
Then, do the following for 10-20 repetition in each direction:
- Neck rotations accompanied by up and down as well as side to side movement
- Arm rotations
- Shoulder rotations
- Wrist rotations
- Ankle rotations
- Waist rotations and
- Alternate toe touches
The above, shouldn’t take you more than 5-10 mins.
Now, you’re ready for your workout!
Owing to the high-intensity nature of kettlebell workouts and the sheer number of muscles recruited, you can burn a high number of calories. In fact, according to a study conducted by the American council of exercise (ACE), the average person can burn up to 400 calories in 20 minutes with kettlebell training. Add that number to the post workout effect on your body as it repairs your muscles and the number rises by a comfortable 50%. That’s a lot of calories ladies, waiting to be burned.
Below, I have outlined 7 powerful muscle building and calorie burning kettlebell exercises. Don’t worry, the workout won’t include all 7 at one time. You can choose any three exercises to build your own workout.
Now, you can either complete each exercise back to back as a circuit or do them individually and move to the next exercise after completing all your repetitions for one.
Use a 10-15 lb dumbbell depending on your individual level of strength.
Here’s a sample Circuit Routine:
- Repetition per exercise: 10-12
- Exercises: Around the body passes, Goblet squats and Half Turkish Getup’s
- Finish one exercise for 10-12 reps and move onto the next and then to the third.
- Rest 2-3 minutes between circuits. Complete 2-3 Circuits.
- Cool down and stretch
- Pros: Burn more calories
- Cons: More cardio oriented, less muscle building
Here’s a sample Non-circuit Routine
- Exercises: Around the body passes, lunges, Kettlebell swings
- Sets and reps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each exercise before moving onto the next.
- Rest 1-2 mins between sets of exercises.
- Cool down and Stretch
- Pros: More muscle-building
- Cons: Lesser calorie burn, but still an effective workout nonetheless
1. Around the Body Passes
This exercise is great for the shoulders and arms.
To Perform: Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart and grip the kettlebell with both hands. Let it hang in front of your hips. Engage your core and swing the kettlebell around behind your back passing it from your right hand to your left. When you grab the kettlebell with your left hand and bring back to the front, this completes one repetition. Do 10-12 reps on both sides.
Remember only to swing your arms and not to move your hips during the movement.
The deadlift is a classic exercise that works your entire posterior chain, including your hamstrings, glutes, core, lower-mid back and your arms.
To Perform: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold the kettlebell with both hands. Make sure your toes point outwards at a 45 degree angle. Next, sit back slowly by moving your hips back first and bend your knees slightly as you lower the kettlebell to the floor. You can either let it drop to the floor or stop a few inches before the floor. On the way up, drive through your legs, as if you were pushing the floor away from you and stand up straight.
Avoid using your arms to lift the weight, instead focus on driving through the soles of your feet and engage your hips to lift the weight off the floor. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
The Deadlift can be considered a pre-requisite to learning the kettlebell swing, since when done correctly it encourages the practitioner to engage his/her glutes and develop the hip thrust which is fundamental to the kettlebell swing.
The kettlebell swing is a dynamic strength-cardio movement that strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, core and the back as well as tones your arms. When you learn this movement and perform it effectively you’ll develop a stunning butt and an even more stunning torso.
To Perform: Stand tall with feet slight wider than shoulder width apart and grip the kettlebell with both hands on the top of the handle. Start with small hip thrust to get your hips and legs moving. Then thrust a little harder, so that the kettlebell reaches shoulder height. As the kettlebell begins to swing back down, bend your knees and half squat while swinging the kettlebell between your legs. Finally, use your glutes and your hamstrings to push the kettlebell forward again.
Just as with the deadlift, maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement and avoid using your arms to swing the kettlebell. Focus on engaging your hips and glutes as the primary movers of the kettlebell.
4. The Goblet Squat
The Squat is considered the king of all exercises because of the number of muscles it recruits. It works the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, core, shoulder and arms.
To Perform: With the Goblet squat the grip is slightly different from the exercises we’ve discussed above. Here, you will garb either side of the handle instead of holding the handle from on top. Grip the kettlebell and keep it in front of your chest during the movement. This counter weight will keep you balanced during the movement as well as give your arms and shoulders a good workout.
Stand tall with feet shoulder width apart and the keep kettlebell in front of your chest. Point your toes out at an angle of 45 degree; doing this will protect your knees on the way down. Squat down by moving your hips back and stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your chest up during the movement as this will protect your spine by helping you maintain a neutral spine.
5. Thrusters (aka Squat Press)
If you want add even more muscle building potential to the squat and an even greater calorie burn, you should do thrusters. Thrusters are front squats with an added shoulder press (overhead press) following the squat.
To Perform: Do the squat as mentioned above and perform a shoulder press at the top of your squat by pressing the kettlebell directly over your head. Your arms should be straight with elbows locked out at the top of the press.Then bring the kettlebell back down to your chest. This completes one repetition.
6. The Turkish Getup
This is a full body movement that uses your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, core, chest, shoulders and arms. It is also great for improving your joint mobility and is one of the best movements for developing a strong core.
The full Turkish getup can be challenging for beginner, so we advise learning the half getup before moving onto the full getup.
To Perform the Half Getup: Lie on your back on the floor and hold the kettlebell in your right hand keeping it straight above your right shoulder. Then bend your left knee while lying flat, and use your left arm to sit up while holding the right arm in place. Sit up till your spine is straight. Reverse this process to return to the start. This is one repetition. Do the required number of repetitions for one side and then move onto the next.
Keep your gaze fixed on the arm that is holding the kettlebell; this will help you maintain balance as well as proper form.
7. Bent Over Rows
This compound movement works the lats, rear delts, traps and the biceps in the arm. It is an effective upper body exercise that helps your build and attractive torso and lean, toned arms.
To Perform: You can either do this exercise without support or with support (bench). If you’re lifting weight that you’re comfortable with, which isn’t too heavy, you could do this exercise without support. Hold the kettlebell in your right arm, bend your knees a wee bit and push your hips back slightly till your back is close to parallel with the floor. Let the kettlebell hang in your right hand. Pull the kettlebell up to the side of your chest while keeping your elbow close to your side, and then lower it back to a dead hang. You got one 1 repetition, so now repeat the required number of reps for one side before moving onto the other.
Remember to keep your torso still during the movement and to only move your arms to lift the weight.
A Final Word
The combination of strength and cardio training that kettlebells provide can build a strong yet beautiful and attractive female body; the kind that is capable of holding its own in any situation and attracting some serious attention from the opposite sex.
To start with, you only need to incorporate 3-4 workout sessions per week of 25-30 minutes. Resist the urge to over train and stick to being consistent instead. In a few weeks, say 2-3 months, you will notice a stark difference in your body shape and strength. This is the gestation period, so make sure to put in the effort and you will be extremely grateful that you did.
Get with the program ladies, it’s a small investment buying a kettlebell but the rewards are amazing.
Author Bio: Andrew is the founder and CEO at Aim Workout. He is passionate fitness professional and triathlete, with a firm conviction in the benefits of spin biking. He has also been an avid mountain biker, deep sea diver, rock climbing guide and has spent considerable time learning and practicing mixed martial arts. In short, Andrew has a penchant for the wild and extreme.