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Fun With the Kettlebell

download (6)I wrote a little while back about the benefits of using hand weights to add some extrastrength training to your cardio workouts. And now it’s time to talk about strength training with the big brother of hand weights – the kettlebell. Working out with kettlebells is really hot right now, in part because they’re easy and fun to grab onto and swing around in order to work all sorts of muscles, and also because they’re a nice mid-range weight between hand weights and barbells. Kettlebells look a lot like bowling balls with flat bottoms and handles. Women tend to use kettlebells that range anywhere between 8 and 16kg, that’s 17 to around 35 pounds, and men usually use kettlebells ranging between 16 and 32kg. Begin with these basic kettlebell moves and you can always learnmore when you get used to working with one.

 

Swings

You can swing your kettlebell with either one hand or both hands, depending on what you which muscles you want to target. You begin with the kettlebell on the floor, between your legs. Reach down and grab the handle, squatting a bit and bending your knees. Then lift the kettlebell with your palms facing downward and swing it forward by straightening up to a standing position and driving your hips forward. Doing this allows you to work your glutes, hips, back and legs instead of lifting solely with your arms and working only your arms. Lifting with one arm focuses on that side, lifting with both arms works it all evenly.

 

Figure Eights

Once you feel a bit more comfortable with the kettlebell you can try this fun and rather impressive move. Stand with your legs a bit wider than hip distance apart and lower into a bit of a squat, making sure you tuck your tailbone under and stand with your back straight. Grab the kettlebell with your right hand and swing it behind your right leg and around between your legs. Grab it with your left hand and swing it around the outside of your left leg and back between your legs to complete the figure eight. Keep repeating this motion, trying to increase your time each time you do it.

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