Kettlebells: How to Use Today’s Most In-Vogue Exercise Tool


You may have noticed that more and more people at the gym spend their time swinging around what looks like a cannonball with a handle. You may also have wondered what they are. Wonder no more. Those weird-looking weights are kettlebells, and Russian strongmen have used them for over two centuries to develop bull-like strength and seemingly impossible muscles. If you’re ready to harness your inner strongman (or woman), read on to find five great kettlebell exercises.

  1. Kettlebell Swings

Some of the kettlebell activities below will work to tone the upper body using the weight and resistance of the weight; some will make the hips work even though the shoulders are doing the swinging. Kettlebell swings will firm and tone hips and similar muscle areas, as well as the upper body. Experiment with one handed and two handed swings to see which suit you.

  1. Cleans

Cleans incorporate both a swing and a lift component. They’re a great way to work and tone a variety of muscles groups, and are particularly good for upper body toning since the traditional end position involves holding the kettlebell up against your upper arm. Trainers use several variations, all of which are popular.

  1. Deadlifts

One of the simplest activities associated with any resistance tool is the deadlift. Kettlebell deadlifts tone and strengthen the core – the muscles supporting your spine – as well as various other muscle groups.

  1. Jerks

Kettlebell jerks are a ‘plyometric’ exercise that takes advantage of explosive movements which utilise the weight of the tool. Variants can include extending the arm whilst holding the weight. This tones and strengthens the arms at the same time as working the core and related muscle groups.

  1. Lunges

Kettlebell lunges displace resistance onto the leg muscles. If you extend your leg and lower your body’s centre of gravity, you can distribute the resistance for specific gains. Lunges help to tone and strengthen the lower body to create a more powerful body response capacity for advanced training sets.

Benefits of Kettlebell Training

Kettlebell training is extremely dynamic; it not only provides a strength training workout, but also high-intensity conditioning. In addition to beefing up your muscles and getting your heart pumping, kettlebell training increases power and explosiveness, especially in the hips. Many powerlifters choose to incorporate kettlebell training to help develop the hip explosion necessary to correctly perform and maximise the deadlift and the squat. Frequent kettlebell exercises also improve flexibility and range of motion.

Getting Started

When using kettlebells, it is recommended that you start with smaller, lighter weights before advancing to heavier models which provide more extensive weight training. Progressing slowly through the available sizes will decrease the risk of injury, whilst still providing good muscle work if used correctly. Suggested starting weights are 18lb for a woman and around 30lb for a man. Buy online from a company such as Fitness-Mad to check out the power of these popular fitness tools and see why so many are raving about them.

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