Kettlebells are a great weight lifting tool because most movements require the use of many muscle groups to activate at once, making them a great tool to get in a quick and effective workout. With just a few simple movements, you can build muscle, help promote fat loss, and get your heart rate up. Check out these four kettlebell movements for a killer full body workout!
1. The Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing is a ballistic, heavy-tension exercise that works all the major muscle groups in your core. It gets your heart rate up, providing your body with a cardiovascular workout while building muscle in your glutes, hamstrings, quads and abs.
The main components to think about when performing the kettlebell swing are hinging at the hips, driving forward with the glutes, and locking your core muscles in the top position. Check out my article here for an in-depth discussion on how to properly perform the kettlebell swing.
2. The Seesaw Press
The seesaw press is a great kettlebell strict press variation that works your lats, triceps, and abdominal muscles. Begin by bringing two kettlebells up to chest height in what’s known as the kettlebell rack position. The handle of the kettlebell should swoop downward at a diagonal in each hand, and the butt of the kettlebell should be resting along the back of the wrist.
Your hands should be pulled in close toward your chest and you should be trying to connect your elbows to your ribcage. Press one kettlebell straight up into the air above the head. Your elbow should be locked, your lat muscle should be engaged, and your abs should be braced. As you bring down the first kettlebell back to the rack position, press the other kettlebell straight up into the air. The kettlebells should pass each other around eye-level and should mimic the motion of a seesaw.
3. The Goblet Squat
The kettlebell goblet squat is a great lower body-focused exercise that helps build strength and power through the glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings. Grab a kettlebell and hold it up at chest height. Place your feet about hip width to shoulder width apart. Keep your chest tall and inhale as you bend at the knees and sink your butt down.
You should feel like you’re loading up the muscles in your glutes and legs. Sink down until your hips are at or below parallel with your knees and your feet are flat, then exhale and power back up to standing. As you come back up to standing, you should be squeezing your glute, quads, hamstrings and calves, and you should be driving down with your heels.
4. The Half-Turkish Getup
The Turkish Getup is a full body exercise in which you start standing. You get all the way down to the ground and lie on your back, and then get all the way back up while holding a weight above your head. The full movement works all the major muscle groups in the body and helps with mobility and balance, but you can also break up the movement into pieces.
To target more of the lat and abdominal strength, you can work the Half-Turkish Getup. Start by lying on the ground on your back with a light kettlebell raised above your chest. Place the leg on the same side in a bent position and lay the opposite leg out flat and off at a diagonal. Squeeze the lat muscle of the arm holding the kettlebell and the obliques and abs on the opposite side as you power up, then rest on the elbow of the opposite arm. From there, keep everything engaged and come up onto the hand of that free arm. Then slowly drop back down to the elbow, using your abs to keep everything controlled, and then come all the way back down to your back.
By working just these four movements, you’ll be able to work all the major muscle groups in the body while also getting your heart rate up. Try working these for 3 rounds total and see how quickly you can get in a full body workout!
Lauren Weiss is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor based out of Long Beach, CA. She specializes in kettlebell training and unconventional workouts and has been working with both types of fitness for over a year. Lauren has her BOLT Kettlebell Sport Certification through the USA Kettlebell League and has expertise working with kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells and several unconventional fitness tools. Lauren received her BA in Journalism and uses her writing expertise to craft thought-provoking articles about trending fitness, health & wellness topics. Follow Lauren on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.
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