For exercises that heavily engage the lower body (swings, deadlifts, squats), Kettlebells for Ladies associate trainer author Lauren Brooks recommends starting with an 18-pound (or eight kilograms) kettlebell. For exercises that primarily involve the upper body, start with less weight; Brooks suggests roughly ten to twelve pounds or four to six kilograms.
Brooks recommends resting twenty to forty seconds between sets, noting the intensity of her sets and her fitness level.
Do it instead of: the leg curler, donkey kicks, back extensions
Why: This exercise strengthens, tones, and embodies the hamstrings, glutes, back, and abs.
Setup: Stand on the kettlebell with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and move your butt behind you as if you were sitting on a very high chair. Keep your head in line with your spine and keep your back flat.
Action: Grasp the handle of the barbell as you actively rotate your hips behind you, keeping your heels planted on the ground. Keeping your legs straight as you extend your hips toward your face, squeeze your glutes high. Lower slowly, then repeat. Do three to four sets of half a dozen to eight repetitions.
- Do not look down; this can cause your lower back to become spherical.
- Keep your shoulders forced back and down at the highest point of the deadlift.
- Don’t bend over after standing up.
Do it instead of: the elliptical trainer, leg press, leg extension and curl machines, back extensions, abdominal machine
Why: The swing works a host of muscles, including your glutes, legs, back, and abs, while also providing cardio impact.
Setup: Stand with your feet hip-shoulder width apart, with the bell on the ground about 0.5 feet in front of you. Tilt your hips back, keeping a small bend inside your knees. Keep your back flat as you grab the handle of the bell (still on the floor) with each hand and tilt it slightly toward you. (This position engages the hamstrings and lats for best swing performance.)
Action: Move the bell across your legs behind you while keeping it close to your upper inner thighs to help protect your back. Next, push your hips forward, squeeze your glutes, and allow your legs to grow into a standing position. At the highest point of the swing (the bell should not be higher than chest level), contract your abs. Allow momentum to carry the load and your hips to the top at a constant time. Do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.
- For best power, gently lock your knees at the top without hyperextending them.
- As you push your hips forward, drive through your heels, keeping them planted on the ground.
Do it instead of: leg press, leg abductor/adductor machines
Why: This squat variation increases leg and glute strength in addition to helping core stability. It also improves the range of motion in your inner thighs, allowing you to drop lower as you squat.
Preparation: Stand with your feet hip-to-shoulder width apart. Hold a kettlebell by the horns close to your chest, elbows down. Plant your heels at the bottom and point your toes slightly outward.
Action: Bend at the knees and hips to sink into a squat, bringing your butt down with the steering. Lower your butt below knee level, allowing your knees to open slightly with the intent of the perimeters. Squeeze your glutes when you stand up. Do 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps.
Tip: At the end of the squat, try creating an associated “s” sound (as in “hiss”) for a few seconds to help strengthen your core.
Do it instead of: lateral raises, front raises, skeletal muscle kickbacks, military presses
Why: Not only does this move activate the entire forward shoulder, but once done correctly, it will strengthen and sculpt the skeletal muscle.
Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the bell in a very reclined position with one hand (below chin level but in front of your operated shoulder).
Action: keep your knees slightly bent and squeeze your buttocks while pressing the load above your head in a line without leaving your elbow dead; As you lift the kettlebell, allow your knees to straighten. Note that at the top, the palm should face forward and therefore the weight should be slightly behind the head along with the striated muscle next to the ear. Move the bell pedal back, slowly lowering your elbow to the suspended position (don’t let gravity take over!). Pause, then repeat. once your set is complete, switch sides. 3-4 sets of five repetitions (each side).
Tip: Once the bell is over your head, your elbow should be hooked, with a straight, sliding joint.
Do it instead of: Smith machine upright rows, free weight rows
Why: The activation movement strengthens your skeletal muscle and back, and your abs and legs are tucked in to help stabilize you throughout the set.
Setup: Take a wide stance with your right leg forward, right foot forward, and back foot perpendicular to the front. Bend your right knee and hold the kettlebell in your hand, along with your arm extended toward the ground. Keeping your back flat, gently rest your right forearm on your right thigh to stabilize it.
Action: Pull the kettlebell up by delivering your left elbow behind you. Squeeze your back as tight as possible, then slowly lower the rear pedal of the kettlebell back to the starting position. Repeat, finish your set, then switch sides. 3-4 sets of 6-8 repetitions (each side).
Tip: Keep your arm on the edge of your ribs as you grow up.
Do it instead of: oblique crunches, ab machine
Why: These can strengthen your abdominal and oblique muscles, as well as improve your movement strength.
Setup: Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet off the bottom, holding the kettlebell by the horns in front of your chest. lean in slightly from your hips.
Action: Slowly rotate the kettlebell to the left side of your body, then to the right. three sets of fifteen repetitions (each side).
Tip: Breathing quickly on each rotation helps keep your core steady.
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