How to Integrate Kettlebells into your Training Program
When you see a kettlebell for the first time they may look odd and intimidating. No need to worry. They are just a little different than a dumbbell, but with similar benefits. The shape of the kettlebell offers some unique challenges that you won't receive with other kinds of training equipment. With a dumbbell, the weight is distributed evenly, whereas with the kettlebell the weight is uneven which makes for a different stimulus for the body.
Best Kettlebell Exercises
Just about any exercise you perform with a dumbbell can be completed with a kettlebell. There are a few movements that lend themselves especially well to kettlebells and those are as follows:
- Goblet Squat
- Bottoms-up Press
- Loaded Carries
Depending on your current training program, you may utilize a few or all of these kettlebell exercises to give your workouts some fun and variety. Here are a few examples to give you an idea how to incorporate the best kettlebell exercises into your training plan.
Sample workout 1
Kettlebell Goblet squats for 4 sets of 10 reps, followed by barbell bench presses for 3 sets of 6 reps, followed by dumbbell chest-supported rows for 4 sets of 8 reps, end with kettlebell loaded carries with one heavy kettlebell in each hand.
Sample workout 2
Kettlebell swings for 3 sets of 15 reps, followed by kettlebell presses for 3 sets of 8 reps, followed by dumbbell rows for 3 sets of 10 reps, end with kettlebell loaded carries with one hand suitcase carries for 5 rounds.
When you pick out the appropriate weight to be lifted, you will notice that kettlebells often come in odd numbers like 44 lbs or 52 lbs. For most exercises, the weight should be lighter than you would normally use with a dumbbell. It's always best to start lighter than necessary and get the hang of the movement before increasing to a heavier weight.
Another way to use kettlebells to add variety to your workout routine is to implement “finishers”. A finisher is a quick circuit of exercises done after your normal workout, with the purpose of burning fat and challenging your body and mind with an intense few minutes of hard work. Kettlebells are a perfect tool to use for finishers because you can use the same piece of equipment for the entire circuit without putting it down, increasing the challenge of the workout for your grip and conditioning.
A sample kettlebell finisher would be a combination of the following exercises done in succession without any break:
- Kettlebell swings
- One arm presses
- Goblet squats
- One-arm rows
Complete the entire circuit and take a short break. Repeat one or two more times and that's your “finisher” for the day. You'll be breathing heavy, sweating, feeling good, and pumped up!
If you haven't used kettlebells yet, now you have a few great reasons to start. Mix them into your current training plan for some variety and fun.
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