Let’s get one thing straight…there’s no such thing as an “easy” kettlebell exercise. I mean, I guess there could be, but that defeats the purpose and that’s not us! We like a challenge and we’re here to improve ourselves!
I’ve got a little story for you about my first experience on the kettlebell circuit. I work out regularly so I waltzed into the class pretty confident that I was going to show up the damn instructor. Move over ladies, I’m here.
So there I am, pushing it to the max, doing the advanced versions of every exercise … because I can – but for like 10 minutes only! This was nothing like the free weights or machines I’d become accustomed to, my entire body was involved here and we were in deep. But I couldn’t give up the act that fast – how embarrassing! So I kept going at Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rate and by the time class was through I was pretty sure I’d pulled my vagina.
What’s the lesson here, folks? Well, first and foremost – kettlebells are the sh*t. Second, just because it’s an exercise typically associated with group classes and women doesn’t mean it’s a fluff activity. This is some serious stuff!
What we’ve done here is put together a list of 7 of the basic kettlebell movements you should get comfortable with before transitioning into full blow KB badassery (OMG, KBB…this is getting more badass by the minute). Check out these moves:
*Start with a 5-10lb kettlebell until you get comfortable swinging that puppy around
This is the move we think about when we picture kettlebells, and personally I think the most fun J it uses all those core muscles, hamstrings, glutes – basically the entire back portion of your bod. Here’s how to do it:
- Stand with your feet lightly wider than hip-width, toes slightly pointed out.
- Leaning slightly forward, squat down holding the kettlebell with both hands between your legs. Keep your back flat and your core engaged!
- Pressing your heels into the ground, inhale and explode back to a standing position through your legs, swinging your arms (and the kettlebell!) up and stop when they’re parallel to your shoulders.
- Return to starting position – congratulations – you’ve completed rep 1! Now do 10 more.
This one works the same muscle groups as the swinging movement but with a little added waist cinching boost:
- Stand in a standard squat stance holding the kettlebell with your right hand and lower your body into a squat position
- Once you’re down there, the exercise begins. Begin lacing the kettlebell in a figure eight motion around and between hour legs while remaining engaged in the squat position. So your hands are doing something like this:
- Right hand reaches between your legs from the front – left hand goes around the back of your left thigh and grabs the kettlebell from your right hand
- Left hand carries kettlebell back around left leg and between the front legs where it will meet the right hand which has come from behind the right leg to take the kettlebell back…and so on
- X 10 people!
For some more waist slimming, we move onto the windmill. L-o-v-e this one:
- Starting on your right side, raise the kettlebell over your head and in line with your shoulder for proper support
- Move your left foot so that it’s out at about a 45-degree angle then turn both of your feet so they point to the left corner of the room. You should basically look like Honey Boo Boo popping your right hip out while keeping your legs straight
- Looking up at your kettlebell, keep your back straight, shoulders back and reach for your left heal with your left fingertips.
- Exhale as you come up, keeping your right arm straight and that kettlebell in the air!
- 10-15 reps…on each side
This one gets your upper back, glutes and hammies.
- With the kettlebell on the floor in front of you, start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed out
- Squat down and pick up the kettlebell with both hands then stand up, driving through your heels being sure to keep your back straight and chest up
- As you’re standing up, simultaneously bring the kettlebell up the length of your torso stopping at your chin (your arms should look like you’re about to do the chicken dance). Make sure that you squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of this movement as well as your glutes to get the most out of it
- Return to starting position…and repeat, repeat, repeat………..x10, of course
Ooooh, squat thruster, prrr! Down girl! This will, however, get you closer to that killer bubble butt we’re all dying to have – and shapely shoulders? Forget about it – this move does double duty, and uses 2 kettlebells! Come on, you can handle it! But you should probably drop the weight to about half of what you’re doing for the other exercises.
- Starting with one kettlebell in each hand, bring them to shoulder height by pulling your fists to your chin, keeping your elbows pointing straight down. So, if you did a bicep curl, this would be the top of that motion. The kettlebells will be resting on the outside of your forearms, palms facing in.
- Keeping your arms in this position, perform a traditional squat and as you return to standing position, push through your heels and drive the kettlebells over your head, rotating your palms forward, keeping them in line over your shoulders.
- Return your arms to their starting position and get ready for rep numero dos!
- X10 baby
Russian twists are an ab melting miracle exercise that I end pretty much every workout session with. Adding weight, especially a kettlebell (added instability) gives you more bang for your buck and will work every fiber of your obliques. Lay down sweetie pie, let’s get started:
- Starting on the ground, sit with your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
- Holding the kettlebell to your chest, lean back to a 45 degree angle
- While staying in this position, rotate at your waist from left to right with the goal of pointing your chest to the left and right walls
- Do 15 reps on each side
*for a little added difficulty you can raise your feet off the ground and instead of keeping the kettlebell to your chest, lower it to the ground at each rotation!
And to finish it off, halos! The innocent sounding exercise might actually be one of the most challenging on the list. Seriously, it’s deceptively simple but it works practically every muscle in your upper arm, your shoulders, upper back and chest. Yeah.
- Hold onto the handle with both hands and bring it from the front of one shoulder, behind your head, to the front of the opposite shoulder – in the shape of a halo!
- Now do the same thing in reverse
- 10x each way and you’re done!
Congratulations! If you can master these moves you can definitely make your way into the lion’s den with the rest of the kettlebell babes!