When it comes to workout methods, we all have a large number to choose from. From jogging, yoga, and crossfit, to treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and the ever-growing number of available weight machines, it’s gotten pretty easy for every one of us to choose a way to stay in shape.
Have you ever used a kettlebell before? These weights have been around since the 1700s when Russian strongmen developed and used them as a fast way to build muscle and increase balance, flexibility, and endurance. However, at the gym, they’re commonly looked over in favor of weight machines.
Curious about what a kettlebell can do for you? Let’s take a brief look:
- According to a study by the American Council on Exercise, kettlebell workouts can burn an average of 20 calories every minute
- According to Jessica Smith at Shape, using a kettlebell makes your stabilizer muscles work harder because the weight isn’t evenly distributed–this can lead to a whole host of sculpted, beautiful muscles
- According to WebMD, a kettlebell workout may provide a more intense workout than regular weight lifting, as it can help you achieve maximum oxygen uptake, as well as exercise heart rate
As you might’ve guessed, you’ll be using a kettlebell for this week’s workout, but before we get into it, check out the tips below, especially if you’ve never used a kettlebell before.
Kettlebell Workouts: Form Matters
Using a kettlebell might look easy. For some people, it is easy. Just like with any other workout (especially the ones that involve weights), proper form is incredibly important, not only so you can get the most from your workout, but so you can avoid injury as well.
- Learn and understand proper form for any kettlebell workout. You may not think so now, but you’ll see that kettlebell workouts can be tough. Without knowing proper form, they can be even tougher on your body. Improper form can lead to injuries, so avoid it by learning proper form. Take a kettlebell class or learn from someone who works with kettlebells regularly.
- Maintain proper momentum during the workout. Kettlebell workouts aren’t for the faint of heart. Powerful movements are very much a part of every one, so learning and maintaining proper strength and momentum throughout the whole workout gives you the best workout possible.
- Gradual weight increases are a great idea. If you’re new to kettlebell workouts, you’ll start with a lighter weight, and that’s okay. Why? Because after you’ve mastered form and momentum, you totally have the freedom to increase the weight. An increase in weight means a harder workout with bigger benefits, too!
This Week’s Workout
This week, we’ll be taking on the Killer Kettlebell Workout, which comes from Shape Magazine and celebrity trainer Paul Katami. This workout may not seem intense, but it is (and it should be).
Before diving in, start out with a couple minutes of jump rope or jumping jacks to get your heart going. As you move into the actual workout, remember to move from one move to the next as quickly as you can.
Katami’s advice? Complete the circuit as quickly as you can, rest for one to two minutes, then complete the circuit a second time. It only take a total of 15 minutes to blast the calories away, and if you’re looking for something with a bit more intensity, try completing four reps of the complete workout for 30 minutes.
Cool-Down & Recovery
For a quick cool-down this week, stretch your legs by pulling them up behind you, then bend and touch your toes. Take a short walk and help your body normalize again–just five or ten minutes will do!
As with any other post-workout regimen, always make sure you’re getting enough water and protein. A few of my favorite recovery products are below:
- Chocolate Raw Protein Beyond Organic Formula by Garden of Life
- Natural Warrior Food Protein by HealthForce Nutritionals
- ZMA Sports Recovery by NOW Foods
Have you used a kettlebell in your fitness routine? We’d love to hear how they’ve helped you. Please leave us a comment below!
Featured Image Credit: kettlebell via Flickr.com.