Okay, first things first: a kettlebell is just a piece of equipment. When used properly it is challenging yet safe and effective. When used improperly or with poor form, just like any other piece of equipment, it could cause an injury.
If you have any concerns at all, work with a trainer who understands movement and how to safely use the kettlebell to learn proper technique.
If a trainer simply has you try kettlebell lifts without first teaching the proper movement with OUT the kettlebell, your workout becomes running away from that trainer as fast as possible b/c it’s not a question of if you’ll be hurt, but when, how bad and for how long.
A good kettlebell trainer will take the time to teach the movement pattern BEFORE handing you a kettlebell, this is for your safety and the best way to approach learning how to use this awesome piece of equipment (or any other piece, for that matter).
A kettlebell workout doesn’t need many exercises, use a kettlebell that makes the movements challenging. It is recommended to learn all exercises with bodyweight first before using a kettlebell. FYI-A heavier kettlebell will actually help you learn proper form (b/c you will feel poor technique immediately). When starting, allow 45-60 sec between exercises; progress to circuit training – all exercises in a row w/minimal rest in between each one. Start with 2 sets, progress to 4-5 sets per exercise.
Do a general warm-up of:
jumping jacks – 30 sec
Bodyweight squats – 30 sec
High plank – 30 sec
Bodyweight hip hinges (RDL w/no weight) – 30 sec
3-4 sets each
Kettlebell Goblet Squats
Hold weight in front of chest, sink into hips, press feet into floor and hips forward when returning to standing
Great for: hips, thighs, glutes, core
Kettlebell Shoulder Press
6-8 reps each side
Pressing a kettlebell with one arm uses a lot of hips and core
Start with weight in back leg, start moving by shifting weight into front leg while pressing arm overhead, keep elbow to front of body
Great for: shoulder, triceps, core, hips
Tip: pull elbow down to side when lowering
Hold weight in front of body, keep knees slightly bent and spine straight, push weight back into hips to lower weight, push hips forward and pull knees back to return to standing. Start with both hands hold kettlebll, progress to do 1/2 of reps with right hand, 1/2 with left hand
12-15 reps (or reps for time: 20-40 sec.)
The difference between the swing and the RDL is the swing is dynamic and explosive. The weight should start under your rear (while hinging at hips and keeping spine straight) push feet into ground and explosively push hips forward to move weight. The hips do the work, not the arm-it just guides the path of motion.
Start with both hands on bell, progress to a single-hand grip.
Kettlebll Split Squat
8-10 reps each leg
Mike Boyle turned me (and many others) on to split squats and I LOVE THEM! We move on one leg at a time, so it makes sense to develop strength in each leg separately.
Hold weight in front of chest, place back foot on bench (should be about knee height), when lowering-sink back into hip (moving butt towards the bench); press foot into ground and pull knee back to return to standing.
Kettlebell Single-leg RDL
Want to fry your glutes/thighs? Do the split squat then the single-leg RDL on the same leg before switching legs
6-8 reps (each leg)
If balancing on right foot, hold weight in left hand, keep knee slightly bent, spine straight, when leaning forward-hinge at hip, point float leg (left in picture) and extend knee to help control movement on stance leg (right in picture); when returning to standing-pull knee back.
Tip: look at the floor when doing the exercise-the body will follow your eyes