Tired of basic weightlifting? Looking for a way to work your upper body that doesn’t require clunky machinery or benches? Look no further than kettlebell exercises.
Kettlebells utilize your ability to explode with power and strength, which is an important aspect when looking to build muscle. In addition, kettlebells bring in a cardiovascular component to your workout if you perform multiple exercises without taking breaks. You can mix and match kettlebell movements, sets, and repetitions to focus in on strength or cardio. As with all weighted movements, form is key. Make sure that you have proper hip hinge technique before swinging the kettlebell so that you can make sure you are protecting your lower back throughout the exercise routine.
With this routine, you should warm up with a five-minute jog, 50 jumping jacks, and 20 walking lunges on each leg. These dynamic movements will prime your muscles for the kettlebell burnout to come. Use a 10-15 pound kettlebell to begin. Adjust the weight accordingly based on the movement, your skill level, and desired intensity. Start slowly and pay attention to your form to avoid injury.
- Clean the kettlebell up to your chest, so that your elbow is bent and the kettlebell is resting just below your shoulder. Keep your other arm out and tight for support.
- Lift the kettlebell up above your head by extending your elbow until it’s straight. Open your palm at the top.
- Lower back down slowly for one repetition.
- Complete this same movement on the left side.
- Complete three rounds of 12 repetitions on each side.
- For a challenge, hold the weight for 3-5 seconds at the top of each movement.
One-Arm Tricep Extension
- Holding the kettlebell in one hand, start with a hip-width stance and keep your core engaged.
- Get the kettlebell up in position, which is with your shoulder and elbow flexed in a loose grip and the kettlebell hanging behind your shoulder
- Extend your elbow straight up in a controlled position and back down for one rep.
- You can use your off hand to keep your engaged elbow in the correct position.
- Repeat for 15 repetitions.
- If this is too challenging or your kettlebell is too heavy, use both arms for the kettlebell extension.
- For a challenge, sit back in a squat while holding the weight out in front of you.
- Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Come down, bending your knees (do not allows your knees to go past your toes), keeping your chest high as you pick up the kettlebell with both hands.
- Lead with your elbows as you raise the kettlebell up to chest height.
- Make sure to keep your core tight and your head and neck in neutral alignment throughout the movement.
- Complete three rounds of 15 repetitions.
Kettlebell Rack Walk
- Grab two kettlebells and clean them towards your chest.
- Keep your shoulders back and down and hold them by your sides with your arms straight.
- Walk for a specified distance or time while holding the kettlebells.
- Go through three rounds of the rack walk.
This is a functional movement to perform with kettlebells that also trains balance and core strength.
- Start in an upright standing position and hold the kettlebell with both hands.
- Hinge with your hips and swing the kettlebell through your legs.
- Explode up, using your glutes, to swing your arms up to chest height.
- Repeat this explosive movement for 3 rounds of 20 repetitions.
You can also use one kettlebell and alternate swings to isolate the muscles on each side.