(BLAIR MOREAU - MERCY HEALTH PARTNERS) - Kettlebells are cannonball looking weights with thick handles. The design allows the center of gravity to shift during the course of a workout. In many ways, kettlebells resemble many objects we lift every day (over stuffed purses, lopsided grocery bags, and children). The repeated use of kettlebells provides a great benefit to the body by strengthening and training the muscles used in functional, real life situations. Some studies indicate that a 20-minute kettlebell workout can burn up to 400 calories, cutting down on workout time significantly. Here are four of my favorite Kettlebell exercise, which I do as a series of exercise one after another (no stopping) to max reps. To reduce the risk of injury make sure you properly are warmed up before doing this workout or any exercise program.
• Kettlebell Overhead Swing - Grab a kettle with one hand and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your hips and knees, let the kettlebell hang at arm's length in front of you. Swing it between your legs and, in one fluid and explosive motion swing in front of you and over your head. Return to the starting position. Do as many reps as you can and then repeat with the other arm.
• Kettlebell Front Squat - Stand holding a kettlebell by the handle close to your chest, feet slightly wider than shoulder width and toes pointed out (this is the starting position). Keeping your back straight, chest and head up, squat down between your legs (knees pointing out and not in as you squat), going down as far as you can while keeping good form, keep your weight on your heels and not the toes. With each squat try to go further down. At the bottom pause and then return to the starting position. Do as many reps as you can.
• KettleBell Dead Clean to a Push Press - Place the kettlebell between your feet. Bend at the hips and knees, pushing your butt back and looking straight ahead. Lift the weight to your shoulder trying to keep as close to the body as possible, extending through the legs and hips as you raise it to your shoulder. The wrist should rotate as you lift, so the kettlebell will be behind your shoulder. Straighten your arm and lift the kettle bell overhead. Return to the starting position. Do as many reps as possible and repeat with the other arm.
• One Arm Kettlebell High Pull - Place kettlebell between your feet. With toes pointed out and feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart, squat while keeping the core engaged. Grip the kettlebell handle with one hand. Then, using force from the hips, push through the heels (not the toes) to a standing position. Pull the kettlebell upwards while the elbow drives up. The kettlebell should finish just in front of your shoulder. Return to the starting position, do as many reps as possible, and then repeat with the other arm.
Whether you are a novice or seasoned exercise veteran try a kettlebell workout and feel the burn.