- Are you leveraging the power of kettlebells in your fitness program?
- Do you want to build a body that is functional, strong, and lean with little equipment and time?
- Are you interested in learning how to develop the agility of a cat and the metabolism of a superhero?
I’m always looking forward to cycling in a day of kettlebell exercises because of the efficiency. If you think about it life is too short to waste and one thing that is certain is that efficient kettlebell movements will not waste your time. The key to optimal fitness is being able to move both frequently and efficiently. There are kettlebell exercises that will reinforce this and I want to include 6 here today you can start working to add into your training for this very reason.
6 Must Have Kettlebell Exercises
1. Kettlebell swings:
When it comes to optimizing your fitness in a time efficient manner there is hardly any competition that can beat out kettlebell swings.
Objective: Kettlebell swings target your posterior chain of muscles (glutes, hamstrings, back, shoulders, etc.). This movement can also be leveraged for tremendous cardio conditioning. You can readily utilize it as part of a HIIT workout. The kettlebell swing is scalable and you can climb that personal mountain a lot faster by incorporating this into your fitness program.
Recommendation: For a quick impactful workout perform the following. Note that in the superset perform the first mentioned exercise with the first set and designated number of reps followed by the second mentioned exercise and designated number of reps. Rest after each superset and continue the back and forth until all the sets and reps are completed.
Kettlebell swings: 10×20=200
2. Swing squat:
Once you’ve gotten proficient with the standard kettlebell swing then make sure you throw the swing squat movement into your program.
Objective: The kettlebell swing squat essentially combines to movements into one. In order to perform the standard kettlebell swing you MUST be capable of performing a proper hip hinge first. The hip hinge allows you to crank out each and every kettlebell swing repetition.
However, once you have mastered the hinge now you can throw in the squat movement during your kettlebell swing. To do this simply perform a standard swing and then follow this up by dropping your hips into a squat as you allow the kettlebell swing up in the following repetition. Alternate these two movements within a working set to really scramble your nervous system and ramp up your heart rate.
Recommendation: As a stand alone movement perform the following. Keep in mind you count a single repetition once you have performed both movements together. So each standard swing followed by the swing squat equals a single repetition.
Kettlebell swing squats: 15×20=300
3. Goblet squat:
The goblet squat is one of my favorite go-tos to for a much needed gut check on squat technique. The goblet squat forces you to maintain rigid core stability while also serving to be a great measuring stick for you to achieve a full squat range of motion (ROM).
As a general rule of thumb I will even utilize the goblet squat as a prerequisite for having my students earn the right to barbell back squat. In order to earn the right to barbell back squat a trainee must be capable of performing 25 consecutive repetitions of the goblet squat with a kettlebell (or dumbbell) that is half their bodyweight. Believe me it’s more humbling than you think.
Objective: In order to properly execute the goblet squat you want to grab the kettlebell by the horns (sides of handle) allowing the handle to rest on the bottom portion of your palms. Your elbows should be facing down towards the ground. As you descend into the squat you should maintain a neutral spine and squat deep enough that your elbows touch the insides of your knees without compromising your technique.
Recommendation: For a primary movement to utilize on your leg days perform the following.
Goblet squats: 6×15=90 (Perform with a kettlebell that is 35-40% of your bodyweight!)
4. 1.5 Goblet squat:
Once you’ve got a handle on the standard goblet squat then you can kick things into high gear with the 1.5 goblet squat. The 1.5 goblet squat is a move that is sure to test your grit and to elevate your exertion level in a hurry.
Objective: Start out performing a standard goblet squat. As you ascend up out of the base of the repetition only do so for half the ROM. Once you move up to half descend back down into the base of the squat again and then stand up all the way. So this would complete a single repetition.
Recommendation: To give your squats an upgrade on your leg days include the following as part of your workout.
1.5 Goblet squat: 6×12=72 (Note: Each 1.5 rep is longer so a complete repetition is the 1.5 rep. Also perform with a kettlebell that is 35-40% of your bodyweight!)
5. Kettlebell snatch:
The kettlebell snatch is the bread and butter of building total body function. I always like to remind my students that you can tell if someone has a solid kettlebell snatch by their handshake. The snatch will give you an iron grip along with the shoulders and stamina of a horse.
Objective: Utilize the kettlebell snatch to improve your functional fitness and even for athleticism in fighting. The key to performing the snatch is making sure that as you hinge and ascend up with the kettlebell that it seamlessly rolls around your forearm.
You do not want the kettlebell far away from your body in the ascent, but rather in close proximity to your body. Once the kettlebell is overhead simply roll it around your wrist to track it back down. As you lower the kettlebell hike it between your legs to load your hips for a subsequent repetition.
Recommendation: Perform the following workout using the kettlebell snatch.
Kettlebell snatch: 10×10 (R&L arm 20 Total)=200 reps
Note: Perform these as fast as you can with a moderately heavy kettlebell. Allow for adequate rest time after each set, but work to keep your rest interval to a minimum without compromising technique.
6. Turkish get up (TGU):
The TGU is a hard hitting functional lift that you should always include into your training. I’m here to tell you that one of the most simple and impactful measures of fitness is how well you can get your body to the ground and back up. This is a simple concept, but not necessarily an easy one to implement. Don’t confuse simple with easy!
Objective: In order to optimize your functional fitness you need to be able to get your body on and off the ground. The TGU is one hell of a movement as it is made up of 3 foundational human movements consisting of the push, lunge, and bend.
Begin with your body in a lying position with the kettlebell pressed and your arm perpendicular to the ground. From here you want to seamlessly move through a series of steps to end up standing.
Recommendation: Perform the following workout consisting of the TGU.
TGU: 20 (Use a moderately heavy kettlebell performing 10 reps on your right and left arm)
Kettlebell Exercises: The Takeaway
Kettlebell training is one of the most dynamic, functional, and practical approaches to physical training you can employ. Take the time to learn and apply these movements to significantly boost your fitness, lean body composition, and performance.
What kettlebell exercises are you currently using in your training?
Which one of these kettlebell movements are you neglecting in your workouts?
Post up and share in the comments here below.
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