What is stopping you from grabbing a kettlebell off the shelf? Are you looking for new motivation? Are you trying to break through a fitness plateau? Are you aiming to build confidence in the gym?
Be the Machine
The kettlebell is as intimidating as it looks! This cannonball with a handle is an efficient tool that commands results. Think of working with the kettlebell as a partnership between your body and the bell where nothing works independently from each other. Learning to harness strength and power from the ground up will channel a synergistic flow of effortless movement patterns to create excessive torque and power. It is your hip thrust and core stability that drive this force, not your arms and shoulders. Picture a wrecking ball on a chain. The chain doesn’t directly control the wrecking ball. The power for the swing comes first from the machine that drives the force up the chain. Your powerhouse is the machine. With this in mind, choose a kettlebell that is heavy enough to force this partnership. It is too light if you can lift it overhead without effort, as it should take muscle activation from the ground up to press that bell. Choose a bell that offers you a challenge; for example, if you would instinctively go for a 20lb kettlebell for an overhead lift, then pair up with a 25lb. By understanding the connection between grounding and hip thrust, you will increase your mobility, flexibility, torque, and overall power.
More Bang for Your Buck
The effectiveness of the kettlebell as part of your workout comes down to ‘less is more.’ Depending on what your goals are, kettlebells, for myself, are quality over quantity. You will get cardio without hours on a treadmill, long lean muscles from ballistic movement patterns, improved flexibility and joint mobility, increased core function, and strength as it is essential for kettlebell exercise. Start small but don’t start light. Begin with fewer reps or less time and build that up. Incorporate the kettlebell into your regular workout routine with intervals of an exercise you are comfortable with.
Get into the Swing of Things
My favorite kettlebell exercise is the swing, as it adds full-body strength and cardio. The swing creates full-body power as you have to get behind the movement and use your body as a whole. Here are a few cueing tips to incorporate:
– Plant your feet square on the ground and don’t let your toes lift (think of pinning down your big toe, pinky toe, and heel throughout the movement).
– Initiate your movement with the hips hinge (think of jumping forward with your feet nailed to the floor and the thrust it creates).
– Keep the chest tall (logo on the front of the shirt).
– Keep the spine neutral (even the back of the neck – don’t watch yourself in the mirror) and avoid any rounding in your lower back.
– Set your shoulders back and relax your arms (wrecking ball and chain).
– Lock your breath to assist in stabilizing the core and supporting the lower back.
– Focus on hip hinge and avoid squatting (kettlebell shouldn’t go past knees).
When you are ready to move up, instead of increasing kettlebell weight, take it to a single-arm swing or two kettlebell swings.
Whether you need to break through a plateau in your fitness level, add more power to your sport or game, spark new motivation, or improve your confidence in the gym, the kettlebell will give you results. Instead of looking at the kettlebell as intimidating, look at yourself with the kettlebell as a force to be reckoned with! I would love to see you in any of my kettlebell classes or contact me for personalized workouts!