Building muscle and getting strong is all about challenging your muscles. By making them work in different ways, you prevent your muscles from adapting and ‘getting used to’ the exercises. Once your muscle learns an exercise, they work to perform the task using as little energy and strength as possible, therefore this leads to slower progress hence the need to change things up!
One of the best ways to do this is through Kettlebells. They have become increasingly popular due to the endless list of benefits from improving overall strength, to core power, balance, flexibility and coordination.
A bonus is that more often than not, a Kettlebell workout will put you through your paces enough to encourage lean growth and burn fat.
Here we’ll outline 5 of the best kettlebell exercises for you to try next time you’re in the gym.
Let's start with the basics, arguably the highest value kettlebell exercise around is The Swing. Although it looks easy, this exercise takes a bit of time to perfect.
It works wonders for hip power, hip hinging, and breathing techniques. It's also a two-for-one exercise, meaning you're able to combine strength training and cardiovascular conditioning into one efficient movement.
In a nutshell, the swing is considered the most powerful kettlebell movement because it represents full-body power, extreme fat loss, and a high level of cardiovascular conditioning. It's also the foundation of all kettlebell ballistic exercises.
How To Perform The Kettlebell Swing
Start in a half squat, gripping the kettlebell with 2 hands between your legs. Swing and go into a standing position, the kettlebell should reach around eye level before you lower.
Since we started with the Swing lets move into the Clean. A similar exercise in that this is a full-body workout killer, designed to put you through your paces.
This will work out your hips and stabilising muscles plus, you can finish it on the press for a complete exercise, arguably one of the best combination lifts
How to Perform The Kettlebell Clean
- Start by placing two kettlebells between your feet. To get in the starting position, push your butt back and look straight ahead.
- Clean the kettlebells to your shoulders by extending through the legs and hips as you raise the kettlebells towards your shoulders. Rotate your wrists as you do so.
- Lower the kettlebells back to the starting position and repeat.
The Strict Press
We mentioned the press so let's go into it. Another great exercise that works not only your shoulders but your entire core as you work to remain balanced. The reason we recommend you try this with the kettlebell is due to the natural movement it provides. With a dumbbell this exercise can feel very awkward, a kettlebell allows you to perform this exercise more naturally.
How to Perform the Kettlebell Strict Press
As far as kettlebell exercises go, it doesn’t come much easier than the press.
- Clean the kettlebells to your shoulders by extending through the legs and hips as you swing the kettlebells towards your shoulders. Rotate your wrists as you do, so the palms face forward.
- Press the kettlebells up and out. As the kettlebells pass your head, lean into the weights so that the kettlebells are racked behind your head. Make sure to contract your lats, butt, and stomach for added stability.
The Goblet Squat
Don’t worry; we’re not about to neglect the legs! The goblet squat exercise is a classic, nice and easy but works wonders for your stability and will definitely improve your barbell squat. There’s no reason for not including this exercise in your workouts so make sure it's in there!
How To Perform the Goblet Squat
Nice and simple - Stand holding a light kettlebell by the horns close to your chest. This will be your starting position.
- Squat down between your legs until your hamstrings are on your calves. Keep your chest and head up and your back straight.
- At the bottom position, pause and use your elbows to push your knees out. Return to the starting position, and repeat for 10-20 repetitions.
The Turkish Getup
Now, this is an exercise we had to finish on. Arguably one of the most interesting - the Turkish get-up is a deliberately slow movement that's been around for centuries. You start by lying on the floor, then stand up, then lie back down again in a specific sequence of movement transitions.
The get-up is the exercise to help you with functional tasks as well as higher-level exercises. It teaches you to move fluidly, and when you add the external load (a kettlebell) it requires strength, mobility, and skilled movement.
How to Perform The Turkish Get-Up
- Lie on your back on the floor and press a kettlebell to the top position by extending the elbow. Bend the knee on the same side as the kettlebell.
- Keeping the kettlebell locked out at all times, pivot to the opposite side and use your non- working arm to assist you in driving forward to the lunge position.
- Using your free hand, push yourself to a seated position, then progressing to your feet. While looking up at the kettlebell, slowly stand up. Reverse the motion back to the starting position and repeat.
Give these Kettlebell killers a try and let us know how you get on!
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