Kettle bells have been gaining popularity in the United States. The kettle bell is a heavy weight (usually cast iron) covered in vinyl with a hand grip. They are used as an alternative to dumbbells and barbells for a complete upper body workout. By using a kettle bell during your workout, you can increase lean muscle, improve cardiovascular endurance, and develop muscle functionality and balance. Start with a low weight that you can manage easily. Gradually increase the weight as your strength increases to avoid injury.
Benefits of Kettlebell Training
It Combines Both Cardio and Strength Training- One of the most important benefits of kettle bell training is that a well-designed routine combines both cardio and strength training within one workout. By performing different kettle bell exercises back to back with little or no rest you not only build great strength and muscle endurance, but also force your body to work at your maximum heart rate. The Result is; An anaerobic workout that will make your muscles cry for mercy.
It offers a Full-Body Workout- Most kettle bell exercises involve compound movements, i.e., movements that involve more than one muscle. These compound movements are great because they not only develop strength, but also improve your muscular coordination and balance. In addition they're also great for building lean, hard muscle mass since your body must adapt by becoming stronger after an intense whole body workout session.
It is great for Overall Fitness- I know that it's hard to define what "being fit" exactly means. Some envision long distance athletes, such as marathon runners and triathletes, when they think of fit people. Others think of the big burly power lifters as being fit. And others yet say that it clearly must be Olympic gymnasts. In my humble opinion it's the person who consistently and reliably performs best in three areas: Cardiovascular, Strength and Flexibility.
Overall fitness can't be achieved by doing only one type of activity. Ideally the exercise routine you choose should incorporate all three areas within an exercise program or (even better) within individual exercises. Kettle bell training is great because it works on your cardiovascular strength, your muscular strength, and your flexibility all at the same time. If you strive for balance in your workout regime this type of training is a real winner.
It Increases Mobility- A well designed kettle bell routine does not only increase your muscular flexibility, it also strengthens the muscles around your joints and develops joint stability. If you only pay attention to improving your flexibility, you could increase your risk for injury. You should always try to do movements that train your mobility, stability, and strength to get the optimum benefits.
It Develops Functional Strength- By concentrating on fundamental movement patterns, kettle bell training helps you develop real, usable functional strength. These basic exercises require your body to work as a unit instead of isolating particular muscles. I know bench pressing can be fun, but really, when was the last time you found yourself in a situation where you were lying on you back and had to press 200 lbs. away from you? I think it's more likely that you'll find yourself in a situation where you might have to lift something from the floor to a place above your head.
It Develops CORE Strength- Since kettle bell training forces you to engage your core muscles in most exercises; you'll develop a strong, functional core. The great thing is that kettle bell lifts, such as the Turkish Get Up, work both your abs and lower back muscles. This prevents you from creating a muscular imbalance between the abdominal muscles and the lower back muscles. Also, note that these exercises train not only the superficial ab muscles, but also the deeper stabilizing and rotating muscles that are often harder to train.
Kettlebell Chest Exercises
Alternating Floor Press
The alternating floor press will target the triceps, abdominals, shoulder muscles, and the muscles of the chest area. Begin by lying on the floor with a kettle bell next to each shoulder. Grasp the handles of the weight. Carefully lift it over your chest and then return it to the floor beside your shoulder. Repeat with the other side. Try to do 5 to 10 repetitions. For more challenge, use a stability ball to work your stabilizing muscles. Simply lie on the ball face up, hold a kettle bell in each hand and perform the exercise as if you're on the floor. However, make sure that your neck and head are supported by the ball throughout the exercise.
One arm kettlebell Floor Press
The one-arm kettle bell floor exercise works the chest and triceps muscles. Lie on the floor with one kettle bell. Grasp the handle with your palm pointed toward the ceiling. Push the weight up toward the ceiling. Slowly lower the weight back to the floor and then repeat the exercise. Switch to the other side and repeat. Start with one set of 10 to 12 repetitions.
One arm kettlebell Floor Press (extended range)
The extended range one arm kettle bell floor press will strengthen your triceps and the chest muscles. Lie on the floor and grasp a kettle bell. Hold it over your chest. Straighten out your legs and look straight up at the ceiling. Press the kettle bell upward while you simultaneously pivot one leg over the other. Return to the start position by simultaneously lowering the kettle bell and returning your leg back beside the other. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
One-arm kettlebell Snatch
The one-arm kettlebell Snatch targets the chest and shoulder muscles. To perform this exercise, start by holding the kettlebell between your feet with the knees bent. In 1 explosive motion, raise the kettle bell up while you're on your toes. The kettle bell must reach your chest level with your elbows tucked in. Next, raise the weight overhead and hold on to the handle tight. Bring the kettle bell back to starting position. This is 1 repetition. Aim for 8 to 10 reps.
Double kettlebell Snatch
Double kettle bell snatches are for folks who have already mastered the snatch and can handle heavier loads.
To perform a double snatch you will need two kettle bells and lots of space to swing them around. Stand with your feet wide apart. Hold the two kettle bells at the centre and bend at the waist, keeping your spine neutral. When you are ready, explode upward and swing the kettle bell forward.
When the kettle bells are at the midpoint (your chest level) knock them back a little and push upward as hard as you can to drive them up. Once above your head, do not forget to lock them out. To safely lower
two heavy kettle bells, lower them to chest area first before lowering them to knee level. Bend at the waist so you will not strain your back.
Double snatches are tough, but doable.
Kettlebell Chest Flys
Using Kettle bells to perform chest flys may seem a tad bit odd but it is something that a lot of serious body builders are starting to do in order to encourage extra pectoral development. Body builders such as the great Dexter Jackson have always been advocates of fly's to develop awesome Pecs, especially the upper region which most athletes find hard to build up.
The kettle bell chest flys exercise on a stability ball: Start by lying down with your back flat on the ball with your neck and head supported. For stability, position your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Hold one kettle bell in each hand and open up both arms, so they're perpendicular to your body. Your elbows should be bent slightly, and your hands should be even with your chest. Slowly lift the kettle bells up towards the ceiling, and bring your hands close together. Return both arms to the starting position, which equals a single repetition. Beginners can repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times for 1 to 2 sets.
Kettle bells are ideal for building muscle mass and increasing upper body strength. If you are just beginning strength exercise and muscle-building, you should use them under the supervision of a trainer. After some experience, you should be able to do 3-5 sets of 15 repetitions each when using a light weight.
Note: Before engaging in a kettlebell workout there are two major considerations:-
1. Use a fairly heavy kettlebells
The effectiveness of kettlebells lies in having to work hard against resistance. That means for the most part ladies should be starting with an 8kg while men should be on 14 and ideally 16kg. Don’t be tempted by the ads on TV to get a 2-4kg bell, they are next to useless.
2. Get the technique right from the start
It is highly recommend learning how to use kettlebells under the watchful eye of a qualified and insured instructor. Kettlebell training is highly technical and as such should be respected and learned correctly. The risk of injury is high if technique is incorrect.