Keeping fit with kettlebells

Kettlebells.are.the.future – of my fitness regime at least. Also, on my first go, the instructor said I was good at them (go me!)

Swinging a kettlebell is like swinging yourself between two chair arms as a child, except if you let go you don’t just fall down, you risk hitting yourself in the face with an 8kg weight (or worse, hitting someone else!)

I’ve done one kettlebells conditioning class so far and I’m definitely hooked. If you want to tone up, build muscle and lose fat then I’d totally recommend keeping fit with kettlebells.*

Two things I think should always be done with kettlebells are squats and crunches. Seriously, they hurt but I’m pretty sure I walked out of that gym a jeans size smaller!

One thing that should never be done with kettlebells? Partner drills. Kettlebells are hard enough without waiting for your partner to finish swinging their kettlebell 25 times before you can stop doing shoulder presses with yours!

And here are five things that Wikipedia just taught me about kettlebells:

  1. They’ve been around for a while: “They were developed in Russia in the 1700s, primarily for weighing crops.”
  2. They’re good for strength training: “The kettlebell allows for swing movements and release moves with added safety and added grip, wrist, arm and core strengthening.”
  3. They’re a good weight-loss workout: “In one study, kettlebell enthusiasts performing a 20-minute snatch workout were measured to burn, on average, 13.6 calories/minute aerobically and 6.6 calories/minute anaerobically during the entire workout – ‘equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace’.”
  4. They’re good for doing repetitions so they “slowly build up muscle endurance, support the joints and prevent injury”. My physio will be happy!
  5. Some people juggle with kettlebells (I would not recommend this on your first go!) Apparently: “Juggling is a training style where the practitioner releases and catches the kettlebell with all manner of spins and flips around the body.”

The best thing about kettlebells, though, is that you don’t need to sweat for a whole hour to get a good workout – they’re great for HIIT (high intensity interval training). My kettlebells class was only 30 minutes long – perfect for a post-work exercise hit (no pun intended, I just couldn’t think of another word!)

Among the exercises I did in my first kettlebells class were:

  • Kettlebell swings (you swing the kettlebell from your knees towards your upper body using your hips, to strengthen your core).
  • Kettlebell crunches.
  • Kettlebell squats, lunges and shoulder presses.
  • Kettlebell side planks (note: these were hard!)

I’m purposefully posting this review before my second kettlebells class tomorrow. After the first class my instructor apologised to the kettlebells veterans for being “a bit easy on them this week”. So whether or not I live to regret my initial kettlebells excitement still remains to be seen – I’ll definitely let you know though!

*Don’t forget to talk to your doctor before trying anything new with your exercise regime. Take it from someone who knows, you don’t want to get injured!

Any exercises you’ve tried recently that you loved? Do share, it would be great to try them too!

Posted in: Rinroad fitness