An Introduction to Kettlebell Workouts

Don’t know where to begin with kettlebell training? Pro Tips is here with four exercises to get you started.

Entering a gym and seeing racks of weights can seem intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be with the help of a kettlebell.

Kettlebells are cast iron or steel ball-shaped weights with a flat bottom and handle on top. The majority of the weight lies in the “ball” portion of the kettlebell, while the handle allows you to pick it up during your workout. Kettlebells vary in size based on their weight. For example, five-pound kettlebells are going to be smaller than 25-pound kettlebells.

This piece of versatile equipment isn’t just perfect for gym workouts, but for home workouts, too.

“They’re effective for explosive workouts that combine dynamic strength training, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility,” Jowan Ortega, a performance enhancement specialist, says. “A kettlebell’s unique shape and off-center mass makes for a great functional training tool.”

Don’t know where to start on your kettlebell journey? Pro Tips is here with four simple exercises you can do at the gym or in the comfort of your own home.

HOW TO DO A KETTLEBELL DEADLIFT

This deadlift exercise will require you to hold the kettlebell on the top of the handle, not on the sides. Once you have your kettlebell:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slightly bend your knees and bring your shoulders down and back.
  • Bend down and grab the kettlebell, holding it on top of the handle with both hands. Your hands should be right next to each other.
  • Lift the kettlebell with good posture; avoid any slouch in your back. The bottom of the kettlebell should be slightly above your knees, about an inch.
  • Repeat.

HOW TO DO A KETTLEBELL REVERSE LUNGE WITH GOBLET HOLD

As the name suggests, you’ll hold the kettlebell in a “goblet hold” position. Your hands will now be on the sides of the kettlebell, not on top. Place one hand on each side. Once you’re comfortable:

  • Stand with the kettlebell held to your chest. Your shoulders should be down and back and elbows pointing toward the floor.
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Move your right leg back, lowering your knee to just above the ground. Your right foot should have the toes touching the ground and heel up in the air. Your left leg should be at a 90-degree position with your foot flat on the floor.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Switch legs and repeat, this time moving your left leg back.

HOW TO DO A KETTLEBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

For this exercise, you’ll need two kettlebells of equal weight. Remember, you’ll be adding the weight together. If you normally use one 10-pound kettlebell, consider trying two five-pound kettlebells. Pick the weight based on your personal comfort. You don’t want your hands to be shaking during this exercise.

Once you have both kettlebells:

  • Pick them up and hold them at shoulder height. Your arms will be in a “V”shape, with your elbows pointing toward the floor and your palms to the ceiling. You’ll grip both kettlebells with your palms facing up and your fingers wrapped around the handles.
  • Once you’re ready, lift the kettlebells straight up.
  • Your arms should be straight, with no bend at the elbows.
  • Hold this position for five seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

HOW TO DO A KETTLEBELL BENT OVER ROW

With this exercise, you’ll again need two kettlebells of equal weight. As the name suggests, you’ll begin this exercise by bending at the waist. You’ll bring your chest forward, keeping your back straight. Your knees should be slightly bent.

Once you’re in position:

  • Pick up the kettlebells with your palms facing toward the floor. You’ll grab the top of the handle, with one hand on each kettlebell.
  • Keep your arms straight down with the kettlebell. Hold the weights up off the floor with control.
  • In a slow, controlled motion, lift the weights up parallel to your waist. The weights should move in unison.
  • Repeat.

Now that you have four new exercises to add to your arsenal, grab your kettlebells and enjoy your workout.

Before starting your new workout, learn about different dynamic stretches you can do to warm up.