Kettlebells are a great way to break into a workout routine. They are relatively inexpensive, and allow for dynamic movement. Dynamic movements with weights are great not only for building strength, but combining your cardio and resistance work. Some kettlebell exercises can be a little intimidating, especially those that call for a kettlebell in each hand! But beginner kettlebell exercises are easy to find.
And they’re FUN!
Why Are Kettlebells So Great?
Kettlebells are awesome because it’s everything you need all in one convenient package.
Additional equipment? Don’t need any!
With kettlebells, you just grab the handle and get to work. Push it. Pull it. Swing it. They are a very versatile tool on the journey to a fitter you.
How Do You Use Kettlebells?
Really, kettlebells can be used pretty much any way you want.
They can replace dumbbells for single-handed lifting exercises.
They can replace a barbell simply by using a two-hand grip.
They can be safely used in dynamic movement exercises because there is no handle sticking out of the side to hit you as you swing them.
The Best Kettlebell Exercise For Beginners
The best exercise I can suggest for the first time kettlebell user is the Kettlebell Swing, also known as the Russian Swing. It’s a dynamic movement, which means you won’t only be activating your muscles, you’ll be getting a cardio workout at the same time! This really is a full body workout in a single movement.
With the kettlebell on the floor, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart to either side of the kettlebell. Maybe a little wider if your balance isn’t quite as good as you may like.
Squat down and grab the top of the handle with both hands, palms facing you.
Stand up until the kettlebell hangs slightly lower than your hips, still between your legs, arms straight. (You should still be in a slightly squatted position)
This is your starting position.
Starting The Movement
To get going, squat deeper and let the kettlebell swing behind you between your legs.
When you have reached the bottom of your squat and the kettlebell is behind you, swing FROM THE HIPS and raise your arms out in front of you.
When you are standing completely upright, the kettlebell should be out in front of your chest, your arms straight out in front of you.
Try to hold at the top of the movement for a second before letting the kettlebell swing back down.
Finishing The Movement
As you swing the kettlebell back down, keeping your arms straight, drop back into your squat.
As you reach the bottom of your squat, the kettlebell should again be hanging between your legs and slightly behind you.
Now just repeat for 10 to 15 reps… Or more if you can!
Things To Remember
This movement should be CONTROLLED. You don’t want to just wildly swing the kettlebell. Not only will that take away from the effectiveness of the workout, you could very likely hurt yourself. You want to make sure that you are driving this swing from the legs and hips, not swinging the weight with your arms.
Keep your legs and glutes (that’s your butt muscles, for those that don’t know!) tight throughout the movement, as these are your main drivers.
Keep your abs tight, and you’ll get a nice ab workout out of this.
Keep your back straight. If you bend your back, you could hurt yourself. Form is important here.
What’s Makes Swinging A Kettlebell So Great?
Maybe you already guessed, but this is so great because it’s a full-body workout. It combines squats, ab work, balance, cardio, and even works the upper back, shoulder and arms. You can use this primarily as a resistance workout, but it can also supercharge your weight loss efforts!
Keep your form tight, and maintain CONTROL throughout the movement. I can’t stress enough how important it is to maintain control. That’s what makes a workout effective. If you just let the weight swing, you aren’t really working the muscles. Why? Because you’re letting momentum move the weight. You want to make sure your muscles are DRIVING the weight up, and CONTROLLING the weight on the way down.
If you keep tight and maintain control, you’ll wake up just about every muscle in your body with this movement. Not only that, because your whole body is in motion you’re going to find yourself breathing heavy and your heart beating faster. THAT’S CARDIO!
Do you just not have time to go for that walk today and get your resistance training in? Take ten minutes and swing a kettlebell!
I’ve been lifting and running for years, and this is STILL one of my favorite exercises. Almost every morning when I get up I start my day with 5-10 minutes with a kettlebell in my hands. Usually the Kettlebell Swing. It really gets the blood flowing, and gets you ready to face whatever the day throws at you.
For The Beginner, Kettlebells Are A Great Tool
Kettlebells really are one of the best ways for those just starting out with a fitness routine to get comfortable with resistance training. Unlike resistance bands, kettlebells help you grow confidence in actually lifting a heavy chunk of metal. Like resistance bands, kettlebells aren’t nearly as intimidating as a 7-foot long barbell!
If you aren’t sure about kettlebells, or want to start off slowly (which we know by now is my recommendation for beginners!), then pick up a 5-pounder. A 5-pound kettlebell isn’t scary at all. Anyone can work with 5 pounds. It’s a great starting point, and a wonderful confidence builder. When you work with that 5 pound kettlebell, and manage to master a movement with it, you realize “Hey! I really CAN do this!” There’s no better feeling during a workout than knowing that you ABSOLUTELY NAILED IT!
So grab a kettlebell! Feel the weight in your hand, and know “I can do this!”
It would be great if you could rate this article, and let me know what you thought in the comments below. Ask questions. Tell me what you would like to see added to the site!
As always, best of luck on your fitness journey,
P.S. Remember, if you ever have questions, or need help, or even just a little encouragement, feel free to reach out. You can leave a comment, or send me an e-mail, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.