2016 might’ve been the year of the kettlebell craze, but the versatile piece of equipment continues to enjoy its time in the limelight thanks to its amazing benefits to overall body strength and conditioning. ‘There’s a good reason why these scary-looking cast-iron weights are still being used in gyms,’ says celebrity trainer Nick Mays of ikeepfit.com. ‘They’re user-friendly (you can use them in or out of the gym and only need one bell to get an all-over workout), and allow you to swing from one move to the next without stopping, creating a cardio and resistance workout all at once.’
Researchers also found a 20-minute kettlebell workout can torch almost 400 calories, the equivalent of running a six-minute mile pace, or cross-country skiing uphill at a fast pace. ‘This is just one of a long list of benefits,’ says Mays. ‘You’ll not only get a higher-intensity workout than standard weight-training routines, you’ll add definition to your entire body while improving heart and lung efficiency and working the body in a completely different way. This is because the kettlebells’ weight isn’t evenly distributed, so your stabiliser muscles have to work extra hard to keep your body balanced.’ Whether you’re a kettlebell veteran or complete beginner, here’s how you can get in on the action.
Start with the first move and do the exercises back-to-back with as little rest as possible. Rest for two minutes then repeat for a total of three circuits. Not only will your heart rate go through the roof, you’ll get an all-over burn in less than 30 minutes.
Grab a kettlebell with both hands, letting the bell hang in front of you. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and swing the bell between your legs and behind your hips. Immediately stand up and swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height while pushing your hips forward and contracting your gluteals. Drop back to the starting position.
Chest pass rotation
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold your kettlebell in front of you with both hands. Keeping your elbows close to your body, contract your abdominals and rotate your torso to the right, pressing the bell out once you’re all the way around. Pause, then return to the start, this time rotating your torso to the left and pressing the weight out to the left.
Plie squat to row
Stand with your feet wide and toes pointing out to the sides. Hold your kettlebell in front of you with both hands. Slowly lower into a squat and go as deep as you can, keeping your knees and toes aligned. Pause, then push back up through your heels. Row the kettlebell up towards your chest once you’re back up standing before lowering it back to the starting position.