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ULTIMATE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO KETTLEBELLS 4

 

The internet can be both a blessing and a curse when you're trying to find the right information. Especially when it comes to kettlebells... even the names of the exercises sound strange.

It would be very easy to just give up and possibly miss out on one of the greatest pieces of equipment ever created.

Well don't worry! Thousands of fitness instructors have attended my courses over the years and in turn tens of thousands of people attend one of my Kettlercise® Kettlebell Group Fitness Classes every year.

So you're in the right place to start your Kettlebell journey. Here's what we are going to look at:

1. What do Kettlebells actually do?

2. Types of Kettlebell training and The Kettlercise System.

3. What weight Kettlebell should I start with?

4. 7 Key Kettlebell Exercises to get you started

5. Your first sessions

6. Workout Plan

7. Where to Now? Your next Steps.

Ok, so let’s start at the beginning. What do Kettlebells Actually Do?

Without giving you a History Lesson... its relatively agreed that the humble bell over the years has mainly been used as a show of Strength and Power.

 

The Local village folk would gather at the summer fair and the men would proceed to show off their 

KETTLEBELL STRONG

skills by how heavy or how many times they could lift the kettlebell in an array of various exercises. I'm sure you'll get the principle.

These days it’s slightly different with the introduction of sports science things have become a little more structured and are now used as a serious training tool.

...and with the right designed Program will help with:

• Fat Loss
• Muscle Tone
• Rehabilitation
• Stamina (Endurance)
• Can still be obviously tailored too
• Strength
• Power

To what degree depends on what you're after but whatever you decide upon you still need to follow the basics (that I'll outline in a minute).

Types of Kettlebell Training and the Kettlercise System:

This is where some confusion lies, certainly on the World Wide Web.

Generally kettlebells have two distinct types of training - 'hard style' also known as traditional or 'soft style' also known as Girevoy sport or Kettlebell sport.

Here's the difference I have summarised to keep it relatively light.

Hard Style / Traditional
It's normally done for repetitions of let’s say 1-30 times of a given exercise or for let’s say about 30-60 sec's of time. Similar as you would in a gym: 10 squats, rest and repeat. This is the most common one used by gyms and trainers around the world even if they sometimes appear to get it wrong (and they often do).

Soft Style / Kettlebell Sport
It’s normally done for time let’s say 10 minutes of a given exercise.
(Long cycle training) you would try and swing a kettlebell as many times as possible over 10 minutes. There are some subtle differences in technique which I won't touch upon in this article.


The Kettlercise Training System:

Kettlercise is Based on the traditional side of kettlebells with some modern day sport science behind it. And its all Purpose is this Fat loss. Body tone.

This is achieved by something called PHA or Peripheral Heart Action Training. With this method we generally alternate exercises that work the lower body and then the upper body, or front to back. Then in the more advanced training, we put several together into what's called a complex (but don't worry about this for now...).PHA TRAINING QUOTE

This is what happens when the body has to quickly shunt the flow of blood from one extremity to another depending on which muscles are working at the time.

There by helping the body maintain an intensity that will use more energy in turn burning more calories (Those pesky Fat stores) with added benefit and its this EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) or more commonly known as the ‘after burn’ effect.

Your body is literally going to continue to Burn Calories (body fat) for hours after you have finished your workout.

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So what weight Kettlebell should you use?

It used to be said that a Male should start with a 16KG Kettlebell...That’s about 36LB's.

It was also said that a Female should start with an 8KG Kettlebell... That’s about 18LB's.

Which is Complete Bull and for a couple of reasons.

 

The main reason (in the modern era) is that the smallest weight you could buy up until around 12 years ago was an 8KG. So it made sense the ladies started with an 8kg and the next size up jumped to a 12kg then 16kg and so on....not in small increments as they do these days. You can now buy Kettlebells from 2kg to 100kg and more or less any number in between.

The Second Reason it's Complete BS is imagine going into a gym and its your first day the trainer takes you over to the treadmill and says;

"Right get on! As you're a woman I need to set you off running at 12mph."

"I don’t think I can run at 12mph... I've never done it before."

"Well get on!"

At which point on you get and the trainer turns it straight up to the 12mph and BOOM of you fly in a heap on the floor. The trainer comes over shaking his head looking down at you sprawled out -

via GIPHY

 

"Aww well never mind guess it looks like you can't use the treadmill..."

"But can't I walk or run slower to begin with?"

"Nope, it says here Women have to run at 12mph, Men at 20mph."

"Why?"

"Look, Rules are Rules."

"Who created the rule?"

"I've no idea... think it was someone called Internet."

"Well that’s stupid!"

"Well, maybe you should try the Bike."

"Is there a minimum speed?"

"Oh Yes! 20mph for Women 25mph for Men."

"I think I ll give it a miss."

I'm still shocked by how many trainers or 'Gurus' say it.

The truth is everyone is different.

You start from where you are now, learn the technique and build from there. 

However, if you are wanting to start the Kettlercise Training system we do have a Kettlebell Size guide to help:

 

IMPORTANT: Please check our recommended Kettlebell KG chart against your current level of fitness before ordering:

Ladies Levels:Current Exercise/Fitness LevelRecommended Kettlebell Weight Kg
Absolute Beginner For someone that has never done exercise before or considers themselves very unfit. 2kg
Beginner If you feel your fitness is ok but still class yourself as a beginner. 4kg
Intermediate If you class your fitness as very good 6kg
Ultrafit If you class your fitness as extremely good and have done a lot of resistance training before. 8kg
Mens levels:Current Exercise/Fitness LevelRecommended Kettlebell Weight Kg
Beginner For someone that has never done exercise before or considers themselves very unfit. 6kg
Intermediate If you feel your fitness is ok but still class yourself as a beginner. 8kg
Advanced If you class your fitness as very good 10kg
Ultrafit If you class your fitness as extremely good and have done a lot of resistance training before. 12kg

IMPORTANT: If in doubt ALWAYS start with a lighter weight


** The above are recommendations and guidelines only. Always consult your GP before commencing regular fitness and exercise activity.

7 Key Kettlebell Exercises to Get You Started

Let’s now have a look at some of the Kettlebell Exercises we are going to use later in the workouts:


Basic Exercise 1: Two Hand Kettlebell Swing

Major Muscles worked:

  • Hamstrings (Your Muscles at the back of your legs)

  • Glutes (Your Butt)

  • Core (Your Abs)

How to do the Two Hand Kettlebell Swing:

  • Kettlebell should be centered 

  • Keep your back muscles tense, and your shoulder down and pull back to avoid the shoulder joint moving forward

  • Brace abs hard in the bottom position to keep your hips square and avoid unnecessary rotation of torso

  • Swing kettlebell slightly behind and as kettlebell reverses movement powerfully drive upwards with hips to project kettlebell outwards and upwards

  • Keep a slight natural bend in the arm as kettlebell travels upwards

  • Let the kettlebell return naturally back through the legs and repeat the procedure

KETTLEBELL SWING 1KETTLEBELL SWING 3KETTLEBELL SWING 4

 


Basic Exercise 2: Kettlebell One Hand Bent Over Row

Major Muscles worked:

  • Latissimus Dorsi (Your back)

How to do the One Hand Kettlebell Bent Over Row:

  • Adopt a wider than shoulder width stance with kettlebell in one hand

  • Flex knees slightly and bend over at hips whilst keeping your back flat

  • Slowly draw the elbow back close to your body until wrist finishes near waist

  • Smoothly return to start

  • Keep core muscles contracted to help maintain neutral spine position

KETTLEBELL BENT OVER ROW 3KETTLEBELL BENT OVER ROW 4


Basic Exercise 3: Goblet Squat

Major Muscles worked:

  • Quadriceps (Muscles at the front of your legs)

  • Hamstrings

  • Glutes

How to do the Kettlebell Goblet Squat:

    • Take hold of Kettlebell by the bell and hold in front of your chest.

    • Slowly sit down and back into a squat position with the top of the thighs level with the floor, keeping your head up.

    • Return to start position by pushing up through your heels.

 

KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUAT 1KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUAT 3


Basic Exercise 4: One Hand Shoulder Press

Major Muscles worked:

  • Deltoids (Your Shoulders)

How to do the One Hand Kettlebell Shoulder Press:

  • From rack position (Image 1) press your arm overhead rotating palm towards the front

  • From the side the bell should be in line with the shoulder

  • Return to the rack position by turning your hand immediately as the kettlebell descends not letting your elbow move out from the body

KETTLEBELL SHOULDER PRESS 1KETTLEBELL SHOULDER PRESS 2 


Basic Exercise 5: One Hand Clean:

Major Muscles worked:

  • Hamstrings

  • Core (Abs) 

  • Glutes


How to do the One Hand Kettlebell Clean:

  • Grasp the kettlebell with one hand and assume swing stance position with the kettlebell hanging at arm’s length

  • Drive through with your hips and draw arm vertically whilst using upper back muscles

  • Let elbow slide slightly to the side of the body and rotate wrist externally to help kettlebell rotate around forearm and land in rack position. Keep the arm relaxed

  • Hips should be fully locked at this position

  • Upper arm should be braced against torso with fist opposite sternum (Chest plate), palm facing in

  • Return to start by tilting elbow and flipping kettlebell over wrist and sitting back into start position at same time.

KETTLEBELL CLEAN 1KETTLEBELL CLEAN 2 


Basic Exercise 6: One Hand Kettlebell Swing Snatch

Major Muscles worked:

  • Hamstrings

  • Glutes

  • Core

  • Upper Back

  • Shoulders

How to do the One Hand Kettlebell Swing Snatch:

  • Adopt basic hip drive position with Kettlebell in one hand

  • Swing Kettlebell behind and then drive with the hips to project the Kettlebell above head in one smooth action

  • As the Kettlebell reaches face height bend the arm slightly and let the bell begin to flip over the wrist (it shouldn't bang on the back of your arm)

  • Finish movement by punching in to the air and straightening the arm on top

  • From here cast the kettlebell slightly and let the arm follow the same line of trajectory as the upward movement

  • Sit back in to the basic hip drive set position while bracing the abdominals

  • Let the kettlebell swing through the legs as you do this and then drive back upwards again

  • Repeat on the other side

KETTLEBELL SNATCH 1KETTLEBELL SNATCH 3 


Basic Exercise 7: Windmill

Major Muscles worked:

  • Obliques (Ab muscles at the side of your body.. AKA, 'Love handles')

  • Lower Back


How to do the Kettlebell Windmill:

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart with one foot at somewhere between a 60 degree angle and a 90 degree angle, depending on what you feel comfortable with to the other and the kettlebell in the bottom hand.

  • Bend the lead leg slightly and raise the other arm vertically.

  • Fold at hips, keeping your back leg straight and reach towards floor with other hand.

  • Push your hips in the opposite direction to the leaning side while keeping arm vertical as you fold over at hips.

  • Keep looking up at vertical hand throughout movement as we advance and place a Kettlebell in the upper hand, you'll need to keep your eye on it (trust me!)

  • You should feel this in the opposite oblique/lower back muscles to the side that you are bending to and probably feel a stretch on the inner thigh


KETTLEBELL WINDMILL 1KETTLEBELL WINDMILL 2


Your First Sessions

This is where most people go wrong. It’s a bit like putting flat pack furniture together without reading the instructions first! Everyone wants to ‘dive straight in’ and get going straight ‘out of the gate’.

Before you know it you’ve one shelf going east and another one going west and with a load of left over screws (which is extremely frustrating)! I’ve obviously never done that... and on the odd time that I might have done, the instructions were wrong... well that’s my take on it anyway.

However, on a more serious note if you set off wrong with Kettlebells you could hurt yourself.

You have to nail the fundamentals first... do this and you’ll move forward quicker with your fitness goals. Trust Me!

Your first session should be to learn the Kettlebell SWING and Guy has broken it down in to 3 Simple Steps:

[VIDEO] Spend 10 minutes just learning this stage. Do 10-20 Repetitions. Rest for 20 sec’s and go again. Repeat 5-10 times. You should start to feel your hamstrings working (that’s the muscles at the back of your legs). Notice he hasn’t got a Kettlebell yet. DON’T go to Stage 2 until you’re comfortable here.


Same again with Stage 2. Do 10-20 repetitions. Rest for 20 sec’s and go again. Repeat 5-10 times.


It's time to put everything together. Try to do 10 Repetitions and then rest for 30-60 Seconds. Repeat 4-5 Times.


Now we've done this,
let's give the legs a rest and have a look at Exercise 2 (The One Hand Kettlebell Row). 

KETTLEBELL BENT OVER ROW 5KETTLEBELL BENT OVER ROW 6

1. Let's just practice the position without the Kettlebell.

2. Have a go with the Kettlebell and do 10-12 Repititions on both your left and right side. Rest for 60 Seconds, then Repeat 4-5 Times.

FIRST SESSION KB

 

Remember... Rome wasn't built in a day and all we're doing at this stage is laying foundations. You can practice all the above exercises without the Kettlebell. In the next section, we're going to look at some examples of beginner workouts.

Beginner Workouts

Before we start our workout, we first need to get the blood flowing around the system and warm the muscles up for what’s about to come...

Let’s start just by:

1. Walking on the spot for 1 minute and just gently rolling the shoulders as we go (we didn't think you'd need a picture for this one)

2. Next, let’s go back and practice the ‘Hip Drive’. This is basically the ‘Two Hand Kettlebell Swing’ but WITHOUT the Kettlebell for 1 Minute.

KETTLEBELL HIP DRIVE 3KETTLEBELL HIP DRIVE 4


3. Now let’s start to stretch the body a little by going in to the ‘Windmill’. Do 45 sec’s on the left side then swap over and do 45 sec’s on the right.

KETTLEBELL WINDMILL NO BELL 1KETTLEBELL WINDMILL NO BELL 2


4. Last warm up exercise the kettlebell ‘Goblet Squat’ but again WITHOUT the kettlebell for 30-45 sec’s then just shake out the legs and arms.


KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUAT NO BELL 1KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUAT NO BELL 2

I would use this warm up for this entire workout. REMEMBER: This IS BEGINNER LEVEL At this stage we are NOT getting ready to enter the Olympics!! That’ll come later...

4. Exercise Mini Kettlercise® Circuit

As I mentioned earlier, Kettlercise® uses the PHA method of training so we are going to move the work from one end of the body to the other.

1. Two Hand Swing: 1 minute

2. One Hand Row: 30 sec’s each side

3. Goblet Squat: 1 minute

4. Shoulder Press: 30 sec’s each side

Once you’ve done all 4 exercises rest for 1-2 minutes, and then repeat 5-6 times. So in total from start to finish 30-40 minutes. Don’t worry if you don’t hit the minute’s first time out, just DO WHAT YOU CAN do safely and then move on... we’ll get there!

Here’s Another 4 Exercise Mini Kettlercise® Circuit

1. Two Hand Swing: 1 minute

2. Windmill: 30 sec’s each side

3. Kettlebell Clean: 30 sec’s each side

4. Bent Over Row: 30 sec’s each side

Once you’ve done all 4 exercises rest for 1-2 minutes, and then repeat 5-6 times. So in total from start to finish 30-40 minutes. Let’s Turn It Up A Bit!!!

6 Exercises Mini Kettlercise® Circuit

1. Two Hand Swing: 1 minute

2. Bent Over Row: 30 sec’s both sides

3. Swing Snatch: 1 minute

4. Windmill: 30 sec’s both sides

5. Kettlebell Clean: 30 sec’s both sides

6. Shoulder Press: 30 sec’s both sides

This is a little tougher so we can repeat 4-5 times but still resting 1-2 minutes at the end of the circuit.

As we move forward see if we can get the rest time until it’s continuous with no rest.

Where to now? Your Next Steps

Well Congratulations, we've covered quite a bit here on our short time together and you're probably asking yourself 'What Now?'

It's time to take it up a level... with that in mind, I've put together a 'Sample' of our Kettlercise Transformation Program with our 'Tri-Plate' Nutritional Guide at a Fraction of the Normal Price.

HAVE FUN!

 

[YOUR NEXT STEP] Would you like to get Started on your Body Transformation?
Introducing the Kettlercise® Vault. The Only Fitness Resource You Will Ever Need...

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Join us in the Kettlercise® Vault!
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