Regular readers of this blog will know that I posted several days ago on the importance of resistance training for an effective workout. One way of incorporating more weight training into your exercise regime is by using kettle bells.
If you are unfamiliar with kettle bells, they are the small, heavy round metal things with handles you may see from time to time at the gym. They look a bit like cannon balls. Do not be fooled by their size however, these little things are a great way to build muscle strength and endurance and really pack a punch.
For beginners, here are a few tips to help you get started:
1. Only ever use one kettle bell at a time.
Kettle bells can be used to perform a variety of exercises but unlike dumbbells, they are designed to be used solo. Try holding one with both hands behind your head and releasing your arms down towards your back before pulling back up to the starting position. This exercise works your triceps and, when performed in sets of 3 (of 12 reps) is a great way to tone up your arms.
Another popular kettle bell exercise is the kettle bell swing. Give yourself plenty of room for this one. Take the kettle bell in one hand. With your knees and feet apart, squat down with the kettle bell in your hand between your knees and swing it up, towards the ceiling. As you swing, come out of the squat position and lengthen legs to standing position. As you swing the kettle bell down, settle back into the original squat position. Repeat for 12-15 reps then switch arms. This exercise will get your heart rate up and your muscles burning in no time.
2. Technique matters
Like all exercises involving weights, how you do it is more important than how many times you do it. To avoid injury, it is vital you know what you are doing. If something hurts, it generally means you’re not performing it properly, so alter your method or stop all together.
3. Ask a trainer for tips
If you are really unsure on how to get started with kettle bell exercises, ask a trainer at the gym. They will be more than happy to show you a range of exercises you can incorporate into your workout.
4. You can use them at home
Once you have a solid repertoire of exercises on board, you can buy your own kettle bell and do your exercises in front of the TV. Unlike other bulky gym equipment, this little beauty can be stored out of sight in your cupboard when you are done with your workout.
Kettle bells provide full body conditioning by involving multiple muscle groups and energy systems at once which means that you spend less time overall working out. They provide both an effective cardio and resistance training workout. Don’t be scared of kettle bells any more. Start using them today and see how your body responds.