Kettlebell Training for Strength & Conditioning

Kettlebells are a piece of exercise equipment as old as time itself. Tucked away in the corner of almost every gym, these simple, yet effective, tools are one of the most effective and underrated ways to get in incredible shape. In today’s blog, we break down the multiple benefits that Kettlebell training offers, as well as the best exercises to sculpt your dream physique.

The beauty of Kettlebells is their versatility. Studies have found that Kettlebell training is one of the best forms of exercise that can be used by all types of populations to develop physical fitness. They can be used in rehabilitation settings to develop mobility and stability, as well as for the strength and conditioning of high performance athletes. In essence, the benefits of kettlebell training apply to everyone.

WHAT ARE KETTLEBELLS AND THEIR BENEFITS?

The use of handled weights falls back decades in time. There is evidence of the ancient Greeks using handled weights back in the 6th century, as well as Shaolin monks using handled weight clubs in the ancient middle east.

The kettlebell, as we know it today in modern form, is believed to have come from 1700s Russia, where the concept was developed. Unlike barbells or dumbbells, which display their weight evenly across the handles and center their weight in the user’s hands, kettlebells have a unique off-set center of mass. With their weight centered away from the users’ handle, it requires more effort to keep them under control. So, with Kettlebells being around for so long there must be a reason for this, right?

Some of the many benefits include:

1. Total Body Training

Kettlebells hit the ‘Big 4’ of functional fitness – strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular training. It’s all possible with just one simple piece of equipment. Rather than focusing on isolating strength training, kettlebells can provide you with the options to train your multiple muscle groups at the same time, letting you strengthen your entire body with simple compound exercises.

2. Core Strength & Stability

Kettlebell exercises can be defined as ‘ballistic training’. Ballistic training focus on explosive power by maximising your acceleration whilst minimising deceleration. The explosive movements of kettlebell training will focus a lot on your core, stimulating your abdominal muscles all the while. The majority of kettlebell exercises will require core contraction, leading to serious improvements in core strength even if you are not performing an exercise which is targeting your core. Many athletes in all sports require core power to explode through movements and protect their lower back, so training with a kettlebell is a dynamic way to achieve this.

 

3. Fat Burning Workouts

Kettlebell exercises offer huge opportunities to burn calories in comparison to other workouts. Studies have shown that kettlebell training can burn as many as 20 calories per minute. In comparison to standard training, such as jogging or running, kettlebell exercises are much more effective at burning fat. As a result of the high-intensity workouts that often combine with kettlebell workouts, you get the after-burn effect as well. We term this as – Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption., and means that you will continue to burn calories at a higher rate after your kettlebell workout has finished.

4. Alternative Cardio

We all know how monotonous it can be to pound the pavement for long periods of time when running. As mentioned previously, a kettlebell is a full-body conditioning tool, meaning its benefits apply to cardio training too. To develop world class cardio, a single kettlebell is all you need. A lightweight kettlebell will allow you to engage in HIIT exercises or metabolic workouts, so you can see the benefits of regular cardio training and strength training simultaneously.

5. Develops Speed & Power

Kettlebells are an exceptional piece of equipment when it comes to producing power and speed from your hips. Kettlebells keep the body loose as exercise movement patterns rather than just isolation exercises. As a result, kettlebells can build power in your hips, glutes and hamstrings to improve athletic bases such as jumping, sprinting and coming out of a sports stance explosively.

6. Builds Lean Muscle

Kettlebell training will not result in a crazy mass like heavy isolated exercises will. They will, however, increase the amount of lean muscle tissue on your body. You can see it on people who train regularly with a kettlebell at a high intensity that they are ripped with lean muscle mass, rather than have a bulky bodybuilding physique. Kettlebell exercises will ensure you build dense muscle, achieved by high repetitions and short, yet intense workouts.

7. Anytime, Anyplace

Kettlebell training can be done almost anywhere you have the space. In the gym, at the beach, your local park or in your garden! As long as you have the space to perform the kettlebell exercises and push your kettlebell workouts to the maximum.

8. Improves Balance

When training with a machine, you’re a creating force and moving in a predetermined pathway. Unlike this, kettlebell workouts will allow you to control the movement path, requiring you to focus on strengthening the stabilizer muscles for each unique movement. Having strong stabilizer muscles in all ranges of movement will bring massive benefits to your everyday balance training.

9. Develop better posture

Kettlebells are fantastic at improving your posterior chain, due to the fact that many kettlebell exercises target your entire back region. Exercises like kettlebell swings are done from hinge positions, meaning they target your glutes, hamstrings, lower back and trapezoidal muscles. This results in running faster, jumping higher and kicking harder – ultimately leading to better posture.

10. Improved Everyday Movement

Kettlebell training takes you through all three planes of motion. Rather than just training in a standard compound movement for exercises like squats or bench press, kettlebell exercises and workouts involve seamless transitions for each movement, allowing you to build strength from multiple angles, which is applicable to everyday strength.

RPM POWER KETTLEBELLS

FIND THE RIGHT KETTLEBELL FOR YOU

Before buying a kettlebell, it is important to figure out which kettlebell you need for your kettlebell workout regime. Here at RPM Power, we take pride in designing the best fitness equipment possible. That’s why we have designed multiple kettlebells so you can get the best kettlebell swings and exercises into your kettlebell workouts as possible. Whether you are seeking some standard kettlebells for sale, or are beginning your fitness journey, we’ve got something for you. See our full range here.

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TOP KETTLEBELL EXERCISES

There are countless exercises you can do with your kettlebell. Between swinging with kettlebells and rotating them around your body, the potential for working out with kettlebells is endless. We’ve broken down some of our favorite kettlebell exercises to perform as a beginner below. 

1. Squats

A standard kettlebell squat is one of the most fundamental exercises one can perform with a kettlebell, and it does not require swinging kettlebells just yet.

  • Stand with feet wide, toes pointing forward
  • Hold a kettlebell in front of you with palms facing toward you.
  • Keeping your chest lifted upwards, squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Pause, and then rise up to standing and repeat.
  • Repeat 10 – 15 reps based on your level of fitness.

Trains: Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Core

swinging kettlebells

2. Split-Stance Row

Kettlebell rows are a great upper-body pulling exercise. When you add the Split Stance to the Kettlebell Row, it can add to the amount of core work involved.

  • Start this kettlebell exercise in a lunge position, with the kettlebell down by your side.
  • With your core engaged, raise the kettlebell up to the center of your chest and slowly bring it back down.
  • Perform 10-15 reps.

Trains: Back, Arms, Shoulder, Triceps

Working out with kettlebells

3. Kettlebell Swings

Swinging with kettlebells is one of the best and most prominent forms of kettlebell workouts. It trains your entire kinetic chain and also can be performed as a cardio workout.

  • Holding the kettlebell with both hands and standing upright, keep your shoulders relaxed and lower your body down.
  • Now in a squat position, activate your glute region by driving your hips upwards through a neutral position, keeping your forearms attached to your hips until you reach a neutral position.
  • As your arms come up, squeeze your glutes to prevent overextending your back and potentially injuring yourself.
  • Perform 8-15 reps of this kettlebell swing.

Trains: Glutes, Hamstrings, Core, Quads

 

Working out with kettlebells

4. Side Lunge

The Kettlebell Side lunge is a lunge variation used to target your quadriceps muscles.

  • Start this kettlebell exercise with your feet shoulder width apart while holding a kettlebell in each hand.
  • Bring your kettlebell to the front of your body.
  • Step laterally with your trail leg extended and lower down until your thigh is parallel with the floor.
  • Drive your weight through the weight bearing leg and extend your knee as you push backwards to your starting position.
  • Repeat 8 – 15 reps.

Trains: Hips, Hamstrings, Arms

Working out with kettlebells

5. Backwards Lunge

Backwards lunges are a fantastic exercise to generate power and strength in your glutes, hamstrings and quads.

  • With a tight grip on your kettlebell, hold a kettlebell in each hand at your side while standing upright.
  • Starting with your favored leg, begin to perform your first backwards lunge, stepping your leg behind.
  • Make sure your knee is close to touching the ground on the back of the repetition.
  • Pushing from your front heel to ensure the correct muscles are working.
  • Repeat 8 – 15 reps depending on your level.

Trains: Hips, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads

swinging kettlebells

6. Russian Twists

Kettlebell Russian Twists is an exercise which builds incredible core and oblique strength, and is fantastic for those looking to develop abs and protect their lower back.

  • Begin this exercise with your kettlebell just above the upper side of one of your hips.

  • Make sure you look forward throughout the repetition, keeping your feet off the ground and your core braced.

  • Pull the kettlebell across your body until it’s just above the outer side of the opposite rep you started on.

  • Looking forwards, repeat 20 – 50 reps depending on your level of fitness.

Trains: Core, Obliques, Arms

swinging kettlebells

7. Axe Chop

The Kettlebell axe chop is another great kettlebell exercise to train your entire upper and lower body. As well as this, it is a great exercise to use for timed reps to train your cardiovascular system.

  • Begin this exercise with a wider than shoulder width stance, holding a kettlebell with both hands.
  • Drop your hips behind you, bringing the kettlebell to your side.
  • Tense your core and look forward, extend your hips and swing the kettlebell overhead.
  • Focus on driving the movement with your hips and squeezing your glutes, maintaining a tensed position in your core and lower back at all times.
  • Repeat 8 – 12 reps.

Trains: Core, Back, Arms, Shoulders, Legs

 

swinging kettlebells

8. Around the World

Kettlebell ‘around the world’ is an exercise which trains your lower back, middle back, forearms, glutes and hamstrings.

  • With your feet set shoulder-width apart, grab your kettlebell by both horns.
  • Tuck in your chin, moving your shoulders backwards, and ensuring that you are as tall and straight as possible, all the while tensing your core.
  • Hold the kettlebell at groin level before turning your body in a complete circle, using your feet to rotate.
  • Repeat 10 reps depending on your level of fitness.

Trains: Shoulders, back, forearms, glutes, hamstrings

swinging kettlebells

9. Front Raises

Raises are a fantastic kettlebell exercise to train your core, arms and shoulders. Using these stabilizer muscles across your upper body.

  • Grab the kettlebell horns with both hands.
  • Keep your arms extended and locked, with a slight bend at the elbows.
  • With the kettlebell down near your waist in front of you, slowly raise the kettlebell until it is above shoulder level and your arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Hold the contraction and repeat 8 – 12 reps.

Trains: Core, Arms, Shoulders

swinging kettlebells

SUMMARY

To conclude, Kettlebells are one of the most underutilized and beneficial pieces of workout equipment you can use. Their strengthening, cardio and conditioning benefits are something everyone can take advantage of. 

To get an additional 10% off any RPM Power Kettlebells, use the code: 

Kettle10

 Need some extra motivation to try these exercises?

Send us a video of you performing the exercises listed above and we will send you a free RPM Power® product as a reward for your hard work!