With the Winter Solstice just the other day, that means that we are now getting closer to summer. Winter is receding and Summer is on the way.
Whether it be swimming, hiking, paddle boarding or golfing, many of our favourite summer activities would benefit from greater explosive leg, arm and core strength. To get the most out of your summer, the kettlebell is a great tool that can amp up your training for your activity (or activities) of choice.
If you’re a kettlebell beginner, it’s important to build your foundation first. In case you missed it, here are three introductory exercises to get you familiar with the kettlebell.
This time, rather than keeping the kettlebell static, we are incorporating more movement – introducing the kettlebell swing in addition to a kettlebell windmill (working the obliques!) and a challenge exercise targeting the core. Happy sweating!
High Tension Kettlebell Swings
Targets: calves, hamstrings, glutes, lats (upper back)
Repetitions: 4 sets of 12 reps, 30-45 seconds of rest in between sets
- To build momentum into your swing, start with the kettlebell positioned in front of you (not below you). You should be able to reach out for it in a stretched position with your back straight.
- Hinging from your hips (keeping your knees straight), pull the kettlebell as close to your body (groin area) as possible. I call this the pocket.
- Keeping your arms straight, build power through your hips to swing the kettlebell up. You want to focus on squeezing your glutes and quad muscles at the top of the swing. The kettlebell should not go any higher than your face.
- From here, engage your lats (upper back muscles) and your triceps to pull the kettlebell back down to the pocket. Repeat.
- Tip: You always want to keep tension when swinging the kettlebell. Keep your belly button drawn in towards your spine to keep your core tight!
Targets: glutes, hamstrings, obliques, shoulders
Repetitions: 3 sets of 10 reps, 45 seconds of rest in between sets
- Start with the kettlebell in your right hand. Position your stance so that your right foot is facing straight and your left foot is out on a 45-degree angle.
- Rest the kettlebell on your right forearm, bicep and chest.
- Press the kettlebell overhead, with the base of the kettlebell resting on the front of your forearm. Keep your arm as straight as possible.
- Push your right glute and hip out so you are bending to your side.
- Keeping your gaze focused on the kettlebell, keep your legs straight and slide your left arm down the inside of your left leg. You will feel a stretch in your glutes, hamstrings and external obliques.
- Keeping your belly button drawn, squeeze your glutes and your obliques to bring yourself up back up to the starting position.
Modification: If you’re new to kettlebell training, start with a yoga block to work on ensuring your arm stays straight the whole time, and that you’re not swaying left/right/forward/back (this will help with stability in your shoulders!)
Kettlebell Pushup Plank to Beginner L-Sit (Challenge Exercise)
Targets: abdominals (upper and lower), shoulders, triceps
Repetitions: 10 reps per set, do as many sets as you’d like
- Start in a pushup plank position, holding 2 heavier kettlebells directly under your shoulders.
- Draw your legs into a tucked position over the kettlebells, propelling your feet forward. Keep your core engaged!
- Kick your feet out so that your arms are straight and your legs come straight out in front of you (heels on the ground with your toes pointing upwards).
- Get back to the start by tucking your feet in and pushing them back out.