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They may look like cast-iron doorstops, but kettlebells are meant for anything but lying around. Case in point: Studies show that training with kettlebells yields pretty incredible improvements in aerobic capacity and strength,
The best part? You don’t have to be a pro athlete to experience these kick-butt benefits.
We turned to Rob Sulaver, a trainer and coach and the founder of Bandana Training, for this workout. He put together a routine that will help you feel comfortable using a kettlebell — all while delivering a head-to-toe sweat session.
You’ll perform a strength move in which your movement is slow and controlled. Then, you’ll perform a power move in which your movement is explosive — without sacrificing proper form. Next, you’ll take little rest before moving on to the next pair of exercises.
The supersets (exercises done back to back) will look like this:
- 3 sets of A1, 3 sets of A2, rest
- 3 sets of B1, 3 sets of B2, rest
- 3 sets of C1, 3 sets of C2, rest
Since the power exercises can be challenging for beginners, Sulaver suggests sticking to a lighter weight until you master the movements. Once you’re familiar with each movement, you can start using heavier kettlebells.
You’ll know you’re using the right weight for each movement when you can complete each of the reps and rounds with good form but feel like you can’t do any more reps once you’ve finished the workout.
Check out the GIFs below for a quick guide to executing these movements properly and safely.
1. Kettlebell swing
Targets: Hamstrings, glutes, abs, back, shoulders
Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold a kettlebell with both hands, keeping arms straight. Bend knees slightly, hinge forward at hips, and maintain a flat back. Swing the kettlebell back between your knees.
Use the momentum to return to standing, drive your hips forward, and squeeze your glutes. Bring the kettlebell up to shoulder height, still keeping arms straight. Get a more in-depth look at the proper form for a kettlebell swing here.
2. Kettlebell Romanian deadlift
Targets: Hamstring, glutes
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grab a kettlebell with an overhand grip and straighten your arms. Bend knees slightly and send hips back, hinging at hips.
Drive your feet into the floor and stand, like you’re pushing the floor away. Repeat.
3. Kettlebell high pull
Targets: Shoulders, back, legs, glutes
Place the kettlebell in front of you. Start in a squat position and grab the kettlebell with an overhand grip using both hands.
Explosively drive upward. As you stand, bring the kettlebell under your chin and lift elbows above shoulders. Return to a squat position and repeat.
4. Kettlebell front squat
Targets: Legs, glutes
Grab the kettlebell with your right hand. Straighten left arm out to the side for balance. Start in a low squat position. Engage your core, then stand straight up. This kettlebell classic may seem easy, but just wait until you’re 10 reps in.
5. Kettlebell clean and press
Targets: Legs, glutes, back, shoulders
Place the kettlebell in front of you, near your right foot. Straighten left arm out to the side for balance. Start in a low squat position. Engage core and broaden across chest.
Grab the kettlebell in right hand and drive your body upward. As you stand up tall, bring the kettlebell up over your head with a straight arm. Return to starting position and repeat. When you’re done with 1 set, repeat on other side.
6. Kettlebell renegade row
Targets: Back, arms, abs, glutes
Place two kettlebells shoulder-width apart on the floor. Start in a push-up position, with hands gripping the kettlebell handles. Keep arms straight and make sure wrists are facing one another.
Lift right hand off the floor, gripping the kettlebell and drawing elbow back behind you. Return the kettlebell to the floor and do a push-up. Repeat on the other side.