If you’ve eyed the cast-iron kettlebells at your gym and couldn’t imagine a use for them beyond a doorstop, keep reading. Researchers found that people who did a 20-minute kettlebell workout torched almost 1 254kJ – and that’s just for starters. When you factor in the muscle-sculpting impact (the kilojoules burned after you exercise as your body repairs its muscle fibres), the total expenditure could increase by up to 50 per cent.
Kettlebells also make traditional dumbbell moves more challenging. Their weight isn’t evenly distributed, so your stabiliser muscles have to work harder. These kettlebell moves take your entire body into account, so you’re not only recruiting those stabiliser muscles but incorporating full-body movements to really work for those gains.
For these kettlebell moves, complete each exercise back-to-back without resting. Rest for one to two minutes, then repeat for a total of two or three circuits. Follow this routine two or three days a week, using a 5kg kettlebell.
1. Round-The-Body Pass
Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your torso and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Release the kettlebell into your right hand and move both arms behind your back. Grab the bell with your left hand and bring it back to the front (completing a full circle around your body). That’s one rep. Do 10, then switch directions and repeat without stopping to rest.
Quick tip: Keep your core engaged and avoid moving your hips throughout the entire move.
2. Bent-Over Row
Take the kettlebell in your right hand, squat slightly, and bend forward from the hips until your torso is almost parallel with the floor. Let the kettlebell hang at arm’s length. Keep your torso still as you pull the kettlebell to the side of your chest, elbow close to your side. Lower back to start. That’s one rep. Do 10 to 12, then repeat on the other side.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Squat down and grab the handle with both hands, keeping your back flat. Brace your abs, squeeze your glutes, and slowly push down into your heels as you stand up, keeping your arms extended. That’s one rep; do 10 to 12.
4. Figure 8
Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, knees bent into a quarter-squat position, back straight, and chest up. Hold the kettlebell behind your left leg with one arm on each side of your leg . Grab the bell with your left hand and swing it in front of your left leg, between your legs, and behind your right leg . Grab it with your right hand and swing it in front of your right leg, between your legs, then behind your left leg. That’s one rep. Continue for 10 reps.
Quick tip: The movement should be slow and controlled but fluid.