Recently, kettlebells have moved from a place in the realm of the esoteric to an international sensation and everyday favorite alongside the likes of body weights, machines, barbells, and dumbells. Nicole Wilkins, a four-time IFBB Figure Olympia champion and three-time IFBB Figure International champion, has become one of the kettlebell’s most ardent proponents. “In my garage, first thing in the morning without makeup or dressing up,” she commented in an interview with Hannah Hutson. Here are some tips for working with kettlebells.
Kettlebells are Versatile
We’ve discussed bodybuilding myths in the past. Kettlebells are known for giving a well-rounded workout, but not as much for helping you get jacked. But contrary to popular opinion, there are plenty of ways to use them in a way that will help you add muscle or lose fat.
Kettlebells Build Muscle
For muscle gain, we typically work out in the order of warming up, primary strength training, secondary strength training or volume, burnouts, and cardio. This general routine is extremely effective – and here is how you can get jacked and fit kettlebells into it:
- Warm-up: Turkish get-ups to warm up the shoulders.
- Primary strength: Double-kettlebell military presses.
- Secondary strength/volume: single-arm kettlebell presses, dumbbell cable lateral and front raises.
- Burnout and cardio: Kettlebell snatches, 5-8 per arm on the top of each minute.
Kettlebells Reinforce Joint Mobility
The nature of kettlebells is that using them will improve mobility throughout your joints. Maintaining this mobility is extremely important for avoiding injury because it tends to be our inability to move through our full range of motion that causes an unnecessary strain to our muscles. The Turkish get-up is especially helpful for this. It pays back noticeably in your core strength.
Kettlebells Promote Better Form
Because of the fluid nature of kettlebell exercises, they activate a lot of muscle tissue and are especially worth incorporating into a secondary lift. Thinking of other gym equipment, dumbells for example, when used for an overhead press, can place immense pressure on your hands and wrists. The kettlebell, however, is much more compact and allows for a more neutral grip. Additionally, there is such a wide variety of kettlebells on the market, whether you’re trying kettlebell king’s powder coat kettlebells or rogue fitness’s top-notch iron kettlebells.
Overall, the kettlebell is an awesome tool that has been underused and underappreciated whether it’s used for simply improving your mobility or helping you get jacked. I hope that it can continue to make a comeback, as it has been, and become a part of many more a workout routine.