I was first introduced to this little torture device several years ago by the US Secret Service Counter Assault Team (CAT). They loved training with kettlebells so much, they actually carried them aboard our cargo planes whenever we travelled overseas on protection assignments. Since then, I became fascinated both by the breadth of exercises ... and amount of pain they produce. Who would have thought this bowling ball with a handle, originally called a “pood” in Russia, was the ultimate full body workout? It currently ranks at the top of my “suck” list right next to burpees, which is why they’re consistently part of my fitness routine. Not to mention it makes me feel like I’m starring in my own little Rocky IV episode ... minus the four feet of snow ... and furry collared jacket.
Kettlebells are great for an overall body conditioning exercise, elevating your heart rate, and tightening your glutes and thighs. So if you want a tight *ss – this should be your go-to exercise.
Perform 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions each.
Tip: When doing this exercise for the first time, it’s natural to feel the kettlebell trying to pull you off your feet or wanting to travel back past your feet on its return. Don’t let it. The important part of the exercise is controlling its momentum, so start with basic swings. Once you get used to the weight, you can increase your range of motion.
For reference, I’m swinging a Rogue 18lbs kettlebell in these photos.
1) Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell evenly with both hands allowing it to hang in front of your body. Roll your shoulders slightly back and keep your chin level to the ground.
2) Slowly begin bending at the knees and allow the kettlebell to travel down and back toward your heels. Lean slightly forward, keeping your back straight– do not round your back - eyes focused forward, and arms straight.
3) Once your thighs are slightly above parallel, quickly stand and while maintaining straight arms allow the kettlebell to arc up in front of you. By using the momentum of your body’s upward motion, swing the kettlebell to at least eye level, but not past perpendicular to the ground (directly overhead).
4) Once the kettlebell reaches a certain height – determined by the force of your momentum - reverse the movement by beginning to squat down again. As you continue to maintain straight arms, allow the kettle bell to arc back to its original starting position. Then repeat.