Once seen as the secret workout tool of Russia, kettlebells are nothing new these days. Walk into any gym and you can find a variety of kettlebells stacked up against a wall or on a kettlebell rack. Kettlebells have caught on and for good reason. There aren’t very many pieces of workout equipment available that can combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training together the way kettlebells do.
Kettlebell training is practical and beneficial for all. From the elite athlete looking for an edge for competition to the sedentary person looking to improve general health and fitness. Everyone can benefit. Kettlebell training gets back to basic training that requires functional, whole body fitness.
Below is a performance circuit you can use to improve your stamina, strength and mobility in as little as 20 minutes. Complete each exercise for the given number of reps per round for 5 rounds. Or to push your training further complete as many rounds as you can within 20 minutes.
The Kettlebell Exercises
Kettlebell Swing Step – 30 swings
The Benefits: Kettlebell Swing Step delivers all the benefits of a regular Kettlebell swing such as improved strength throughout the posterior chain, helping to regain and strengthen posture as well as reduce the chance of injury and strengthen the cardiovascular system in the process. Adding the lateral step to the kettlebell swing improves your balance, foot movement and timing as well as lateral movement.
Performing The Kettlebell Swing with Step
Kettlebell Snatch – 8 reps per hand
The Benefits: The kettlebell snatch is a full-body, power exercise. Its focus is to work the hamstrings, quads, back and shoulders in an explosive movement building strength and explosive power. So, you will perform this exercise by moving quickly and explosively. Although the snatch is primarily considered a strength exercise, you can put in a good cardio workout too.
Performing The Kettlebell Snatch
Kettlebell Thruster – 12 reps
The Benefits: Kettlebell thrusters combine a front squat with an overhead press, giving new meaning to the concept of the compound, multi-joint exercise. Depending how you work it, the kettlebell thruster can train your cardiovascular system by lightening up the weight and doing higher reps at timed intervals for a great HIIT workout or bump up the weight with lower reps for a head-to-toe strength and power training session.
Thrusters can be performed using a variety of set and repetition schemes to target different elements of your physical fitness. High-rep, light-weight sets of thrusters are metabolically demanding and can dramatically elevate your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Low-rep, heavy-weight sets will develop muscular strength and power. Performing thrusters with an unstable object -- such as a water-filled barrel or sandbag -- improves your core strength, whereas using dumbbells or kettlebells improves your balance.
Performing The Kettlebell Thruster
Kettlebell Deadlift – 14 deadlifts
The Benefits: Kettlebell Deadlift works a lot of different muscles at the same time. Deadlifts work your calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, arms, core, back, trapezius and shoulders. As you might assume, you burn a lot of calories doing deadlifts because they work so many muscles and helps you to lift more weight in real life situations. For example, lifting a heavy box off the floor. Deadlifts improve your posture since they strengthen your entire core and back muscles, and can help prevent back injury if performed correctly. Deadlifts can also improve your cardio by raising your heart rate and improving your ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise.
Performing The Kettlebell Deadlift:
Kettlebell Halo Towel Swing – 30 rotations
The Benefits: Kettlebell Halo Towel Swings focus on overall strength, shoulder mobility and grip strength. This exercise moves your shoulders through a wide range of motion to help open up and keep your shoulders mobility while forcing you to keep the rest of your body tense by engaging your core and legs. When the Halo is performed correctly, it will work shoulder and core strength, which is ideal for fighters, CrossFit athletes, swimmers and more. The grip strength is especially beneficial to Jiu-Jitsu fighters. Perform the Kettlebell Halo Towel Swing with light weight for a pre-training warm-up or as part of a finisher to wrap-up your workout. Or grab a heavier kettlebell for added mobility and strength work. Be careful not go too heavy too fast. Don’t be fooled by the look of this exercise, it can definitely add a completely different dimension to your workout.
Performing The Kettlebell Halo Towel Swing
Kettlebell Gladiator Press – 5 per side
The Benefits: The Gladiator Press is great for building core strength and upper body strength. It is often used for exactly that, to build abs and upper body strength. Think of the gladiator press as a combination of a Side Plank and a The Get Up. It does involve a bit of coordination and of course strength, so make sure you start light and scale your weight accordingly.
Performing The Kettlebell Gladiator Press
To get started, perform each exercise for the given number of reps per round for a total of five rounds. Once, you've gotten the hang of each exercise, take your workout further by performing as many rounds as you can in 20 minutes.
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