Your Go-to Beginners Guide for Kettlebells
Fitness • August 4, 2022
Like any foreign piece of equipment, kettlebells can seem intimidating at first sight. But this specific piece of equipment (made of cast iron or cast steel), is a great option for anyone looking to work on their fitness. You can use them solely as your main training program since they are versatile (you can do over 100 total-body exercises with a kettlebell), or you can add them to your existing routine. If you’re new to kettlebells, we’ve got you covered. We’re breaking down everything you need to know to get started, including why you should be using them in your fitness routine.
Benefits of Kettlebells
First of all, let’s talk about what makes this piece of equipment so unique. As Fhitting Room’s Head Trainer, Eric Salvador, puts it, “they are a powerful training tool that can replace any other machines at a gym. No other tool can offer as many all-around benefits.” Eric has compiled a solid list of 10 benefits of kettlebell training based on science, research, and his own personal experiences. Some of the benefits he mentions are the fact that kettlebells offer crazy calorie-burning potential, they improve functional strength (because these movements translate to everyday life activities like carrying groceries or walking up stairs), and they are extremely compact and portable so they will take little space in your house or apartment compared to other pieces of equipment. They’re also great for apartments as you can do many low-impact movements with them and get a great workout without disturbing your downstairs neighbors. Additionally, they are perfect for people of all ages, so no matter what age or level you’re at you can incorporate kettlebells into your workouts. You can read more in depth about the incredible benefits of kettlebell training here.
How to Incorporate Kettlebells into Your Fitness Routine
If you are a kettlebell beginner, it is highly recommended to get a reputable trainer to ensure you are moving safely. If you prefer to try them out in a group setting, Fhitting Room classes are great for kettlebell beginners as all classes are led by certified trainers that prioritize form and safe movement. It is also a great way to learn new kettlebell movements, work on skills, get access to tons of bells, and even have fun and make some friends in the process.
Choosing the right kettlebell is key. It is important to note most kettlebells are measured in kilograms instead of pounds. Beginners generally start at 9 pounds (4 kg).Typically, men start at 13 pounds (6kg). While most gyms might be equipped with kettlebells, if you’re planning to use kettlebells at home you can check out this list of where to purchase your own and stock up your at home set-up with good quality bells. The best part is you can get a whole workout in with just one bell, but if you have the space, certified trainer, Renee Peel, recommends 3 bells. She recommends having a light, medium, and heavy kettlebell for the ideal setup. The light kettlebell for overhead, the medium for single-arm movements, and the heavy for lower body work. A general recommendation is an 8kg, 12kg, and 16kg give or take as it varies per person.
We’ve broken down five basic kettlebell moves that you can master, even if you’re a total beginner. Practice these moves, and next time you’re at the gym, you’ll have the confidence and the know-how to take that bell by the horns.
Important things to keep in mind while using kettlebells:
- Do not round your back when picking up a kettlebell. Properly pick it up with a straight back to prevent injury.
- Make sure your wrists are placed properly. “The rack position is the typical starting position for any kettlebell overhead press or finishing position for movements such as the clean. It’s where the weight can rest comfortably without stressing the muscles, and it’s the position from which you can transition to another kettlebell movement.”
- Focus on proper stance. Make sure your feet are planted flat on the ground if using kettlebells for exercises such as swings. Pay attention to where the power is coming from. Momentum is key in kettlebell exercises like a kettlebell swing where your legs and glutes should help power the movement.
- Keep in mind how these kettlebell exercises translate to everyday life activities. Kettlebell exercises are functional movements that prepare your body to tackle everyday challenges. For example, when you practice kettlebell carries, you’re doing the same movements as you would if you were carrying heavy groceries in your hands.
- Focus on proper breathing to get the most out of your workout.
Overall, kettlebells are such a unique piece of equipment that can be used for aerobic and strength training. If you are a beginner, start with less weight and lower rep counts and gradually begin to increase both over time as you build strength and skill. You’ll start to notice improvements in your overall fitness. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wish you had started training with kettlebells sooner! So next time you’re at the gym or trying a workout class, don’t sleep on kettlebells.
Want to try a kettlebell class for beginners at home? Here’s a complimentary On Demand full workout led by Renee Peel, certified trainer at Fhitting Room. Or you can always come take a Fhitting Room class and get all the perks of a personal trainer in a fun group setting.
Make sure to send this to any of your kettlebell curious friends.