A cast iron weight that resembles a cannonball with handles can be a very intimidating piece of equipment. Don’t let the size dictate it’s actual weight. A small kettlebell can pack on as much as 50lbs and when used in its proper technique and form, can intensify any workout. Exactly for this reason, do we have to be careful how to handle these hunks of iron. Here are my 1-2-3 recommendations when working with kettlebells.
#1 SAFETY FIRST
Kettlebells should only be used by and/or with someone certified to work with them. First things first, find a space that gives you enough room to swing without any contact to surface or people. Second, make sure that you hold on tight to the kettlebell. I’ve seen them fall through wood floors and crashing into mirrors. Not fun! Third, make sure that your body is physically prepared and trained to lift the weight. Avoid injury to you and others is top priority!
#2 ALL ABOUT THE CORE
Kettlebell exercises are dynamic and require the whole body to participate. To lift and control a kettlebell, one has to focus on the entire body, especially the core, to contract as a group. When lifting or swinging a kettlebell, make sure to engage your core (abdominals, back and glutes) through the entire set. This will not only provide more strength and stability in your moves but will also help to support your joints and protect your lower back.
#3 TECHNIQUE TRUMPS QUANTITY
They are odd shaped, heavy and the moves are not your conventional push/pull exercises. Kettlebell workouts require a full range of motion, power and momentum. It works several muscles simultaneously through ballistic movements. If the technique is not there, your form will suffer and eventually injury will follow. Start with a lighter weight (15- 20lbs) and make sure your posture, mobility and form is on point. Perform the exercises correctly in each set before you begin to add more reps or weight. The better the form the more you will benefit from this amazing workout.
I heart kettlebells! They provide a total body workout that targets cardio, strength, and flexibility. I use them with most of my students and they love it. But even I am cautious when I teach them. It only takes one bad move to result an injury. As the same with all workouts, move from a strong and safe foundation and your body will thank you for it. Now go pick up a cannonball!