These weights might look a little old school, but a kettlebell workout could just be the secret to a total body transformation.
Personal trainer Marc Edwards says that kettlebells are the epitome of ‘functional training’ – where exercises are adapted to allow individuals to perform the activities of daily life more easily, without injury. He also dubs them as beneficial for improving core strength and stability, power, endurance and giving the cardiovascular and muscular system a boost.
Plus, they offer a really easy way to burn calories and tone up at home, as you don’t need much space to use or store them. Don’t own any already? No problem - check out our pick of the best kettlebells you can buy right now.
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So, what do we do with these funny looking things? Pick a kettlebell of a challenging weight for you and try Marc’s top five moves…
Kettlebell workout move #1: One Hand-Racked Front Squat
Great for: Quads, glutes, hamstrings and core
- Hold the weight with one hand in a kettlebell rack position (see left-hand photo).
- With your feet flat and shoulder- width apart, and your core braced, simultaneously drive your hips backwards and bend knees, lowering your glutes towards the calves.
- Ensure your torso remains upright.
- Push up through the heels and rise.
- Repeat 10 times.
Kettlebell workout move #2: Classic hand swing
Great for: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back, upper back, lats, shoulders, forearms and core
- With both hands, lift KB to standing position. It should be hanging down just in front of your hips.
- Retract your shoulders, brace your core and maintain an unlocked yet stiff position in your knees, feet just wider than shoulder width.
- Drive hips backwards (arms should follow suit and go back between the legs), then quickly thrust them forwards with an explosive contraction of your glutes.
- The force generated through hips means the kettlebell travels high without the arms doing any lifting. It should finish at shoulder height, like an extension of your arms.
- As the kettlebell begins to descend, drive your hips backwards again and repeat.
- Aim for three sets of 15 reps. You can also try this move holding the weight in one hand.
Kettlebell workout move #3: Hand swing high pull
Great for: Hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back, lats, shoulders, biceps, forearms and core
- Work with a lighter kettlebell for this move
- Perform a one-hand kettlebell swing. As the weight begins to swing back through the legs on the upward phase, pull your elbow upward and backwards past your ear as if you were drawing back a bow and arrow.
- Cast the weight forwards again back into your swing.
- Repeat 10 times.
Kettlebell workout move #4: Two-hand halo
Great for: Core, obliques, shoulders, glutes and thighs
- Hold the kettlebell in a two-hand, bottoms-up position in front of your face.
- Roll your left elbow in front of your face and overhead, so that the weight goes behind the head and move it to the other side, eventually finishing back in the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times in both directions, always maintaining a solid standing position.
Kettlebell workout move #5: One Hand Overhead Press
Great for: Shoulders, triceps and core
- In a standing position with your feet hip-width apart, hold the kettlebell in rack position (see left-hand photo).
- Brace your core and press the weight straight upwards, rotating your arm during the movement so you finish with your palm facing forwards and the kettlebell above the crown of your head.
- Lower back to start position and repeat 10 times.
- If you’re struggling, try holding the kettlebell using both hands.
- Alternatively, up the ante and use a kettlebell in each hand, or combine the front squat with the overhead press.
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Lucy is a freelance journalist specializing in health, fitness and lifestyle. She was previously the Health and Fitness Editor across various women's magazines, including Woman&Home, Woman and Woman’s Own as well as Editor of Feel Good You. She has also previously written for titles including Now, Look, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Red and The Sun.
She lives and breathes all things fitness; working out every morning with a mix of running, weights, boxing and long walks. Lucy is a Level 3 personal trainer and teaches classes at various London studios. Plus, she's pre- and post-natal trained and helps new mums get back into fitness after the birth of their baby. Lucy claims that good sleep, plenty of food and a healthy gut (seriously, it's an obsession) are the key to maintaining energy and exercising efficiently. Saying this, she's partial to many classes of champagne and tequila on the rocks whilst out with her friends.