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Get Fit with Kettlebells

Five kettlebell exercises for a full-body workout.

They look like cannonballs with a handle. Those funny-looking weights are called kettlebells because they’re shaped like a teapot without a spout. As opposed to dumbbells, kettlebells’ center of weight is beyond the hand. Because they have handles, they can be held, swung, thrown, pressed, and moved in a variety of ways.

Since they’re so versatile, many people prefer them to traditional dumbbells as a way to build muscle, lose weight, and get fit. A kettlebell workout incorporates aspects of cardio and strength training, with the ability to burn up to 400 calories in just 20 minutes!

Kettlebells range in size from 5 to 100 pounds and just as many colors. All you’ve got to do is choose the weight that suits your fitness level and get to work!

With the right kettlebell routine, you can work your core, arms, legs, glutes, and back. If you’re looking to grab your workout by the handles, begin your kettlebell routine with three sets of 10 reps of each of these exercises.

Kettlebell Swing

This exercise works the muscles along the back of your body. Stand with your feet placed shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and place a kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Bend over and hold the kettlebell with both hands, using an overhand grip. Look straight ahead and swing the weight up in front of you no higher than shoulder height. At this point, you should be standing up straight. Let the weight fall back down to the starting position and repeat.

Kettlebell Clean

Set a kettlebell on the ground in front of you and stand with your feet placed shoulder-width apart. Squat down to grab the kettlebell handle with your left hand, placing your right hand loosely over your left fingers. Swing the bell back between your legs, then with an explosive, smooth motion stand up, bringing the kettlebell straight up (not in an arc) into a rack position. (This means your elbow is bent with your arm against your chest and the kettlebell resting on your forearm.) Repeat on your right side. Make sure you’re using correct form before attempting multiple repetitions.

Kettlebell Front Squat

Beginners to the front squat should use one kettlebell. As you gain confidence with the kettlebells, you may want to use two. Start by cleaning a kettlebell into the rack position. With your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, lower your body into a squat position until your knees are pushed out to the sides and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause and then return to standing. Repeat.

Kettlebell Overhead Press

Work your back and arms with overhead presses. Start by cleaning a kettlebell into the rack position by your shoulder. Stand up straight with your feet placed hip-width apart. Lift the weight overhead as you extend your arm, keeping your forearm in line with your hand and wrist. Your palm should be facing forward. Slowly lower the weight back to shoulder height. Repeat and switch sides.

Kettlebell Seated Russian Twist

This exercise targets your core muscles. Sit on the floor and bend your knees to 90 degrees. Lean your upper body back and raise your feet slightly off the floor. Hold a kettlebell with both hands over your waist, keeping your core tight and your back straight. Bring the weight over to your right and tap it on the floor. Then bring the weight to your left side and tap it on the floor. The movement should come from your shoulders, and you should keep your legs and hips stable. Continue moving the weight from side to side in a controlled manner.