Consider Kettlebell Workouts for Women
Have you seen those funny looking weights laying around the gym? If you have been avoiding them because you are unsure what they are for or even that they are called kettlebells you have come to the right place. Kettlebells are bodybuilding fitness tools that are available in most commercial gyms around the world, and while they are a favorite of bodybuilders, they are also a great tool for the average individual.
Kettlebells have been used as a dynamic tool to help with the development of strength and endurance for a very long time. There is archaeological evidence to suggest that kettlebells were used in Ancient Greece and a 143kg Kettlebell is in storage at the Museum of Olympia in Athens. The trusted Kettlebell then made its way to Russia in the 18th century and it was initially used as a handled weight with an imperial seal to measure grains and other goods (see picture above). However, the Russian culture viewed strength as a very admirable quality and during the local festivals and fairs the vendors starting using the kettlebells to showcase their strength. From this point the vendors starting to realise the additional health benefits of lifting and swinging kettlebells. The popularity of the kettlebells snowballed in Russian society from these very humble beginnings.
Strong and Svelte
Kettlebell workouts for women are not going to transform you into a mass of muscles. For example, Jennifer Aniston and Penelope Cruz both use kettlebells in their workout routines, and they are the epitome of svelte good health. If you want to strengthen your core and sculpt your body, kettlebells are the go-to tool of the trade.
The kettlebell is a like a cannon ball with handles stuck to both sides or like a teapot without a spout; hence the name ‘kettlebell’. The handle is located at the opposite position to the flat bottom of the bell and the horns are attached to either side of the handle. The kettlebell’s centre of mass goes beyond your hand and this is why it can be swung, thrown, pressed and moved in hundreds of different ways. They are small and portable and can be used in many different aspects of athletic and fitness training.
What makes this funny looking device so much more effective than your standard weights? Two things, the handle and the uneven weight distribution.
- Handles- the handles included on kettlebells create what fitness pros refer to as a functional workout, meaning they function much as things do in your everyday life. Carrying a gallon of milk, picking up your child, luggage or even a laptop bag.
- Weight Distribution- heaving kettlebells around forces your core to work harder to stabilize your body, which means you will be sculpting shoulders, core, arms, back and buttocks.
- Bonus- research suggests women can expect to burn 40-50% more calories than a standard strength training workout.
One of the most important things you need to know about kettlebell workouts for women is choosing the right weight. You do not want to start with too little or too much weight. A good test for this issue is raising the kettlebell over your head in the press position; you should be able to do so with a bit of resistance but controlled and stable.
Next, you want to make sure the weight fits your hands well. Ideally, you should be able to place both hands on the handle comfortably, without your hands touching. Additionally you should have a couple inches of clearances from the tips of your fingers to the palm.
Kettlebell workouts for women are not super difficult, but it is important to perform them correctly in order to reap the most benefit and prevent injury. Here are a few easy exercise routines to get you started:
- Swing- Start with your feet placed hip width apart and hold the kettlebell directly in front of you with both hands. Bend your knees slightly; swing the kettlebell back between your legs. Next, straighten and swing the kettlebell up to chin level. Work should be done by your hamstrings and gluteals do the work, not your shoulders.
- Front Squats- hold kettlebell in both hands, weight inverted at chest level. Perform squats normally, allowing the added weight to intensify the movements.
- Standing Pull-ups- Stand with feet shoulders width apart, kettlebell held in both hands loosely in front of your body. Pull up the weight, bending your elbows and keeping the tension with arms and chest. You should feel this movement in the shoulders.
- Triceps Extension- You need a good stable position for this movement so place one foot slightly in front of the other. Tighten the abs, keep your shoulders back and keep your legs strong. Hold the kettlebell in both hands, raise it overhead and lower behind your back and then bring it back up.
How to Perform the Abdominal Brace to Protect Your Spine
· Stand up with a straight back with one hand on your stomach and the other hand on the small of your lower back
· Lean forward from your waist and your lower back muscles contract
· Move body back up the straight position and feel your erector spinae switch off
· Whilst standing up straight, tense your abs like you are about to get a punch of Mike Tyson and then squeeze your butt cheeks.
The following section is some safety guidelines to follow when performing any movements with a kettlebell.
· Don’t work out near windows or anything breakable; just in case the kettlebell flies out of your hands
· Work out on a flat surface and not on an incline or decline
· Ensure that the surface that you are working out on is not to slippery or sticky
· Never work out with the sun in your eyes
· Wear appropriate footwear with flat bottoms. Obviously give the high heels a miss
· Look after your hands and if you develop calluses file them down with a nail file. There are non-slip padded weight lifting gloves on the market that can be used with your kettlebell training.
Will you benefit from kettlebell exercises for women? If you want to tone and sculpt, your body without adding significant bulk and increase your caloric burn significantly, then yes. A recent study by the American Council on Exercise discovered the average individual could burn 400 calories in as little as 20 minutes.
You can check out the ultimate Kettlebell exercises for females by clicking HERE
Troy Van Spanje is a Personal Trainer, Kettlebell and Fat Loss expert.