The kettlebell is, perhaps, one of the most underutilized pieces of gym equipment.
And it’s a shame, because compared to the more popular dumbbells and cable machines, they offer a unique set of fitness- and muscle-building benefits.
Incorporating a series of kettlebell exercises into your workout routine once or twice a week can greatly help to improve your functional fitness (or, in other words, increase your capacity to handle everyday movements like carrying groceries, sitting down and standing up, or hauling heavy luggage).
Plus, unlike the more rigid movements you might perform using a dumbbell or cable machine, many kettlebell moves integrate the use of momentum, which requires a greater amount of engagement from both your large and small muscle groups.
There’s also the benefit of combining cardio and strength into one workout. Using a kettlebell you can perform fast-paced, compound movements that will challenge both your muscles and your cardiovascular system so you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time.
Try including the following kettlebell exercises in your regular workout routine for a true total-body burn. If your aim is to build strength and muscle, focus on using a heavier weight and complete three sets of 8 to 12 reps for each exercise. If your goal is more targeted toward fat burn, use a lighter weight that will allow you to complete 10 to 20 reps at a faster pace. Make sure to start with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up.
Renegade Kettlebell Row
This exercise targets your upper back muscles, biceps and abs all at the same time. With a kettlebell in each hand, being in high plank position. Keep your core tight and your spine neutral as you lift a kettlebell off the floor and row your right arm back (focus on keeping your elbow tucked in close to your body). Return your right arm to the floor and then repeat the movement with your left arm. (Concentrate on keeping your hips in place. Try not to twist your body. The movement should be exclusive to your arms.) You can alternate between rowing with your right and left arms or perform a single set of reps using one arm before switching to the other.
Single-Leg Kettlebell Deadlift
This move works to build strength in your hamstrings, glutes and core while also challenging your balance and stability. Start standing with your feet about hip-width distance apart. While holding the kettlebell in your right hand, lift your left leg off the ground slightly. Keep your core tight and your spine neutral as you hinge forward at your hips, letting the kettlebell fall towards the floor and your left leg extend up and back. Slowly return to the starting position (try not to let your left leg touch the ground) and repeat for the desired number of reps before switching to the other side.