20 October 2011

Kettlebell Workouts

The first time I heard the word "kettlebells", I was like "Oh is that a new brand of chips that is being launched?".  Little did I know how far off the mark I was!  Kettlebells is actually a Russian fitness equipment and from the Women's Health article that I read, it is one of the most effective tools for toning up for a bomb body!

The reason why this equipment is so effective is that the weight is centred below the handle, so when you use it during exercises, nearly every muscle in your body has to work to counteract the momentum that is generated from the exercise movements.  This is much more effective in comparison to your conventional dumb bells where the weight is equally distributed. Another benefit of kettlebells is that since you are using more muscles during your exercises, you are burning more calories!  Researchers found that a 20 minutes kettlebell workout can torch almost 300 calories! WOAH!!!  How long do you have to jog on a treadmill to burn that much? For someone like me who is treadmill-stationary bike-step machine-averse, I'd opt to do kettlebells over cardio any day if it burns that much calories in 20 minutes!

I must say that kettlebells looks quited intimating when I first saw them at the gym. But after doing some research on kettlebells I was really amped to give it a try.  I found this lovely article written by Women's Health that gave a basic kettlebells workout that I would like to share with you. 

I printed the workouts out and took them with to gym. I then asked the very friendly and helpful gym assistants to show me the correct form you should have when doing these exercises.  I suggest you to ask someone to show you first before you give it a try because form is critical! It prevents you from injuring yourself and it also ensures that you are making the most out of your workouts! Always remember to keep your stomach tight, back straight and look forward towards a mirror to make sure you are doing it with the proper form.

Move 1:
This workout is super awesome for toning up the bum, thighs, tummy and shoulders. I did this with a 8kg kettlebell as the gym assistant recommended.  I found it quite challenging since I usually used 3kg dumb bells before, but I persevered with the 8kg dumb bell and did 10 reps before going to the next exercise.
Move 2:
This exercise is also super awesome for the butt, thighs and core. It may seem weird to be swinging the weight since trainers and instructors always tell you to not swing your dumb bells when you working out. This exercise is the exception. Swing upwards from the squat position until the kettlebell reaches shoulder height, then you allow the weight to swing down before thrusting your hips forward and swinging it upwards again. This exercise may make you feel a bit awkward, due to the awkward thrusting action you have to do at the gym, but forget about everyone else because this exercise will give you a tight, firm booty in no time! This exercise gives you a good cardio workout as well!
Move 3:
This exercise seems simple enough. Simple squat down, pick up the kettlebell and slowly put it down again. Make sure you back is straight, core is tight and you are looking forward.
Move 4:
Ok this last exercise is great for your obliques. I only used a 4kg kettlebell for this since the 8kg was too heavy to hold up with one arm! Keep your legs straight and lean towards the other foot. Just try to go as far as you can, do whatever is challenging enough for you.
I did these four exercises one after the other for 3 sets.  This may not look like it gets your heart racing, but believe me! I was sweating and my heart was racing in no time. After a while you can use heavier kettlebells or increase your reps, or even better, do the more advanced kettlebell workouts.

I really enjoy these workouts because they quite short. You can complete this in 20-30 minutes depending on whether you take breaks or not and you can definitely feel your muscles working.  I get bored of my exercise routines quite easily, so this was a really good change for me. I've never gone back to dumb bells after using kettlebells and I'm still loving it :)

Let me know what you think if you've tried it.

If you'd like to visit the link where I found this information, here it is:

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