A new gym craze? Well, the Russian army has been using kettlebells for years and they could revolutionise your workouts.
NOT long ago kettlebells were somewhat of an oddity in the gym. But these days, almost every health club has a set of them — some even run classes focused on them.
But, even though they’re now commonplace in gyms, people often get the basic moves very wrong, says personal trainer Richard Tidmarsh.
A favourite move when it comes to the kettlebell is the swing. “It forms the base for all your kettlebell training, so before you try different moves, your swing has to be on point,” says Tidmarsh.
Honing in on your swing technique could really pay off. “If you get it right, you can go heavy and use the swing in your strength workouts to target your hamstrings, glutes and core. Or you could reduce the weight, increase the reps and use the swing in your conditioning workouts.”
Remember that the movement mainly targets the lower body. “You’re not pulling the kettlebell up with your shoulders — instead, you’re creating a force that does the work for you,” he says.
Areas trained: BOTTOM, HAMSTRINGS, CORE, BACK
In a standing position, grip the kettlebell handle in an overhand grip and pull back your shoulder blades. The kettlebell will be just below your waistline.
Put your weight back into your heels and then drop and pivot your hips backwards.
Keeping your back flat at all times, move your weight forward, thrusting your hips back into a strong standing position. The speed and power of this movement should bring the kettlebell up to chest height, with your arms stretched out in front of you.
This is where your core kicks in to control the swing back under you, with the kettlebell passing through your legs, before hitting the next repetition.
Once you have this mastered, build up your weights.
For strength training and to create some lean gains, you can and should go heavy on sets of swings between six to 10 reps. Get confident, get some chalk and swing heavy!
SAFETY TIP: Keep your back flat as you lower the kettlebell, and swing it back up to around eye level, no higher
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