Thursday, June 8, 2017

6 Best Kettlebell Circuit Workouts

So what exactly is a kettlebell? It is a very simple bit of gym equipment, a cast-iron weight with a handle. They were invented in Russia several centuries ago and used extensively by the Soviet army in physical training programs during the twentieth century. More recently they have seen a resurgence in popularity. Walk into most gyms now and you will see a variety of kettlebells. They are also extremely popular with personal trainers and athletes.

6 Best Kettlebell Circuit Workouts

Above all, the main use for kettlebells is to perform dynamic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training.



The basic kettlebell movements, such as the swing and the clean and jerk help to engage muscles in the entire body all at once. In doing so, kettlebell movements imitate everyday “real world” activities.

This means that typical kettlebell exercises not only build strength but also endurance.

Warming Up & Warming Down

Warming Up


The basic idea behind “warming up” is to prepare your body, particularly your muscles, for physical activity.

A warm-up is therefore usually performed directly before exercise and involves some kind of low intensity activity. Jogging is ideal. It increases your heart rate and generally prepares you for what is to come.

Many people include stretching in a warm-up, although among fitness professionals there is some dispute as to what the exact risks and benefits of doing this are. Either way, for our purposes a form of mild stretching will be fine.

Try to use the following points below as a guideline:

  • Spend about five minutes warming up.
  • Address the areas of your body that you are about to exercise.
  • Don’t warm up for long periods before dynamic exercise.
  • Concentrate on any muscles that feel tight, although if you are injured don’t exercise at all, rest it!

Warming Down


“Warming down” is the period straight after exercise where you gradually change from a state of physical excursion to a state of near rest.

Just as with warming up before exercise, it is a good idea to warm down after exercise. Warming down has been proven to help remove lactic acid from the muscles.

Ideally spend around five minutes jogging, slowly decreasing the intensity as you go. Try to rehydrate yourself during this period or directly afterwards. As with warming up, include some stretching as part of your warm-down routine.


Kettlebell Circuit 1 – Easy Total Body Workout

Instructions

Complete 3 full circuits – vary kettlebell weight according to ability and fitness level.

2 Kettlebells of equal weight required to complete the circuit.

Exercise: Alternating Bicep Curls

Reps: 5 reps on each arm

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell in each hand. Alternately curl each kettlebell before returning to start position and repeating with other arm.




Kettlebell Alternating Bicep CurlsKettlebell Alternating Bicep CurlsKettlebell Alternating Bicep Curls


Exercise: Shoulder Press

Reps: 5 reps on each arm

Description / Notes:

Remain in the standing position. Hold a kettlebell in each hand at shoulder height (rack position). Alternately press each kettlebell up so your arm is fully extended above your shoulder. Return your arm to the starting position and then repeat with your other arm.




Kettlebell Shoulder PressKettlebell Shoulder PressKettlebell Shoulder Press



RELATED: How to Do Chin Ups and Pull Ups



Exercise: Russian Twists

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Sit on the floor with your legs bent at the knees. Balance with you feet off the ground holding a kettlebell with both hands. Twist your torso to the left, maintaining your balance so the kettlebell is balanced just above the floor. Then twist your torso to the right, repeating on that side. This completes 1 repetition.



Kettlebell Russian TwistsKettlebell Russian TwistsKettlebell Russian Twists


Exercise: Full Extension Sit Ups

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Lie on your back with your legs extended; hold a kettlebell with both hands close to your chest. Sit up, fully extending your arms and reaching out to touch your feet with the kettlebell.




Kettlebell Full Extension Sit UpsKettlebell Full Extension Sit UpsKettlebell Full Extension Sit Ups



Exercise: Dead Lift

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell in each hand. Bend your legs and squat, maintaining a straight back and your feet flat on the ground.




Kettlebell Dead LiftKettlebell Dead LiftKettlebell Dead Lift



Kettlebell Circuit 2 – Intermediate Total Body Workout


Instructions


Complete 3 full circuits – vary kettlebell weight according to ability and fitness level.

2 Kettlebells of equal weight required to complete the circuit.

Exercise: Single Arm Clean & Press

Reps: 10 reps on each arm

Description / Notes:

From a standing squat position, grasp the kettlebell with your right hand and thrust upwards. Bring the kettlebell up towards your right shoulder (rack position). From here, press the kettlebell above your shoulder, extending your arm upwards. Return to the squat position keeping the kettlebell under control. Once you have completed 10 repetitions, switch to your left hand and repeat.




Kettlebell Single Arm Clean & PressKettlebell Single Arm Clean & PressKettlebell Single Arm Clean & Press


Exercise: Double Handed Side Swings

Reps: 10 reps on each side

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell with both hands. Swing the kettlebell up and to the right, twisting your torso. Bring the kettlebell up to a 45-degree angle, then return under control to the start position and repeat on your left side.




Kettlebell Double Handed Side SwingsKettlebell Double Handed Side SwingsKettlebell Double Handed Side Swings


Exercise: Single Leg “V” Sit Ups

Reps: 5 reps on each leg

Description / Notes:

Lie on your back with your legs extended; hold a kettlebell with both hands above your head. Sit up and at the same time raise your right leg off the ground. Bring the kettlebell towards your raised foot in a "V" shape. Repeat with the same leg, once you have completed 5, switch legs.




Kettlebell Single Leg “V” Sit UpsKettlebell Single Leg “V” Sit Ups


Exercise: Double Kettlebell Sit Ups

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Lie on your back with your legs extended again, holding two kettlebells close to your chest with your legs slightly bent and feet flat on the floor. Sit up, keeping both kettlebells by your chest.




Double Kettlebell Sit UpsDouble Kettlebell Sit Ups



Exercise: “Same Leg” Lunges

Reps: 10 reps on each leg

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell in each hand. Lung forward with your right leg, keeping your left leg in the same position and the kettlebells balanced by your sides. Maintain a straight back. Return to the start position and repeat with the same leg. After completing 10 repetitions, change legs.




Kettlebell “Same Leg” LungesKettlebell “Same Leg” Lunges


Exercise: Squats

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

From a standing position, balance both kettlebells, one in each hand, by your shoulders (rack position). Squat down, bending your knees to at least a 90-degree angle. Maintain a straight back and keep your knees in line with your feet.




Kettlebell SquatsKettlebell Squats



Kettlebell Circuit 3 - Hard Total Body Workout

Instructions

Complete 3 full circuits – vary kettlebell weight according to ability and fitness level.

2 Kettlebells of equal weight required to complete the circuit.


Exercise: Shoulder Flies

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell in each hand. Keeping your arms as straight as possible, bring them up until they are at 90 degrees to your body and you are in the ’crucifix’ position. Lower your arms under control and return to the start position.




Kettlebell Shoulder FliesKettlebell Shoulder Flies


Exercise: Dynamic Press Up Extensions

Reps: 5 reps on each arm

Description / Notes:

Adopt the press-up position grasping a kettlebell in each hand. Press down until your torso is just above the floor. Then press up and, maintaining your balance, bring one kettlebell off the ground towards your chest. Ensuring you keep your balance, extend that arm above your body, bringing the kettlebell up so you are almost in a horizontal crucifix position. Return to the starting position and repeat.


Kettlebell Dynamic Press Up ExtensionsKettlebell Dynamic Press Up Extensions


Kettlebell Dynamic Press Up ExtensionsKettlebell Dynamic Press Up Extensions


Kettlebell Dynamic Press Up Extensions


Exercise: “Total” Squat Thrusts

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

From the press-up position, grasp a kettlebell in each hand. Swing your legs towards your chest and with one motion, bring your legs through and extend them in front of you. To complete 1 rep, return your legs back past the kettlebells into the press-up position.




Kettlebell “Total” Squat ThrustsKettlebell “Total” Squat Thrusts


Kettlebell “Total” Squat Thrusts


Exercise: “Under Leg” Sit Ups

Reps: 5 reps each way

Description / Notes:

Lie on your back with your legs extended, holding a kettlebell with both hands above your head. Bring the kettlebell in towards your chest whilst at the same time also bringing your knees into your chest. Balance in this seated position and pass the kettlebell under your legs from one hand to the other. Return to the extended lying position to complete the rep.



Kettlebell “Under Leg” Sit UpsKettlebell “Under Leg” Sit Ups


Kettlebell “Under Leg” Sit UpsKettlebell “Under Leg” Sit Ups


Kettlebell “Under Leg” Sit Ups


Exercise: Double Kettlebell Swings

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

In the squat position hold a kettlebell in each hand between your legs. Maintain a straight back with your feet flat on the ground. Thrust upwards, swinging both kettlebells up above your head, until both arms are fully extended. Under control, swing your arms back down and resume the squat position.



Double Kettlebell SwingsDouble Kettlebell Swings


Exercise: Single Leg Thrusts

Reps: 5 reps on each leg

Description / Notes:

Lie on your back with legs extended. Place one kettlebell on your right foot so that your foot is in the kettlebell handle. Bend your knee and bring this leg up to your chest. Thrust out this leg at a 70-degree angle above your body.



Kettlebell Single Leg ThrustsKettlebell Single Leg Thrusts


Kettlebell Single Leg Thrusts


Exercise: “Get Ups”

Reps: 5 reps on each leg

Description / Notes:

Lie on your back with your legs extended; hold a kettlebell in each hand on your shoulders. Sit up, keeping your legs extended. Position one knee out to your side so that you can then thrust your torso upwards into a kneeling position. Then stand up keeping both kettlebells at shoulder height. To complete the rep, squat down into a seated position and then lie back extending your legs.



Kettlebell Get UpsKettlebell Get Ups


Kettlebell Get UpsKettlebell Get Ups


Kettlebell Get UpsKettlebell Get Ups

Kettlebell Get Ups




Kettlebell Circuit 4 – Upper Body

Instructions

Complete 3 full circuits – vary kettlebell weight according to ability and fitness level.

2 Kettlebells of equal weight required to complete the circuit.


Exercise: Shoulder Rotations

Reps: 10 reps each way

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of you. Swing the kettlebell up and to the left, bend your elbows and pass the kettlebell behind your head bringing it round and back down to your front.


Kettlebell Shoulder RotationsKettlebell Shoulder Rotations


Kettlebell Shoulder RotationsKettlebell Shoulder Rotations



Exercise: Push Out, Push Up

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell with both hands in front of you at chest height. Extend your arms outwards with the kettlebell. Bring the kettlebell back to your chest and then extend your arms upwards. Bringing the kettlebell back to your chest completes 1 repetition.



Kettlebell Push Out, Push UpKettlebell Push Out, Push Up

Kettlebell Push Out, Push UpKettlebell Push Out, Push Up



Exercise: The “Lightening Bolt”

Reps: 10 reps each way

Description / Notes:

Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Start with one kettlebell by your left foot, grabbing it with your right hand. Thrust upwards bringing the kettlebell to your right shoulder (rack position). Then thrust your right arm out to your side, extending at a 45-degree angle. Bring the kettlebell back down to your left foot under control.



Kettlebell The “Lightening Bolt”Kettlebell The “Lightening Bolt”


Kettlebell The “Lightening Bolt”



Exercise: Overhead Triceps Extensions

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Hold a kettlebell with both hands behind your neck, elbows bent. Extend your arms upwards, bringing the kettlebell up above your head. Return under control.




Kettlebell Overhead Triceps ExtensionsKettlebell Overhead Triceps Extensions


Kettlebell Overhead Triceps Extensions



Exercise: Dynamic Press Up

Reps: 5 reps on each arm

Description / Notes:

Adopt the press-up position, grasping a kettlebell in each hand. Press down until your torso is just above the floor. Then press up and, maintaining your balance, bring one kettlebell off the ground towards your chest. Ensuring you keep your balance, return to the starting position and repeat.



Kettlebell Dynamic Press UpKettlebell Dynamic Press Up

Kettlebell Dynamic Press UpKettlebell Dynamic Press Up



Kettlebell Circuit 5 – Abdominals & Core

Instructions

Complete 3 full circuits – vary kettlebell weight according to ability and fitness level.

2 Kettlebells of equal weight required to complete the circuit.


Exercise: Russian Twists

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Sit with your knees bent and balanced off the ground, hold a kettlebell with both hands on your chest. Bring the kettlebell down to your right side so it touches the ground, and then bring in up and across your body so it touches the ground on your left side. Return the kettlebell to the starting position to finish the rep and repeat 9 more times.



Kettlebell Russian TwistsKettlebell Russian Twists


Kettlebell Russian Twists



Exercise: Horizontal “Wood Chops”

Reps: 5 reps on each side

Description / Notes:

Lie on your back with your legs extended; hold a kettlebell with both hands above your head. Sit up and bring the kettlebell over your head and down to your right side. Return to the start position and then sit up again, this time bringing the kettlebell down to your left side. Complete 5 repetitions on each side.



Kettlebell Horizontal “Wood Chops”Kettlebell Horizontal “Wood Chops”

Kettlebell Horizontal “Wood Chops”



Exercise: Straight Arm Sit Ups

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Sit on the ground with your legs flat out in front of you, holding a kettlebell with both hands above your head. Keeping your arms extended lie down until your back is flat on the ground. You should be holding the kettlebell above your body with your arms at a 45-degree angle. Sit back up to complete the repetition.


Kettlebell Straight Arm Sit UpsKettlebell Straight Arm Sit Ups


Kettlebell Straight Arm Sit Ups



Exercise: Figure of 8’s

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Sit with your knees bent and balanced off the ground, holding a kettlebell with both hands on your chest. Keeping your feet off the ground, pass the kettlebell between your legs and underneath your right knee. Bring the kettlebell over your right leg and then underneath your left leg so you perform a "figure of 8" with the kettlebell.


Kettlebell Figure of 8’sKettlebell Figure of 8’s

Kettlebell Figure of 8’sKettlebell Figure of 8’s



Exercise: Sit Up Punch Outs

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

Lie on your back with your legs extended and bent at the knees, holding a kettlebell in each hand by your shoulders. Sit up and then push both kettlebells out so your arms are fully extended. Return to the start position under control.


Kettlebell Sit Up Punch OutsKettlebell Sit Up Punch Outs

Kettlebell Sit Up Punch Outs




Kettlebell Circuit 6 – Legs

Instructions

Complete 3 full circuits – vary kettlebell weight according to ability and fitness level.

2 Kettlebells of equal weight required to complete the circuit.


Exercise: Preacher Squats

Reps: 5 reps on each leg

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell in each hand at shoulder height. Lower your body and place your right knee on the ground, keeping your left foot flat on the floor. Then bring your left knee down as well so both knees are on the floor. From this kneeling position bring your right foot up and then push up, back into a standing position.


Kettlebell Preacher SquatsKettlebell Preacher Squats

Kettlebell Preacher SquatsKettlebell Preacher Squats

Kettlebell Preacher Squats




RELATED: Squat Variations: Evaluating Squat Variations For Weight Training



Exercise: Dynamic “Jump” Lunges

Reps: 5 reps on each leg

Description / Notes:

Start this exercise in the lunge position, right leg in front of you bent at the knee, left leg behind you. Hold a kettlebell in each hand. Spring upwards, jumping off the ground. Whilst in the air swap the position of your legs and return to the lunge position.


Kettlebell Dynamic “Jump” LungesKettlebell Dynamic “Jump” Lunges

Kettlebell Dynamic “Jump” Lunges



Exercise: Burpees

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

The Classic Burpee! Made that little bit harder by adding two kettlebells. Adopt the press-up position grasping a kettlebell in each hand. Bring your knees up to your chest in one fluid motion. Then spring upwards holding both kettlebells and jump off the ground. As you return, squat down and place both kettlebells on the floor, then maintaining your balance, thrust your legs out behind you into the press-up position.


Kettlebell BurpeesKettlebell Burpees

Kettlebell Burpees



Exercise: Side Lunges

Reps: 5 reps on each leg

Description / Notes:

Stand holding a kettlebell close to your chest. Lunge to your right side, bending your right knee, whilst keeping a straight back. Make sure your foot and knee are aligned so as not to put too much pressure on your knee joint. Spring back to a standing-upright position and then repeat on your left side.


Kettlebell Side LungesKettlebell Side Lunges

Kettlebell Side Lunges



Exercise: Double Kettlebell Clean

Reps: 10 reps

Description / Notes:

From a squat position, hold a kettlebell in each hand. Thrust upwards, using your hips to swing the kettlebells into the rack position, by your shoulders. In one fluid motion bend your knees and "sit" into the squat position. Then push upwards into a standing position. Return the kettlebells to the floor under control and repeat.


Double Kettlebell CleanDouble Kettlebell Clean

Double Kettlebell Clean


Conclusions

Kettlebells are a fantastic bit of gym equipment. Used as part of a varied workout routine they can really help to deliver the exercise goals you want to achieve.
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