Most Common Kettlebell Movements and Benefits
Written by Melissa Hurley
Do you have love or no love for the Kettlebell?
Either way, you may be thinking that you could do all the same exercises you do with a kettlebell just the same with a dumbbell. While this is true, anyone that has used both will tell you that kettlebells are more challenging to handle. Kettlebell handles are much thicker than dumbbells and will give you a vice grip in no time. Think about doing kettlebell swings and pull- ups in the same workout – ouch grip! Also, the off centered weight of a kettlebell will force you to use more stabilizer muscles (yay, core strength!) and work the targeted muscles through a longer range of motion. Demanding more work from your muscles is key if you’re trying to burn calories. The ballistic shock of kettlebells is also an interesting teaching tool to learn how to absorb shock efficiently. Kettlebells can be used to achieve strength, mass, flexibility, coordination, fat loss and endurance.
Let’s take a look at the most common kettlebell movements and their benefits.
Burn baby, burn! The kettlebell swing provides a high rate of calorie burning because it involves nearly every muscle in your body. According to fitness author Tim Ferriss, the kettlebell swing is the “king of exercises” and can assist in weight loss. The kettlebell swing targets your shoulders, back, abdominals, hips, glutes, and legs.
Kettlebell “Goblet” Squat
This kettlebell counterpart of barbell squats offers similar benefits as well as it incorporates your arms into what is mainly a lower-body exercise. The squat works your leg and glute muscles, which are among the largest muscles in your body and recruits your core to stabilize. If you’re an advanced squatter, the goblet squat can be awesome for warming up or increase the weight and change the tempo to make it more spicy.
Kettlebell Deadlift, Single Leg Deadlift, Bulgarian Goat Bagger Swing
POSTERIOR CHAIN GALORE! All three of these movements are awesome for your hamstrings and glutes, plus stabilizing your core. I especially love the single leg deadlift as it adds an additional balance eliminate.
You can check out Coach Michele’s “I’m a Goat Bagger” blog post with instructions here: https://www.crossfitinvictus.com/blog/im-a-goat-bagger/.
The farmer carry is another phenomenal grip builder and great for developing powerful legs, hips, strength through the core and a strong stabilizing back and shoulders. If heavy enough and the distance long enough, your whole body will start screaming at you. The Farmers Carry is also a useful movement for your everyday life – talk about “functional” fitness.
You can check out Coach Michele’s “Farmer Carries – Super Beneficial Yet Widely Underused” blog post with instructions.
Bent-Over Row and Bat Wings
Do you know where your Rhomboids and your Latissimus Dorsi muscles are located? Oh yes, your back. The Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) help extend your arms backward, pull them toward your sides from overhead and turn them inward. How solid is your posture? I sure know mine needs constant focus.
The Rhomboids elevate and retract or pull back the scapula bones in your upper back. These two sound like the perfect recipe to strengthen anyone’s posture. Don’t forget the back just because the beach muscles are in the front!
These are just some of the kettlebell basics that you’ll see a lot in our programming. Now you know the benefits and why we do them often. Kettlebells from a functioning standpoint are awesome because they can go pretty much anywhere with you and store easily. If you’re look to achieve strength, mass, flexibility, coordination, fat loss and/or endurance, then kettlebells can be a “Super Friend”!