Kettlebell Training for Beginners

Posted: May 26, 2016 in Strength and Conditioning for Health and Fitness

Competition Grade Kettlebells

 

Are you looking for ways to be fit? Do you want to trim off that extra bulge from your tummy? Do you want to improve your cardiovascular health? Become stronger and move better? Feel younger? The great news is there is a way for you to reach these goals. In fact, there are many ways. But let’s focus on one way at a time and this topic focuses on kettlebell training for beginners.

Engaging in a regular physical activity has a lot of benefits like those mentioned above. The advantage of training with kettlebells is that it improves almost all of your fitness components. It makes your heart, muscles, joints, and even your mind stronger. Some activities specialize in making your heart stronger but won’t necessarily make your muscles stronger. Kettlebell training can do both and more! It gives you the benefit of more than one type of physical activity.

You can also include Animal Flow into your training!

Since there is a first time for everything, this topic is called kettlebell training for beginners. Let’s go to some common questions for someone who is new to kettlebell training:

What is a kettlebell?

Cast Iron Kettlebells

It is a type of free weight – a type of equipment used in training for fitness. There are basically two types of kettlebells – the classic cast iron type and the competition grade. Both types are great for beginners. But if you plan to try kettlebell sport someday, the competition grade is better. And yes, there is actually a Kettlebell Sport!

How heavy should I be lifting?

In Strength training, we follow the principle of progressive overload. This means that you start with a light to moderate load (weight) with low to moderate volume (how many sets and repetitions). Then you increase volume as you get better in your technique. You increase the load as your strength improves.

Another design of cast iron kettlebell

For most ladies, 6 to 8 kg is fine to begin with. 12 to 14 kg would be ok for men. 16 kg would be good for bigger and stronger guys.

What exercise can I do with kettlebells?

There are literally thousands of exercises that you can do with the kettlebell. You do not need to know all of them but here are four exercises which you can do as a beginner. But note that even seasoned kettlebell lifters do these exercises! They are quite important and are very useful in training your gluteals (the big muscles which make up your butt), hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoids, almost all if not all your “core” muscles (layers of muscles around your torso), shoulder girdle, forearms, and arms. Here are four great exercises to begin with:

1. Arm to arm swing– start with the kettlebell around a foot in front of you. Feet around hip or shoulder width apart. Keep your back in a strong erect position. Grab the handle and pull the bell towards you letting it pass between your legs. As the kettlebell reaches the farthest point in its backswing and is about to change direction of swing, push the forearm of your holding hand with your hip as you exhale forcefully. This will propel the kettlebell straight out in front of you. Let your free arm swing forward and as the kettlebell reaches the highest point (it should be around chest level), switch grip with the other hand. The kettlebell will swing back again and you just repeat the cycle.

 

2.Two arm swing– very similar to the arm to arm swing except that you grab the handle with both hands. There is obviously no switching between arms.

 

3. One arm press– rack the kettlebell on one arm. Keep your abdominal tight as you press (push) the kettlebell straight up. Your elbows should be straight and your biceps close to your ear. Hold your arms in a steady position before you lower it to the rack position under control. Breath in the rack position and start another repetition.

 

 

4.One arm clean and push press/ 1 arm long cycle– start with a swing using 1 arm but pull the kettlebell toba rack position. From there proceed to pressing the kettlebell overhead. Lower it again to the rack position before letting it drop to a one arm swing. Repeat the cycle with the same arm.

You may need more time to work on this. It can be challenging, but hey!, its not fun if it is too easy. There would be no stimulus for growth without challenge!

 

Important tips when executing the movements in each exercise:

  • Avoid slouching: do not hunch your back. Keep your chest “open” or “hold it high”.
  • Keep your abdominal muscles tensed. It helps in keeping your back in a good position.
  • Breath. Do not hold your breath but exhale forcefully as you swing or push or pull the kettlebell.

 

Can I learn the exercises in one training session?

It takes more than one session to learn and each person has a different rate of learning. Some can quickly learn the more efficient techniques in a few sessions. Some longer. Working with a qualified and experienced kettlebell teacher or coach greatly accelerates the learning process. Remember that there are variations in techniques but it is the most efficient one for your body type that is best for you. It takes lots and lots of training sessions to improve. And that is the beauty of training with kettlebells. It challenges you to become better.

How will I train?

Here is a suggested routine. Try it for 2 weeks. At first you may be sore. That is a normal reaction. To minimize this, do a good warm-up and cool down. Do some stretches and drink a lot of water. It is also very important to have enough sleep.

kb training for beginners1

Remember that to be able to feel and see fitness improvements, you have to train regularly consistently. The results will come as long as you put enough effort. If you train properly 3 times a week, you may feel some improvement in as short as two weeks.

Share to your friends now! Your comments, questions and feedback are highly appreciated. Please leave them on the comments section below!

Comments
  1. francis batnag says:

    Is this training ok for those experiencing sciatic pain?

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    • Sciatic pain may be caused by impingement of the sciatic nerve as it passes through the buttocks. Usually tight piriformis muscle is the cause since it squeezes the sciatic nerve as it passes through it. Stretching the piriformis and hamstrings may help in reducing or even relieving the discomfort. The KB swing stretches the hamstrings and causes the gluteal (buttocks) to contract and work. It may cause some irritation initially so be very careful especially if it is quite new for you. The best course of action is to try the KB exercises gradually. You may not follow the suggested repetition in the article. Do 5 reps per set just to get used to the tension. Observe your body’s reaction. If your sciatica becomes worst, do not do it. But hopefully not. If you feel fine, you gradually increase your repetition to 10 reps per set. I suggest doing these exercises to help improve your condition: Quick Stretch and exercise for reducing back discomfort. Thanks for your comments!

      Like

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