I’ve used kettlebells here and there, but never really felt super confident in incorporating them into my routine. So when my gym put on a free kettlebell workshop, I signed right up. I had to pass up my regular Saturday Zumba time to make it to the class, but I figured I’d benefit from knowing a bit more about the good old “K-Bs” as I now fondly call them. (I call them that as of right this second, anyway.)
The trainer took us four K-B newbies under his wing, and made us all feel totally comfortable. Comfortable enough that I was making pelvic floor jokes before the class let out. (Maybe too comfortable?) Anyway, he made us feel comfortable enough to take things at our own pace and weight, and we were able to ask questions about form, no matter how nit-picky they were. In the 45-minute session, he went over four moves — the swing, goblet squat with overhead press, figure 8 and the snatch. We did each of the moves for two minutes while he corrected form and gave us tips. Then once we were comfortable with all of the moves, we went through the circuit again for two minutes per move. If you do the math, that’s just 16 minutes of work. But that 16 minutes made my legs jiggle, had me sweating and my heart rate up, and I was sore for the next several days. Here are just a few tips I brought home with me, along with my sore butt.
1. Wear proper footwear. Seriously, what are the stock art people even thinking sometimes? Normal gym clothes are perfect for a kettlebell workout.
2. Expect cardio. If you’re new to kettlebells, you might think it’s all about super strength. But it’s way more cardio than you’d expect, particularly doing kettlebell swings. Two minutes of that felt like going for a run.
3. Grab several weights. Don’t automatically assume you’re a weakling because you’re trying something new. Grab a couple of different weight options so you can move up or down as needed — or challenge yourself once you’ve got the form down.
4. Beginners can do it, too. I didn’t even know kettlebells came in 5-pound options, but found out when a lady in our group opted for those after she got a bit tired. They’re adorable.
5. It’s all about that base. Kettlebells are so much more about your core, hips and butt than your upper body. My arms weren’t a bit sore after the workout but my butt and thighs felt it for days. This is also why you’re probably able to grab a bit more weight than you might think (see No. 2 and 3).
6. Get expert advice. Technique is really important, not only to reduce the risk of injury, but also to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Someone with a lot of kettlebell know-how will be able to tweak your form for the better.
Here’s the workout I did if you want to give it a try — provided you get proper guidance from the links above and feel comfortable with the moves!
Do you incorporate kettlebells into your workout routine? I must say, I’m a convert! —Erin