I am a no nonsense personal trainer and I like effective equipment. I tend to be unimpressed with kettlebells for a few reasons. One: thanks to Crossfit, people think kettlebells are a new invention, ancient Greek athletes used kettlebells and then somehow the Russians got them in the 1700s. Ever since, Eastern Bloc track and field and weight lifting stars have been tossing them around in utilitarian compounds for Mother Russia. And I love Russians, don't get me wrong, it's just that ... Two: A standard free weight will generally allow you to do the same exercise, yah, yah there are some tossing and flipping but unless you are needing this movement in daily life, I am still unclear how flipping a kettlebell over you wrist is essential for weight lifting. However, I am always willing to play with equipment and it's good to change things up. I enjoy designing workouts that are effective and effecient and get everything done in one workout. For those of us with tight schedules, we need total body in the shortest amount of time. Here is an effective total body kettlebell workout.
Kettlebell Squat with Arm Raise Tabata. 4 min
Begin with the feet slightly wider than hip width. Sit into a squat engaging the glutes and hamstrings, particularly on the up. Return to standing and use the upward momentum and your arms to lift the kettle bell out in front of the chest with straight arms. Do not lift higher then the shoulders and control the momentum from the core. For the tabata: 20 seconds of squats with and arm lift at standing followed by 10 seconds of rest for 4 minutes or 8 reps. Go fairly heavy with the weight.
Begin with the kettlebell on one side of the body. Using the obiques and core, release the kettlebell down bending the torso and keeping the arm lightly engaged and lift the kettlebell from the boiques and core back to square upright.
Single Leg Deadlifts
This exercise is easy to cheat, make sure you are consciously engaging the hamstrings and glutes. Place the right foot forward in a split stance. You can lift the left leg or let the toe touch the ground for balance. Bend into the front leg dropping the kettlebell below the knee. Straighten the right leg, (without locking the knee) use the hamstring and glutes to hinge from the hips and come up with a flat back to standing. Alternate legs or stay on one side for the set, then switch.
Single Arm Row
Begin in a split stance, row the opposite arm of the front leg. For the row, begin with the arm straight and lift the arm to a bent position using the rhomboid, low traps and shoulder muscles. Think of pulling the scapula in toward the spine. It is easy to use just the arm with this movement and not the back muscles. Use the back muscles and do both sides.
Begin hip width apart, thread the left leg behind the right leg, stepping back into a curtsy position, then return to hip width. Bring the kettle bell to the side with the back leg. Alternate sides. Watch the knee alignment of the front leg, keep the knee over the ankle or as close a possible. Use the glutes and hamstrings to help with the press up and lower down movements.
Begin with the kettle bell down the right side of the body and lift the left arm up overhead. Using the obliques and core, plus the shoulder and back muscles lift the right arm up to a T-position, just to shoulder height. Lower the right arm back down to the side, raising the left arm overhead. Do both sides.
This is an alternative tricep lift. Bring the kettle bell behind the back. Stand hip width apart, with a slight bend in the knees. Roll the shoulders back and down, engage the core. Lift the arms behind the body engaging the backsides of the arms, aka the triceps.
How to Make This Workout Quick
Be efficient and work two exercises together, resting one muslce group while the other works. Give muscle groups 30 seconds to 1 minute off for full recovery. So work the oblique lifts on both sides, then do the sets of deadlifts on both sides, then repeat.
Begin with the Squat Tabata 4 mins
Oblique Lifts (3 Sets 10 – 12 reps)
Dead Lifts (3 Sets 10 – 12 reps)
Single Arm Row (3 Sets 10 – 12 reps)
Curtsy Squat (3 Sets 10 – 12 reps)
Tricep Raise (3 Sets 10 – 12 reps)
Windmill Lifts (3 Sets 10 – 12 reps)
For extra fun add in
Push-ups (3 Sets 10 – 12 reps)
Crunches (3 Sets 10 – 12 reps)