Kettlebells are an invaluable asset to your training.
The shape of the bell and distribution of the weight allows you move them around in ways that are difficult, or even impossible, to replicate with dumbbells. You can swing them to build explosive power and even perform Bicep Curls to build massive arms.
Kettlebells were a staple of the Gronkowski brothers' training when they were growing up. They used them to develop the strength, power, core stability and balance needed to battle with and overpower defenders.
Here are three exercises inspired by the Gronks' kettlebell training.
The KB Swing is one of the best ways to develop powerful glutes and improve lower-back health—if done correctly. This exercise translates to improved power in fundamental athletic skills, such as sprinting and jumping.
However, many people fail to reap the benefits of the exercise because of one common mistake: They pull the weight up with their arms. Instead, you should powerfully extend your hips to propel the kettlebell and simply control the weight with your arms. Also, the kettlebell shouldn't go over your head. That would place unnecessary stress on your shoulders.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettlebell by the handle in front of your waist.
- Sit your hips back and slightly bend your knees to swing the kettlebell between your legs.
- Forcefully drive your hips forward to propel the kettlebell into the air.
- Control the kettlebell with your arms, but don't pull it up.
- Allow the kettlebell to swing down and back through your legs. Control the descent by keeping your muscles engaged.
- As the kettlebell swings between your legs, move immediately and fluidly into the next rep.
For more detailed instructions on the Kettlebell Swing, check out this step-by-step guide.
Kettlebell Squat to Curl
The Kettlebell Squat to Curl looks primarily like a lower-body exercise. It is a Squat, after all. But the beauty of this exercise is the way it works your core. As you lower the kettlebell, it gets farther away from your torso and challenges your core. This teaches your core muscles to fire in the squat position, which improves technique and strength in the movement.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettlebell by the handle in front of your chest.
- Sit your hips back and lower into a Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Keeping your core tight, slowly perform a Bicep Curl with the kettlebell.
- Drive through your heels and extend your hips to stand up to the starting position.
Kettlebell Figure 8
The Figure-8 improves core strength, grip strength and coordination. It can be used as a dynamic warm-up exercise to elevate your heart rate, or as part of a finisher at the end of your workout.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettlebell in one hand.
- Pass the kettlebell from one hand to the other in a figure-8 pattern between your legs, bending your knees during each pass-through.
Sets/Reps: 3x10 each direction
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