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Kettlebells for Variety!

KettlebellSlideI’m always looking for new ways to provide an additional variety to my workouts. Recently, I have started to add kettlebells into the mix when doing traditional moves to add a different challenge.  I find that swapping out a dumbbell for a kettlebell really forces additional work on my entire body, but especially my core (primarily with one arm movements) and my forearms (depending on the grip  As I am still learning with the advanced movements, here is a challenging full body workout that can help you transition into the use of kettlebells.  All exercises can be performed with 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

BENCH PRESS – Using a flat bench, lie on your back with a kettlebell in each hand.  Hold the handle with your palms facing backwards and the kettlebell resting on the back of your wrist.  The starting position will have your elbows by your side, and the kettlebells resting at chest level.  Push your arms straight up over your chest and then slowly lower to the starting position.SQUAT – Stand with feet shoulder width apart in an upright position while holding a kettlebell (or 2) between your legs.  Squat down while maintaining a flat back until your thighs go below parallel.  Hold for a count and then return to the starting position.

OVERHEAD PRESS – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with a kettlebell in each hand.  At the starting position, hold the kettlebells with your knuckles to the back and your upper arm parallel to the floor. Slowly raise them over your head.  Hold for a count and then return to the starting position.

ROMANIAN DEADLIFT – Stand while holding two kettlebells in front of your body. With a flat back and a slight bend in your knees, bend at the waist to them. Return to the starting position by contracting your hamstrings and repeat for reps. I like to stand on an elevated platform so in order to make sure that I get a good stretch when lowering the bar.

SINGLE ARM ROW – Place one hand and that same knee on a bench, with your opposite hand holding a kettlebell with your arm at full extension. Your other foot will be flat on the floor.  While keeping your back straight row the kettlebell by pulling your elbow as high as you can while keeping your arm close to your side.  Once the desired number of reps is complete, switch your position and perform the exercise with the alternate arm.

CURLS (HAMMER) – Stand with a kettlebell in each hand, knuckles facing out and held by your side.  While keeping your wrist straight and knuckles out, curl the kettlebell up to shoulder height.  Hold for a count and return to the starting position.  You can alternate arms or perform the exercise with both arms at the same time.

You could add in additional core work as a finisher.  Also as a bonus finish off with a set of kettlebell swings.

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width and your legs bent into a squat position.  With a flat back, head forward, and arms extended (towards the floor) with both hands on a kettlebell rise up and swing the kettlebell slightly above your shoulder height.  Keep your abdominals tight and return to the starting position.  Start with a lower weight to practice this movement.  Practice your form with this one and all new movements before increasing the weight.

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