Packing on Muscle with Kettlebells

by Wendy on March 6, 2015

Kettlebells aren’t anything new, but their popularity in fitness circles continues to rise. When used correctly, kettlebells are extremely effective training tools for providing total-body strength and conditioning.

Kettlebell WorkoutThey get a bad rap when it comes to building large amounts of muscle. People wrongly believe that because the heaviest kettlebell you can commonly find is 100 lbs. that they must be useless for gaining large chunks of meat.

Despite the heaviest bells typically being 100 lbs., 200 lbs. of kettlebells doesn’t feel the same as 200 lbs. using a barbell. The kettlebell’s offset shape means that instead of the load being lifted almost directly in line with the joints, as with a barbell, it needs to travel a much more difficult path to get overhead. Because of the way kettlebells tend to pull your arms backward while pressing, the body has to overcome much more than just the physical weight of the bell.

Here are a few muscle-building exercises you can work on:

Kettlebell single-arm shoulder press

  1. Stand with the kettlebell just outside your shoulder, palm facing forward.
  2. Push the weight straight overhead, and then slowly lower it back down to the starting position.

 

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body as well as the least stable, so it’s important to maintain proper form, keeping your elbow close to your side.

Kettlebell windmill

  1. With the kettlebell still overhead, pivot your feet so your toes point 45 degrees away from the weight.
  2. Keeping your right arm straight overhead, push your hips to the right and slide your left hand down your left leg.
  3. Pause, and then reverse the move to return to the start.

 

Not only will this strengthen your shoulders, but it also hits your core.

Farmer’s walk

  1. Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and let them hang naturally at arm’s length by your sides, holding them as tightly as possible.
  2. Now walk for as long as you can before your grip starts to fail. (For an added challenge, grasp each dumbbell by its end, or walk on your toes to make the exercise do double duty by targeting your calves.)

 

If you can walk for longer than 60 seconds, you’re ready for a heavier weight.

Kettlebell single-arm front squat

  1. Bring the kettlebell into the “rack position”—right elbow by your side, weight in front of your right shoulder, palm facing in.
  2. Push your hips back and lower your body into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then stand back up.

 

Doing squats with a barbell puts a lot of stress on your wrists, but with kettlebells, your wrists stay in a safe, neutral position.

Kettlebell single-arm snatch

  1. Grab a kettlebell with your right hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, letting the kettlebell hang at arm’s length in front of you.
  2. Swing it between your legs and, in one fluid motion, pull it forward and up.
  3. When it reaches heart level, flip it behind your forearm and punch it overhead.

 

The snatch trains your whole body in one move.

Wendy

Wendy

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
My name is Wendy and I'm one of the main contributors to our blog. I'm a retired elementary school teacher who's found a new passion for all things relating to health and wellness. If you feel like your body is not in the place it should be, join the club! We're here to help get you where you want to be in a long term way, and avoiding any extreme diets in the process. We believe in natural sustainable methods to reach a state of homeostasis. We want to get our body, spirit, and soul into prime shape and really start loving ourselves! Wendy's favorite product is Raspberry Ketone 1234
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