I started my kettlebell journey in my living room.
Actually scratch that, it actually started in a bar… I mean, don’t most things in Ireland?
I share this exact story on my podcast as I interview my now good friend Rosa who inspired me to join her online programmes and do her kettlebell videos on YouTube.
And that is where my journey started. After buying my plastic coated, sand filled kettlebells from Davina McCall from Argos, I swung my kettlebells in my living room and even though I knew I didn’t do it as well as I could or as long as I should I was getting results really quickly such as leaner arms and a leaner midsection.
Listen to that podcast episode here:
The kettlebell is an extremely versatile piece of training equipment to have at home. Kettlebells offer unique training benefits over dumbbells—the uneven weight distribution will challenge you to control the weight as you swing, press, or pull.
What is a Kettlebell?
Kettlebells are cast-iron ball-shaped weights with handles that come in a variety of weights. They are designed to be held in one or both hands while performing a variety of exercises. Kettlebells are used by people of all ages and abilities to combine cardio, strength, flexibility and endurance training.
Why Use Them?
1. Challenge yourself by shifting your centre of gravity
Using a kettlebell will change your centre of gravity so your core muscles will have to constantly be firing to stabilise you. No matter which part of the body you’re focusing on, you’re bound to get a full body workout!
2. You only need the space of a yoga mat and 1 or 2 bells
Kettlebell training is more like a practice rather than a workout – just like yoga. This means it is also easy to do, with shorter more meaningful workouts and you can get a full body workout without having to invest in lots of equipment. This equipment can be easily stored by easily shoving them in a cupboard or under a bed!
3. Cardio workout
Kettlebell workouts involve a lot of movement, so your body is forced to use more effort just to complete the strength training giving you a great cardio workout too.
That means you’ll be smashing your strength and cardio workout in one session… less time at the gym means more time at home with friends and family!
4. No need for a fancy gym membership or expensive training equipment
If you don’t want to go to a gym for your workouts, having a few kettlebells in various weights could be almost everything you need to complete your fitness goals. They are so versatile that you’ll be able to train every muscle group and they take up very little floor space.
You can do the workouts in the comfort of your own home (if you’re careful) so it’s far cheaper than a yearly gym membership or buying an exercise bike or treadmill.
Mistakes To Avoid:
1. Going too light
Many people are unsure when it comes to kettlebells, so they tend to go lighter than if they were using traditional weights like dumbbells and barbells. Going lighter on your weights makes your workout obsolete – you won’t be activating your muscles and getting the most out of your time.
Fix it: Here is our guide to building your first kettlebell. Try doing a classic kettlebell swing (more on that later) with a weight you think you can lift, and 1 or 2 kettlebells that are heavier. If you can do the move with proper form but still feel sufficient resistance as you use it, use that weight. You’ll probably surprise yourself and be able to lift a heavier weight than you first thought!
2. Complicated moves
Kettlebells allow are a huge variety of different exercises and to challenge the user some of them can be quite complex. If you are unsure of how to complete an exercise, don’t do it (especially if you are just beginning your training). Using a kettlebell means you’ll naturally use more muscles, compared to other types of training, just make sure you are doing them correctly to avoid injury.
Fix it: Learn the basic kettlebell exercises first and work your way up to the harder stuff. Always ask for help if you are unsure as this will prevent injury and help you get the most from your workout.
3. Too many reps
While training on your feet with a heavy kettlebell, your body will be using multiple muscle groups to lift the weights and stabilise you, which means your body will get tired quicker than usual. If you aim for too many reps you may hurt yourself by overperforming the move with form that faults as you fatigue.
Fix it: Aim for much lower reps while you get used to this form of training. Aim for about 5 reps per set to begin with and build up from there as you and your body adjust to the training.
4. You use the same form as dumbbell training
In most kettlebell exercises it’s okay to use the same form as you would do with dumbbell training. However, some moves will need adjustment in technique to allow for the difference the weight has on your centre of gravity. While some motions may look similar, some moves will require different timing and positioning.
Fix it: If you’re not totally sure what the proper form is, ask us for help, especially with the more advanced moves as you don’t want to hurt yourself!