Fitness

Why You Should Add Kettlebells To Your Workout

Kettlebells are the workout tool that can pretty much replace every piece of equipment you’ve ever owned, as Robert Christopher, a personal trainer at online fitness platform Roncari (roncari-clubs.co.uk), explains

1. Take your cardio up a notch

Want to combine cardio and strength training? “Adding kettlebells to your workout routine can increase your heart rate while improving strength,” says Robert. “You don’t need a huge space (unless you’re doing kettlebell swings), so you can do a workout in the comfort of your own home. In fact, you can probably slash the time of your normal exercise routine in half, as you’ll increase the intensity of your session and probably sweat more.”

2. Age-proof your lower body

Simpler tasks such as getting up off our knees and bending down becomes more difficult as we get older, so strengthening your lower body can help to keep your bones, ligaments and tendons functioning well. “Squats utilise muscles in the legs, hips and the glutes,” says Robert. “Using kettlebells can make for a more intense workout and aid muscle development. 5kg is a good weight for beginners, whereas 8kg is more suitable for people who regularly strength train. Position your kettlebell between your legs and keep your feet shoulder-width apart. As you squat, bend your knees and squeeze the muscles in the top of your glutes as you stand up. Keep your back straight and your heels on the ground. Complete up to three sets of five, for 12 repetitions.”

3. Strengthen your core

Weak core muscles can also leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries. “To work your obliques, hold one kettlebell on your right side with one hand, making sure your body is in a neutral position with your arm loosely hanging down,” says Robert. “Lean towards the side your kettlebell is on to allow a stretch in your left obliques, then lean all the way to the opposite side, allowing a contraction in the left side of your obliques. For this exercise, start off with 4-5kg weight at five to 10 repetitions, and complete three sets on both sides.”

4. Build a stronger upper body

Ditching dumbbells for kettlebells can increase the muscles in your shoulders, triceps, and lats, while working your core at the same time. “Kettlebell rows are a great exercise to start off with,” says Robert. “Simply place your feet shoulder-width apart with your legs slightly bent, and lean forward to an 80-degree angle. Hold the kettlebell in one hand with your arm straight, and raise the kettlebell towards the ceiling by bending your elbow joint so the back of your arm is parallel to the ceiling. Keep your shoulders down towards your hips and away from your ear. Complete three sets of five for 12 repetitions on each side.”

Health & Wellbeing