True story – when I moved to Chicago my dad asked me what gift would make me happy to see arrive in the mail (to help ease the inevitable first-big-move-away-from-home sads). And do you know what immediately popped into my head? A kettlebell. Sure enough, a week later I had a very heavy package arrive and my doorman cautioned me to be careful when carrying this mysterious thing upstairs.
I didn’t know much about kettlebells at that point and ordered a weight I knew I could manage. Two years later, I’ve gotten more comfortable with kettlebell workouts and often push myself to swing a heavier bell in group classes or on my own when I make up a workout. But there’s also so much more you can do than swing it Russian or American-style. Tackle this workout that only uses a kettlebell when you’re at the gym this week and challenge yourself to grab a size that scares you a little. Let us know what you think afterwards.
This is your kettlebell workout:
It’s a stacked format, meaning you’ll always coming back to the first exercise to start each new round and add a new exercise each time you complete a round. There is a :30 rest after each round (i.e. after every time you complete a new move). At first, it won’t feel like you need the full :30 to rest but after a few rounds, you’ll be working straight through for many minutes to the best of your ability, and you’ll enjoy that :30 to set the kettlebell down and shake it out.
So grab a timer and start with :30 of your first move, goblet squat. Then rest for :30. Then start back at the top with goblet squats and do :30 of alternating curtsy lunges after, then rest for :30 again. Continue that pattern until you get through all nine movements.
To finish out the workout, repeat everything one more time all the way through for :30 each in reverse order (starting with reverse lunges and ending with goblet squats).
Here are the moves:
- Goblet squats
- Alternating curtsy lunges
- Russian twists
- Kettlebell swings
- One arm/one leg reaches
- Vertical jump with twist
- Alternating plank reaches
- Alternating reverse lunge with twist
Here’s the breakdown of moves:
Goblet squats: Hold the kettlebell at your chest with your feet in an athletic stance. Lower down to a squat, sitting your glutes back and down – tuck your pelvis to keep your back from arching. Exhale to stand back up and squeeze your glutes at the top of your range of motion.
Alternating curtsy lunges: Hold the kettlebell at your chest, starting with your feet in an athletic stance. Step your right foot back and on a diagonal behind you, lowering down into a lunge. Keep your hips facing forward and knees in the same direction as your toes.
Russian twists: From a seated position, lean back to engage your core and keep your chest lifted. Exhale to twist to the right, come back through center, then exhale again to twist left. Make this more difficult by lifting your heels to hover off the, squeezing them together and avoiding and swaying of your knees.
Kettlebell swings: With the kettlebell in front of your toes, hinge forward from your hips to grab the bell lightly. Gently bend your knees and hike the kettlebell up like a football to start the swing. Thrusting your hips forward, use momentum to drive the weight in front of you. This should be more of a leg and core exercise. Swing, don’t lift the weight with your arms. Use your core to control the weight as it travels up and down.
One arm/one leg reaches: Lie flat on your back, extend your left leg straight out to a hover and right leg straight up. Start with your hands behind your head, then as you crunch up, twist to the right and reach your left hand for your right ankle. When you lower your shoulders back down, switch your legs, then twist up in the opposite direction and reach your right arm for left ankle.
Vertical jump with twist: With your feet parallel and close together, tap your hands outside your right ankle, hop straight into the air, and land softly tapping your hands outside your left ankle. Continue alternating.
Alternating plank reaches: Place the kettlebell in front of you as you set up in a plank position. Alternate reaching a hand for the kettlebell one at a time, returning back to your plank in between reaches.
Burpees: Squat down, placing your hands on the ground, jump back into a plank. From there, lower down to the ground with your body in a straight line. Push back up, jump back forward and stand or jump at the top.
Alternating reverse lunge with twist: Holding the kettlebell at your chest, step your right foot back into a lunge and twist your torso to the left. Step up to center and untwist. Then step your left foot back and twist right.
(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)