Kettlebells, What Is This Iron All About? Jackie Simmons, Certified Aerobics Instructor
Years ago I wrote an article about, “I Want Those Arms”. Did you know that a part of a woman’s body that is crucial to her overall appearance is her arms. How many times have you looked at another woman’s arms and said, “What great arms – I want my arms to look like that” or “How did she get such good looking arms?” To get those arms, upper body strength training exercises is required. Well there is a new iron product called the Kettlebell that will provide the results that you have been waiting for.
Kettlebells have been around for ages. Most of them are made out of cast iron and are shaped like a bowling ball with a handle on top. They look different from other hand weights and are considered as one of the best and most efficient fitness tools used for this purpose. Kettlebells originated in Russia and continue to be popular all over the world.
One of the benefits of kettlebell training is that it is good for people of all fitness levels, gender and ages. You get a full body workout using this tools. Kettlebell training involves multiple muscle groups which gives aerobic and anaerobic workouts all at the same time. Using the kettlebell forces lifters to balance their body by engaging core muscles. One-arm kettlebell workouts also work the chest and shoulder muscles to increase strength and stability. There are kettlebells that typically range from 2 pounds to 106 pounds. Begin with a lower weight until your skills improve enough to try a higher weight without risk. Men usually start out using weights between 25 and 35 pounds, while women tend to begin with 5 to 26 pounds. Working out with kettlebells also improves range of motion while burning approximately 20 calories per minute (1,200 calories per hour). See the recent study in the American Council on Exercise, www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/Kettlebells012010.pdf. This website also provides examples of exercise routines done with kettlebells. As with any exercise, you should always consult a physician before starting. I also strongly urge you to begin this workout with the guidance of a certified trainer before using them alone.
Here are a few routines that I found that work well for the arms:
Double-Arm Kettlebell Jerk
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, kettlebell between your feet, knees bent, lift the kettlebell to your shoulder. Squat and then use your legs to stand up straight while pushing the kettlebell over your head. Hold the position for 2 seconds and then return to the start position. As your strength increases, increase the weight of the kettlebell.
Double-Arm Kettlebell Swing
Place the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Bend over and keep your back straight. Lift the kettlebell off the floor, swing backwards between your legs, and then use your strength to swing the kettlebell forward up to chest level. Keep your arms straight at all times. Rest. Repeat 3-5 times. This exercise helps to increase the strength and flexibility of the buttocks, hamstrings, core, back and arm muscles.
Single Arm Kettlebell Row
Place the kettlebell on the floor between your feet – stand with your feet about hip width apart. Bend at the hips – keep your back straight and grab the handle on the kettlebell. Keep your elbow close to your body and pull the kettlebell up toward your waist. Squeeze and hold this position for 1 second and return to the start position. This exercise works your biceps as well as the back and abdominal muscles.
Single Arm Towel Biceps Curl
Take a towel and run it through the handle of a kettlebell. Pick up the kettlebell with the towel so that your arm hangs at your side. Slowly curl the towel up toward your shoulder – rotating your arm until your palm faces up. Flex your biceps muscle and slowly return to the starting position. Switch arms. The kettlebell towel curl isolates your biceps and forearm muscles just like the traditional biceps curl.
Well, there you go! If you’re ready to give kettlebells a try, you just might find that your arms will be in the best shape ever!
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