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Kettlebell Training for Men and Women

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What are the benefits of kettlebell training?

The Kettlebell training of the body actually started in Russia at the turn of the century and it certainly has come a long way since then. The reason why it has become so popular is because it is extremely user friendly and does not require as much wrist, shoulder or upper-back flexibility as barbells and dumbbells do.

Training with a kettlebell requires a lot of movement which is why it is so vitally important to always maintain a good form if you want to avoid getting injured. A Kettlebell consists of a cast iron ball with a U-shaped handle on it.

The iron usually is wrapped in rubber or plastic and Kettlebells come in a variety of weights and sizes for men and women. A kettlebell workout can provide a low-impact full-body exercise routine when lifted and extended away from the body.

Kettlebells can provide a diversion from your normal exercise routine and improve flexibility, strength and stamina. When starting out for the first time with kettlebell training you need to choose a kettlebell to workout with that's the right weight for you.

Trainers at Northwestern Health Sciences University report that most women can start with an 18-pound kettlebell, though beginner kettlebells are available as light as six pounds. Women who have already developed strength may want to begin their training with a 26-pound kettlebell and progress to a 35-pound unit.

A good example of an exercise that can be done is a squat to pick up kettlebells from the ground. This is called the start position. With the kettlebell in front of you, pretend that you are getting ready to sit on a chair and then bend over to grasp the kettlebell. Keep your eyes focused forward and maintain a slight arch in your back.

You will find that it works your hamstrings, abdomen, glutes, hips and quads as you stand straight up with the kettlebell, pushing down with your heels as you rise. This is called the deadlift and is one of the core exercises for kettlebell users.

Another is to stand-up holding the kettlebell with both hands over the top of the handle and raise the kettlebell to your chest. Move your hands so that one hand holds each side of the handle on the kettlebell and raise the equipment over your head so that your arms are extended. Return the kettlebell to the front of your chest.

You could combine that movement with swinging the kettlebell out from the start position. This is one of the most popular routines that is unique to the kettlebell and difficult to perform with dumbbells. While you are squatting, make sure your thighs are nearly parallel to the ground and then stand, swinging the kettlebell out and away from your body until your arms are fully extended.

You need to control the kettlebell so that you don't swing it over your head. It should end up about shoulder height. As the weight of the kettlebell reverses, return to the start position and let the kettlebell swing backwards between your legs. Repeat 10 times.

There are some key tips that one should always keep in mind when training with a kettlebell.

1. Always keep your weight on your heels with all kettlebell exercises.

2. Straighten your wrist to better transfer force from your core to the bell.

3. When using the handle of the kettlebell it may seem awkward positioning but this builds coordination similar to the way a baseball bat would do.

4. When doing overhead lifts don't let the bell flip over and smack your wrist. Instead, when the weight is at eye level and upside down, quickly punch upward to make the bell rotate around without slamming into your wrist.

The maximum number of kettlebells you need for a workout is three (but you can do plenty with just one). Start with a weight you can lift comfortably. When starting out the most important thing that needs to be learnt is the basic swing.

You do this by grabbing a kettlebell with both hands and assume a shortstop position (quarter squat, hips pushed back, spine in alignment), letting the bell hang in front of you. Swing it between your legs and behind your hips. Now stand and swing it up to eye level while extending your hips and contracting your glutes. Drop back to the starting position; let gravity bring the kettlebell back between your legs. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Although there are countless moves that one can do using a kettlebell the swing is a good start. All Kettlebell workouts combine different swings and lifts. You could do a clean and press, then a front squat, then the basic swing. But as you can see from the few explanations above the options are only limited by your imagination.

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