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Kettlebells have gained popularity in the past few months. If you want to up your fitness game and include them in your routine, here are the basics to make the most out of them.
Kettlebells are the must-have for a second-round lockdown. In the first week of November alone, kettlebells sales went up by 292 percent!
According to personal trainer, Dalton Wong of Twenty Two Training, kettlebells' potential knows no bounds. “You can do thousands of different exercises with them to target conditioning, burn fat, strengthen the tummy and bum, or to improve posture. You can do so much with them.”
If you want to learn the do's and dont's of kettlebells, this is what Dalton says.
“When done incorrectly, you can hurt yourself a lot more exercising with a kettlebell than when you’re just using your own bodyweight. Use the appropriate weight for your skill level. Always start off light and then go heavier,” says Dalton.
Workout the right way
“My advice for anyone who wants to buy a kettlebell is to seek the expertise of someone who knows how to use them - and this doesn’t come on a DVD. Most gyms will allow you to hire a trainer or someone who specializes in kettlebells who can alter the exercises if you’ve had a bad back or an injury, so you can reap the maximum benefits without injuring yourself further. They’ll be able to personalize the program and will be money well spent.”
The overload principle
“Kettlebells come in a range of different weights to allow you to follow The Overload Principle, where you alter the weight used and/or the duration while you get used to the exercises. This challenges you and changes your body.”
Dalton recommends a three-step program. The first step is goblet squat. “You need to develop good technique and strong muscles before progressing to the more dynamic exercises,” he advises.
With your feet just wider than shoulder-width apart, hold the kettlebell in front of you at shoulder height and against your chest. Squat to the floor, keeping your chest up, pushing your hips back and your back straight. Push yourself back up using your glutes and quads, avoiding pressure on the knees.
The second step of the program. From a standing position, have your legs starting at just wider than shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold the kettlebell against your pelvis with your arms straight. Push your bum back, keeping your arms straight and your knees above your feet so that your back is parallel to the floor. Slowly stand back up again and repeat.
“The final and most advanced, you must be able to do the above two exercises first in order to progress,” advises Dalton. “Done incorrectly, you can really hurt yourself. However, this is one of the best exercises because it’s metabolic, develops your core and torches fat.”
With your feet placed just over hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, hinge at the hips and push your bum behind you. Pick up the kettlebell with both hands and swing between your legs. Push your hips forward, engage your core, squeeze your glutes and straighten the knees to swing the kettlebell up to chest height and repeat, keeping your arms straight and your weight in your heels throughout.