5 Muscle-Toning Moves with Kettlebells for Women

kettlebell
Image by: Andrew Malone
By Tallulah Ray

Kettlebells (or “giryas”) are cast iron weights which look like a cannon balls with a handbag handles. They’re frequently seen at gyms and are available for purchase in any store that sells gym equipment. They’re used as a weight training tool and can be used in the place of free weights like dumbbells.

Why choose kettlebells over any other type of freeweight?

The awesome thing about kettlebells is that their weight isn’t evenly distributed (unlike a dumbbell) so your stabilizer muscles have to work in overtime in order to keep you steady. In other words, you have to work harder to stay upright (which works a different set of muscles).

Also, research has found that women who work out with kettlebells burn up to 300 more calories than those who aren’t working with them. It will also help tone your body and sculpt your muscles. Today, you’re in for a treat (and by treat, I mean, you’re going to try this great workout and love your body but you will probably curse me after).

Today I’m going to give you some great tips on how to do a kettleball workout at home. First, however, let’s talk about some quick safety tips.

#1) Safety First

Don’t move from your back or your knees, when you do moves like “Around the World.” Move with your hips. It is the most powerful and is safe for your joints and muscles. Before you do a kettleball workout, practice hinging at your hips by sticking your butt back and trying to keep your weight over your heels.

Tighten your muscle corset around your waist. That will help protect your back as well. Pretend like a small goat is trying to head-butt you in your abdomen. Do you feel how you would tighten up your muscles to brace for impact? That’s what you should do when you’re working out.

Don’t hyper-extend your wrists and keep your shoulders in their sockets. Make sure that you’re keeping your wrists taught and that you don’t bend your wrist backwards. When you have to move your shoulder, pull it toward your body, like a turtle going back in its shell.

I suggest trying this workout with a spotter at first. If you do have a membership at a gym, have a trainer spot you to make sure that you’ve got your form right. Gyms will normally give you a free trail for a short amount of time, that’s when you should meet with a trainer to make sure that you’ve got the right form. You may end up staying at the gym, but if you don’t, at least you have some handy tips to take home with you.

All right, let’s get on with the workout. Each of these moves is meant to flow one right after another. After you are done with the first circuit, take a quick break for water and to catch your breath, then do it again. Pick a 10 pound kettlebell to start with and do about three circuits per workout, every other day.

#2) ”Around the World”

With your feet, hip-width apart, hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your abs. Let go with your right hand, move both hands back, grab the kettle bell with your right hand when it is behind you, bring it forward around your body again (back to the starting position). Do this x10 and then do it again in reverse directions (let go with your left hand for the second half of the workout).

#3) Dead Weight

Hold the kettleball with both hands, in between your feet (which are hip-width apart). Make sure that you’re hinging at your hips. Lift up with both hands, keep your back straight. Make sure that your core is tightened. Keep your arms extended and push down on your heels as you stand. Then back to start. Do this x10.

#4) Windmill

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your weight in your right hand. Raise it to your shoulder and press up. As your rotate your chest (while the weight is up in the air), look up at the kettleball. Touch your left hand to your left foot. Pause, slowly move back to start. Control your movement and don’t snap back to start (that’s how injuries happen). Do this x10, then repeat on the other side.

#5) Figure 8

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell behind your left leg with your left hand. Swing it around the front your left leg, between your legs, and grab it with your right hand (which is positioned behind your right leg). Do the same, making a figure 8 motion around your legs. Watch your shins. One figure 8 is one rep. Do this x10.

If you want something a little extra, check out this great demonstration:

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