Kettlebell Workout: full body workout with kettlebells

Kettlebell Workout: full body workout with kettlebells

Fitness at home
Kettlebell Workout: What you need to know about training with kettlebells

Kettlebell workout: Ex-triathlon pro Max Longrée trains with kettlebells in a fitness room

Kettlebells are a practical alternative to “normal” dumbbells. If you want to keep fit and don’t shy away from weights, you should try the kettlebell workout.

© Inger Diederich

If you don’t have space for a weight bench and pull-up bar at home, you should think about kettlebells. The weights with handle are real fitness all-rounders. With personal coach Maximilian Longrée we clarify the most important questions about the smart kettlebells.

In 2019, more than eleven million Germans were active (or at least paying members) in one of the approximately 10,000 gyms or fitness clubs. Ascending trend. The corona pandemic slowed down this positive development. For 2020, Statista identified just under ten million members. Because the studios were closed for many months, fitness and strength training has shifted to the living room at home or the hobby room for many people. And that’s good. One of the most versatile tools to at least maintain fitness is (and will remain so even after the Corona period) kettlebells.

Fitness equipment for the home: fitness coach and author Maximilian Longrée

Maximilian Longrée (40) – Since the end of his professional career as a triathlete, the Essen native has supported companies, among other things, and offers after-work fitness courses for employees. In his book “Schneller mit Krafttraining” he devotes himself to the subject of kettlebells, among other things.

© Inger Diederich

In this article we clarify the most important questions about the practical dumbbells with handle. The basics on the subject and all the exercise examples come from Maximilian Longrée’s reference book “Schneller mit Krafttraining”. Here you can contact the book author and personal coach Instagram follow.

What actually are kettlebells?

Like many other tools from the fitness sector, the kettlebell trend also flew across the pond to the fitness studios of Europe. The weights with handle probably have their origin in Russia in the 18th century. At that time, circus artists performed daring tricks with the round dumbbells, let them fly through the air and flexed their muscles at the same time. In the meantime, kettlebells have become an integral part of global weight training. In addition to barbells and dumbbells, they are part of the basic equipment of every fitness studio with an area for free training. There they are sorted by weight – the lightest weigh 2 kilograms, the heavyweights weigh in at an impressive 40 kilograms. In between, fitness fans will find almost everything their heart desires and their body is able to afford. A 6-kilogram copy is available here.

Which muscles are trained with kettlebells?

Kettlebells are one of the most versatile fitness tools out there. Used correctly, individual muscles, entire muscle groups and muscle chains can be trained in a targeted manner. In addition, kettlebell workouts improve endurance, mobility, speed and coordination. In short: If you work regularly and correctly with kettlebells, you train the whole body. The amazing thing about it: At least seven muscle chains are required with just one movement sequence, namely the swing movement typical of kettlebells. In addition to the calf muscles, these are the thigh flexors and extensors, the hips, the abdominal muscles, the buttocks and the back extensors.

Kettlebell Workout: Which is the right weight?

False ambition is out of place in kettlebell training – as with most athletic challenges. However, there is no rule of thumb to find the individually suitable weight. Beginners in particular should therefore start with smaller kettlebells. You can always top up later. Women who try kettlebell training for the first time first reach for the 6-kilo balls. For men, the recommended starting weight is twelve to 16 kilograms. Anyone who has been training their muscles in the gym for a while can also start with eight kilograms (women) and 20 kilograms (men). It is then increased after four to six weeks at the earliest – in increments of two or four kilograms.

You want more about fitness equipment at home Experienced? Here are tips and tricks from Ironman winner and personal coach Maximilian Longrée.

Iron or sand: which kettlebell is the right one?

Ten kilograms are ten kilograms. The famous joke about the feathers and the iron should be well known. Basically, the question of the material of the kettlebell is more about where the dumbbell is used for training. Gyms usually have a special floor that can withstand a rough landing of an iron ball. This usually looks different in a rented apartment. So if you don’t necessarily want to train with the bare iron, it’s best to use a fabric variant filled with sand, for example available here is. This not only protects the laminate or the tiles, but also the nerves of the subtenants. A good compromise are kettlebells with a neoprene cover or a textile cover. A variant of this is available here.

What exercises should kettlebell beginners start with?

When it comes to kettlebell workouts, the first step is to familiarize yourself with the new training device and to gain a sense of achievement. If you go all out right away, you not only risk injuries. If demanding exercises don’t work right away, there is also a risk that beginners will quickly lose interest. Here are two popular exercises that will get beginners wanting more.

  1. deadlift | A classic from weight training. Starting position is standing upright; feet are hip-width apart; the kettlebell is right in between. Now the bottom is pushed back and the kettlebell is initially lifted a few centimeters with both hands and a straight back. Then slowly straighten up and bend down again with a straight back. The weight does not touch the ground. Beginners should start with 10-16 repetitions per set. It doesn’t have to be more than three sets with breaks of one minute each for the beginning. Deadlift trains not only the back muscles but also the buttocks and shoulder muscles,
  2. Swing with both arms | Probably the most famous of all kettlebell exercises. The starting position is a little more than hip-width apart, the toes point slightly outwards. Now bend your knees slightly and grab the kettlebell with both hands while keeping your upper body bent. Important: The back stays straight. Now swing the kettlebell with an explosive movement from the hips and maximally tense gluteal muscles to about eye level. The strength must not come from the arms or shoulders, but solely from the stretching of the hips. Keep your arms stretched as you swing down. The bottom only goes backwards when the upper arms touch the upper body during the back swing. Again, three sets of 10-16 repetitions are perfect for getting started.

The exercise examples and basics for kettlebell workouts come from the book “Schneller mit Krafttraining” by Maximilian Longrée.

Handy ones are also suitable for further exercises and tips for the first kettlebell workout training cards with exercise descriptions in text and images. A selection with 50 exercises is available here.

Sources:“Faster with strength training” (from Maximilian Longree)

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