Kettlebells are Russian training tools that are made from cast iron. They have a round shape and a curved handle fused to the top. Using these tools can help create muscular strength, speed and core stability.
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If you're looking to save money while still getting into shape, one kettlebell is sufficient. Although two kettlebells can be used with these exercises, it's not necessary. Most exercises are actually done with only one kettlebell. The most important thing is that you use proper form.
Exercises That Use One Kettlebell
Swings, deadlifts, snatches and shoulder presses are common single kettlebell exercises. Certain exercises, like swings and deadlifts, can be performed with two hands or one.
A two-arm swing is performed with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Stand about an arm's reach behind the kettlebell. Bend at the hips and place your hands side by side on the handle. Steadily lift it off the ground and let it swing between your legs. Quickly swing it forward and up to chest height. When you do this, squeeze your glutes, quadriceps and abs forcefully. Let the kettlebell swing back between your legs and repeat. As you let the kettlebell move between your legs, slightly bend your knees.
A single-arm swing is performed the same way, except place your hand in the center of the handle. When you are swinging, let your other arm float in the air to your side.
Deadlifts are performed with your feet in a wide stance and the kettlebell right beneath you. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and lower your body down toward the kettlebell. Grab the handle with your hands side by side and lift it off the floor as you stand up. Forcefully contract your abs, glutes and quads and lower yourself back down. Let the kettlebell touch the floor and repeat. Perform the single arm deadlift the exact same way, except grasp the center of the handle and let your other arm float in the air to your side.
Read more: 10 Core-Strengthening Kettlebell Moves
Benefits of Training With One Kettlebell
The main reason you only need one kettlebell is because of full-body integration. This means you work multiple muscles every time your do an exercise.
Take the shoulder press for example. This is performed by holding the kettlebell in the rack position, pushing it straight above your head and lowering it back down. The rack position is when the kettlebell is resting on the back of your forearm in front of your chest with your arm tight to your body. You work your deltoids, triceps, biceps, pectorals and abs all at the same time.
By turning this exercise into a push press, you will also activate your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Start out in the same position as the shoulder press, but lower yourself into a slight squat. Quickly rise up and push the kettlebell above your head. Lower it down slowly and repeat.
Kettlebell exercises come with other benefits as well. According to Chief Science Officer Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D. from the American Council on Exercise, kettlebells can help you burn calories and lose weight.
Kettlebell Size and Other Considerations
The weight of kettlebells is indicated in kilograms, pounds or both. A good starting weight for women is 26 lbs. or 12 kg, and a good starting weight for men is 35 lbs. or 16 kg. As you build up your strength, gradually increase the weight of your kettlebell.
When you perform kettlebell exercises, you active multiple muscles and joints at the same time. To prevent injury, spend five minutes doing dynamic stretches. These are performed in motion and they acclimate your body to exercising movements. Arm crossovers, arm circles, lateral lunges, shoulder shrugs, alternate toe touches, heel raises and trunk rotations are examples.