Many of us have been doing more exercise at home, and kettlebells have become a popular piece of workout equipment, thanks to their versatility.
“Kettlebell movements range from basic to advanced, and can be adapted depending on your training goals,” says Emily Servante, a personal trainer at Ultimate Performance (upfitness.com). “If you want to increase power, you might choose exercises such as kettlebell swings, cleans and presses. However, these come with an increased skill requirement – and therefore a risk of injury – and aren’t always suited to a cramped home environment.”
Because your kettlebell is unlikely to be of the same or similar load to what you were lifting in the gym, opting for unilateral exercises – which increase the challenge on target muscles – is a good idea. These three exercises will give you a full-body workout that you can do with minimal space, to achieve maximum results.
1. Kettlebell goblet squat
“This is a compound movement that makes your workout more efficient, by targeting multiple muscle groups,” says Servante.
How to do it: “Start by holding a kettlebell at chest height, with your core tight and your chest up.
“Position your heels on two books that are the same height and initiate the movement by breaking at the hips first, allowing your hips to travel backwards towards the wall behind you.
“Next, break at the knee allowing for the legs to bend. Once in the bottom position, hold for a second, then push through your heels to start the concentric portion of the exercise.
“Keep the knees pushed out and prevent them from caving inwards. At the top of the movement, stop just before locking the knees, and do ten repetitions.”
2. Kettlebell single-arm floor press
“Working from the floor means you’re stable, so you can lift heavier,” says Servante. “This move, which targets the chest and shoulders, also reduces the risk of injury, as the range at the shoulder is reduced.”
How to do it: “From a seated position, take a grip of a single kettlebell and position it, so it’s on the top of the wrist, palms facing away. Start with your arm locked out.
“Lie back onto the floor and straighten out your legs, arching your lower back slightly. Slowly lower the kettlebell, keeping your elbows to the side and lower until your upper arm touches the floor.
“Make sure your chest is up, your wrists are straight and your shoulder blades are pressed into the floor.
“After a brief pause in the bottom position, press the kettlebell back to the start position. Hold the contraction at the top for a second before repeating the movement for ten reps.”
3. Three-point kettlebell row
Servante says: “Strengthening the muscles of the mid-back, such as the lower trapezius and rhomboids, is key for avoiding desk-related injuries for those hours working from home.”
How to do it: “Support your non-working arm on a bench or chair and create a staggered stance to provide stability, with your non-working foot forward.
“Whilst holding a kettlebell, position your body so that it is parallel to the ground, whilst keeping the chest up and spine neutral.
“From the bottom of the rep, row the arm back as far as you can until you reach your end range of motion – this is just before the shoulder rounds.
“Think about dragging the elbow back tight to the body rather, than yanking the weight up. Hold for at least one second, then return to the start position under control. Move through ten rounds in total.”