5 Ways to Use a Kettlebell
There is a lot of exercise equipment on the market and in the gym and, admittedly, some of it looks a little intimidating. However, that doesn’t need to be the case, especially with something like a kettlebell. A kettlebell is a round, cast-iron weight with a single handle. “While traditional weights are all about low reps and more weight, kettlebell-specific exercises are designed for higher, faster repetitions performed for a minute or more. You’ll activate dozens of muscles instead of just a few, which increases your body’s fat-burning metabolism . . . You’ll also improve your power endurance, or your muscles’ ability to repeatedly perform fast, powerful movements during an extended period.” With that in mind, here are five kettlebell exercises you can try today at home.
Kettlebell Goblet Squat: Begin by standing with your feet slightly apart and your back straight. Hold the kettlebell at your chest, with both hands on the handle and your elbows in. Lower into a squat, engaging your muscles and pushing your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Slowly bring yourself back up into a standing position. Repeat 10-20 times.
Russian Kettlebell Swing: Begin by standing up straight with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in front of you, palms facing down as you grip the handle with both hands. Keep your knees slightly bent, but don’t lower yourself all the way into a squat. Then, in one fluid motion, push your hips forward and swing the kettlebell up to chest height, keeping your glutes and your core engaged. The force behind this movement comes from your hips, not your arms. Let the weight swing back down between your legs and then repeat the exercise for 10-15 reps. Keep a good hold on the kettlebell when you swing back; you don’t want it flying out of your hands and into the entertainment center!
Double Arm Vertical Pull: Begin with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell in front of you with both hands. Bend your knees slightly, and then quickly lift the kettlebell with both hands as you straighten your legs. The kettlebell should go as high as your chest, with your elbows above your wrists at the top of the exercise. Lower your arms and bend your knees again, then repeat. This exercise is meant to be done rhythmically and quickly, like jumping rope. Repeat for 10 reps.
Alternating Vertical Pull: This exercise is much like the Double Arm Vertical Pull, except instead of using both arms for each pull, you’ll only use one at a time. Begin with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell in front of you with your right hand. Bend your knees slightly, and then quickly lift the kettlebell with your right hand as you straighten your legs. The kettlebell should stay centered in front of you and go as high as your chest, with your elbow above your wrist at the top of the exercise. Lower your arms and bend your knees again, and switch hands at the bottom of the movement. Repeat for 10 reps.
One-Arm Row: Begin in a lunge position with your right leg forward and bent at a 90 degree angle, your left leg back and straight. Hold the kettlebell in your left hand as you rest your right hand or elbow on your right knee. Pull the kettlebell up towards your hip, then lower it again. Repeat for 10 reps on each side.
When choosing a kettlebell weight, make sure you choose one that’s appropriate for your strength level. “Most people should start with a kettlebell weight of between 8 kg and 16 kg. A beginner female should start with an 8-kg bell, as the 4 kg is not heavy enough to provide a solid weight lifting effect for most women. Women with more weight lifting experience and fitness can start with a 12-kg bell. A beginner male will do best with a 12 or 16-kg bell, depending on current fitness level. If you are familiar with weight training and moving with weight, then 16 kg can be appropriate. If you are new to strength training, a 12 kg will suit your needs better.” Remember, there’s no shame in working your way up! It’s better to start small and build up to heavier weights than trying to do too much too soon and risking an injury.
*Vemma Nutrition Company recommends following a healthy approach to weight loss by consulting with your physician or health care professional prior to starting any new exercise or diet plan.
 Heid, Markham. “Kettlebells vs. Free Weights: The Smackdown.” Men's Health, Men's Health, 25 May 2018, www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19534489/kettlebells-vs-free-weights-the-smackdown/.
 Herschberg, Jessica. “What Weight Kettlebell Should I Get?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 11 Sept. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/231757-what-weight-kettlebell-should-i-get/.