The Ultimate Kettlebell Workout

Build more muscle (and burn more fat) with a new way to pump  iron
By Jill Yaworski

IF YOU THINK KETTLEBELLS ARE JUST GLORIFIED dumbbells, keep  reading. “A kettlebell’s center of gravity actually shifts during the course of  the exercise,” says Jason C. Brown, C.S.C.S., owner of Kettlebell Athletics in  Philadelphia. In that way, it’s like many of the objects you lift every day  (overstuffed briefcases, lopsided grocery bags, unruly toddlers), and repeated  use provides much the same benefit: functional, real world strength. “A  kettlebell’s unique shape also allows you to transition from one exercise to the  next without putting it down,” says Brown. Trainers call this nonstop strategy  “kettlebell flow,” and the results speak for themselves: a better metabolic burn  and more muscle in significantly less time.

DO THIS Perform the following workout as a “ladder.”  Begin with 1 rep of each exercise on your right side, moving from one to the  next without rest. Next, do 2 reps of each on your right side, then 3, and so on  up to 5 reps. Rest for 2 minutes, and then repeat the ladder on your left side.  If your grip isn’t strong enough to complete a full ladder on one side,  alternate sides, resting for 1 minute between rep levels. To improve your grip  even faster, do the farmer’s walk (see “Gird Your Grip” on this  page).
1. Kettlebell single-arm snatch
Grab a kettlebell with your right hand and stand with your  feet shoulder-width apart, letting the kettlebell hang at arm’s length in front  of you. Swing it between your legs and, in one fluid motion, pull it forward and  up. When it reaches heart level, flip it behind your forearm and punch it  overhead. “The snatch trains your whole body in one move,” says  Brown.
2. Kettlebell windmill
With the kettlebell still overhead, pivot your  feet so your toes point 45 degrees away from the weight. Keeping your right arm  straight overhead, push your hips to the right and slide your left hand down  your left leg. Pause, and then reverse the move to return to the start. “Not  only does this strengthen your shoulders,” says Brown, “but it also hits your  core.”

3. Kettlebell single-arm front squat
Bring  the kettlebell into the “rack position”—right elbow by your side, weight in  front of your right shoulder, palm facing in. Push your hips back and lower your  body into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then stand  back up. “Doing squats with a barbell puts a lot of stress on your wrists,” says  Brown. “With kettlebells, your wrists stay in a safe, neutral  position.”
4. Kettlebell single-arm shoulder  press
Stand with the kettlebell just outside your  shoulder, palm facing forward. Push the weight straight overhead, and then  slowly lower it back down to the starting position. “The shoulder is the most  mobile joint in the body as well as the least stable, so it’s important to  maintain proper form,” says Brown. “That means keeping your elbow close to your  side.”

Gird Your Grip

A firm handshake isn’t the only reason to strengthen your grip. “A powerful  grip increases both the amount of weight you can lift and the length of time you  can hold it,” says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., cofounder of Cressey Performance  in Hudson, Massachusetts. It also helps translate strength from your upper body  to the world around you. To improve your grip, Gentilcore recommends doing the  farmer’s walk twice a week at the end of your workout or whenever you can fit it  in.
Farmer’s walk
Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and let  them hang naturally at arm’s length by your sides, holding them as tightly as  possible. Now walk for as long as you can before your grip starts to fail. (For  an added challenge, grasp each dumbbell by its end, or walk on your toes to make  the exercise do double duty by targeting your calves.) If you can walk for  longer than 60 seconds, you’re ready for a heavier weight.

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