If you could only do one exercise and fat loss is your goal, the kettlebell swing is the exercise I would recommend.
Simply swinging a kettlebell, using correct form, will cause you to build a great posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) and lose dramatic amounts of body fat, while improving your cardiovascular fitness.
As some of you may know, I was a competitive bodybuilder, back in 1992, and I’ve spent many years doing heavy barbell lifting. Then in 2009, I signed up for a Russian Kettlebell Challenge with Pavel Tsatsouline and went through three days of intensive kettlebell training. Amazingly, after attending his seminar, I discovered that even though I had done years of advanced lifting, I was getting in better shape.
Before I attended his seminar, I knew a couple of trainers who had been to one of Pavel’s previous seminars, and I joked about how they came back so over the top in their enthusiasm about KB training. I swore the same thing would never happen to me. But even with that intention, it still happened! I was and continue to be highly enthusiastic about kettlebell training.
I sure some of you are wondering, “Why is the kettlebell is so effective?” And, “How is it different from dumbells?”
The answer lies in the unique design; the shape of the kettlebell. Unlike dumbbells, the kettlebell hangs off of your body, creating an offset center of gravity. This causes your body to utilize more core, stabilizing muscles in an effort to counteract this imbalance.
The swinging motion of the kettlebell is another thing that sets it apart from dumbbells. Everyday activities such as picking up grocery bags, picking up kids or moving things around involve momentum and kettlebell exercises will prepare you for these types of activities. This is why the kettlebell is so effective. It is an amazing training tool that can improve both strength and conditioning.
To get started, grab a kettlebell and follow these simple instructions:
- Stand a foot behind the kettlebell in a wider than shoulder width stance with your toes pointed out about 20 degrees.
- Sit back into your heels, grab the kettlebell with both hands, and pull your shoulders down.
- Pull the kettlebell through your legs close to your groin and use your hips to thrust the bell forward to chest height.
- At the top of the movement, squeeze your quads and glutes and repeat for your desired number of repetitions or timed sets.
Keep in mind that this is a ballistic movement and it is meant to be done explosively.