To Your Health
April, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 04)
Now, do not get me wrong, going through the motions is better than not doing anything at all, especially if it makes you feel better. However, if you want to make progress and reduce the chances you'll get bored and/or frustrated over time, you have to be results oriented rather than process oriented. That means finding fun, challenging and different ways to exercise. Good luck in your journey toward lifelong health and fitness.
Kettlebells: A Full-Body Workout in Five Easy Steps
When you first start using kettlebells as a primary fitness tool, focus on exercises that provide the most bang for your buck. Break down a full-body workout into five categories: one pressing exercise, one pulling exercise, one exercise for the quads, one exercise for the hamstrings and one core exercise. This ensures that the entire body is getting a workout and prevents you from focusing too much on one area. For example, in general, men like to focus more on the upper body and women like to focus more on the lower body. To avoid imbalances, focus on working the entire body by picking one exercise per category as follows.
Pressing: A pressing exercise will take care of the shoulders, triceps and, depending on which exercise you pick, the chest. The clean and military press is a kettlebell pressing exercise (lift a kettlebell to your chest with one hand and then press it straight up).
Pulling: These exercises are a necessity to ensure balanced development for the upper body. Moreover, there is a synergy between pulling and pressing muscles. The better you get at pulling, the stronger your pressing will be, and vice versa. Renegade rows (one-handed rows from a push-up position) and bent-over rows are excellent pulling exercises.
Quads: You need to work on the legs. Even if you do not care about leg development, you need a strong foundation if you care about upper-body development. Front squats or lunges with the kettlebell held overhead are good quad exercises.
Hamstrings: The next critical area is the back of your legs. You need to balance the quad development from the squats with some hamstring exercises. In addition, if you are an athlete, you need strong hamstrings for explosive strength and speed. Choose the Swing (swinging the kettlebell back through your legs from a squat position and then up to your chest) to build strong hamstrings.
Core: The last important area to cover is the midsection. The core or midsection connects the lower body to the upper body; if your core is weak, so is your entire body. The Turkish get-up, a multi-step exercise that takes you from the ground to your feet and back to the ground again (all while holding a kettlebell straight up in the air) is an excellent exercise for the core.
Not quite sure how to do these exercises correctly? The photosincluded with this article show the proper start and finish position for each exercise, along with basic performance instructions. For detailed step-by-step instructions, visit www.toyourhealth.com.