3 Kettlebell Exercises To Do Now

I’ve noticed that there’s a certain hesitation among “regular” gym goers when it comes to trying Kettlebell Training.

When I train at the gym and have my clients do some work with kettlebells, there always seems to be 3 or 4 wandering eyes really taking a distant interest in what we’re doing.

Some like to practice their stealth-like ninja techniques and do the “wandering-eye-walk-by” pretending to be on their way to the water fountain and just leasureley walk by 4 or 5 times to try to catch some instruction.

C’mon though, do you really need 4 drinks in between your sets of ab/adductor machine?

And others would pretend not to care, but set their bench up close enough to do their chest flies (it’s ALWAYS chest flies) so that they can hear everything I say and watch everything we were doing.

Kettlebell Training is gaining momentum and it’s good to see that people are actually taking an interest in a simpler alternative to “traditional” weight training.

But if you’re one those individuals who lurks in the background, unsure about whether Kettlebell Training is for you, but it has really SPARKED AN INTEREST and CURIOSITY, let me see if I can ease you into it.

Because you don’t need to have a shaved head, wear cargo pants and combat boots and have an ink sleeve of “tats” to train with KBs.  There’s no club or secret sect.

So just pick one up and familiarize yourself with one.

Here are 3 exercises you can start doing today, just by “subbing-in” a kettlebell for a dumbbell…

1. If you do any type of Overhead Pressing with a Dumbbell, why not try a KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS…

KB Military Press

KB Military Press

Pick up a kettlebell and bring in it in close to your body ensuring that 1) your WRIST STAYS IN NEUTRAL (never flexing or extending) and 2) it is resting in the nook of your arm between your bicep and forearm (take a look at the picture of me above left in the header).

Brace your abs hard, pretending that someone is about to punch you in the stomach.  Keeping your wrist straight, squeeze the handle of the KB as tight as you can and take a breath in creating and even tenser brace in your abdomen.

Now press the kettlebell overhead moving your arm from a neutral GRIP (palm facing towards your midline) to a pronated GRIP (palm facing away) as you lock your elbow out over your head.

The important thing here is to LOCK OUT.  I know in some body building circles they tell you to keep a slight bend in your elbow, even in the overhead position, to “keep tension on the muscle”.  That’s not the case here.  This isn’t body building.

You are going to LOCK OUT and make sure that 1) Your shoulder is depressed.  That is, it’s not up by your ears, it’s down and back 2) Your bicep is almost touching your ear and 3) The kettlebell, while in the overhead lock-out position is in line if not BEHIND your head.

Slowly lower the KB back to the starting  position following the same pronated to neutral curve you used when you pressed it over head.

2. If you do a standard 1-Arm Bent-Over Row, why not try a MODIFIED RENEGADE ROW...

Modified Renegade Row

Modified Renegade Row

Unlike a standard DB Row, where you you rest a knee on the bench, the Modified Renegade Row will force you to really use your abs to keep your low back stable.

Place a kettlebell on the floor on the left side and then place both hands on the edge of a bench (or chair).  With your hands on the bench/chair, set yourself up so that you’re in  a “push-up” position with your feet slightly wider that hip-width apart.

Reach down and grab the KB with your left hand.  Brace your abs and squeeze your glutes and row the kettlebell into your body towards your hip.  Remember when you row to squeeze your shoulder blades together prior to bending your elbow.

As you row, you’ll notice that your body will want to twist and rotate because of the uneven distribution of weight.  YOU MUST PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING.  By bracing your abs and squeezing your glutes, you will work your abs like they’ve never been worked before!

Slowly lower the weight, again not allowing yourself to rotate and repeat for the required reps.

3. If you squat (and you better be squatting), why not try a 1-ARM KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT…

Single KB Front Squat

Single KB Front Squat

Just as the Military Press above, pick up a kettlebell and bring in it in close to your body ensuring that 1) your WRIST STAYS IN NEUTRAL (never flexing or extending) and 2) it is resting in the nook of your arm between your bicep and forearm (take a look at the picture of me above left in the header).

Brace your abs hard, pretending that someone is about to punch you in the stomach.  Keeping your wrist straight, squeeze the handle of the KB as tight as you can and take a breath in creating and even tenser brace in your abdomen.

Now, keeping the bell close, push your hips back and bend your knees.  You’ll notice that as you descend, because of the uneven distribution of weight, your body will want to twist or even bend sideways.  Just like the Modified Renegade Row above, you want to resist this and brace your abs hard.

Descend into the squat by pushing your knees out allowing your hips to go below parallel and keeping your spine straight.

Push your feet into the floor (keeping your heels on the ground the entire time) and drive your body up to the standing position.

You’ll notice that we only used 1 KB for all 3 of the exercises above.

That is the beauty of training with KBs.  The uneven distribution of weight allows us to to use our abs like no other exercises can.  They force us to stabilize our spine and to try to stay straight forcing our abs to work the way they were meant to be worked – as stabilizers of our torso and spine and not as “prime movers”.

The results are having abominals that are bullet-proof, eliminating low back pain and gaining usable strength that will help us in everyday life.

Chris Lopez, CTT

Author, TT Kettlebell Revolution

P.S. Still unsure about Kettlebell Training?  Try the TT Kettlebell Revolution Fat Loss System and you have 60-days to get your money back if you’re not satisfied!

=>Get Started With The TT Kettlebell Revolution HERE

23 Comments

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    Michael

    Chris,
    Love your work. These 3 exercises are fantastic, especially the renegade row. Cant wait to try it. And yes, I’ve done #3, not in a while, but will reincorporate it into my workouts!
    What are your thoughts on a double kettlebell (racked) squat? With different size KB’s? Do you think that would help with core strength and balance since the weights are different?
    Michael

    • Reply October 2, 2009

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi Michael,

      I love the double KB front squat. I’ve tried it with 2 different sized KBs and think it’s really effective for stability. Just make sure that you’re doing the same amount of sets and reps for each size!

      Chris

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    Francis

    Chris, I love these exercises. What is the best way to gauge the appropriate weight of the kettlebell for these exercises based on my typical DB weight? Is it roughly the same weight or different?

    Thanks!

    • Reply October 2, 2009

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi Francis

      For these 3 exercises, yes, I’d would use the same weight you would for a dumbbell. For the more ballistic exercises (like snatches), I’d go a littler lighter.

      Chris

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    Jerry Shreck

    Adding kettlebell exercises into your current program will add some excellent variety to your program. Try substituting one exercise from your existing program with a kettlebell comparable exercise each workout until all your exercises are kettlebell exercises and then work one exercise a workout back to your original program. You will find that your gains will be greatly improved just by adding in this variety.

    • Reply October 2, 2009

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Thanks, Jerry. That’s what I was trying to emphasize with this blog post. Great to have an expert trainer like yourself to reinforce that point.

      Chris

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    frank

    What weight do you recommend starting with?

    • Reply October 2, 2009

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi Frank

      For men, depending on your lifting experience, I’d start with a 12 or 16kg kettlebell.

      Chris

      • Reply October 13, 2009

        Frank

        Thanks! I just got delivery of my first KB today, 12kg to get me going.

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    Patricia

    Hi Chris

    Can you recommend a good Kettlebell online provider? I live in England and if I am to use your book I need to get Kettlebells!!

    Kind regards,

    Yours sincerely

    Patricia Robinson

    • Reply September 30, 2009

      Scoth

      Hi Patricia,

      I’m not Chris but live in England and have an interest in kettlebells.

      Dependant on how much you want to spend I would recommend Wolverson kettlebells, they have a shop on e-bay and provide a buy now option as opposed to having to bid. London kettleblls are also quite good and delivery seems reasonable. Both companies supply cast bells and also competition bells and have good clearance from the handle to the bell to allow a comfortable rack position. The cast are probably more appropriate for ladies as they are slightly more compact, the larger competition bells which Chris is pictured with in the e-books can due to their size catch the breast area which may be uncomfortable over time.

      If money is not an issue then Stan Pike provides excellent hand crafted bells at Intense Fitness which are very good but a little expensive.

      Hope this may be of use to you!

      • Reply October 5, 2009

        Patricia

        Hi Scoth

        Many thanks for your suggestions. Will check them out.

        Kind regards,

        Patricia

    • Reply September 30, 2009

      Chris

      Patricia – try Wolverston fitness – tell Jason Chris in Nottingham says hello!
      Cheers Chris

    • Reply September 30, 2009

      Angie

      Patricia you can buy kettlebells from Argos.

    • Reply October 1, 2009

      Kim Patrick

      if i were you i would buy from a trainer that uses kettlebells – my pt is out of stock currently but here’s another i found

      http://www.londonkettlebells.com/kettlebells.html

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    George Goodhue

    A Word of caution!
    Looking at the above display of the Modified Renegade Row, I think that chair is in a very dangerous position. The rear legs of the chair appear to be almost inserted in the space between the floor boards. The chair could tilt or even crash through if one or both of the legs did so.
    Also, what if the chair skids bacwards from the weight of leaning on the front edge. There arn’t any rubber booties to prevent this.

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    craig

    any recommendations of suppliers of kettlebells in the Netherlands?

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    ROBERT D KATZ M.D.

    I would like to purchase 25lb (approx) 35lb (approx)and 50lb (approx)
    kettlebells. Where can they be obtained at a seaonable price?
    Thank you

    • Reply September 30, 2009

      Michael

      Robert, if you’re near an Academy or Dicks sporting goods store, you can get the 25 and 35 lb ones there at a good price, but, that’s as big as they have that I’ve seen in the stores. Check here too – http://www.christiansfitnessfactory.com/ Christian’s Fitness Factory. They’ve got great prices!

  • Reply September 30, 2009

    Susan

    Hey Chris, thanks for bringing out the interest and curiosity in people. Kettlebells are great for showing you where your imbalances are and I am glad you are getting the word out there.

    Great job.

    Susan

  • Reply October 1, 2009

    Fiona

    I would love to be able to squat that low without my back collapsing and heels lifting off the floor! What exercises do you recommend to increase ROM when doing squats?

    (Also in england and looking at Argos KBs)

  • […] => http://kettlebellworkouts.com/2009/09/3kbexercisestodonow/ […]

  • Reply October 2, 2009

    Linda

    As a 50 year old women would 4 pound kettlebells work for me?

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