Here is a great initial set of the five key kettlebell bodybuilding workout movements that virtually any MuscleBear or Bear Powerlifter should try for a great muscle building workout session. There is just something about kettlebell lifting that can build your beefy Bear bod and muscles in ways which typical dumbbell and barbell lifts don't. You may also find that committed kettlebell training is uniquely beneficial to for developing highly defined upper arms and shoulders - as well as forearm definition and wrist muscle size in particular. The 5 kettlebell bodybuilding movements listed below are a great workout as-is and can help form the foundation of your kettlebell training and muscle routine. But there are many other variants and exercises you can and should explore.
Types Of Kettlebells : Coated vs Uncoated vs Contoured
Your choice of which type of kettlebell to buy might simply be personal preference - or involve other practical factors. For some, Coated Kettlebells are easier on flooring and (when used in pairs) can minimize of of the klick-klack noise during a workout.
Others prefer the raw look and klinking sound of classic Cast Iron Kettlebells.
Lastly, a unique option is both a contoured and coated kettlebell that can be a bit more forearm friendly with it's specialized design:
Coated and Contoured
KettleBell Workout Protection
Wrist protection is smart for any kettlebell novice, and even for experienced users. Regardless if you're forearms are thin and bony or thick and meaty, until you truly master the nuances of kettlebell handling, you'll want to prevent them from getting bunged-up or bruised from many of the movements that involve a a flip of the weight onto the forearms. Kettlebell Wrist Guards with semi-rigid inserts to diffuse the impacts are the preferred choice. Alternately, double-wide terry-cloth athletic wristbands 4" to 6" wide and ideally with triple layers of fabric can provide more affordable forearm protection during your workout.
A classic initial warm up move, kettlebell swings stimulate the cardiovascular system while strengthening your legs and particularly, your core. To execute kettlebell swing, stand about two feet in front of the kettlebell. Bend at the waist and knees while maintaining a straight back as you reach forward grasping the handle. Lift the kettlebell out and upward steadily, letting it swing between your legs as you pop your hips forward and raise the kettlebell in front of your body. Continue to swing the bell down and back between your legs - then forward with pendulum motion. While you swing it forward, draw in your glutes, quads and abs forcefully. At this point you should exhale. Don't arch your back or use your arms or shoulders to advance the kettlebell, the key driver of momentum should emanate from the trust of your hips.
The deadlift works the glutes, quadriceps, hamstring muscle and erector spinal back muscles. To execute the kettlebell deadlift, straddle a kettlebell with feet a little wider than shoulder width. Lower your body slowly and gradually by bending your knees and grasp the handle of the bell with your hands side by side. Try to keep your eyes looking straight ahead and the angle of your back straight. Breathe deeply, then stand up in a steady movement, ending with a forceful exhalation and simultaneous contraction of your thighs, buttocks, and abs. Slowly and gradually lower the kettlebell to the floor, then repeat to complete the set.
Front Kettlebell Squats
Frontal squats with kettlebells predominantly beef-up your thighs, quads and gluteus muscles. Squats are preferably performed with twin kettlebells of equal weight. If you do not have an exact matching pair, you can trade and alternate sides between sets, or use the marginally weightier kettlebell in your non-dominant hand to improve it's strength. Or, you can perform a Goblet squat with a single kettlebell held centered on your upper chest. Standing with your feet in a fairly wide position, pick up the set of kettlebells from the floor and flip the balls out, up, and over so they are resting on the outer forearms at shoulder height, with elbows and arms flared out to the sides. Slowly lower your body until your upper legs are 90 degrees parallel, then stand back up pushing through your heels.
The snatch is a combo power move involving a one arm kettlebell swing and also military press. To commence this exercise, begin in the same position as with the swing and position one hand on the kettlebell. Carefully lift it off the floor, let it swing back between your legs and then vigorously lift it straight over your head. As you do this, flip the bell over to the back of your forearm and try to keep your arm straight as possible. Pause at the top, then swing and flip the bell back down between your legs, repeat for a full set of reps, then switch sides.
Military Kettlebell Clean And Press
The military press using kettlebells works both your core and shoulders in unison. Get into the very same starting point as the deadlift, reach down and grasp the kettlebell using your right hand. Meticulously lift it from the floor, flip it over so the ball portion rests upon the back of your forearm and tuck the arm into the front of your body. This is called the 'rack position' and executing that movement is called a 'clean'. The kettlebell should now be at upper chest height. Bending your knees slightly, stand up straight as you push the kettlebell directly overhead. While you do so, powerfully contract your abdominals, rump, and quadriceps for an entire second, lower the kettlebell to your chest at the rack position, and then repeat. After accomplishing a set of reps, change sides.
Recently our decidedly fabulous World Gym in Palm Springs got a set of classic, round cast-iron kettlebells and a rack that I’ve been dying to try out. Not too many other guys at the gym, let alone any of the A-List Muscle Bears seem too interested in becoming Kettlebell Bears - which is unfortunate. It’s also unfortunate that it’s only a single rack of 9 kettlebells of varying weights from 10-50 pounds. Some of the best kettlebell exercises require a matched pair of equally weighted bells for each hand.
The benefits of kettlebell training are well known: All the moves are compound exercises that affect multiple body parts. As with free weight training with dumbbells, supporting muscle groups are called into place to stabilize the movements. Kettlebell exercises also are great for cardiovascular endurance.
I’ve been researching the most popular and basic kettlebell exercises and watching some of the best videos of kettlebell routines. There’s a lot for a novice to learn, practice, and get down cold before attempting some of the more advanced kettlebell workout moves. I’ve also been considering getting a kettlebell or two for home workouts. In particular, coated kettlebells that protect hard floor surfaces, and are contoured like the one featured below. That can spare your forearms from getting bunged-up as you perform movements that involve overhand flip movements overhead or at the chest.
The 5 Basic Kettlebell Routines I’m working on:
Kettlebell Swing, Kettlebell Clean and Press, Kettlebell Snatch, Kettlebell Deadlift, Kettlebell Front Squats
Coated and Contoured Kettlebell
With Bob Harper Training DVD
Lastly, from my limited trial workouts, it’s really, really smart to have good gonad and scrotum support while performing the kettlebell circuit. I highly recommend a snug, well fitting jockstrap, such as any of the Nasty Pig Jock Straps to keep your balls intact through the rather ballistic, pelvic thrust movements that are the mainstay of kettlebell training routines.