Diversify Your Training With Kettlebells
One of the major issues I see when it comes to people’s training and their training plans is the over reliance on using classical pieces of equipment like the barbells and dumbbells and when they aren’t available thinking they won’t be able to get in an effective training session. Too many people rely on multiple pieces of equipment and a one track mind to make their workout successful when sometimes it actually isn’t necessary.
In order to have a successful, productive, effective workout you don’t need lots of equipment, multiple machines and space. Any good workout and training plan should tick the following movement pattern boxes:
- A pushing movement
- A pulling movement
- A hinge movement
- A squat movement
- A lunge movement
- A core variation whether that is a brace, rotation or a carry
With a single kettlebell workout you can get all of these in one workout or even in one single flow exercise that can combine multiple of these movements. That is one of the great benefits of this piece of equipment.
Due to the nature of how you hold the kettlebell and the way it can be easily transferred from grip to grip, as you can see in this example single exercise flow video, multiple fundamental movement patterns are all targeted within one flowing movement pattern.
The Versatility of Kettlebells
The other great thing about the kettlebell is how versatile it can be and how creative you can get with it.
Another great example single bell workout could be:
If you did 45s on 15s off of this workout for three rounds you are sure to 1) have hit so many movement patterns, we have squatted, hinged, lunged, held an overhead pushing movement and combined a hinge and a pull.
These workouts will be amazing for those pushed for time, who don't want to spend an hour or more in the gym or travel a lot for work and find it hard to get their workout in.
Like I mentioned above with the example workout above, if you did that workout it would only take you 12 minutes to go through plus a warm up. You can easily be done within 20 minutes.
If you do have a bit longer and want to you can easily just add in another similar circuit with the same timings to increase your training.
Kettlebell Squat and Lunge Variations For Beginners
If you are just starting out with kettlebell workouts I would definitely suggest keeping these single workouts simple. Start with the basic movements that are easier to get the hang of and are less likely to cause any injuries but will give you the best bang for buck:
- Reverse lunge
- Forward lunge
- Clock lunge
- Lateral Lunge
These are the easiest movements to recommend and easiest to load with a kettlebell in how you hold them. As mentioned in the video, it is always best to start light and work your way up when it comes to using a heavier kettlebell. And you don’t even necessarily have to increase the weight of the bell every time. You can simply change another variable to get another key component of any single kettlebell workout: Progressive overload.
You could increase the time you do each movement for. I would recommend increasing the reps of each movement with the same reps as a progression or simply just trying to execute the exercises even better is a form of progression not to be overlooked.
One mistake that could be made with these types of workouts that I suggest to avoid is looking to change the workout and exercises every single session and week.
I mentioned above the key aspect of progressive overload. If you don’t have this element you are missing a fundamental marker you need to hit to achieve your goals. That is why I recommend forming a training plan with these single kettlebell workouts and repeating them each session for 3-4 weeks. Each week try and progress it slightly, as I said, whether that is through a heavier bell, more reps or more time. It doesn’t have to be increased by a lot! If you try to increase too much too soon you only stab yourself in the foot. As a guide, I recommend increasing the weight by 2-2.5% each week. With reps, look to increase by 2-5 repetitions and increase time by 5 seconds each time.
Finally, don’t feel you have to structure your workout like this to use a single kettlebell. I always suggest mixing up the loading device in your workout to challenge clients in a different way. For your main strength sessions why do you have to use a barbell or dumbbell? Why not, the next time you have bicep curls use a kettlebell? Want an incredible shoulder pump? Try single arm kettlebell bottom up presses to test not only your strength but also your joint stability and let me know how you get on.
Jack Coxall is Co-Founder and Personal Trainer at Fitness Lab. Fitness Lab operates boutique personal training gyms in Soho and Fitzrovia in central London. Jack is a UKSCA Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Personal Trainer, with a degree in Sport Psychology and Coaching Sciences.
Can you get a good workout with one kettlebell?
Kettlebells are by far the most versatile, convenient, and effective exercise tool there is. With just a single kettlebell you can workout from anywhere and perform a variety of exercises, targeting muscle groups all over your body.
Can I get a good kettlebell workout in just 10 minutes?
You can absolutely get a great workout from home in ust 10 minutes using a single kettlebell. Here is a great follow along Single Kettlebell Full Body Kettlebell Workout featuring Master Kettlebell Coach Marcus Martinez.
What size kettlebell should I start with?
On average, an active person should start with a kettlebell between 16kg (35lb) and 24kg (53lb). Currently inactive people should consider starting with a 6kg (13lb) to 8kg (18lb). You can learn more about how to choose the right kettlebell, read our article on the subject here.