Kettlebell training is extremely effective in helping folks shred excess fat off their body. It’s also a crucial component in most professional athletes’ workout regimen. Kettlebells look ‘cuter’ and more hip than the boring old dumbbells or cable equipment. Because of that, many people ignore the fact that kettlebells can be dangerous too if used wrongly.
Know Your Kettlebell Training Limits
There have been thousands of people who have pulled a muscle or strained a ligament from using kettlebells in an incorrect manner. Just about anybody can figure out how to use a kettlebell. There is only one handle to grab and lift unlike a conventional squat rack with all the ratchets and levers which will leave new gym users scratching their head.
Nevertheless, the simplicity of a kettlebell should not make anyone feel complacent. By using these marvelous apparatus correctly, you will prevent injury to yourself and more importantly, get the best results from your workouts.
1. Progressive kettlebell training is key
Do not use more weight than you can handle. There are many people who are weekend warriors. They neglect to exercise the whole week and go to the gym on the weekend and try to work out with kettlebells that are just too heavy for them.
It takes time to build strength in the muscles and ligaments; more importantly the ligaments which have to be able to withstand the heavy load. Most injuries occur due to weak or unconditioned ligaments.
Pace yourself slowly. Start with kettlebell weights that suit you and slowly climb up the ladder to higher weights. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
2. Don’t aim for muscle failure
This runs contradictory to most training advice. However, training to failure all the time puts your nervous system under tremendous stress. It is an effective tool when used sparingly.
At all other times, it would be advisable to aim for about 12 to 15 reps using various weights. Do vary your moves too. Snatches, cleans and squats should be mixed up in your routine. Try and make it a full body workout most of the time.
3. Always maintain proper form
Kettlebell training involves more jerking and swinging movements unlike conventional dumbbells. However, even these movements require proper form and control. You are not supposed to be swinging the kettlebells around like a mad man. There is a jerk to lift, followed by a swing and a pause at the end of the movement and back again. Improper form will definitely lead to injury or imbalances in the body over the long run.
4. Change your routine often – at least every month or so
In other words, you want to keep your body guessing. If you’re doing the same workouts day in and day out for months, you’re going to get bored and your results will taper off and finally plateau. So, change up your routine every 4 to 6 weeks. Add more reps, change the sets, use new moves, etc. Just make it different.
5. Train barefoot on a hard floor
When you work out with kettlebells, the force of the load gets transferred to the ground through your feet. The soles of most sports shoes are too soft. So, training barefoot is best. If your, floor is too cold, you may use an exercise mat. In the event you’re training in a gym, their rules may require you to wear shoes. Then you have no choice but to abide by their rules. Nevertheless, this point is worth remembering.
These are just 5 tips to help you train safely and effectively with kettlebells. Do bear these in mind during your workouts.
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