While it may look primitive, a kettleball exercise works many muscles at once. “It also forces you engage your core to stabilise your body,” says Mitch Chilson, Men’s Health advisory board member, and director of strength and conditioning at Evolve Mixed Martial Arts (www.evolve-mma.com). “Start swinging slowly to get used to the movement,” he says. “Then build up speed.” The faster you go, the harder it gets. Hold on tight.
Apart from your core muscles, swings also strengthen your arms, back and legs, says Chilson. “The swing provides a stable platform for other muscles to pull from.” It also trains all parts of the back from your lower back all the way to your trapezius muscles at the top.
How To Do It
1. Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart. Lean forward at your waist slightly and bend your knees in a semi-squat position. Keep your back arched and head facing forward. Pick up the kettlebell.
2. Let your arms hang loosely and raise the kettlebell with both hands over your head; inhale. Then swing the weight towards the back with both hands in between your legs while exhaling. Move the bell using power thrusts from the hip, thigh and lower back muscles.
Our Expert’s Tips
This exercise requires a lot of energy, so it should be done in the earlier part of your workout, says Chilson. “Do it after your core exercises – it can also be a great way to warm up your muscles for other weight exercises.”
1. Keep Your Back Straight
Raise your chin so you are always looking in front throughout the swing.
2. Coordinate Your Muscles
The majority of the force required to swing the bell comes from the legs, glutes and stomach. Yes, the stomach.
3. Mind Your Momentum
The force that your legs, glutes and stomach generates should carry the kettlebell to the top of its arc and no farther.