It’s this funky looking weight you see at the gym. Or on an Instagram post. Looks a bit like a cannonball with a handle. And this one tool can be an entire gym, depending on how you use it!
It is a kettle (like a witches pot) – bell (like a church bell). Not a cow-bell, or kettle-ball… Just to get on the same page.
A lot of kettlebells come in kilograms (kg), in increments of 4 kg. So with a 2.2lb/kg conversion, going up one “size” is a considerable jump. 16kg is 1 pood, or approximately 35 lbs. While I started with a 10lb bell back in 2011, which I still have for keepsakes, I have transitioned all of my bells to kgs.
The anatomy of a kettlebell… handle, corner, horns, bell, base.
What can you do with a kettlebell?
You can deadlift, swing, clean, jerk, squat, press, snatch, halo, carry, Turkish get-up, bent press, & windmill the kettlebell, just to name a few things. You can also add a kettlebell to your pull up or pistol squat, because, why not!?!?
How do you hold a kettlebell?
There are a couple of positions of holding the bell.
- Goblet Style – hold by the horns with two hands
- Rack Position – hold by the corner/handle with your hand at your shoulder
- Overhead/Waiter position – hold by the corner/handle with you arm extended, the bell away from your head
- Suitcase position – hold with the handle
How do you do these things… First I recommend you work with a certified StrongFirst Girya, like myself (SFG Level 2), to ensure you are using proper form to allow you to increase your load without injury.
So why would you use such an odd piece of equipment. Well, beside being a space saver and an effective door stop. When used properly and with adequate training, you can get a full body workout, or as I prefer to call it: training sesh, in with minimal time. How so? You don’t have to change out the weights on a barbell and with proper programming, you can get short yet effective training complete in under 30 minutes per day. And you don’t even need to do a session everyday, but you could if that’s what works for you.
Here is a sample workout. Again, I recommend you at least get a form check from a StrongFirst certified instructor if you have not performed these movements before.
This should take you approximately 25 minutes, depending on how long you need to rest/recover between the sets.
FREE Kettlebell Workout
- 30 second carry in suitcase position
- 5 Goblet Squats
- 3/3 Clean & Press
x4 for a total of 4 sets
If you are not familiar with the kettlebell clean, you can “cheat clean” the bell to the rack position, getting it there safely with two hands, then press the bell overhead, as long as your shoulder mobility allows the motion.