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A great kettledbell combo for shoulders and legs

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

One of my favourite pieces of equipment to use is the humble kettlebell.

Some of the equipment you see in a modern gym can appear intimidating to some (especially the complicated multi-purpose machines and anything that involves weight plates!). Kettlebells, on the other hand, have a reassuring, almost friendly quality to them, whilst retaining the benefits of free weights and, in terms of versatility, offering different weight options.

Great for working the legs, shoulders and arms, kettlebells can be manipulated to whatever the purpose of the exercise is and can also be swapped into any balanced workout routine.

Below is a simple three-part combo using kettle drums that is great for stability, legs and shoulders.

The two-hand swing

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

The two-hand kettlebell swing focuses on the hip hinge and adds a hip snap to the movement. Because of the dynamic nature of the kettlebell swing exercise, you will need strength and stability to control the kettlebell as it swings.

Ideally, men should begin with a 12kg or 16kg kettlebell and women with an 8kg or 12kg.

Step by step:

  1. Keeping the arms straight, drive the hips backwards keeping your back flat until your wrists touch your inner thighs.

  2. Snap your hips forwards aggressively, squeezing your buttocks and abs as you stand tall.

  3. Do not lean backwards in the top position.

  4. The kettlebell should reach chest height and only be driven up by the thrust of the hips and not the shoulders.

  5. Keep your shoulders back and down away from your ears as the kettlebell descends back down and between the legs.

  6. Focus on your hips and heels throughout this explosive exercise.

  7. Repeat this exercise for 3 x sets of 8-10 repetitions.

The one-hand squat & lift

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

The kettlebell squat targets the quadriceps muscles (front of the thighs) and gluteus maximus (in the buttocks), whilst the hamstrings (back of the thighs) and soleus (in the calves) act to stabilise the body during this movement. Partly as a result, this is a great exercise for shaping and strengthening your buttocks, thighs, and calves!

Step by step:

  1. Keep your feet hip-width apart with your heels planted firmly on the floor.

  2. Place a kettlebell between your feet.

  3. Lean forward into a squat position and take hold of the kettlebell you are about to lift in your right hand.

  4. Brace your abdominals and stand tall with your shoulders pulled back for good balance.

  5. Rest the kettledrum on your left shoulder.

  6. Lift it above your head and hold it for a second.

  7. Return to your shoulder and then back to the floor.

  8. Repeat the exercise using your left hand.

  9. Repeat this exercise set (right and left) for 3 x sets of 8 repetitions.

Kettlebell two-hands pistol squat

Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

This may appear to be a slightly complicated exercise, but once mastered it is a great one to mix into a whole body workout. As well as working the shoulders and legs, this is also useful for building stability and engaging cognitive functions whilst exercising.

Step by step:

  1. Hold one kettlebell with both hands just under the chin.

  2. Lift one leg off the floor and squat down with the other.

  3. Drive through the heel and bring yourself back up to a standing position without letting your leg touch the floor.

  4. Lower back down to the starting position.

  5. Repeat this exercise for 3 x sets of 8-10 repetitions.

So, there you have it, three great kettlebell exercises.

As always, get to know your equipment before you start using it in an applied workout.

Also, choose the weight that works best for you and the number of exercise repetitions which you can sustain. Above all, master your technique when using kettlebells, as with any gym equipment, and in the process get the most out of your workout.

Any queries about this or any of my workouts, get in touch.


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