No gym access? No equipment? No problem!
In part two of our Isolation Motivation special, Fitter Happier will show you how to turn regular household items into some of your favourite pieces of gym kit.
This week we try out some of the best known kettlebell routines.
The kettlebell is underrated by some, but it can provide an incredibly effective workout.
Not only does it act as an extremely functional weight for strength training, but kettlebells are also great for high-intensity cardio sessions.
This muscle-building, fat-burning tool is far more versatile than a dumbbell or barbell.
Performing high-rep workouts, which hit key muscle groups, will help shed calories at a far greater rate than the more static weight-based routines.
It’s a great way to work your core, but it’s one that comes with risks.
Do it wrong and you could hurt your lower back. But do it correctly and it’s the perfect way to strengthen those key muscles.
Therefore, it is crucial that anyone who is new to kettlebells takes their time to settle slowly into the many exercises that can be performed with this brilliant piece of kit.
Make sure you get your form right before stepping up the pace.
If you don’t have a rack full of kettlebells at home, don’t worry, as a little innovation can do the trick.
Get a five-litre container with a ‘U’ shaped handle and fill until it is heavy enough that you can still perform high-rep exercises.
And for the kids in the house, such as my daughter and now regular workout buddy Aoibhinn, who turns four today, why not use a smaller milk carton.
When it comes to the younger members of the family, it’s not about muscle-building. But the following kettlebell workouts are great for coordination and mobility.
A quick online search will throw up dozens of exercises – but here are five of our favourites.
1 – KETTLEBELL SWING
Stand with your feet apart – wider than shoulder-width – bend your knees and wrap both hands around the handle.
Keeping your back flat and driving through your hips, swing the container up so that it is level with your shoulders, before returning to the start position and repeating.
It is important to keep the movement as fluid as possible, as jerking would risk hurting your back.
2 – KETTLEBELL THRUSTER
You can do this with either one or two kettlebells, but in this instance we are going with one.
Hold the container with your right hand and rest it on the back of your shoulder, perform a squad, then drive up with your legs until they are straight while raising the container above your head.
Repeat and then switch hands.
3 – KETTLEBELL SNATCH
Stand over the container, holding the handle with feet shoulder-width apart.
Squat down until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle, and drive up through your hips and knees, bringing the ‘kettlebell’ with you.
As you bring it to shoulder height, rotate your hand and push it skyward until your arm is straightened out.
Return to squat position, bringing the container back to the ground and repeat, before switching arms.
This is a great workout for weight loss as it really gets your heart pumping.
4 – KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUAT
With legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart, hold your improvised kettlebell either by the handle or (if not wide enough) around its body.
Keeping the kettlebell stable in front of your chest, lower into a squat position, back straight, then drive back up and repeat.
5 – ONE ARM KETTLEBELL SWING
With feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, and knees slightly bent, hold your kettlebell with one hand and repeat the movement for our first exercise.