There are a few truths my friends know about me:
- I’m opinionated and will tell you the things that no one else has the guts to say to your face.
- I balance that overwhelming personality with a sincere and genuine care for others (which I fully attribute to God’s work in my life…without Him, I’d be a conceited and judgemental jerk who just didn’t know when to shut up)
- I love me some kettlebells
I should add a 4th point to the list above: nothing scares me. My genuine Type A personality combined with my natural knack for easily learning things means I’m quite fearless. Whereas many people pretend that they don’t care what people think, I actually don’t care what people think (like I said, God’s refining work in my life is the only reason I have found a sensitivity that is not natural to my personality!).
So the fact that my fearless, take-on-anything self walked into my first kettlebell class completely intimidated should tell you something about kettlebells. They’re scary! I would catch glimpses of people tossing these massive balls of iron around like they were bean bags; over their heads, through their legs, around their waists. It was crazy and I knew I had to try it. But then you realize they’re heavier than any weight you’ve ever used, and you think to yourself “you want me to do what with this beast?!”.
Thankfully, I got over the fear and walked into that class. And better yet, I found a certified coach who motivated me and taught me well. Kettlebell quickly became the love of my fitness life and in a matter of weeks, my time in the gym became incredibly more productive and my body started to change dramatically. I was stronger, leaner, had defined abs for the first time in my life, but still looked soft and feminine. And I wasn’t the only one! The class quickly began to fill up with everyday chicks just looking for a good workout but who stayed because of how strong and unstoppable kettlebells made them feel. That was nearly 3 years ago and I’ve yet to look back. Which says a lot since I have a really hard time sticking to the same thing!
If you’re tempted to pick up those odd-looking kb’s that are collecting dust in you gym’s weight room, I’m here to help with a beginner workout. And can I just say one thing? My 55-year-old mom does kettlebell. So come on…don’t be a wussy.
Let me preface this by first making a very important point:
The majority of people I see working with kettlebells are doing it COMPLETELY wrong and are surely going to hurt themselves. That INCLUDES those working with Personal Trainers!
Since kettlebell certification is one of the most gruelling sport certifications out there, very few personal trainers are certified instructors and most have no idea how to properly use them. And YouTube, albeit helpful for reference (hence my links below), is no better.
To really learn these moves effectively (and safely), you need a certified instructor and I suggest searching the database of certified RKC coaches and StrongFirst coaches. If you can’t afford regular coaching, it should only take 2-4 lessons for you to get the basic physics of these moves down.
With that said, here is a beginner workout that I like to do with people new to kettlebell. A good beginning weight will depend on your current strength level but I don’t suggest using anything less than 18 lbs (and 26 lbs for the 2-handed swing). The physics of kettlebells means that you can swing a lot more than you would weight lift (especially if you’re being coached by someone who can teach you the right technique) and if you go too light, you’ll be more prone to doing the moves incorrectly. So don’t bother with those dinky little 15-lb kb’s; they’re nice doorstops and that’s about it.
Beginner Kettlebell Workout
Beginner Work Out
Set a timer for 30 seconds. Do each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds.
Repeat the cycle for a total of 4 rounds.
As you get stronger, increase the time to 45 seconds of work and/or increase your weights.
Natasha Drisdelle (aka Domestica) is a mom of twins, baby-weight survivor, and health & fitness blogger who lives in California’s Silicon Valley. She posted her before-and-after pics on the immortal internet as living proof that morphing into a gelatinous baby-growing-factory doesn’t have to mean your bikini days are over. You can find her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, cutting through the myths and lies that keep women from realizing true health and contentment.