Recently, I heard somebody say that if you want to lose weight and are trying to figure out if you should do more cardio or lift more weights, you should do more of what you’re currently doing less of. That seems like a simple solution in a world of fitness that can get downright confusing! I love the simplicity of this answer, and I agree with it completely.
If you’ve been consistently lifting weights or doing resistance training and gradually increasing your load but haven’t been able to drop those extra pounds of fat, add some cardio back into your routine. This could be as simple as lifting weight faster or moving quicker between circuits in your resistance training. If you’re already doing lots and lots of cardio, but the scale won’t budge, reduce your time and effort spent doing cardio and start lifting those weights or increasing your resistance training.
Why A Kettlebell Workout Is So Good For Weight Loss
Ever find yourself at the gym mindlessly lifting weights, sitting on a bench with a 10- or 15-pound dumbbell, and quickly doing a set of curls? Your mind isn’t engaged with the muscles you’re targeting, and while targeting specific muscles can be good, you’re probably not getting the biggest return on your investment when the goal is fat loss.
Kettlebell workouts engage several muscles simultaneously, and they activate more muscle groups than most traditional workouts. The push, pull, and balance it takes to effectively use the kettlebell will simultaneously work your back, chest, core, thighs, and arms. This helps burn a lot of calories in a short time. Kettlebell workouts are a mix of aerobic and anaerobic training, so you get the best of both worlds. As you’re building muscle, or the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn.
Aerobic vs. Anaerobic exercise
In aerobic or “with oxygen” exercise, your muscles have enough oxygen to produce the energy needed to perform. Anaerobic “without oxygen” exercise means oxygen demand is greater than oxygen supply, and you can’t keep up with the energy your body is demanding.
The Kettlebell After Burn-Effect
With kettlebell training, you get the after-burn effect, so that you will be burning calories for as much as 24-30 hours after your training session. With kettlebell training, you will also be burning fat without losing muscle. The kettlebell workout, combined with a high protein diet, is the perfect combination for a fat loss goal.
The 3 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Weight Loss
Kettlebell workouts offer quick, combination movements that target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Kettlebell workouts also provide a great mix of resistance and cardio, which means that with one simple focus to do a kettlebell combo workout for at least 6 weeks, 4 to 5 times a week, you will get those weight loss results you want.
1. Kettlebell Thruster
The kettlebell thruster targets the quadricep muscles in the legs along with the shoulders. It also involves abs, calves, glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, neck, upper traps, and triceps. The kettlebell thruster is such a complete and total body movement that you’ve practically left no muscle behind. As with all exercises, a reminder is to start with a lower weight to ensure that your form is 100% correct prior to increasing the amount of weight.
How to do a two-handed Kettlebell Thruster:
- Start with your kettlebell on the floor, centered just in front of your feet. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward. With your back straight, bend down into a squatting position, grab your kettlebell with both hands, then pushing upwards from your legs, bring the kettlebell up to your chest.
- Once you’re at the lowest point of your squat with the kettlebell still at chest height, thrust back into the upright position with your lower body until you’re standing.
- Once you’ve reached a solid standing position, push the kettlebell above your head until your arms are fully extended and hold for a second.
- Return to a squatting position and drop the kettlebell to chest height.
- Repeat the entire movement.
- Perform this movement 8-10 times, doing a total of 4-6 complete sets in your kettlebell workout circuit.
Note: Once you’re confident with the two-handed thruster, you can graduate to the single-handed version.
2. Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebell swings are a full-body workout, but they primarily target the muscles along the posterior chain, which is the back of the body. The main muscles used in performing a kettlebell swing are the glutes, hamstrings, spinal erectors (muscle groups that extend vertically up the length of your back), and muscles of the upper back.
When it comes to properly swinging a kettlebell, what you’re really using is your legs (not your arms). When performed correctly, kettlebell swings build total-body strength, power, and balance.
How to do a kettlebell swing:
- Pick the kettlebell up correctly: Start in a deadlift position (feet at hip-width apart) with your kettlebell right between your ankle bones.
- Bend down to pick the kettlebell up, almost like you’re trying to break the handle in half while squeezing your armpits together.
- Lift the kettlebell up off the ground into a strong, standing position with the kettlebell now in a firm hand grip and hanging at about mid-thigh level.
- Start your swing with a small momentum focusing on swinging from the hips, not your upper body. Build momentum. This is a hip hinge movement and a hip thrust.
- As your momentum builds and the kettlebell swings further forward, you’re pushing your hips back and letting the kettlebell carry you.
- While keeping a slight bend in your knees, thrust the kettlebell forward using the power of your glutes and your core to swing it forward. Keep your back straight and your core tight.
- Perform this movement for 60-90 seconds with a total of 4-6 sets in your kettlebell workout circuit.
3. Kettlebell Lunge Press
A kettlebell lunge press is a simple way to add full body strengthening to your workout routine. Remember that full-body workouts are a more efficient way to build muscle and burn calories, creating the best environment for weight loss. The kettlebell lunge press engages the back, shoulders, arms, legs, core, and glutes. The kettlebell lunge press is a way to spice up your lunges!
How to do a Kettlebell Lunge Press
- Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in front of your chest with one hand.
- Lunge forward with the leg opposite from the arm holding the kettlebell.
- Extend your arm with the kettlebell overhead. Return to standing while returning the kettlebell to your chest, and repeat.
- Perform this movement 8-1- times on each side with a total of 4-6 sets in your kettlebell workout circuit.
Kettlebell training builds an overall strong physique, powerful forearms, and a firm grip. As we age and are doing less manual labor, we begin to lose grip strength, which can adversely affect our quality of life. Consistent kettlebell workouts have incredible benefits for weight loss, combining strength training and cardio. They also improve overall strength, core power, balance, flexibility, and coordination while also melting fat and sculpting muscles.
Kettlebells for Home Workouts
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