Fitness

Workout 101: Guy's Guide to Kettlebell Training

Get schooled on this old-school workout

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Jul 23 2019

When it comes to confidence, there’s plenty of places a guy can start. For some, it begins with a wardrobe overhaul. For others, it’s tackling a new fitness routine. At SG HQ, we’ve found some guys are reluctant (but curious!) about gym classes. If that’s you, check out #SGapproved fitness activities in our Workout 101 series. Next up? A kettlebell training guide for guys…

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You’ve probably seen kettlebells, cast-iron weights resembling cannonballs with a handle, lined up at your local gym recently. Or after searching for protein powder on Amazon, maybe you’ve seen ads show up on your Instagram (creepy).

These Russian-born bad boys are having a fitness moment, with kettlebell training popping up everywhere from Crossfit to all-bell classes at boutique gyms across the country.

Rivaled only by medicine balls for their throwback workout vibe, kettlebells conjure up images of the circus strong man in a striped singlet and handlebar mustache. But there’s a reason this piece of fitness equipment has stuck around so long, and are coming back into fitness fashion now – it works.

Interested in this old-school workout?

Here’s what to know about kettlebell training before picking up your first bell:

What is kettlebell training, anyway?

Kettlebell training offers a true full-body conditioning workout, with moves that throw off your center of gravity, forcing you to use multiple muscle groups, including your core, to maintain balance.

In a kettlebell training class you can expect challenging sequences including lunges, swings, squats, dead lifts, clean and jerks, and more. This movement-based training (sometimes called functional fitness training) works both the anaerobic and aerobic system, making it a major calorie-burner.

Guy-to-girl ratio

1:1

Kettlebell training doesn’t have the stigma of being a “chick” class like spin or Pilates do. I’d guess that’s because kettlebell aficionados can expect to develop a body that’s lean and toned, not bulky. And that makes it a workout that appeals to women and men who aren’t looking to get #swole.

What’s more, the variety of weights available means everyone feels welcome to try. And if you do it wrong, you can really f*ck up your back, so it’s worth taking a class or two to ensure proper form before you start incorporating kettlebell training into your individual workouts.

Choreography complexity

The best way to start using kettlebells is to find a trainer or instructor with a kettlebell teaching certification. Why? Because while the exercises in a kettlebell training class – squats, swings, lunges – may be easy to do, they’re surprisingly hard to do well.

Nike trainer Rachel Nicks says, “Good form is essential for both safety and success. I am a stickler for alignment – form must come before speed.” There’s so much to keep in mind regards to form that your brain is definitely on the whole time. At least, it is if you’re doing it right. “If your form is wrong you risk injury and won’t experience the desired results in your body,” says Nicks.

Personally, I go through most kettlebells classes filled with fear that someone around me is going to lose their grip and let 10-15 pounds of pure cast-iron come flying at my head. What I’m saying is, with great size of kettlebells comes great responsibility. Wield wisely.

What to wear for kettlebell training

Rhone training shorts, $68

Most guys aren’t comfortable in anything too tight when working out, and that’s fine! But when it comes to kettlebell training, you do need to keep..that area pretty clear. So it’s best to wear shorts that fit closer to the leg. Nothing baggy.

Check out these kettlebell training gifs to get you started:

Kettlebell Swing

High Pull

Goblet Squat

Russian Twist

Gifs by: Joel Castillo of whatdoiwear.co | shot at Nike+ 45 Grand training studio in NYC

Shower-meter

Low.

Because you take frequent breaks to ensure proper form, you’ll probably be okay.

How hard is kettlebell training, really

It’s hard, guys.

Like barre, kettlebell training is all about controlled movements that offer a payoff in the form of tone and tightening. With regular workouts, you’ll burn calories and increase explosive strength.

This dynamic, whole-body workout incorporates cardio, resistance, and range-of-motion training – all at once – so long as you’re doing it right, you’ll see results.

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If you’re ready to overhaul not just your workout routine but your wardrobe, too, Style Girlfriend can help!

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