5 Kettlebells Exercise Made Simple for Runners

by On Jan 14, 2015
5 Kettlebells Exercise Made Simple for Runners

Kettlebells are a familiar place in fitness clubs and sports stores across Singapore, but have you ever used them?

While these oddly shaped weights can seem intimidating, they are a fantastic and simple tool to use for an all-over body workout for runners of all shapes and sizes. Remember to consult a qualified fitness professional on technique if this is your first time using kettlebells.

If you are not sure which weight is best, 8kg for females and 12kg for males is a good starting point in general. Aim for 8-10 repetitions and 2-3 sets.

Kettlebell Swing

A superb all-over exercise that particularly works your posterior chain of muscles (lower back, buttocks and hamstrings), which are all vital muscles for runners. Practise this exercise without the kettlebells first until you get the form correct.

  • Starting with feet shoulder-width apart, place the kettlebell on the floor slightly in front of you.
  • Load your hips by slightly bending the knees and lowering your hips.
  • With a 2 handed overhand grip, bring the kettlebell between your legs. Keeping your arms straight and swing the kettlebell to around chest height. Using your buttocks and snapping your hips should be your focus, and the movement should be smooth.
  • Extend your hips and knees to reverse the momentum and move straight into the next repetition.

Kettlebell Lateral Step

Working your body in a different plane of motion and strengthening those smaller muscles in your buttocks, the kettlebell lateral step is a functional and highly effective exercise.

  • With the kettlebell turned upside down and your hands positioned around the bell (the fat part), hold the kettlebell in front of your chest like how you would hold a ball. Stand tall, feet shoulder-width apart with shoulders down and back.
  • Making sure the kettlebell is held steady at all times, take a lateral step to the left, whilst at the same time shifting your body weight to the left.
  • Squeeze your buttock and return to the starting position.
  • Next take a lateral step to the right, again shifting your body weight to the right.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

Kettlebell Bent-over Row

The kettlebell bent over row not only works your back but also targets your arms and core.

  • Either start with feet in a split or lunge stance (left leg forward) or place your left hand and knee on a bench for more stability. The kettlebell should be placed slightly in front of you.
  • Your back should remain straight, avoid hunching over (if this occurs then use a bench to support your arm and knee).
  • Grip the kettlebell with your right hand, squeeze your shoulder blades and draw your right elbow up to the ceiling, lifting the kettlebell off the ground. Lower and repeat.
  • Switch sides after your repetitions are completed.

Kettlebell Squat

Working primarily your quads, positioning a kettlebell in front of you during your squats will challenge you in new ways.

  • Starting with your feet shoulder-width apart, pick up the kettlebell and turn it upside down.
  • Your hands should be positioned around the bell (the fat part) with the handle facing down.
  • Alternatively you can hold the kettlebell by the handles. Either way, tuck your elbows in close to your body.
  • Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground, ensuring you do not slump over while keeping your head and chest up.
  • Carefully raise back up, driving through the heels.

Kettlebell Lunge with Pass Through

We move unilaterally (in 1 direction), so here's a kettlebell exercise that will challenge your balance and buttocks in a stance similar to running.

  • Start with feet together and kettlebell in your left hand.
  • Take a big step forward with your right leg whilst at the same time taking the kettlebell under your right leg, and picking up with your right hand.
  • Bring your left leg back to the starting position.
  • This time, take a big step forward with your right leg, taking the kettlebell from under your left leg with your left hand.
  • If you are new to this exercise, start off with smaller steps and a lighter kettlebell. After you are used to it, slowly build up to lunges.

Ballistic Exercises for All Round Fitness!

With its large grip and unique shape, the kettlebell is a great tool for holistic exercises, which engage different muscles at the same time. Try these great kettlebell exercises for better balance, mobility and strength!

Carol Cunningham is the Fitness Manager at Virgin Active in Raffles Place. An Australian Level 2 Running Coach with experience in over 50 half marathons and 25 marathons around the world, she is passionate about helping others enjoy running as much as she does.
Carol regularly trains clients for local Singaporean events and believes that having a balanced training programme that includes resistance training alongside running is one of the most effective ways to develop good movement patterns, an essential tool for runners at all levels.

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