Rugby, a sport demanding a unique blend of power, speed,…
For those who follow this blog for a while, you will have noticed that we are big fans of minimal equipment and home workouts. The benefits are numerous:
– Easy to implement into your daily routine
– Much cheaper than a gym membership
– Feel more comfortable in a familiar setting
– More flexibility as you are not restricted by opening times
The Kettlebell has proven to be one of the most effective pieces of equipment to use at home for working out. Kettlebells are around for a long time. They have their origin in ancient Russia, where importance was placed on physical strength.
The first recorded mention of the word girya, meaning a traditional Russian weight made of cast iron, was in a 1704 Russian dictionary.
Unlike many other fitness equipment, their design hasn’t changed at all, for a good reason. It is simple but offers a ton of different possibilities to work out.
Which weight should I go for?
To get the most out of your Kettlebell workout it is important to get a feel for the right weight that is heavy enough to generate enough power, but not so heavy as to lead to injury.
Commonly Kettlebells come in all sorts of weights from 4KG up to 24kg and beyond. It can be difficult to determine the right weight for yourself at first, but once you get into a regular Kettlebell workout routine, you will find your best weight.
A general rule of thumb is for you to carry a Kettlebell weight with which you’re able to do 5 repetitions (reps) of any workout you’re starting with. Also, if you’ve reached a stage whereby you can conveniently do 20 reps of that workout, then it’s the right time for you to pick up something heavier.
How should I train with Kettlebells?
Before we introduce you to a brilliant 18-Minutes workout that is recommended for athletes, it’s vital to focus on the correct technique. The two-arm swing is the first Kettlebell move you should master. It will get you used to moving the bell and develop hip power.
Start with the kettlebell on the floor slightly in front of you and between your feet, which should be shoulder-width apart. Bending slightly at the knees but hinging mainly at the hips, grasp the kettlebell and pull it back between your legs to create momentum.
Drive your hips forwards and straighten your back to send the Kettlebell up to shoulder height. Let the bell return between your legs and repeat the move.
A common mistake is to use the upper body too much to get the weight moving. You want all the power to come from the posterior chain and in particular the hamstrings and glutes.
Put your entire body into each rep and keep the bell close to your body until the hip drive begins, and then use the hip power to swing the bell to shoulder level.
Shoulders: Keep your shoulders relaxed to avoid shrugging the Kettlebell and ending up with your shoulders around your ears.
Glutes: Activate your glutes by driving your hips through to a neutral position (where you are upright). Aim to keep your forearms attached to your hips until you reach neutral then, as your arms come up, squeeze your glutes to prevent overextending your lower back.
Head: Your head position should be neutral. The gap between your chin and your chest shouldn’t change.
Elbows: Use “soft” elbows throughout the swing. Keep your arms relaxed to take the tension out of your arm muscles and, instead, use the momentum of the Kettlebell.
Knees: Your knees shouldn’t bend excessively during the swing – it should be a hip hinge motion. This is a posterior chain movement (the muscles on the back of your body), not a quads exercise.
Once you master the two-arm Kettlebell swing, most other movements can be performed with the correct technique as well.
Combined with strength training, power training, and cardio exercise, this is a great workout for rugby players.
Six exercises are performed during the 18-minute workout. Each exercise will be performed for 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second rest period. There will be three rounds of it.
2-handed Kettlebell Swing
Single-arm clean and press
1-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Lunge
2-Handed Kettlebell Swing
Place your arms in front of your body and use both hands, palms down, to hold the kettlebell.
With your knees bent slightly and hips thrust back, adopt a squat-like position, but refrain from going as far down.
Using a fluid, explosive motion, drive your hips forward while swinging the kettlebell forward and up to shoulder height. You should feel your hips and glutes engaging in this motion. It is those muscles that should be doing the work, not your arms.
The kettlebell should then be lowered back between your legs and the swinging motion repeated for 30 seconds.
Bend at both the hips and knees and place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet. Keeping your body weight on your hands, kick both of your feet backward so that your legs are completely extended behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. Your body should be in one straight line from head to toe, in a push-up position.
Whilst maintaining a straight back and stabilising through your abdominals, bend your elbows and completely lower your torso towards the floor. Release both hands off the ground.
Place your hands back into the push-up position and push through the floor to extend your arms to lift your body back up into the push-up position, ensuring you don’t allow your hips to drop. You should feel the weight through your chest and tricep muscles.
Jump both of your feet in towards your hands, ensuring that your feet remain shoulder-width apart. Propel your body upwards into the air. Extending your legs below you and your arms above your head. You should feel the weight going through your glutes and quads. Land in a neutral standing position, ensuring that you maintain “soft” knees to prevent injury. Ensure that you continue to breathe throughout. Repeat for the specified number of repetitions or times.
Single-Arm Clean and Press
Take the kettlebell in your right hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Bend at the knees and slightly at the waist and lower the weight down between your legs to the ground.
Stand up quickly and use the momentum of standing up to help lift the weight up to your shoulder.
As you lift the weight up to your shoulder rotate your hand so that it is now under the weight.
Now standing straight up press the weight up until your arm is almost straight.
Bring the weight back down to your shoulder and then lower it back to the ground.
Bend your knees and waist and get right into your next rep.
After doing 15 seconds with your right arm switch to your left arm and repeat the same motion.
Stand tall with your feet about hip-to-shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
Looking straight ahead, open your chest, and engage your core muscles.
Begin by bringing your right knee toward your chest, slightly above waist level. Simultaneously, move your left hand up in a pumping motion.
Quickly lower your right leg and left hand.
Repeat with your left leg and right hand.
Alternate your right and left leg for the desired time.
1-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Lunge
Hold the Kettlebell overhead with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
Keep the weight directly overhead (in line with the shoulder joint) and take a comfortable step back into the start of a lunge position
If the Kettlebell is in your left hand, place your left foot back and vice versa.
Forcefully drive your forward heel into the ground and begin to lower your back knee directly under your hips.
As you drop your back knee down to the ground, make sure there is no rotation in the knees, hips, or shoulders.
Do not lean to one side or the other, keep your core tight and shoulders packed.
Drive your knee down until it is just above the ground. In the bottom of this lunge position, your back leg should be as close to a right angle as possible.
Once your knee is just above the ground, reverse the motion back to the starting position.
After 15 seconds, swap the Kettlebell into the other hand and repeat the above steps
Finish with this classic movement.
Contract your abs and tighten your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine.
Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself to the floor, until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
Exhale while contracting your chest muscles and pushing back up through your hands, returning to the start position.
If you prefer them slightly easier, rest your knees on the ground. For a harder variation try to do push-ups while forming fists.
Now you are ready for this amazing kettlebell workout. Enjoy it.