The kettlebell is one of the most diverse pieces of equipment in the gym. Not only does it come in different weights that can be manipulated for all over body exercises, but its unique design calls your muscles to stabilize unlike anything else. This ball of iron helps your body to develop strength, endurance, and power all in one simple piece of equipment. Here I pair the traditional Lat Pulldown movement with Kettlebell exercises to build your upper body, strengthen your heart and tighten your core.
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: Adjust knee pad so your legs can fit easily under but are held down tightly. Make sure the wide bar attachment is on the cable machine. Grip that bar overhand as wide as you can and sit down. Make sure your abs are tight so your hips are tucked and you have good posture. Pull the bar down towards your chest by squeezing your lats, the biggest muscle in your upper body. Release slow and continue until all reps are completed. You might also feel this in your biceps on the front of your arms.
Kettlebell Deadlift to Row: Start standing tall with heavy kettlebells in each hand. Hinge forward at your hips, letting your chest stay up, back flat, legs slightly bent, and arms with weights falling forward towards floor. In this bent over position, bend your elbows up towards your torso, pulling the weights up to your chest using those lats. release the weights towards the ground, then squeeze with your posterior chain (back, butt and hamstrings) to stand up tall. The arms should not be working in the last movement. This one really hits all over the body but targets that back.
Kettlebell Swing to High Pull: Start in a squat position with a kettlebell in one hand. Chest up, back straight, feet slightly wider than hips and knees pointing out. Kettlebell should fall between legs. Generate some momentum from those hips as you thrust them forward to stand up tall. As you thrust, the kettlebell should swing out. Your arm will pull it up, with elbow flaring out, and pull it back almost into a chicken wing (or upright row). The weight and movement pause for only a brief second before returning back to starting position. Complete all reps on one side before doing the other. This one works that booty and shoulder, but is really intended here for heart rate booster.
Leg Raise Figure 8’s: Sit on the floor, balancing on your butt so your core is engaged. Holding the kettlebell by the handle, lift up one left and weave the kettlebell underneath. Then lift the second leg as you drop the first and weave the kettlebell under the second leg. You are basically trying to draw a number eight around your legs while keeping your core engaged and tight. Talk about abdominals, obliques, and hip flexors…this one hits it all.
Underhand Grip Lat Pulldown: Adjust knee pad so your legs can fit easily under but are held down tightly. Make sure the wide bar attachment is on the cable machine. This time grip the bar underhand (palms facing you) and narrow (only shoulder width apart or closer). Pull the bar down towards your chest, squeezing your lats. You will definitely feel biceps more in this one, but the back is still the main powerhouse.
Kettlebell Bent Over Row: Stagger your legs and keep them soft. Hinge forward at your hips and rest your arm on your front leg, making sure the back is flat. With the other hand holding the kettlebell, pull the weight up towards your ribs. Repeat all reps on one side before moving to the next. This tests your stability, but mostly your lats.
Kettlebell Lateral Swing: Start in a squat position: Chest up, back straight, feet slightly wider than shoulder width, toes pointing out, butt going back. Kettlebell should start on the outside of the knee. As you thrust those hips up and your body moves into a standing position, the weight should swing across your body into a side raise at shoulder height. This one hits booty and shoulders, but I program it to get that heart rate up!
Crunch Hold Rainbows: Start laying on the floor with knees bent, holding kettlebell near stomach. Crunch up slightly so that your upper back is off the floor. Then move the kettlebell in a rainbow motion from one side to the other. To the left and then back to the right is one rep. Complete all reps for a burn in those abs and shoulders!
One Arm Lat Pulldown: Adjust knee pad so your legs can fit easily under but are held down tightly. Make sure the single handle attachment is on the cable machine. With one hand on the handle, pull the weight down with elbow flaring out. The hands might start moving to neutral grip and thats okay. With this movement, you have a little more play room. It allows you to hit deeper into the lat muscles. Repeat all reps on one side before finishing on the other.
Kettlebell Clean + Press: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and holding one kettlebell in one arm between legs. In a little bit of a squat movement, swing your body so the kettlebell moves up. Right at the height of the movement, flip your wrist and catch the kettlebell in a slight squat movement. Then push through your hips and shoulder to press the weight directly overhead. Move smoothly on the way back down, then repeat all reps on one side before going to the next side. This is definitely all over body, but the press helps it to target shoulders.
Double Kettlebell Swing: Stand with feet wide and toes pointed out. Hold a kettlebell in each hand between legs. Squat down with chest up and booty back, then thrust those hips forward as you simultaneously swing the weights. Again, this builds power in the booty and shoulders but I use the swings to get that heart rate up.
Standing Kettlebell Oblique Crunch: Stand tall with a kettlebell overhead in one hand. Balance on one leg as you take the kettlebell arm towards the same side leg, bending them both. You really want to feel this in your side abs aka obliques, but you will also feel the balance component of the whole exercise.