AML’s Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Hidey Ho, Kettlebellers or wannabe Kettlebellers! Wanna try something challenging but fun? I decided I didn’t want to do my old standard dumbbell upper body workout on Monday, so I decided to make my own KETTLEBELL ONLY upper body workout! I included some example videos so you can see how each move is performed. At the end of the blog there is a compact, downloadable image that you can save and print for yourself if you like.

AML’s Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Kneeling Halos

I did 10 in one direction and then switched instead of alternating like he’s doing. Doing this on your knees makes you need to stabilize your core more and throws your balance off, making this more difficult than your standard halo.

Single Arm Bench Press

These are fairly similar to a dumbbell chest press, but the way the kettlebell weight is distributed is asymmetrical, where as a dumbbell is symmetrical, so you’ll need to focus more on stability.

Single Arm Bottoms Up Press

This move is WAY harder than it looks. If you look closely you can see how wobbly my arm is. You really need to concentrate to keep your grip on the handle tight and keep the weight directly over your elbow. That’s why there’s only 5 per side. The key to this is to tense your entire body and grip the bell moderately. Move slowly and focus on keeping the kettlebell stable as you push it upwards. Try to lower at the same pace as you raise it if you can.

Single Arm Bent Over Row

This is basically the same as your standard bent over row with a dumbbell.

Upright Rows

This is, by far, the easiest exercise to learn. Use as heavy a weight as you possibly can, and try to move slowly and at the same pace in each direction. Always make sure your elbows are higher than your hands.

Half-Kneeling Single Arm Overhead Press

This one is fun because the kneeling increases your instability and requires you are more careful in engaging your core. You want the kettlebell over your kneeling leg, and press from shoulder straight up.

Biceps Curl

The key to this move is planting your elbows firmly against your ribcage. Watch how her upper arms DO NOT MOVE: the entirety of the movement is from the elbow down. Squeeze at the top.

Single Kettlebell Renegade Rows

My form is NOT PERFECT here, but I can’t locate a video of someone else doing this with a single kettlebell. Begin in a high plank with the kettlebell between your hands. Shift your weight to one side (I’m shifting too far) and perform a row with the kettlebell on the opposite side. Alternate sides.

Note: This workout is harder than it appears. I own a 20-, 30- and 40-lb kettlebell, and I didn’t use my 40-lb at all. I did the single arm bench press, bottoms up, overhead press and renegade rows with my 20-lb, and the rest with my 30-lb. Remember, the goal is to be almost at muscle failure at the end of each set, so you want to choose as heavy as you are capable, since this is a strength workout as opposed to a cardio/endurance workout. Have fun!

upper-body-kettlebell

If you give this workout a try please come back and let me know what you think!

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No-Equipment Low Impact Cardio

Sometimes in the course of getting that hot bod you’ve always wanted you may sustain an injury, or maybe you just haven’t reached that level of fitness where jumping jacks and burpees are something you can do. Or maybe you have bad knees and need to protect them. We all have times where low impact cardio is the way we NEED to go, because we need cardio to keep our hearts healthy. So what do you do? There are a whole host of websites that will tell you to use a stationary bike or recumbent, but what if you don’t have ACCESS to that equipment?

There’s plenty you can do, I promise you.

Walking

1024px-regional_ambassadors_walking_in_bostonWalking is THE most basic form of cardio. You just need to do it quickly. I don’t mean jogging or running, just swift walking. Enough that you start to breath a little heavy. Maybe you can still hold a conversation, but it’s difficult for you. This speed will be determined by your fitness level, but you have to pay attention. If you’re not breathing a little heavy, you’re just not working hard enough. You can walk outside, on the treadmill if you have one, or even do a walking video like the ones provided by Leslie Sansone. If you  want to multitask, it’s even a good idea to step quickly in place while watching TV. You’ll be lapping everyone on the couch, amirite?!

Hiking

pexels-photoYes, hiking is different than walking, because of elevation changes. Climbing a steep hill, even slowly, is fantastic for cranking your heart rate up. Where I live it’s pretty flat, but on the rare occasion I do get to head north or west into the nearby mountainous regions, hiking is always on my list of things to do. You don’t need any equipment at all for a hike of a few miles, save perhaps a big bottle of water, and you get to enjoy the glory of nature, too!

Climbing Stairs

pexels-photo-24503If your knees are in good enough shape, climbing stairs is a great way to get the blood pumping. If you don’t have stairs in your home (I only have a single flight), perhaps you could use a public parking garage, or a shopping mall, or even your office! Sometimes when the weather is bad and I’m short on steps The Hubs and I will go to our local mall and walk there, and make a special effort to take the stairs instead of the escalators. It may only burn a handful of extra calories but every little bit helps!

Dancing

tango-dancing-couple-dance-style-67238You don’t even need a partner, just some good tunes and a good attitude. Grab a hairbrush, crank the music and dance like nobody’s watching! And heck, if they are watching, snag ’em and make ’em jitterbug with you! My happy song is the one that runs through my head whenever I feel like dancing… and the title is appropriate: Dancin’ with Myself by Billy Idol! If you’re feeling like you need some direction with this, try a belly dancing video or look up ballroom dancing on YouTube and learn some new moves to impress your friends!

Kickboxing/Tae Bo Videos

kick-185384_1280If you haven’t gotten the hint by now, YouTube is chock full of workout videos you can do for FREE without any equipment. (How many times have I mentioned Fitness Blender?) Punch, kick and block your way to an elevated heart rate! Billy Blanks is the inventor of Tae Bo, which is a full body workout combining martial arts and kickboxing. I have a series of his DVDs, of which I’ve only really watched one, but it’s fun and upbeat and will definitely make you sweat. (Author’s Note: I have noticed that the Billy Blanks video I used to do DID have a prayer at the end of the workout, so if that sort of thing bugs you, you can skip it.)

Honorable Mention: Swimming

swim-422546_1280This one is last on the list because technically it requires something most people don’t have in their home: a large body of water. However, swimming is the LOWEST impact workout you could possibly do, because the water helps support your body weight and is great for people with poor joints. I, sadly, no longer have regular access to a swimming pool, but I used to be quite the swimmer when I was younger. Some day I’m going to snorkel in clear blue tropical waters again, but this time I’m wearing my heart rate monitor!

Do you utilize a form of low impact cardio that I haven’t mentioned? Please share in the comments!

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AML’s 15 Rep Kettlebell Workout

new-piktochart_190_9c4a841f241403a3285d388911451a09e580090fIt’s been just over a year since I designed my very own Beginner Kettlebell Workout, can you believe it? I spent a few days working on this one, and last night I finally gave it a shot. And when I was done I said “DAMN Andrea, this is too hard for your friends! It’s hard for YOU!” So I tweaked it and made it much more manageable. 🙂

Can’t wait to try this again next week with the girls. Will you give it a shot?

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