By Eric Astrauskas, Spec. Hons. B.A. (Kinesiology), P.T.S.
Personal Trainer in Toronto
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The Turkish Get-up is a great compound exercise that requires the use of shoulders and shoulder stabilizers, abdominals, and legs. It is one of those exercises that looks easy but it is difficult. I recommend beginners to start with a 15lb or 20lb kettlebell. Practice this complex lift without weight first. The front foot should be fixed throughout the movement. Keep your eye on the kettlebell.
Clean and Press
The clean and press makes use of glutes and shoulders. Use forward hip snap to get the kettlebell to the rack position with your arm in tight to your body with elbow above hip. Press overhead and use legs if using a heavy weight.
Kettlebell swings are a good preparation and a safer alternative for deadlifts. They help you utilize your hip snap. Important to use hips to swing weight up and do not lift with shoulders/arm. Make sure you are dropping your body down when the weight is starting its downward motion to avoid lower back and shoulder injury.
The windmill works your obliques and glutes. Key points are to keep your eye on the kettlebell throughout and to point your butt out to side when reaching to the floor.
The renegade row is another great compound exercise. This exercise works the latissimus dorsi, and core stabilization muscles. This exercise requires a lot of balance and a strong core. Start with a light weight as this is another exercise that looks easier than it is.
Kettlebell crush curls target the biceps and chest. They are best done with competition kettlebells which have a large flat base. Squeeze the two flat ends together with flat palms. Exhale as you curl and inhale on the return down.
Kettlebell anyhows are a compound exercise that target shoulders, biceps, and obliques. It is like a combination of a windmill mixed with a curl and press.
Shoulder Presses with Kettlebells Attached to Strength Bands
This creative exercise demands shoulder stability and strength. The kettlebells attached to the bands bounce up and down making this a challenging way to perform shoulder presses.
Bottoms Up Turkish Get-Ups
This is a very challenging exercise that requires whole body strength and endurance, particularly the core, shoulders, and forearms. It is performed like a standard TGU but with an upside-down kettlebell. This is an advanced exercise, start light if you have never tried it. Exhale on the way up, inhale on the way down.
Snatch and Lunge
The kettlebell snatch and lunge is a great combination exercise that works the glutes, hamstrings, abs, lower back, upper back, and shoulders. Swing the weight up using the posterior chain and keep weight on your heels. To avoid the kettlebell smacking the back of your forearm, imagine you are putting your arms into a sleeve. This is a smooth arcing motion that requires quite a bit of practice. With the arm and weight above your head, step into a lunge with that leg. The breathing patterns are exhaling as you are snatching the weight up, inhale as you step into the lunge, and exhale as you come up and out of the lunge.
Snatch and Windmill
The kettlebell snatch with windmill is a combination exercise that works the glutes, hamstrings, abs, lower back, obliques, shouders, and shoulder stabilizers. Like most combination exercises, this one also requires cardio conditioning. Perform the snatch as described above. While the weight is above your head, point out the hip to the side. Bend laterally and touch the floor with the free hand. Then return to the top with the weight still overhead. From here, go right into your next snatch. Try to perform around 10 reps - then switch arms. The breathing patterns are exhaling during the snatch, inhaling on the downward motion of the windmill, and exhaling during the upward motion of the windmill.
For the best instruction of many other kettlebell exercises I highly recommend anything by IKFF President and kettlebell guru Steve Cotter. Check out my interview with him here