Essentials For Strength Training At Home
Working on your strength at home is a great way to keep on top of your strength training in between gym sessions, and doesn’t require too much space to do so.
How to use Kettlebells safely
Like with every piece of gym and exercise equipment, knowing how to use Kettlebells properly is not only beneficial for your strength training journey but vital for your safety when exercising.
There are many different types of kettlebell exercise, but some general safety tips for any exercise include:
- Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, with your weight in your heels. This ensures your body is sturdy enough to lift and move the kettlebell
- Do not lift the kettlebell directly over your head where you may drop the kettlebell on your head
- Keep your lower back straight and never slouch
- The power and force needed to lift the kettlebells should be generated by your legs and hips - not your back!
How to do a kettlebell swing
A kettlebell swing is one of the most popular exercises you can do with a kettlebell, and a great place to start if you’re a beginner.
- Hold the kettlebell firmly with two hands, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward and allow your kettlebell to hang down between your legs
- Keep your feet firmly planted. Push off the ground using strength from your legs and swing the kettlebell up in an arc shape making sure your arms are straight
- Bring your hips forward and swing the kettlebell up to the level of your head (or as high as you can get as long as it doesn’t exceed your head height!), before reversing the motion to start again.
Do you need one or two kettlebells?
Although the majority of kettlebell exercises can be done with two kettlebells, one kettlebell is enough.
Kettlebells are designed to encourage full-body stimulation, even when you’re using just one. However, don’t let this put you off exercising with two, as it all comes down to what strength training you’re planning to do, your budget and your end fitness goals.
Do kettlebells build muscle?
Although most commonly recognised as a piece of cardinal fitness equipment, using kettlebells does help add lean muscle mass.
Thanks to its unique shape, your stabiliser muscles have to work harder to perform exercises, therefore helping build muscle on these smaller muscles that wouldn’t usually get as much work.
For the quickest muscle gain, it’s best to work with two kettlebells.
How to use kettlebells for weight loss
Exercising with kettlebells is a good way to lose weight, with kettlebell workouts utilising all of your muscle groups in several planes of motion.
The more muscles you use, the more calories you burn, and the kettlebell is said to work more muscles in one movement than any other piece of exercise equipment.
Ballistic kettlebell exercises are the best for weight loss. These include; kettlebell swings, kettlebell jerks and kettlebell snatches.
There are also many other benefits of kettlebell ballistic exercises, including their high EPOC effect, ability to train muscular endurance and the fact that they help move the body through all planes of motion. This means that you’re training in a way that’s natural to the human body.
Kettlebells vs Dumbbells. What’s the difference?
Kettlebells consist of one, large spherical shape with a top handle, while dumbbells have two equal-sized weights with a bar in the middle.
If you’re a beginner when it comes to weight and strength training, dumbbells are often recommended as they are easier to hold and use in comparison to kettlebells.
Dumbbells are also the preferred choice when doing moves and exercises that require you to ‘press and pull’ as they help you feel more stable and in control of your movements.
Kettlebells on the other hand are often the preferred choice for the likes of squats, lunges, rows and presses, as they make the exercise easier than it would be when using dumbbells.
How heavy should dumbbells be?
For a beginner, it’s recommended that women start with a set of two 5-10lb weights, while men start with a set of two 10-20lb weights.
Of course, this depends on your strength level. It’s a good idea to do a dumbbell test to make sure that you’re using weights that don’t cause your muscles to over-strain, and you should always feel as comfortable as possible, even when lifting dumbbells.
What is a tricep bar used for?
A combination between a barbell and a dumbbell, a tricep bar offers a controlled grip and more stability during weight training.
The tricep bar helps to engage the wrist and arms, providing a full arm workout thanks to the angle of its handles and grip ability.
How to use a tricep bar
There are several different ways to use a tricep bar, which some prefer over other strength training exercises as they incorporate a flat bench.
The most popular lying tricep bar exercise helps completely work your upper body. To do this, lie face-up on a flat bench holding your tricep bar directly above your chest. Keep your upper arms still and bend your elbows bringing the bar within an inch of your head. Push back up steadily and repeat.
Can you use a tricep bar for curls?
You can use a tricep bar for curls to work your biceps and upper arms. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the tricep bar in front of your thighs. Keep your core tight and back straight before bending your elbows to lift the tricep bar towards your chest. Tighten your biceps for a second before lowering the tricep bar back down. Repeat!