Kettlebell circles work the core and assist mobility.
Most strength-training exercises are performed in the sagittal plane; that is to say, they involve a forward or backward movement. This is especially true of resistance machines and many free weight movements. While sagittal plane exercises provide an effective way to work your muscles, real-life movements are seldom so linear and often occur in the so-called transverse and frontal planes. Circling a kettlebell provides an effective method to get a non-sagittal plane workout and improve your fitness for sport and other physically demanding non-linear activities.
Benefits of Circling a Kettlebell
Circling a kettlebell strengthens your core while improving your mobility and balance. Core is the collective term used to describe the muscles of your midsection, specifically your obliques, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus and erector spinae muscles, while mobility is the range of movement available at a joint or joints. Balance describes your ability to keep your center of mass over your base of support.
Because circling exercises are performed in a standing position and involve your arms and legs, if performed with heavy weights or for high repetitions, they will also elevate your heart and breathing rate. Circling exercises can, when performed using light weights, be performed as part of your kettlebell-specific warm-up or as part of a dedicated core workout.
If you have been sedentary for three months or more or are currently overweight or suffering from a medical condition, consult your doctor before starting a new workout routine.
The around-the-body pass requires a single kettlebell. This good waist exercise is effective and easy to learn. Its simplicity means it is an ideal exercise to use as a warm-up before moving onto more demanding kettlebell exercises.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly bent and holding the kettlebell in one hand by the top handle. Swing the kettlebell across the front of your body and grab it with your opposite hand. Then, and without pausing, swing it behind your back while simultaneously reaching your opposite arm behind you. Catch the 'bell and swing it back to your front. This constitutes one repetition. Continue circling the weight around your waist for 10 to 20 repetitions.
On completion, perform the same number of reps in the opposite direction. Try to make the circles as smooth as possible and, as you become more proficient, a little faster.
Kettlebell halos are an effective shoulder mobility exercise that also gently mobilizes your spine and engages your core. Because this exercise involved circling a weight around your head, use a light weight initially and go slow; you don't want to bump your head. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold your kettlebell by the side handles with its bottom uppermost and at chest height. Raise the kettlebell to the side of your head, move it behind your head, to the opposite side and then back to the front. The kettlebell should naturally move into a bottom-down position as your move it around. Immediately circle your head in the opposite direction. Continue circling your head in alternating directions until you have completed 10 repetitions each way.
Kettlebell Figure Eights
This exercise involves not one circle but two and is called the kettlebell figure eight. Figure eights strengthen your legs, glutes and lower back as well as your core, develop grip strength and coordination, and mobilize your shoulders and arms. Hold your kettlebell in one hand and stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and hinge forward from your hips while keeping your back slightly arched. Swing the weight between your knees while simultaneously reaching back to grasp it with your free hand. Swing it out and around your leg and back to the center. As the 'bell passes between your legs for the second time, reach back and grab it with your opposite hand and take the weight behind your other leg. Continue this figure eight movement until you have completed 10 to 20 repetitions. Do not allow your lower back to become rounded, as this may lead to injury.