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Give Your Dumbbells A Break — Try Working Out With Kettlebells Instead

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When it comes to a full body workout, Kettlebells are one of the best equipment’s you will find.

When it comes to a full body workout, Kettlebells are one of the best equipment’s you will find.

Some know Kettlebells as strange round weights that look a lot like a cannon ball. If you haven’t yet tried Kettlebells, it is time to change that! Just buy a pair and use it at home post a 30 minute jog or brisk walk.

If you have recently embarked upon a journey to weight loss, you must have noticed that a lot of experts are now putting more emphasis on weight training. So many fitness equipments and workouts come and go….so is there a sure shot way to choose something that is sure to give you positive effects?

Sure there is – try Kettlebells. Its increased popularity, especially in home gyms, is owed to the convenience with which anyone can start using Kettlebells and also the fact that they are highly functional. Kettlebells are the easiest way to do a cardio plus weight training workout when you are pressed for time!

Kettlebells were first used in Russia, though the original purpose of creating them was not strength training. They were used to work as counter weights in farms and local produce markets, and that is the reason that till date Kettlebells are measured in pood. If you are wondering what a pood is, it is roughly 16kg.

Over time people noticed that those who used these Kettlebells in every day work developed much more strength, their bodies well conditioned and this marked the starting point of Kettlebells being used for exercising.

The Soviet Military forces have been using Kettlebells since 1948, even though it wasn’t until 1985 that weight categories and rules & regulations regarding Kettlebells were fully established.

A Highly Effective Fitness Tool?

Kettlebells have gained a lot of popularity because they offer a fun and versatile way to train. Not only do they offer a complete body workout, they feel more purposeful and are far easier to store and use when compared to heavy gym weights.

If used correctly, Kettlebells will stimulate every single muscle fiber in the body and offer a two-in-one workout – cardio as you lift and burn calories and strength training with a whole range of motions involved. Further, what makes Kettlebells stand apart is the fact that it has some advantages over dumbbells.

This is the shape of the Kettlebells – it creates more functionality and allows for total body movements. The weight is well rounded and stabilized, so unlike dumbbells users don’t have to concentrate more of form and how to hold the fitness equipment correctly. Unlike dumbbells where the centre of the mass has to be concentrated upon, Kettlebells are far more flexible and generate more force from the ground below, which in turn means a strengthened core.

But like dumbbells, Kettlebells also allow for deadlifts, presses, swings and snatches. It is highly effective, easier to store at home and better for total body movements. It is best to use Kettlebells right after the initial warm up – they continue to increase your heart rate which works like a cardio while engaging every muscle in the body as well.

Two Effective And Simple Kettlebells Workouts

The Kettlebells Swing

The Kettlebells Swing

This is a strength conditioning exercise, easily incorporated in to an aerobics workout. Stand with legs a little more than shoulder width apart, bend your knees and stick out your buttocks. Place a kettlebell between the legs, grab it and lift. Remember to thrust forward with your arms straight and as you are coming up, clench the glutes and hamstring muscles. All this should be done in one clean smooth motion, and you can drive your heels in for more intensity. Repeat 10 to 15 times for a beginner and work your way up. Remember, don’t look down as you thrust upwards and keep your face looking forward at all times to avoid back injury.

The Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-Up
The Turkish Get-Up

Create a total body explosion as you combine multiple moves and create a single exercise. Start by lying on the floor on your back. Stretch the arms up towards the ceiling and hold a kettlebell in one hand. With the other hand placed firmly on the ground, lift your knees and slide to a modified plank position.

From here, step in to a lunge. Place the hand back down and slide back in to lying position. Repeat with the other hand to work the other side. Remember, the trick here is to start slow so that you master all steps before you can bring in speed and intensity in to the workout. Begin with 5 to 8 reps on each side for a total body workout.

A Word Of Advice For Beginners

Kettlebells are designed for intensity and full body movements and can utilize a lot of force. They can be substituted with most almost all other weights in any kind of a workout.

However, while advertisements might portray them to be a simple mean to achieve a lean physique, Kettlebells are no fad and they need a lot of training. Simply picking up Kettlebells and trying to do some simple exercises will not have the effects you want.

Yes, they are great for losing weight and getting in superb shape, but for that you need to work hard and understand the true potential of these simple weights. They are used extensively in cross fit training because of their functionality and multi-purpose capabilities that surpass even dumbbells.

Use Kettlebells to target posterior chain muscles. These are the muscles in the hamstring and the upper back and Kettlebells are very effective in working these out perfectly.

Ready to try a kettlebell workout? Here is a quick workout for you to get started.

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Health & Fitness

PUMPING IRONY: Not the Retiring Type

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One of the few prescient insights I can recall from my wayward postcollege days was the notion that a full retirement would surely elude my grasp. Social Security was certain to go bankrupt at some point, I figured, and even if it survived, the paltry income I’d earn as a freelance writer and editor would hardly translate into a monthly government check that would allow much in the way of work-free leisure in my dotage. Better to just grind away in scarcity mode, keep expenses to a minimum, and narrow my horizons. As Thoreau put it, “Simplify, simplify, simplify.”

The intervening 40-odd years have proven that life is complicated. I married, children appeared along with mortgages, car payments, and other financial realities. And, while I eventually began to earn a living wage at a succession of fragile publications, we struggled to put money away for the future. It was only after securing my current position several years ago that My Lovely Wife and I were able to begin building some long-term savings. But, like most of our peers, we’ve invested too little, too late to ensure that at some future date we’ll be able to pay the bills without a steady paycheck.

About 45 percent of our boomer compatriots have no retirement savings, according to a 2019 survey by the Insured Retirement Institute, and Social Security offers scant financial comfort: The average monthly check is only about $1,500. The future is notably brighter for the 31 percent of retirees who receive a monthly pension from their former employers, but that cohort has been shrinking since 1982, when Congress amended federal tax laws to offer fewer incentives for companies to maintain defined benefit plans.

“We’ve probably peaked in terms of retirement security — and it’s not great,” Monique Morrissey of the Economic Policy Institute tells reporter Will Englund in the Washington Post. “And now it’s all downhill. Unless something changes, we’re going to start seeing much more hardship.”

So, I was intrigued by a recent study from Georgetown University’s Center for Retirement Initiatives (CRI) describing the benefits of broadening access to retirement savings accounts for employees at all stages in their working lives. Currently, companies employing some 40 percent of the nation’s private-sector workers — 57.3 million people — offer no way to save. Mandating such options, while exempting small firms and making employer financial contributions voluntary rather than mandatory, would help individuals build their retirement savings over the long term. One model suggests that as many as 40 million more workers would have accumulated retirement funds by 2040 if these accounts were made widely available.

“Addressing the retirement savings crisis can be done in a simple, cost-effective way using private-sector solutions paired with a national requirement for employers to provide options to their employees,” says CRI executive director Angela Antonelli. “Millions of American workers would benefit from universal access to Auto-IRAs, 401(k)s, or other savings arrangements.”

Those benefits would also accrue to the overall economy, Antonelli argues, by adding up to $96 million to the nation’s gross national product by 2040 and reducing federal and state financial assistance to cash-strapped retirees by some $8.7 billion. Ten states have already passed legislation requiring companies to provide these options, she notes, offering ample evidence of its salutary effects. “Our research shows how expanding universal access to the national level can make a profound difference in individual lives and the broader economy in a relatively short period of time.”

I can’t help but applaud Antonelli’s optimistic view, though it’s hard to imagine how folks toiling away for minimum wage at some fast-food joint would find enough surplus in their monthly income to sock anything away in a 401(k). If I’ve learned anything from 50-odd years in the workforce, it’s how hard it is to adhere to a budget — much less save for a rainy day — when the checks barely cover the rent and groceries.

Besides, work isn’t always about the money. My ancient résumé is littered with jobs I sought because they offered a fresh occupational challenge or the opportunity to contribute to some broader social mission. Long-term financial planning was never a primary consideration. As struggling boomer retiree Terry Koch, 69, explains in Englund’s Post feature, for many of our generation it was more about enjoyment than anything else.

“We were a people who said we kind of like to have job satisfaction up front,” he says. “And so we didn’t think about the long run of things. To not be thinking about the future, to be more of a Zen thing. . . . And it wasn’t pure hedonism. There was some purity. And we’re still very much that way. I would rather be happy today than miserable 25 years from now. And so I made choices based on that rather than on the economics, which, you know, one could argue fairly successfully that I made some pretty stupid decisions.”

Forced out of the job market by health issues, Koch and his 70-year-old wife, Nancy, live in a rent-subsidized apartment in West Allis, Wis., and subsist on about $2,500 in monthly Social Security income. About $1,500 of that goes for rent and Medicare supplemental insurance coverage. There’s no savings. Yet, they soldier on more enthusiastically than you might imagine. “You know,” Nancy says, “neither of us thought we’d be alive at this age.”

It’s a sentiment that crosses my mind more than occasionally these days, and it often reminds me of my immense good fortune. A leisurely retirement may not await me in the years ahead, but just knowing I’ve made it through another day sometimes feels like money in the bank.


Craig Cox
is an Experience Life deputy editor who explores the joys and challenges of aging well.

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