When I go to the gym, swinging a heavy metal weight around my head is not high on my list of to-dos. I tend to avoid equipment I don't know how to use—even the kettlebell, a simple-looking weight (that handy grip!) that promises better results than simple dumbbells.
Turns out the only thing you could do wrong when it comes to the 'bell is not include it in your regular workouts, at least according to trainer and martial artist Dasha Libin, who totally schooled me in her kickass Kettlebell Kickboxing class.
Here, she demonstrates moves that help you sculpt all over — and get a cardio burn, to boot. "Your heart rate will be elevated and every muscle in the body engaged!" she promises. If you can't make it to her NYC studio, you can easily teach yourself these moves at your own gym (or workout with Dasha at home watching her DVDs).
KB Killer Combo: Place the weight (ideally 8-12 pounds) in your arms and hold with both hands chest level. Widen your stance to squat position. As you squat down, make sure all of the weight is in your heels (keep your toes peeled from the ground). Then explode up onto your toes, raising the weight overhead. Quickly return to the squat position and explode to the left (pivot your feet) while raising the weight over head, then repeat to the right. Do this three-step motion non-stop for one-minute straight.
KB Warrior Kick: Keeping the kettlebell chest-level, extend one leg behind you as you lower the kettlebell towards the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, keeping your glutes engaged and hips even, then, using the balance of the stationary leg, drive through your heel to balance your way back up. Repeat for one minute on each side, then switch sides.
KB Warrior Lunge: Keep your feet together in a strong and straight stance and start with the kettlebell chest-level, racked up by both arms. Step back into a rear lunge with one leg, then, as you come back out of your lunge, continue to drive through your heel and kick forward with the lunging legs as you lift the kettle bell overhead. Keep knees at 90 degrees in your lunge and drive through your heel.
Repeat in one swift and fluid motion for one minute on each leg, then switch sides.
KB Single Leg Snap Kick: Hold your kettlebell mid-racked (chest-level with both hands holding the handle) and tight to the body. Balance on one foot, pressing through your heel into the ground. Lift up your other leg and hold it, bent at the knee, using the strength of your ab muscles. Then snap the leg up, as high as you can. Keep abs tight and shoulders back, and do not arch your back. Alternate legs for one minute, non-stop.
KB Kickboxing Sit Up: Lie on the ground in a sit-up position and hold your kettlebell on your chest. Do a sit-up, then from the top of the sit-up position, bend both knees to one side towards your butt and sit yourself up on both knees. From there, stand on one leg and then the next to get into a full standing position. Once standing, raise the kettlebell over your head. Repeat the same motions in reverse. Repeat for one minute, alternating which leg you stand up on first.