This was written by Jen Waak, who pens a monthly health column for The Solopreneur Life.
Stopping by the gym on the way home from work is a bit of a fantasy for most solopreneurs.
We work from home, so there is no “stopping by.” Plus, who has two hours to drive there, work out, shower, and drive home?
The solution? A home gym.
I know, you don’t want a bunch of equipment lying around. And, heck, that treadmill you bought five years ago in the midst of a fitness seizure has become nothing more than a clothes rack.
But, what if you could have a home gym for less than $100 that took up less space than your floor lamp? And, it’s easy to stick in the closet when company arrives.
I have the solution for you. A kettlebell.
A portable home gym is exactly what a kettlebell is. Often described as a cannonball with a handle, kettlebells have gone from being considered an “underground” training tool to being virtually mainstream. There is a reason for that—they are awesome.
What do you use a kettlebell for?
Basically: everything. What I love about them is that they are great for strength training as well as cardio conditioning. All in one compact tool.
Kettlebells for Cardio
For me, cardio in a small space is the beauty of the kettlebell. Its unique shape makes it easy to hold on to, so you can move it quickly, creating quite a cardio burn. The foundational move is called the kettlebell swing, and with that one move alone you can burn a ridiculous number of calories an hour and find muscles your body forgot (or never knew) it had.
Kettlebells for Strength
The simplest way to use kettlebells for strength is to use them the same way you would use a dumbbell or weightlifting bar. But, I have to confess: if all you want a kettlebell for is strength work, I’m going to suggest you pass on the kettlebell phenomenon. To me, using a kettlebell just to lift something heavy is missing the point and there are better ways to get the job done.
How Do I Start?
I’m glad you asked!
1. Buy a kettlebell. DragonDoor was the company that took kettlebells mainstream in the U.S., and they still make the best kettlebells. You can buy them here. Not sure what size is right for you? Art of Strength has a great guide to help you choose the right weight.
2. Get some instruction. Unless you are already a seasoned weightlifter and know your way around a weight room, I’d find a Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor (RKC) in your area and get some professional instruction. You can find a list of RKCs here. Most kettlebell injuries happen as a result of poor form, and when you are moving heavy weights around at high speeds, things can get out of control really quickly. While you can learn a lot online and YouTube has some really good instruction out there, there are also some videos on there that I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy.
That having been said, not everyone is near an RKC or can afford it. So, the YouTube users I would trust are:
3. Start slowly. When starting, less is definitely more. In my introductory classes, I never have my students do more than a couple dozen swings during the first workout. And, even then, complaints the next week about being too sore to get up and down out of chairs is not uncommon.
What do you think? Ready to enter the world of kettlebells? If you still have questions, let me know in the comments below.