This Kettlebell Lower Body Workout Will Light Up Your Legs

4 weeks ago
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If you’re getting bored of the same-old workouts, try switching up your equipment. This kettlebell lower body workout will fire up your legs and butt fast, and it’ll give your dumbbells a break.

Kettlebells and dumbbells will both challenge your muscles by providing external resistance, but they are a little different, primarily because of their weight distribution. “The kettlebell’s weight distribution is directly under its handles, where with the dumbbell, it’s on either side of its handle,” Alicia Jamison, C.P.T., trainer at Bodyspace Fitness in New York City, who holds Level 1 and Level 2 kettlebell certifications from Kettlebell Athletics, tells SELF. “Most of the weight is in the bell; it’s directly downward and under your center of mass, which makes it a lot more stable and lowers the risk of injury,” says Jamison.

This five-move kettlebell lower body workout designed by Jamison focuses on three main lower body movement patterns to give you a well-rounded burn. First is the hip hinge, which works your glutes and hamstrings. Common hip hinge moves include deadlifts and glute bridges. Next is the deep knee bend, which includes any squat variation and works your glutes and quads. Lastly, the lunge, seen in all lunge variations, activates your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, and challenges your stability with its single-leg focus.

And while this workout will definitely get your heart rate up and maybe even make you sweat, those aren’t the only markers of a successful strength workout. Time under tension—how much time a muscle is held under tension or strain—matters, too, especially if your goal is to get stronger. The key is hitting momentary muscular fatigue, or the point where you can’t do another rep with good form. But how can you determine that safely?

Jamison says mindfulness is key when it comes to understanding and finding your edge. “Anytime your mind says, ‘I’m done,’ try one to two more reps,” says Jamison. “That’s where you’re in the safe zone of still working your muscles without losing your form.” But when your form physically starts to get shaky, that’s when it’s time to end the set.

Ready to hit the mat for this fiery kettlebell lower body workout? Here’s everything you’ll need to get started.

The Workout

What you’ll need: One kettlebell and an exercise mat for extra cushioning. For beginners, you can try a kettlebell that’s 15-25 pounds. For advanced exercisers, try one between 25-35 pounds.

The Exercises:

  • Racked reverse lunge
  • Sumo squat
  • Single-leg deadlift
  • Kettlebell swing
  • Lateral lunge

Directions:

  • Perform 8-12 reps of each exercise. (For the unilateral moves, perform 8-12 reps per side.) Complete 3-5 sets. Rest for 2-3 minutes between each set before going on to the next move.

Demoing the moves below are Crystal Williams (GIF 1), a group fitness instructor and trainer who teaches at residential and commercial gyms across New York City; Angie Coleman (GIFs 2-4), a holistic wellness coach in Oakland, CA; and Amanda Wheeler (GIF 5), a certified strength and conditioning specialist and co-founder of Formation Strength.

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