Kettlebell Exercises for Abs
Aerobic exercise and strength training can help decrease your waist size and reduce visceral fat. Of the many types of fat, the one that is genuinely problematic is called intra-abdominal, or visceral fat, and it is found in our liver, stomach, and intestines. Visceral fat creates proteins called cytokines and cytokines produce low levels of inflammation in the body, as well as assist in the production of angiotensins. Angiotensins are vasoconstrictive proteins linked to elevated blood pressure. Americans spend millions of dollars each year on pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms of high blood pressure and heart disease while we continue to ignore the underlying causes. In order to avoid this buildup of angiotensins, it’s important to adopt an active lifestyle.
You don’t even need to buy an expensive gym membership or a complete home fitness center to begin. The kettlebell is an inexpensive piece of equipment that will help you reduce visceral fat and get a fantastic workout anywhere. The kettlebell is designed to be off-center and works on the principle of instability. Classic weight-lifting systems like dumbbells and barbells use symmetric weight distribution for even, controlled lifting by a few targeted muscle groups. However, kettlebells are designed to work out the whole body while you are in motion. By using your core to stabilize the bell during the following exercises, you are getting a better abdominal workout than you would from traditional sit-ups and crunches.
The Turkish Get-Up
This exercise is excellent for working out the whole body, but really engages the major muscle groups in your core as you transition between positions. The purpose of this exercise is not to move quickly or complete as many repetitions as you can. Each repetition should be executed slowly and with complete control. The goal is to have good form and engage your core muscles to control the instability of the kettlebell.
- Start by lying on your right side in the fetal position. Hold the kettlebell with both hands, and rest it against your outer forearm.
- Roll onto your back and use both arms to lift the kettlebell up and away from your chest. Keep your right wrist straight and shoulder resting in its socket.
- Lock your right elbow, and let your left-hand rest on the ground at a 45-degree angle from your body.
- With your left leg laying on the ground, bring your right knee up, with the sole of your right foot flat on the ground.
- Push through your right foot as you sit up and transfer your weight onto your left forearm. Continue to rise, shifting the weight into your left hand.
- As you ascend, sweep your left leg backwards into a lunge position with the kettlebell directly above your right shoulder.
- Use your core strength to stabilize the bell in your right hand until your torso is in an upright position. Again, push into your right foot to a standing position.
- Slowly reverse each movement to return to your initial starting position. Switch sides and repeat the entire sequence.
The Kettlebell Windmill
The windmill is phenomenal for engaging your oblique muscles, hips, and hamstrings, along with the shoulder muscles of your rotator cuff. Again, it’s important to engage your core during this exercise to stabilize the kettlebell and help prevent injury.
- Stand with both feet at a 45-degree angle and about shoulder-width apart.
- Pick up the kettlebell with your right hand. The handle should rest comfortably in your palm while the bell rests against your forearm.
- Keep your wrist straight while you press the kettlebell above your head and lock your elbow. Your right shoulder should remain comfortably in its socket in this position.
- Load your weight into your right hip while bringing your left hand down to your left knee. Turn your head to look at the kettlebell, and gently lean your torso towards your left leg, engaging your core for stability.
- Bend your left knee as you descend, and drop your left arm towards the ground. Keep the kettlebell overhead as your shoulder moves to accommodate the change in the direction of the load.
- When you’ve completed this range of motion, slowly reverse the movement, stabilizing the kettlebell as you return to a standing position. Make sure you do this exercise on both sides of your body.
Doing these exercises for 20-30 minutes a day, five days per week will meet the minimum standards set by the American College of Sports medicine and minimize the risk of a sedentary lifestyle negatively impacting your health. Even taking 10 minutes to execute one of these exercises between keystrokes on a computer can leave you feeling energized for the rest of your day. Most importantly, it will give you the health and vitality necessary to live a long and active life.