Kettlebells and kickboxing are two workouts that are guaranteed to get the heart pumping while burning hundreds of calories. Many fitness pros and proponents of cardio kickboxing recommend using kettlebells to improve muscle strength and speed in kickboxing.
What Are Kettlebells?
Kettlebells are round, cast iron weights with a handle attached to the top. They range in weight from 2 to 100 lbs and can give an exerciser a serious workout. Controlled movements of the arms and legs while holding or swinging the kettlebell uses multiple muscle groups at once, forcing a focus and concentration on the core. The result is a strength training workout that blasts calories, increases the metabolism and improves the conditioning of the entire body. For athletes hoping to improve their form, technique and moves in kickboxing to get the most out of this workout, kettlebells can help.
The Connection Between Kettlebells and Kickboxing
Kettlebell workouts and kickboxing workouts may seem extremely dissimilar at first glance. One uses weights and studied, controlled movements and motions, while the other uses force and speed from the limbs. Both, however, are extremely effective methods of burning calories and increasing muscle strength.
Speed and force are what make cardio kickboxing so effective. The harder and faster you are able to do the moves, the more calories you'll burn and the better workout you'll get. This is where kettlebell training comes into play. Holding and swinging the heavy weights forces the muscles of your body to work at their peak proficiency. This, in turn, seriously impacts your speed and force during kickboxing. So you're not only burning more calories and getting a great strength training workout with the kettlebells, you're setting yourself up to have a better, more effective kickboxing workout as well.
Kettlebell Workouts to Improve Kickboxing
If you're looking to improve your speed and strength in kickboxing, try these kettlebell workouts. You can also combine the two by warming up using lightweight kettlebells before moving into a cardio kickboxing routine.
Kettlebell Warm Up
Hold a lightweight kettlebell, approximately 8.5 lbs, by its horns so the weight is on top and the handle below. Lift the weight up above your head and trace 15 small circles in one direction. Pause and reverse direction for 15 circles. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your core stable so you don't sway with the kettlebell.
Hold the maximum weight you are comfortable using in a kettlebell in one hand. Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Swing the kettlebell out in front of you and aim it backwards between your legs. Squat slightly and bend your chest toward the ground as you swing the kettlebell between your legs. Straighten your legs and stand upright to swing the kettlebell out in front of you and parallel to the ground. Repeat five times with each arm.
Hold a medium weight kettlebell by the handle in one hand. Extend your arm out in front of you and swing the kettlebell out to the side and around your back. As the kettlebell moves to the center of your back, reach back with your other arm and grab the handle. Pass the kettlebell to the second hand and continue the swing around the other side of your body to the front. Pass the kettlebell back to the original hand and repeat. Try to keep your arms extended and the kettlebell as close to parallel to the ground as possible as you swing. Focus on keeping your core strong and do not sway with the movement.
Place a kettlebell on the floor between your legs. Stand with your legs spread wide in a comfortable stance, bend over and grasp the kettlebell handle with one hand. Swing the kettlebell backwards between your legs and behind your right leg. Switch hands as it passes behind your leg and pull it around the front of your right leg and back between your legs. Move the kettlebell behind your left leg, switching hands again to pull it around the leg to the front in a figure eight pattern. Repeat 20 times.
Mix Them Up
Combining kettlebells and kickboxing workouts will help you optimize your fitness. Warm up with kettlebells before your kickboxing classes and watch your speed and force increase over time. Between the two exercises you'll be blasting calories and building muscle with lightning speed.