The Complete Kettlebell Workout for Women Over 50
Female and over fifty? While there are a lot of positives about this stage of life to look forward to, losing strength isn’t one of them. Fortunately, you don’t have to follow the expected trend of losing muscle mass, putting on body fat, and watching your body slowly weaken. In fact, you can even gain strength and mobility as you age by using this complete kettlebell workout for women over fifty.
Kettlebell vs Dumbbell Workouts
A kettlebell is a unique type of weight that’s different from a dumbbell in that it’s a circular object with an offset center of gravity. A ball with a built-in handle on the top, a kettlebell can be used single-handedly (one at a time), with a kettlebell in each hand, or you can perform exercises with both hands on the kettlebell. You can lift, lower, and swing these objects to create many effective, body-friendly, and fun workouts. This type of workout can help strengthen your muscles, yes, but it can also help you improve posture and balance while you strengthen your tendons, ligaments, and core.
Why You Should Try a Kettlebell Workout
The benefits of a kettlebell workout are vast. Not only does this type of workout tone your body, it also boosts your cardiovascular fitness. You’ll probably find yourself out of breath as you go through the movements, and that means you’re getting in some good cardio work along with exercising your muscles.
Since many kettlebell exercises use your body’s momentum to move the weight, this type of exercise can be easier on the joints while still challenging your muscles. It’s also a very “functional” workout because you use the same muscles you use as you go through your everyday life. Plus, kettlebell exercises are easy to learn and can be less intimidating than trying your hand at a regular weight-training routine in the gym.
Some other benefits of working with kettlebells include:
- Improved strength—gain strength over time as you work through the different exercises.
- Greater flexibility and mobility—the gentle bending and swinging motions involved in kettlebell workouts will help you become more flexible and help you move through different planes.
- Cardiovascular fitness—a dual cardio and toning workout, you’ll be able to continuously burn fat throughout your workout as you increase your cardiovascular fitness.
- Toning and muscle building—you can progress from very lightweight kettlebells when you first start to using heavier weights over time. Kettlebell workouts help to tone and strengthen your entire body.
- Improved posture and balance—the offset center of gravity will force your body to improve posture and balance as you continue to use kettlebells.
Four Basic Kettlebell Movements
A kettlebell workout can use four basic movements: the swing, deadlift, clean and press, and snatch.
The swing is what differentiates kettlebells from other weights and allows for smooth movement and a lot of hip and core engagement.
The deadlift comes into play when you bend over to pick up the kettlebells as part of complex movement patterns.
The clean and press is similar to the snatch as they both revolve around bringing the kettlebell up and overhead.
You can use one or multiple movements to create different exercises or use the kettlebells simply as weights. Their versatility is bound only by your imagination.
Try This Complete Kettlebell Workout
Always start with a good warmup before getting into your main exercises. You may want to walk on the treadmill, on a track, or outside, or ride the bike for 5 – 10 minutes to allow your muscles to warm up. Next, go through a few light swings with the kettlebell to get your body used to the motions.
Once you are warmed up, go through this routine doing each exercise for 15 repetitions (or 15 on each side for single-hand motions). Rest for 30 seconds to one minute in-between sets.
1. Two-Handed Swing
This staple movement works pretty much the whole body and will be one of your go-to exercises. Start with your feet about hip-width apart. Grab the kettlebell with both hands, palms down, and hold it in front of your body, arms straight. Bend your knees as you push your hips backward and allow the kettlebell to swing back through your legs. Then, explosively propel your arms forward as you straighten your legs and thrust your hips forward, bringing the kettlebell up to eye level (or above) in front of you. Allow the up-and-down swinging motion to continue as you use your hips and glutes to complete 15 repetitions.
2. Single-Arm Swing
This is the same as the two-handed swing but you will grasp the handle with only one hand. Complete your movements for one side of your body and then repeat for the opposite side.
3. Goblet Squat
Now it’s time to slow things down and use the kettlebell in a different way. Stand with your feet placed wide, toes pointed outward, and hold the kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands. Squat straight down, keeping your upper body upright, and allow the kettlebell to move straight toward the ground as you push your hips back until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause and then push up through your heels, straightening your knees until you are in the full starting position again. Repeat.
4. Power Plank
This exercise is similar to a typical plank exercise but instead of placing your hands on the ground, you’ll place them on the handles of two small lightweight kettlebells which should be placed under your arms about shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms, back, and legs straight as you lift the right kettlebell slightly off the ground. Place it back on the ground and lift the left one slightly off the ground. Repeat 15 times on each side while maintaining the plank position.
5. Power Plank with Row
Do the same exercise as above except instead of simply lifting the weight from the ground, bend your arm at the elbow and bring it up alongside your ribcage. Return to the start and repeat on the opposite side.
Place your feet about hip-width apart while holding the kettlebell with your right hand in front of your body. Keeping your knees flexible, swing the kettlebell behind your back and reach back with your left hand to grab the kettlebell. In a continuous motion, bring the kettlebell around the left side of your body to the front, handing it off to your right hand again. Repeat 15 times in one direction before switching to the opposite side and repeating.
7. Half Get Up
Start by lying on your back with your legs straight. Holding a lightweight kettlebell in your right hand, straighten your arm until it’s fully extended. Next, bend your right knee and raise your torso upward off the ground, using your left arm for leverage. Once you’re fully seated, slowly return to the start and repeat on the opposite side.
8. Single-Arm Snatch
Begin by placing a kettlebell between your feet. Bend over and grab the kettlebell with your right hand, exploding upward until your hand is at chest/shoulder level. From there, push the weight up and overhead until your arm is fully extended.
If you’re over 50, a kettlebell workout is a great way to stay in shape or ease into workouts again if it’s been a while. They’re gentle on your body but you can still get a challenging workout for your entire body.
As you get older, there’s no reason to cut back on your workouts. Instead, just work out smarter by using body-friendly movements like kettlebell workouts. And always remember to thoroughly warm up before getting started to prevent injuries and maximize your results.