I’m going to make a statement that’ll probably ruffle a few feathers, that’s probably a little politically incorrect, that a lot of strength coaches might disagree with … but one that, in my opinion, is a simple truth –
Women have different training needs than men.
Given that roughly 60-70% of my in-person training clientele is female – and has been for the duration of my (nearly) decade – long personal training career – I feel I have enough first-hand experience to make this statement. Here are a few ways a woman’s training needs differ from a man’s:
- Women commonly have different areas of focus (lower vs. upper body, for example)
- Women have different strengths and weaknesses (women will smoke most men when it comes to strength/endurance-type work but will typically lose a pull-up match – or any other test of relative upper body strength – to a man of the same fitness level)
- Women generally have different goals (i.e., most women don’t want to put on slabs of bulky muscle)
So this blog post is all about the best kettlebell exercises for women. I’ll start by explaining how women can benefit from kettlebell training. I’ll cover some common target/problem areas. And then I’ll outline some kettlebell exercises to target these areas along with a full kettlebell workout.
Kettlebells For Women – Benefits
Here are a few benefits of kettlebells that are specific to most women’s fitness goals:
- Fat Loss (kettlebells provide intense fat burning workouts)
- Strength without bulk
- Endurance and stamina (without the running)
- Muscle balance and function (promotes proper body mechanics)
- Boosts metabolism with high rep balistic exercises like swings, cleans and snatches
- Confidence to handle anything that life throws your way!
Specific Target Areas
Here’s a short list of typical ‘problem’ areas for women:
The Best Kettlebell Exercises For Women
The basic kettlebell exercises hit all of the problem areas I just listed above very effectively. The swing and snatch, for example, work the heck out of your hips, glutes, back, and core muscles. The Turkish get up – as well as the clean and press – are both great for hitting your midsection and arms. And the goblet squat is hard to beat for complete lower body strength and development.
Here are the main kettlebell exercises women should be focusing on learning first – all other more advanced kettlebell drills are built on the ‘base’ of these five:
(For more specific technique tips on each drill, click the exercise name):
Sample Kettlebell Workout For Women
Here’s a workout that incorporates everything we’ve covered so far – it’s designed to help you lose fat, build strength without building muscle bulk, improve endurance, and hit those hard-to-target areas like the midsection/abdomen, hips, thighs, butt, arms, and back :
Warm up – foam roll/joint mobility/dynamic stretch
(For exercise pairs – perform each exercise back-to-back without rest, rest for :30 and repeat pair two more times for a total of three sets of each exercise):
Exercise pair 1
Turkish get up – 3 each side
Body row/pull up – 2 reps short of failure
Exercise pair 2
KB lunge – 10 reps each side
Swing or Snatch – 8 reps each side
Double kettlebell clean and press – 5 sets of 6-8 reps, heavy enough weight to get 1-2 reps short of failure, 15-20 second rest between each set
finish w/ 5 mins. of static stretching for tight muscle groups
In conclusion, kettlebells are a fantastic training tool for women. They meet specific training needs that many women are looking for and are great for targeting typical female problem areas. Even better, the basic kettlebell moves are all you need to meet all of these goals.
Keep training hard and talk soon –
Forest Vance, RKC II
P.S. If you liked this post, you are sure to like kettlebell exercises posted at http://kettlebellbasics.net/2010/05/25/kettlebell-routines/.