Step, Bell, Change
Tighten your middle in three easy steps.
The figure 8 is one of my favorite (and one of the most fun) movements for strengthening the core—the abdominal and lower back muscles. Building a strong core is foundational and essential to all athletic activity.
1. Start in a squat position, lower back tucked in, holding a kettlebell out to one side.
2. Swing the kettlebell around the back of your leg and switch to the other hand as it passes between your knees.
3. Swing the bell around the back of the other leg, switching hands again as you pass between your knees.
This completes one rep. Perform three to four sets of 10–15 repetitions each.
The biceps and gluteus maximus are what I sometimes call “vanity” muscles. Outward appearances aside, muscles support metabolic function, a fact that cannot be overstated. But there isn’t a person I know who wouldn’t like to feel better in skinny jeans, look more toned in a T-shirt, and radiate self-confidence when either article of clothing comes off.
This is a smart exercise for developing the shoulders. The thick handle of the bell also engages the muscles of the hand, further strengthening the grip.
1. Stand upright, holding a kettlebell upside down by the handle at shoulder height, with your elbow bent and your palm facing in.
2. Press the kettlebell overhead, extending your arm fully. Keep your back flat and your abdominals engaged, and the bell upside down throughout the exercise.
Perform three to four sets of 12-15 repetitions.
Uni Stiff Leg Deadlift
This one works the glutes, hamstrings, and calves, with a secondary emphasis on core strength and balance. Beginners can use body weight and move up to bells.
1. Stand upright, feet hip width apart, with your arms by your sides.
2. Raise one leg behind you, bending the knee at a slight angle, as you lower your torso and reach toward the floor.
3. Push off the standing foot to return to the upright position. Keep your abs engaged throughout.
Perform 10-15 repetitions, then flip it and reverse it.