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Kettlebells are quickly becoming one of the most popular tools for exercise. They not only allow you to combine cardiovascular exercise with strength training, but also the can be used to work nearly every muscle in your body. Kettlebell exercises are particularly effective for working the gluteal muscles of the hips.
Kettlebell swings are a dynamic and powerful exercise that tax your entire muscular system as well as your cardiovascular system while creating a nice burn in your hips. Place a kettlebell on the floor and straddle it with your legs shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Squat down with your arms extended and grasp the handle with a two-hand overhand grip. Stabilize your abdomen, slightly arch your back and use your hips and legs to swing the kettlebell from the floor to up in front of your body. Immediately squat back down while allowing the kettlebell to swing down between your legs without touching the floor. As it reaches the end of the swing, push through your heels to to extend your knees and hips and propel the kettlebell forward and up. All of the power from this exercise should come from the posterior chain, particularly your hamstrings and hips. During the upswing, work to get it to at least shoulder-level and avoid rounding your back on the downswing. Continue to swing from front to back until you've completed the desired repetitions.
Squats are one of the most effective exercises for developing the hips. Hold a kettlebell with both hands in front of your chest with your elbows bent. Take a shoulder-width stance or wider with your feet with your toes pointed slightly out. Contract your abdominal muscles, stiffen your back, look straight ahead then bend your hips and knees to lower into a squat. Lower down until your knees reach 90 degrees and your thighs are parallel with the floor. Exhale as you press through your heels to extend your legs and return to the standing position.
Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift
The kettlebell sumo deadlift requires a large range of motion in the hips while targeting the glutes, hamstrings and low back muscles. Straddle a kettlebell with a stance wider than shoulder-width. With your abdominal muscles tight and torso erect, look straight ahead as you squat down to grasp the handle with both hands. Exhale as you push through your heels and use your lower body to lift the kettlebell off the floor. Continue up until your hips and knees are fully extended then squat down to return the weight to the floor. Avoid rounding your back throughout the exercise.
Kettlebell Overhead Split Squat
The kettlebell overhead split squat is a challenging exercise that works not only the hips but also the quads, hamstrings and the stabilizing muscles of the back and abdomen. Clean or press a kettlebell overhead with your right arm. Hold the weight overhead with your arm extended then take a split stance with your left leg forward and your feet far apart. Stabilize your torso, then slowly bend the hip and knee of your left leg to lower into a split squat position. Continue down until your left knee reaches 90 degrees and your right knee touches the floor then exhale as you press through your right heel to extend your hip and knee. Complete the desired number of reps then lower the weight to the floor. Repeat the exercise with your right leg forward and the kettlebell extended overhead with your left arm.