Routine by Natalie Contorno, CPT, Nutrition Specialist & Group Fitness Instructor
Photography by Paul Buceta
One surefire way to get stronger, stand taller, and gain confidence is to build a strong back. A way to take it one step further? Show some extra love to your posterior chain, the muscles that run along the entire back of your body, including hamstrings and glutes.
These moves are a good way to target these areas, while adding a little something more to your workout, thanks to the benefits of a kettlebell. The beauty of kettlebell training is that unlike the stable and sturdy dumbbell, the kettlebell’s center of gravity lies below your grip and is constantly shifting throughout the exercise, making traditional movements more challenging. Plus, these compound exercises recruit multiple muscle groups, especially your spine, glutes, and core muscles.
At least one medium kettlebell, approximately 8-12 kg. As an option, you may want to have a few kettlebells of various weights to make some exercises more challenging.
Perform the exercises in Circuit #1 for a total of three rounds, resting for 30 seconds between each exercise. Rest a full minute before moving to Circuit #2, then repeat that circuit three times with a 30-second rest between exercises.
Begin with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell with an overhand grip in front of your lower body. Bend your knees and push your hips back, swinging the kettlebell between your legs (A). Then thrust your hips forward to bring it up in front of you (B). Lower back down and immediately repeat.
Single-Arm Bent-Over Row
Stand holding a kettlebell in your right hand and hinge forward at the hips with your knees bent slightly (A). Pull the kettlebell toward your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades (B). Pause at the top, and lower back down by extending your arm toward the floor. Repeat for all reps, then switch sides.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, keeping your arms straight while holding a kettlebell by the handle (A). Pull the kettlebell up to your shoulders, keeping your elbows out, then pause at the top (B). Slowly lower back down to the starting position.
Holding the kettlebell with arms extended downwards, push your hips back and lower it towards the ground, keeping a flat back (A). Raise back up and extend your legs to return to the starting position (B), then repeat for all reps.
Aim to feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings as you lower the weight.
Start in high plank with the kettlebell in one hand (A). Pull your elbow back to perform a row (B). Lower the weight back to the floor. Do all reps with one arm, and then repeat on the other side.
Lie flat with knees bent and feet on the ground. Hold the kettlebell by the horns straight above you with arms extended (A). Lower the weight behind your head, until it is about an inch above the ground (B), pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat for all reps.