How To Do The Kettlebell Figure 8 Properly

The kettlebell figure 8 workout is a simple but highly effective workout. It’s perfect as a warm-up especially before deadlifting.

With one single piece of equipment, you can perform this exercise even at home.

Before you begin, get a kettlebell. This ball-shaped weight has a handle and comes in different weights. As with any workout, ensure you do not overwhelm yourself.

Use a kettlebell of reasonable weight, especially as a beginner. You can work your way up as you progress.

Let’s move on to the step by step guide on how to do the kettlebell figure 8:

  • Plant your feet flat on the ground with your toes facing forward. Your feet should be slightly wider than your hips.
  • Maintaining a straight back, bend at the knees and tilt your hips forward at the hips. Keep your head facing forward throughout this.
  • With both hands place the kettlebell between your feet.
  • Grip the kettlebell with your dominant hand which is most likely your right hand.
  • Swing the kettlebell between your legs, moving it behind your left leg while bringing your left hand behind outside of the left leg to meet the kettlebell.
  • Pass the kettlebell from your left to your right hand. You may do ten reps for each set.
  • Ensure you maintain the right momentum while doing the kettlebell figure 8 and do not drop the kettlebell in between the work out.

MUSCLES WORKED BY THE KETTLEBELL FIGURE 8

THE CORE

Consisting of muscles in the belly, lower and mid-back, the core is responsible for stabilization of the thorax, posture and skeletal alignment.

The muscles included in the core are the transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, multifidus, pelvic floor muscles and internal and external obliques.

QUADRICEPS

This muscle group is located at the front of the thigh. It facilitates the extension of the knee and hip flexion.

Your ability to walk, run and jump are all dependent on these muscles.

BICEPS

This is a large muscle found in the front of the upper arm between the shoulder and elbow.

Its two heads arise on the scapula and join to form a single muscle belly attached to the upper forearm. It enables flexion of the elbow and abduction of the shoulder.

HAMSTRING

The muscles in the posterior thigh are known as the hamstrings. They predominantly act on the knee. That is, flexion of the knee and rotation of the lower leg.

BENEFITS OF THE KETTLEBELL FIGURE 8

IMPROVED POSTURE

With muscles such as the core being worked out, the kettlebell figure 8 is guaranteed to improve your posture.

Provided you maintain proper form during your exercise, the muscles in your lower and mid back will benefit from this.

BURNS CALORIES

If you’ve just begun working out, then one of your main goals is likely to be calorie burning. With all kinds of exercises being recommended for calorie burning, you may be unsure of what is suitable.

The kettlebell figure 8 will keep you fit and burn those calories you want to get rid of with each swing of your kettlebell which only makes this exercise better.

BUILDS MUSCLE

Your quads, biceps and even hamstrings will see a significant increase in muscle as you perform the kettlebell figure 8.

This work out will give you just the type of body you’ve been working for.

REDUCE BACK PAIN

The muscles of the core responsible for posture and skeletal alignment may ache due to improper posture and other reasons.

Do not fear, this back pain may be reduced with the proper work out. The kettlebell figure 8 engages the muscles of the lower and mid back to relieve you of that pain.

ALTERNATIVES TO KETTLEBELL FIGURE 8

BARBELL DEADLIFT

A simple exercise perfect for muscle building, this work is just the right alternative.

  • Plant your feet at hip distance apart while facing forward.
  • Bend slightly at the knees with the barbell in your hands at hip level.
  • Slowly lower your barbell while hinging at the hips
  • If you feel your back begin to round, then return to a stand. Your spine must stay straight and knees should maintain their slight bend. You may do ten reps per set.

KETTLEBELL SWING

This work out is a slight variation from the kettlebell figure 8.

  • Plant your feet on the ground at hip distance apart and your knees facing forward.
  • Bend slightly at the knees, hinging at the hips.
  • Keeping your spine straight, grip your kettlebell with both hands.
  • Swing it upwards as you straighten at the knees. Repeat for ten reps in a set.

BURPEES

Many avoid this exercise due to its slight complexity but following these steps will have you doing it in no time.

  • Stand with your feet facing forward at shoulder width distance apart.
  • Bend at the knees and place your hands on the ground under your shoulders.
  • Hold your weight on your hands and shoulders and jump up to straighten fully.
  • Lower your body to the ground in a push up position. Your elbows should be bent and your chest close to the ground.
  • Push your upper body up by your hands.
  • Immediately, jump (inwards) to your feet at shoulder width with your hands still on the ground. Your legs should hold your bodyweight.
  • Slowly stand as if coming up from a crouch.
  • Jump and clap above your hands.
  • As you land, bend at the knees and plant your feet on the ground for the next rep.

COMMON MISTAKES WHEN DOING THE KETTLEBELL FIGURE 8

ROUNDING YOUR BACK

Your back should remain straight while performing the kettlebell figure 8. Failure to do this is likely to cause lower back pain.

STICKING YOUR BUTT OUT

If you lean too far forward and stick your hips out too far back, then you are doing this exercise wrong. You may even injure yourself if you lose balance in this position.

USING VERY HEAVY WEIGHT

If you find yourself having jerky movements then it may be because your kettlebell is heavier than you’re comfortable with.

This puts you at risk for injury. It’s advisable to reduce the weight of your kettlebell so you can maintain a smooth swing with the right momentum.

USING TOO LIGHT OF A WEIGHT

Your body will not provide enough tension to feel the effort. Even worse, you might swing your kettlebell too high and hurt yourself.

Increase your weight by gradually so the exercise is challenging but you can easily maintain proper form.

CONCLUSION

The kettlebell figure 8 is a fantastic full body work out perfect for strength, muscle building and calorie burning.

At first glance it may seem challenging, but with the right form and a determined mind you too can reap the benefits of the kettlebell figure 8 exercise.