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Kettlebell for Aesthetics

How to Build a Fitness Model Body with Kettlebell Workouts

Written by
August 14, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018

Everybody is all about appearances. Whether you’re a regular gym rat, Crossfitter, or Olypmic lifter it’s all lumped into “training and fitness.” I’m a trainer who uses an unconventional method of kettlebells and Pilates (of all things). I’ve combined these two modalities and most would never think that this combination would be valuable, but in more ways than one, it’s almost the perfect marriage of function and isolation training.

When you isolate your muscles, they will hypertrophy and you’re going to get more of an aesthetic build that most bodybuilders and fitness competitors try to get in the gym. I spent many years training in the regular gym before I found the kettlebell.

I always combined my weight training workouts with Pilates because I like the stretching aspects and the core dominant work that Pilates provides. This goes back to 2001 when I became a figure competitor. I competed in the Las Vegas classic that year, which was the very first NPC Figure show in Nevada.

What is a Fitness Model?

Lisa Balash shows fitness models why they should use kettlebells

This is a competition that is purely subjective based on Symmetry, Proportion, and Stage Presence. The perfect fitness model physique is built in the gym by using a bodybuilder training method and a strict diet combined with hours of miserable cardio machines.

I can’t tell you how many countless steps I took on the stair climber and grueling weight training sessions on very few calories because I was eating like a bird. Not only is this training unproductive, it has the tendency to make you very irritable on top of everything.

I realized how much different my body was back in 2006 once I started using the kettlebell combined with my regular training. Not only did I take off unwanted mass in my thighs from the heavy squats I performed over the years, I became much more agile and my cardiovascular conditioning improved.

I auditioned for the Lingerie Football League in 2012 and the tryouts were a breeze for me. I was able to jump farther and higher than ever before. I did 70 strict push ups and was strong at blocking. I had actually increased my functional strength.

This is when I realized that the kettlebell was giving me all of these benefits that I never had from strength training on its own. Although I was chosen for the team, I decided against playing because it’s a full contact sport and I wanted to stay healthy without the risk of injuring myself.

When you are training to lose weight, to look good for a special occasion, or just because you’re at a point in your life when you are tired of being unhealthy, training with regular weights is fine.

Kettlebells Workouts for Functional Fitness Models

Lisa Balash shows fitness models why they should use kettlebells

Traditional style weight training in the gym is where many people get started because unconventional methods like kettlebells can be intimidating, but what do we experience in our daily lives? Functional requirements everyday.

We do everything from lifting heavy objects or boxes, carrying groceries, putting luggage overhead on an airplane, holding children, and many other things that we usually give no thought to. This is where functional training comes into play.

If you are only lifting weights to look good in a selfie or to pick up women at the club, you might want to pick up a kettlebell instead and train your body to become more versatile. When you train with kettlebells you mimic many of the daily activities I mentioned above.

Exercises like the Jerk, Wood Choppers, Figure 8’s, Farmers Walks, and Racked Squats are just a few examples of what you can do to train your body for function while still sculpting your physique.

I mentioned earlier about my experience competing in Figure for seven years and training with weights, but for my last competition, I decided to go in a completely different direction and train myself with kettlebells only.

I still dieted hard to take off some unwanted mass but I did a small amount of cardio machines and increased my kettlebell sessions to 45 minutes, three times per week. Weight was dropping off of me pretty quick and I was feeling stronger over all.

If you look at some of the other competitors in the Kettlebell Sport world like champion Donica Storino and Master of Sport, Lorna Kleidman, who have beautiful physiques that most girls in any gym would envy. This shows that just because you are training in a functional manner that it doesn’t take away from the aesthetic beauty that is built from isolating the muscles.

Kettlebell Sport is an endurance sport, so it will take off some muscle in the beginning, but overall I think it only improves your conditioning and appearance.

Here is a great kettlebell workout to use if you are training to lean out. This is an example of what I did to train myself for the USA’s National Figure Competition in 2007:

1 hour of Kettlebell and Pilates training 3 Days per week
40 minutes cardio 2 days per week 

 Here are some example Kettlebell Workouts:

Fitness Model Kettlebell Workout:

A1: Kettlebell 2-Hand Swings – 4 rounds x 25 reps
B1: Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlifts – 3 rounds x 12-15 reps
C1: Kettlebell Romanian Deadlifts – 3 rounds x 12-+15 reps
D1: TKettlebell hreaded Walking Lunges – 3 rounds x 20 reps
(Perform this like a figure 8 going through the inner thigh passing it around to the outside)
E1: Kettlebell Clean Squat Push Press – 3 rounds x 15 reps
F1: Kettlebell Push Ups on Kettlebells – 3 rounds x 10 reps
G1: Kettlebell Bent Over Rows – 3 rounds x 12-15 reps
H1: Kettlebell Clean & Jerk – 3 rounds x 20 reps

Functional Fitness Model Kettlebell Workout

A1: Kettlebell 2 Hand Swings – 4 rounds x 25 reps
B1: Kettlebell Alternating 1-Arm Swings – 3 rounds x 20 reps
C1: Kettlebell Clean Racked Squats – 3 rounds x 10 reps
D1: Kettlebell Clean Squat Push Press – 3 rounds x 10 reps
E1: Kettlebell SeeSaw Press – 2 rounds x 20 reps
F1: Kettlebell Romanian Deadlifts – 2 rounds x 20 reps
G1: Kettlebell Renegade Rows – 3 roudns x 5-10 Ladder
H1: Kettlebell Suitcase Deadlifts – 3 rounds x 10-15 reps
I1: Kettlebell Farmers Walk – 2 rounds x 10 reps (each side)
J1: Kettlebell WoodChopper Lunge – 2 rounds x 10 reps (each side)

Get started with your kettlebell workouts today with Onnit Kettlebells.

Lisa Balash has been a top Pilates and Kettlebell trainer in Las Vegas, NV since 2003. Lisa opened her studio Elite Physiques in 2008 and is currently training a variety of clients. Lisa still enjoys being an athlete herself and competes in Kettlebell Sport. She has released two instructional DVDs, Kettlebell Bombshell Vol. 1 and 2, which include 6 follow along workouts. These DVD’s have gotten rave reviews and were #26 on Amazon’s top 100 list. Lisa is also an ambassador for FitFluential and ReebokONE.
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