A kettlebell workout can be a mix of heaven and hell. Your heart rate booms, and your muscles must work to the max to stabilize the asymmetric weight. The heaven comes when you notice that you can handle heavier and heavier bells. And you can earn a figurative halo by performing real halos during your workout. The muscles of the upper body and core work overtime during a kettlebell halo exercise.
In the halo exercise, the kettlebell passes around your head in the shape of a halo. Stand tall and position your feet hip-width apart. Hold the bell in front of your chest with the handle pointing down. Grasp the handles, but face the bottom of the bell up. Exhale and lift the bell over your head. Slightly bend your elbows so the bell begins behind your head. Keep your elbows bent and circle the bell around your head in a clockwise direction. Perform up to 15 halos and then reverse the direction and perform an equal number of halos.
A kettlebell provides an intense workout for all your major muscle groups. This resistance-training tool was developed more than 300 years ago by Russian strongmen to improve their endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. No longer reserved for strongmen, kettlebells have made their way into most fitness centers. Pick up a bell and try the halo exercise for a heavenly core-strengthening workout with an added upper-body bonus.
Kettlebell guru Steve Maxwell developed the halo move. You hold the kettlebell by the horns -- the outer edges of the handles – pointing the weight toward the ceiling and rotate the bell in a circle above your head. Hold the ball in front of your chest, balanced between both hands. Lift one arm, swing the kettlebell around the back of your head and bring it around your other ear around to the front of your chest. Kettlebell pioneer Pavel Tsatsouline credits Maxwell for this exercise in his landmark book, “Enter the Kettlebell,” and advises that you keep your glutes as tight as possible to support your back during the halo exercise.