I bought my wife a kettle bell. She used it for a few days, then it became the best garage doorstop I've ever owned.
I could open the door with both hands full of groceries and use my toes to pick up the kettle bell and move it into place. I loved that kettle bell!
When my brother asked to borrow it, I was more concerned about what I would use for a doorstop than about lending out a piece of equipment. Since he was going to use it for exercising, I gave up my favorite doorstop.
As a trainer, I use kettle bells to combine weight training and cardio exercises. I add them to circuits, use different weight variations of the same exercise and super-set them with cardio machine intervals. They work the entire body and are a good way to teach it to work under duress in a safe environment.
I use kettle bells with people of all ages. The weights teach functional movements that transfer well to daily activities.
You must use kettle bells with proper form to prevent injury. So master the basics first. If planks and lunges are still too difficult, then postpone your initial kettle bell workout to practice these root exercises.
Picking the correct kettle bell size can be tricky. My advice is to start with the lightest weight possible and work up to a weight that is challenging. Get your form down before progressing to heavier weights.
The kettle bell lunge requires a basic lunge. You swing the weight across the front of your body while stepping into and out of the lunge. Keeping the back straight is important during any exercise, and it is double important here.
As with the kettle bell swing, the kettle bell lunge requires momentum to properly execute the exercise. When you get them down they are fairly simple.
The lunges use all the lower body muscles as well as the obliques and back. Doing them with a repetition range of 15 or more will help condition the body without building bulky muscles.
Kettle bell windmills are a slower exercise. They look difficult, but I have had even the most inflexible people perform them without issue. They do take some concentration. You need to activate some areas and hold others still, while moving others. They are a good exercise to teach you to be aware of and in control of your body.
Like any exercise, the heavier the weight, the more the body has to work. If you're just getting started, use a light weight. Even as light as 2.5 pounds or no weight at all.
Have a trainer or workout partner scrutinize your form. "Perfect practice makes perfect." If your knee is a little out of position, your back isn't straight, or it's difficult to keep your core tight, then work until it's perfect.
Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.