The jury is out on exactly how many steps we need to take per day – after all, 10,000 is just an arbitrary number – but if you bring a kettlebell along for some of them, you’ll feel the benefits with every stride.
“I absolutely love this move,” says fitness trainer Andrew Tracey. “It sits between isometric and dynamic loading: you’re hitting your biceps with a static move, while building your core stability and working your traps, scapula and upper back.”
It’s also an “anti-flexion” exercise, which is essential for those of us hunched over a desk all day. “Because you’re holding a weight in front of you, every step will try to collapse your core,” says Tracey. “To prevent this, your scapula retracts and your upper back, rhomboids and erectors keep you upright, while your core works to stop you folding over.”
If all you have is a heavy kettlebell, perform quick 10m shuttles. But if you have access to more manageable weights, try this protocol.
Walk 12.5m and back – every minute, on the minute – then rest for the remainder of your 60 seconds, before going again. “That’s a lot of time under tension for your biceps and those postural muscles,” says Tracey. Get moving.
1. Towel down
Loop a towel through the kettlebell handle. With your feet at shoulder width, hinge down, keeping your back straight. Grab an end in each hand. Drive your hips forward and lift the bell in a deadlift-like motion.
2. Right angle
Keeping your shoulders back and your eyes looking straight ahead, curl the kettlebell up so your forearms are parallel to the floor, with your elbows at 90°.
3. Walk it off
Tense your core and walk with long, purposeful strides. Grip the towel hard to keep those muscle fibres switched on and working continuously.
4. Slow gains
As your biceps and traps start to burn, resist the urge to hurry. The kettlebell will swing around. “It’s in a precarious position, so keep it under control,” says Tracey. A burn in the bis beats a bell in the balls.