The latest workout trend that has hit the United States by storm is actually centuries old. The kettlebell is a cannonball shaped iron orb with one handle and is lifted by using a swinging motion. It was developed by Russian strongmen in the early 1700s as a way to build strength, flexibility and endurance. Now, there are kettlebell workout videos, classes in gyms and studios that are exclusive to kettlebell training. You can even buy them from Target in weights from 5lbs to 50lbs.
While I am not about to say this is the end all be all in workouts, it is a good addition to your typical workout routine, especially if you have limited time. And if you are training for a backpacking trip, kettlebells are great for strengthening all the muscles you will use (abs, back, legs and hips). Plus, the movements will give you a good cardiovascular workout through interval and anaerobic training. Because the movements utilized for working out with a kettlebell are very different than most standard exercises, I recommend you start with a light weight to ensure proper form first (actually, this should be your rule of thumb for any exercise) and find a class, trainer or at the very least a DVD that can teach you proper technique. YouTube also has plenty of videos to sort through, make sure you watch for knowledge, not the person with the best 6-pack. If you choose the DVD option, do not do the exercises in front of your $2000 LCD TV, just in case you lose your grip during a swing.