24 Kettlebell Exercises
Whether you want to build muscle or lose weight, doing kettlebell exercises are a great way to get in shape. Kettlebells are a type of hand weight. Unlike other types of hand weights, like dumbbells, the bulk of the kettlebell weight is in one area, rather than divide evenly at either end.
Why Use Kettlebells?
Kettlebells are a great workout tool. Most kettlebell exercises only require one kettlebell to be used for a workout. Just like other types of hand weights, kettlebells also come in varying weights, meaning there is one that will fit any exercise enthusiast– from beginners to those looking for a challenge.
Another perk about kettlebells is that they are portable. They can be easily put in a backpack to take to the gym or anywhere else someone might want to work out. Even if someone does not have a gym membership, they can easily use kettlebells at home by trying some of the below exercises or looking up tutorials online.
Lastly, kettlebells are useful because they can offer a full-body workout. Many people mistakenly think that kettlebells can only be used to build muscle in the arms, but that is a myth. The below exercises will prove that kettlebells can be used to work out just about any body part!
The kettlebell swing exercise comes up as one of the best kettlebell exercises. This exercise only uses one kettlebell. It’s one of the best kettlebell exercises because it is a move that works out the whole body. One way to do this exercise is to stand with your feet about hip-distance apart. Swing the kettlebell between your legs, bending slightly at the knees when you do so. Swing the kettlebell up until the arms are parallel to the ground. Repeat this movement. This move can be done by either holding the kettlebell with both hands or with only one hand.
The lateral swing works much like the swing above. Like the first swing, it also helps to work out the entire body. It can also be used by holding the kettlebell with one hand or with both hands. Instead of swinging the kettlebell through your legs, you instead swing the kettlebell in front of the legs, swinging it to the left and right, twisting your body slightly as you do so. This way, you get both an arm and ab workout. The legs are also worked out because they are used for balance.
The deadlift is a common exercise in any kind of weight lifting. To do this type of exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Pick up the weight from the ground and lift it to your chest. Slowly put the weight down again and repeat. Check out the video below to see the correct form.
Another type of deadlift is the Romanian deadlift. In this type of deadlift, most everything is the same except the deadlift is done while you are only standing on one leg. As the kettlebell is picked up, you will begin to lift the opposite leg behind you. As the kettlebell is brought back down, the leg is brought back down. This is done by holding the kettlebell in one hand at a time.
Sumo or Squat Deadlift
The sumo squat or simple squat deadlift is one of many compound kettlebell exercises. In this exercise, you will do a squat or a sumo squat while holding one kettlebell with both hands. Do the deadlift movement as you go through the motion of either the squat or the sumo squat. A video of the sumo squat version is below.
Sumo or Squat Goblet
Another version of the squat or sumo squat kettlebell exercises is the goblet squat/sumo squat. In this exercise, the squat/sumo squat movement is the same. The only thing that is different is how the kettlebell is held. Hold the Kettlebell up to the center of the chest. Keep it in this spot throughout the exercise. This is a great way to add resistance to your kettlebell exercises.
Overhead Sumo or Squat
Another variation of the squat/sumo squat is the overhead squat. Like the squats/sumo squat, the genera squat position is kept the same. The only difference is how the kettlebell is held. As implied by the name, the kettlebell is held with both hands above the head. Hold the kettlebell as high as you can. Make sure to keep a good grip as you do this exercise so you do not drop it on yourself. Do the squats/sumo squats as you hold the kettlebell in this position.
Jump Sumo or Squat
Yet another squat variation is the jump squat, which can also be done in the sumo stance. To do this exercise, you simply jump back up to a standing position rather than slowly moving back up. When doing this exercise, you can hold the kettlebell in whichever position you life best; however, the goblet holding is recommended.
The last squat variation in this article is the pistol squat. To do this exercise, the kettlebell can be held in either one or both hands. You will then balance on one leg, putting the other out in front of you. You will then do the squat on one leg. Watch the video below to see the proper form for this type of squat.
Moving away from squats, another great kettlebell exercise is the figure eight. To do this exercise, stand with your feet spread apart. Hold the kettlebell with both hands. Swing the kettlebell around your waist and through your legs to make the shape of a figure eight. Watch the video below to see the proper form for this exercise.
Another great kettlebell exercise is the halo. Like the figure eight, it involves slowly swinging the kettlebell by holding it with both hands. Instead of moving the kettlebell around the waist, it is instead moved around the head and above the shoulders.
Doing a pushup with kettlebells is easier than it sounds. To do this kettlebell exercise, simply put your hands on top of the kettlebells. This will give you added height as you do the exercise, which will make it more difficult than the average push up.
To make the exercise even more difficult, try to put your hand only on one kettlebell. This will make it more difficult for one arm at a time, making the exercise more difficult overall.
Doing sit-ups or crunches with a kettlebell is also fairly straightforward. To do either of these, do the exercise as you normally would. The only difference is that you will also need to hold one kettlebell with both of your hands as you do so. This will help to provide extra resistance, making these exercises more difficult than they usually are.
The lunge is a pretty basic exercise. Adding a kettlebell helps to add some resistance. This exercise can be done in several ways, depending on the level of difficulty you want. A basic version of this exercise is shown in the video below.
To increase the difficulty, you can hold one kettlebell in each hand. Another way to increase the difficulty is to twist your core when you are in the bent position. Twist your body to one side, and twist it to the opposite side the next time you lunge. This will help to work out not only the arms and legs but the obliques as well.
Lunge and Weight Near Opposite Foot
One helpful lunge variation is this kettlebell exercise. To do this exercise, you will do a lunge, except instead of keeping the kettlebell near your chest, you will try to touch the ground with it. For example, if you are lunging with your right foot forward, hold your kettlebell with your left hand and try to touch the ground with it. This helps to make the traditional lunge even more difficult and effective.
The windmill is pretty easy to do and to explain. For this kettlebell exercise, stand with your feet shoulder or hips-width apart. Hold your kettlebell in one hand and raise it high above your head. With the other hand, reach down and try to touch your toes, all while keeping the kettlebell up high the entire time. This is a great exercise to increase arm strength and core flexibility!
The Russian twist is a deceptively difficult ab exercise. Adding a kettlebell makes this exercise only slightly more difficult, as it is usually done with hand weights. To do this exercise, sit leaning at a 45-degree angle. Next, twist your body, moving the kettlebell from one side to the other. To increase difficulty, lift your feet off the ground at the same time. Watch the video below to see an expert do it!
The farmer’s walk is easily the easiest kettlebell exercise listed in this article. For this exercise, all you need to do is hold one kettlebell in each hand, hold your arms down by your sides, and walk around. That’s it. To increase the difficulty, simply use heavier kettlebells.
A side plank is difficult on its own, and adding kettlebells makes it even more difficult. Below is a picture of the average side plank. There are two basic ways to add kettlebells to this exercise. The first way is to put your hand on a kettlebell, rather than putting it on the ground. This will help to add extra height and difficulty.
The second way to use a kettlebell for this exercise is to hold the kettlebell up in the air, rather than just holding your hand up. This version is harder than the first, but also more effective for building muscle in the arms.
The Turkish Get-Up is perhaps the most difficult exercise on this list, in part because it has so many steps. The first step is to begin by laying flat on the ground with a kettlebell in one hand. Next, push yourself up into a seated position, using the hand NOT holding the kettlebell. Sit up completely without supporting yourself with your hand. Move your leg into a low lunge position. Finally, stand up. Watch the video below to see a Crossfit professional show you how it’s done.
Standing Kettlebell Row
A row is a common type of weight-lifting exercise. While it is usually done with hand weights, it can also be done with kettlebells. To do this exercise, begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Next, move your arms as though you are using a rowing machine. This exercise can be done with either a kettlebell in one or both arms. The video below shows the one-armed version.
Like the row, the press is also a common weight-lifting exercise used to build muscle. To do this exercise, begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a kettlebell in either one or both hands. Next, put your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Lift the weight to your shoulder, up over your head, and then back down to your shoulder.
The floor press is much like the regular press. The same arm motions apply. The only difference is that instead of standing, you will do this exercise by lying on the ground. Your feet can either be on the ground (easier) or raised (harder). Lift the kettlebell(s) by putting your arms at a 90-degree angle, with your upper arm on the ground. Next, lift the weight over your head and bring your arm back to the ground. Repeat.
The last exercise on this list is the Good Morning. This exercise works out the legs and abs more than it works out the arms. To do this exercise, hold the kettlebell behind your next. Slowly, bend down and then bend back up. It’s as simple as that!
Which of these exercises will you try during your next workout? Comment below!