The Best Kettlebell Exercises

If you’re looking for an efficient, full-body workout, look no further than the kettlebell. This unique piece of equipment can help you burn fat, build muscle, and improve your overall fitness level

And, while they pack a healthy punch, they also don’t take up much space. Great news for anyone working out at home. Plus, you can do a lot with just one kettlebell. 

In this post, we’ll teach you how to incorporate a kettlebell workout into your routine. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness pro, there’s a kettlebell workout for you.

We’ll also provide tips on how to make the most of your kettlebell workout and how to stay safe while crushing your goals. 

How do you incorporate kettlebells into a workout?

Kettlebells are versatile tools that fit into a variety of different workouts. Use them to add an extra challenge to your strength routine or use them as a way to add cardio to your workout. 

Want a new way to warm up? Kettlebells to the rescue. 

Why are kettlebells so versatile? It’s hard to use a kettlebell without engaging the core. That’s the secret sauce that sets kettlebells apart from other exercise equipment. 

Combine that with compound movements (using multiple muscle groups at the same time to perform a movement), and you’ve got a winning combination.

If you're looking to add a kettlebell workout to your routine, we recommend starting with basic exercises like the deadlift, squat, and shoulder press. These exercises help you build strength and muscle mass and give you a full-body workout at the same time. 

Once you've mastered the basics, start incorporating more complex moves into your routine. For example, the kettlebell swing is a great way to work your entire body. It's a high-intensity exercise that burns calories and strengthens your core, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How heavy should your kettlebell be?

Most kettlebell exercises are dynamic. That means you can usually lift a heavier weight than you would with a dumbbell or other free weight. 

Wait a minute… what does dynamic exercise mean? If you move a joint during an exercise, it’s dynamic. If you don’t, then it’s a static exercise. Dynamic exercises include push-ups, deadlifts, and bicep curls. Static exercises include the plank, wall sit, and standing on one foot. 

Back to kettlebells. Since kettlebell exercises are dynamic, prepare to lift something heavier than you normally would. 

For men:

Beginner — Go for a 24-35 pound (10-16 kg) kettlebell 

Intermediate — Aim for a 44-pound (20 kg) kettlebell

Advanced —  Start with a 53-pound (24 kg) kettlebell

For women: 

Beginner — Shoot for a 13-18 pound (6-8 kg) kettlebell 

Intermediate — Start with a 26-pound (12 kg) kettlebell

Advanced — Go for a 35-pound (16 kg) kettlebell 

10 kettlebell exercises for beginners 

Kettlebell workouts can be a great way to get started with strength training, and they're perfect for people who are new to working out. They're also a great way to add variety to a training program. 

There are a lot of different exercises you can do with kettlebells, but here are a few of our favorites for beginners.

1. Kettlebell deadlift 

Is there a better exercise out there than the deadlift? It's the number one way to build powerful lower body strength and a bulletproof back/core. And it can be done with 1 or 2 kettlebells. 

kettlebell deadlift

Target: Lower back, core, butt, and hamstrings 

How to perform: 

  1. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Bend over and take hold of 2 kettlebells (1 in each hand). Make sure your back is straight and knees are slightly bent. 
  3. Come to a standing position. As you stand up, tighten your glutes (butt) and slightly lift your chest — keeping your shoulders back. 
  4. Bend your knees again as you lower and return the kettlebells to the floor. 
  5. Perform 10-12 reps for 3 sets. 

2. Kettlebell goblet squat

The goblet squat is a great exercise for working your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It's also a great way for beginners to work up to a traditional barbell back squat. 

Target: Legs, butt, arms, and core 

How to perform: 

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Hold the kettlebell between both hands with palms facing each other. Keep it close to your chest.  
  3. Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat — think of sitting in a chair. 
  4. Keep the kettlebell steady and your back straight. 
  5. Return to a standing position and repeat. 
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

3. Single kettlebell clean

We told you kettlebell exercises were dynamic. And the kettlebell clean is the perfect example. When you do this one correctly, you’ll use most major muscle groups — in just one exercise. 

Target: Legs, butt, arms, shoulders, back, and core 

How to perform: 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Reach down and pick up the kettlebell by hinging your hips, bending your knees slightly. Keep your back straight. 
  3. In one smooth motion, you’re going to come to a standing position and pull the kettlebell up to your shoulder. 
  4. Think about rewinding the movement as you return the kettlebell to the ground. 
  5. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps. 

4. One-arm seated shoulder press with kettlebell 

This seated kettlebell exercise is perfect for beginners because it requires less core strength and stability to perform. Once you feel strong enough, give it a try in a standing position. 

Target: Shoulders, chest, upper back, and arms 

How to perform: 

  1. Have a seat while holding one kettlebell in your hand. The round part of the kettlebell should be behind you. 
  2. Keeping your back straight, press the weight above your head until your arm is fully extended. 
  3. Lower and repeat. Remember to change arms. 
  4. Perform 3 sets of 10 for each arm. 

5. Kettlebell Bulgarian split squat

We’re huge fans of the Bulgarian split squat around here. Why? This one lower body exercise strengthens the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves and focuses your core to work extra hard to maintain balance. 

Target: Legs, butt, and core

How to perform: 

  1. Hold 1 kettlebell in both hands by the handle (it’ll be upside down). 
  2. Place one foot on a chair, weight bench or sofa behind you. Make sure there is enough space between the back foot and the front one to squat. 
  3. Once you’re balanced, lower your body by bending your standing leg. Keep your chest lifted and glutes engaged. 
  4. Return to a standing position. Remember to change legs.
  5. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each leg. 

6. Kettlebell swing 

The swing is a great basic kettlebell exercise that works your whole body. You'll need to use your core muscles to keep the kettlebell moving, and your arms and shoulders to generate power.

Target: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and core 

How to perform: 

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Bend your knees and grab one kettlebell by the handle with both hands. 
  3. Drive the movement with your hips (that means your hips start and push the movement). Keep your back straight as you swing the kettlebell to shoulder height. 
  4. Return to the starting position and repeat without stopping.
  5. Be careful not to lose control in the back or slouch during the swing. Keep your back straight and your core and glutes engaged. 
  6. Repeat for 3 sets of 20-25 swings. 

7. Kettlebell row 

Here’s a kettlebell exercise we can all use — beginners and pros. It targets your upper back and helps with posture and shoulder and neck pain. 


Target: Upper back, arms, and shoulders 

How to perform: 

  1. Bend over and place one hand on a chair.
  2. In the other hand, hold a kettlebell. Keep your back straight throughout the exercise. 
  3. Start with the arm extended toward the floor and then slowly bring the weight up. It should hit between your chest and waist. 
  4. Keep your shoulder down throughout the entire movement. 
  5. Lower to the ground and repeat.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each arm. 

8. Kettlebell glute bridge

This exercise targets the posterior chain, including the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. If you’re just starting out, try it without a kettlebell first to get the feel of the movement. 


Target: Hamstring, calves, butt, and core

How to perform: 

  1. Lie flat on the floor on your back. Hold a kettlebell placed in the center of your hips with both hands. Place your feet around shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Pushing with your heels, lift your hips off the floor while keeping your back straight. Exhale as you perform this movement. Tighten the glutes (butt) when you reach the top of the movement. 
  3. Slowly return to the starting position as you inhale. 
  4. Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps. 

9. Kettblell tricep extension

Here’s another great beginner kettlebell exercise. If you’re just starting, go for a lighter weight at first until you feel safe holding a kettlebell over your head. 

Target: Triceps and upper back

How to perform: 

  1. You can use a weight bench or something low like a sofa or a table for this exercise. 
  2. Lie down with a kettlebell held between both hands. 
  3. Slowly raise the kettlebell in front of your face to start.
  4. With your arms slightly bent, lower the weight behind your head toward the floor. Only go as far as you can control. 
  5. Return the weight to the starting position over your head. 
  6. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps. 

10. Kettlebell Russian twist

Hope your abs are ready for a workout… because this is it! If you’re just starting to work out with kettlebells, perform this exercise with your feet on the ground for support. 

Target: Abdominals, including the core 

How to perform: 

  1. Sit on the floor with a kettlebell held in both hands. 
  2. Lift your chest, keeping your back straight, and slowly take your feet off of the floor. (You can also leave them on the floor for more support). 
  3. Lower your body until your torso makes a V with your legs. 
  4. Holding the kettlebell, rotate from side to side, keeping your chest lifted and back straight. 
  5. Perform 15-20 reps for 3 sets. 

What are the best advanced kettlebell exercises? 

Kettlebells are versatile, and there are endless possibilities when it comes to creating a workout routine. If you've mastered the basics and want to take your kettlebell workout to the next level, here are a few advanced exercises to look up:

The first is the Turkish get-up. This move is a total-body exercise that works your abs, glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders. It's a little more complicated than some of the other exercises, but it's well worth the effort.

If the Turkish get-up is your vibe, check out the kettlebell windmill. It’s a variation on some of the same movements from the get-up… and your obliques and hamstrings will love you for it. 

Next is the renegade row. This move targets your back, biceps, and abs. It's a bit more challenging than some of the other exercises, but it's worth adding to your routine once you're comfortable with the basics.

Finally, the kettlebell swing is a great exercise for overall fitness and conditioning. It works your hamstrings, glutes, and abs. It's also a great way to improve your cardiovascular health.

You can also perform any of the kettlebell exercises we mentioned in the beginner section. Turn them into an advanced workout by simply increasing the weight used. 

How to stay safe when using kettlebells 

When using kettlebells, it's important to be aware of your form and to take your time when starting out. You should also be sure to use the correct weight for your level.

As with any new fitness routine, it's important to consult with your doctor before starting. If you have any known injuries, be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.

When using kettlebells, always maintain proper form. This will help reduce the risk of injury and ensure you're getting the most out of your workout. Remember to keep your back straight, abdominals engaged, and weight in your heels.

If you're just starting with kettlebells, we recommend beginning with a lighter weight and slowly building up over time. This reduces the risk of injury and allows your body to adjust to the new movement.

Common kettlebell mistakes to avoid 

When you're using kettlebells, it's important to be aware of the common mistakes people make so you can avoid them. Here are a few of the ones we’ve (unfortunately) seen and want you to avoid:

  1. Not maintaining a safe distance from other people — Make sure you leave enough space between you and the person next to you when doing kettlebell exercises. This prevents accidents and injuries.
  2. Failing to use the correct weight — When starting out, it's important to use a weight that's appropriate for your fitness level. Trying to lift a weight that's too heavy can lead to injuries.
  3. Lifting with incorrect form — This is one of the most common ways people injure themselves while using kettlebells. Make sure you always use proper form to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your body.

Challenge yourself with a kettlebell workout 

Adding a kettlebell workout to your fitness routine is a great way to improve your strength, endurance, and overall fitness. Just be sure to start slowly and build up gradually to avoid injury. And always consult with a doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer before starting any new workout routine.

If you’re looking to start working out with kettlebells, or are looking for new exercises to add to your arsenal, the exercises above are a great place to start. They’re challenging, but they can be modified to fit you. And they’ll help you get the most out of your kettlebell workout.

You Asked — We Answered 

What are kettlebells?

Kettlebells are weights with a round, cast iron ball attached to a handle. They got their name because the first ones were made in Russia by blacksmiths who used them to weigh down the bottoms of boats.

Kettlebell workouts are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. They're a great way to add an extra challenge to your regular routine or to start working out if you're new to fitness. Plus, they're convenient and easily portable — perfect for when you're on the go.

What are the top 4 benefits of exercising with kettlebells? 

Kettlebells are notorious for being one of the most effective pieces of exercise equipment around. Here are just a few of the benefits you can expect from incorporating kettlebells into your workout routine:

  1. Kettlebells are great for total body conditioning.
  2. Kettlebells are great for burning fat and calories.
  3. Kettlebells help to improve strength, endurance and cardio fitness.
  4. Kettlebells are versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises, making your workout routine more interesting and challenging.
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