Kettle bells can be used for a variety of exercises that improve both your strength and cardiovascular fitness. Russian strongmen in the 1700s developed kettle bells as implements to build strength and endurance.
You’ve probably seen depictions of bare-chested carnival strongmen hoisting them over their heads. Using lighter kettle bells at first allows you to focus on using the proper form and technique for the different exercises.
You can always increase the weight once you’re comfortable with the correct form for each exercise. Fitness experts suggest using kettle bells with the following weights if you’re at an intermediate to advanced level with your strength training:
Aim to add more reps each week, then work toward adding more sets as you build strength. Push your hips backward, and bend your knees to reach the kettle bell handles.
Firmly grip the kettle bells, keeping your arms and back straight. This is an excellent exercise to boost both your muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.
While your shoulders and arms will do a lot of the work, most of the effort should come from the hips and legs. Engage your abdominal muscles and set your shoulders back.
Exhale as you make an explosive upward movement to swing the kettle bell out in front of you. Squats are an excellent lower-body exercise that work your quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, as well as your abdominal muscles.
Slowly bend both knees so that your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Using your leg muscles, with your upper body still, straighten up to your starting position.
Alternatively, you can hold a kettle bell by the handle in one or both hands, with your arms at your sides. Slowly step forward with your left leg, bending your knee while keeping your right foot in place.
Make sure your left knee doesn’t extend over your toes. A great exercise for working your abs and obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen that run from your hips to your ribs), the Russian twist can also be done with a weighted medicine ball or barbell plate.
When using a kettle bell, be sure to keep a firm grip so that you don’t drop it on your lap. Sit with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Holding the kettle bell handle with both hands, lean back so that your torso is at about a 45-degree angle to the floor. With your heels a few inches above the floor, rotate your torso from right to left, swinging the kettle bell slightly across your body.
When you’ve completed your repetitions, return to your starting position. When your chest is even with the kettle bell handles, exhale and push your body back up to its starting position.
Hold a kettle bell by the handle so that it rests against the outside part of your shoulder. There are many benefits to working out with kettle bells, for both men and women, across all age groups.
According to a 2019 study, a kettle bell workout is a highly effective way to improve your strength, aerobic power, and overall physical fitness. Compared to resistance circuit-based training, the same study found that a regular kettle bell workout is just as effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength.
A 2013 study reported that participants who completed an 8-week kettle bell training session saw noticeable improvements in their aerobic capacity. Kettle bell exercises have the ability to restore muscle mass and improve grip strength in older adults, according to a 2018 study.
According to Harvard Health, kettle bell exercises can also help improve your posture and balance. You typically use your core muscles more with kettle bell exercises than with dumbbells or barbells.
If possible, ask a certified personal trainer at your local gym or fitness center to show you the proper form for kettle bell exercises. A little mild soreness after a workout is normal, but you shouldn’t feel sudden, sharp pain while working out.
Kettle bells can take a little getting used to, but working out with them is a highly effective way of improving your muscle strength and cardio fitness. The key is to start slow and, if possible, with the help of a certified personal trainer.
Use these brutal kettlebellworkouts to expand your fitness through a variety of fun and challenging Won formats. Burn fat and build mental strength now.
These Brutal KettlebellWorkouts will test and push your fitness and mental strength to the limits! Have fun, concentrate on moving well and transform your body!
On a 21-minute clock, as many rounds and repetitions as possible (AMAP) perform the prescribed work in the order written. Score is a number of rounds and reps completed (including sit-ups) in 21 minutes.
In the third AMAP, penalty for breaking at any time during the cleans, front squats and clean-and-jerks is 10 push-ups. Double Kettle bell Hang Cleans (2 × 16/12 kg) Front Squats Full Snatches
In the second AMAP, if athlete breaks during the set of 1-2-3-4, penalty is 10 crush-grip push-ups (palms on a single kettle bell). A Kettle bell Tater is a kettle bell swing into a front squat, in which the bell is flipped at the top of the swing and again at the top of the front squat.
In this workout neither a jump nor an overhead clap is required, either. For the dead lifts, both kettle bells must start and end on the ground between the athlete’s feet.
An all-in-one fitness tool that offers, arguably, the most variety of any other equipment, kettle bells are perfect for every athlete, regardless of skill level. “The space between the handle lets you do high-repetition exercises like snatches, which raise your heart rate and burn calories quickly.
Its offset center of mass allows you to change the leverage of almost any lift, making moves like the kettle bell clean and press harder, and more grip-intensive.” But for some weighted moves, especially ones that require an explosive movement, kettle bells reign supreme.
You can also hold them by the handle or the bell (the round part of the weight), which allows you to get a different range of motion depending on the kettle bell exercise you're doing. Plus, the shape of a kettle bell lets you work your muscles a little differently than a traditional dumbbell, Jessica Sims, a NASM-certified personal trainer at the Hitting Room in New York City, tells SELF.
When you take a class with kettle bells, or any other new type of equipment, it's normal to feel a little lost. Oh, and a quick lesson on the lingo: The “ball” refers to the heavy sphere at the bottom, and the handle is the part attached to it.
The handle is also referred to as the “horns,” and can be gripped at the top, on the sides, or near the base where it meets the ball. Adding a kettle bell increases the resistance your body has to work against to stand back up, challenging your muscles even more.
In addition, holding the kettle bell close to your chest helps you nail proper form. “When you pick up heavy grocery bags, you should squat down like this so you don't hurt your back.”
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, gripping the sides of the kettle bell handle with both hands at chest height. They also secretly challenge your core, since you have to keep your abs tight to avoid arching your back.
Sims says to choose a heavier weight with a dead lift—since you're not bending your elbows at all, you're mostly using your glutes, which are likely the strongest muscles in your body. Hinge at your hips and push your butt back as you lower your torso and the weight toward the ground.
“Make sure that you don’t let the kettle bells swing, keep them stable by your side like actual suitcases,” Sims says. Push through your heels, putting most of the weight on the back foot, to return to the starting position.
Adding weight to a sit-up adds an extra challenge for your core, and the press at the top works your shoulders and arms, too. For these sit-ups, Sims says you can either keep your knees bent or put them in butterfly position, depending on what feels comfortable for your hips.
Start in a sit-up position, lying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Kettle bell swings are great for your butt, legs, and lower back, Sims says.
You can probably go heavy here, but she suggests nailing the technique with a lighter kettle bell before adding too much weight. To perform a swing with proper form, you have to “thrust your hips aggressively to get the kettle bell up, don't use your arms,” Sims explains.
Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs. Stand back up; use the momentum from your hips to swing the weight to chest height.
Your form here should be similar to a traditional dead lift, except your legs should be wider than shoulder-width distance and your feet should be turned out a bit. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and toes angled out.
Switching to one-handed swings isolates one side at a time, which makes it harder and helps improve stability. Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs.
Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to thread the kettle bell between your legs. Bring your now-empty hand to meet the weight at the top of the movement (so you don't slam it into your chest).
This move mostly works your arms, but also involves the calves, hamstrings, and glutes. Grasp a kettle bell in each hand, palms facing out, arms bent so the weights are resting at each shoulder.
Bend your knees just a few inches, and as you stand back up, press the weights straight up overhead. To protect your lower back and make sure you're using your triceps, don't arch your back, Sims instructs. The key here is to straighten your arm completely at the top—that'll let you work the triceps through a full range of motion.
Grip the kettle bell by the ball at the base of the handle with both hands and raise it directly overhead. Keeping your elbows close to your ears, lower the kettle bell behind your head to neck level.
The trick is to keep your core tight and hold your torso stable as you rotate your arms and the weight. Lift the ball to eye level and slowly circle it around your head to the left.
As the kettle bell goes behind your head, it should be horns up; return to a ball-up position when you finish one revolution. Hold the kettle bell handle in your right hand with your arm hanging straight at your side.
Lift the kettle bell to your rib cage, engaging your back as you pull. Holding a kettle bell above your head at the top of a crunch challenges your core and lower abs—so does the flutter motion of your legs.
Start with the weight above your shoulders, and to make it more difficult, bring it a little behind your head, Sims says. Make sure to keep your core super tight and lower back flat on the ground.
If your back comes off the ground, or you feel any strain, bring your legs up a couple more inches. Stand in front of a box or step, holding a kettle bell by the handle with both hands at your chest.
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Research shows that working out with these weights torches up to 50 percent more calories than a traditional strength session, netting a burn similar to that of running. “Most kettle bell exercises use many muscle groups at once,” explains Michele Olson, PhD, an adjunct professor of sport science at Huntington College in Montgomery, AL, and creator of the Perfect Legs, Glutes & Abs DVD.
“That takes more energy, so you burn more calories.” Try Olson’s five-move workout to get in the swing fast. Squat to upright row Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the kettle bell in front of you with both hands, arms straight.
Straighten your legs as you bend your left elbow up, bringing the kettle bell toward your shoulder. Bending your knees, hinge forward from the hips and grab the kettle bell with your right hand.
Bend right elbow up, bringing the kettle bell outside your right shoulder, then extend your legs as you straighten your right arm overhead. Bending your knees, grab the handle with your left hand and swing the kettle bell back between your legs.
Make it easier: Perform the swing with both hands holding the handle. Russian twist Sit on the floor with your knees bent, heels touching the ground and toes in the air, holding the kettle bell in front of your chest with both hands, elbows bent.
Every year since I was young, my family has celebrated my grandma’s birthday at my aunt and uncle’s cabin. Feeling destined to miss training that day, I grudgingly helped my wife load the car.
At the last minute, I decided to throw my 32 kg kettle bell and a pair of running shoes into the trunk. When I got back up the hill and to the car, I pulled out my kettle bell and did some swings, goblet squats, and presses.
Having a solid training session with only one kettle bell in a beautiful environment was enlightening. Barbells, sandbags, ply boxes, and rings are fantastic — and absolutely add value to your training — but what if all it took to become a great obstacle racer was a pair of shoes and a single kettle bell ?
I played around with the original kettle bell workout for a while by adjusting the reps for each exercise. I also felt that combining the kettle bell weights with shorter-run intervals made more sense for obstacle course racing purposes.
It was so enjoyable and effective (my time for each round was improving, as were my race results) that I wanted more. I fell in love with this idea of simply grabbing a kettle bell and heading somewhere new to train.
I began scouring our training logs for workouts that fit the bill. While the two-handed swing is great for developing power, the one-handed variation is the better grip builder.
You’ll do a lot fewer burpees out on the course after incorporating this workout into your training. It’s based on Dan John’s “Eagle” challenge, which combines farmer walks with kettle bell front squats.
This workout is another fantastic grip builder and also improves mental toughness as you fight to not put the weight down. Note: A suitcase carry is a farmer walk with a weight in just one hand.
Remember, the goal is to stay under your aerobic threshold the entire workout. Bring your kettle bell to the beach, or sneak in a training session during your kid’s little league practice.
Get outside your usual training environment, and you’ll be surprised at how fun and effective these simple workouts can be. Athletes I coach online often ask me what kind of equipment or gym membership they’ll need.
But I’m starting to think all you really need to become a great obstacle course racer is a pair of shoes and a full-body kettle bell workout. A former college wrestler, Riley ran his first Spartan race in 2014 and was immediately hooked.
Now as a certified Spartan SGX coach, Riley works with people across North America to help them become better athletes. These kettle bell shoulder workouts and exercises will help you to build strength and discover imbalances in your mobility and movement.
These kettle bell shoulder workouts and exercises will help you to build strength and discover imbalances in your mobility and movement. It is a full body exercise that not only works the shoulders but heavily challenges the legs, buttocks, hamstrings, abs, back stabilizers and cardio.
The demands on the shoulders are similar to the push press in that the sticking point from the racked position is avoided due to the momentum coming out of the bottom of the squat position. You will also find the shoulders fatigue just holding and maintaining the kettle bell throughout the exercise.
Pay particular attention to any sticking points that might occur as you work through the full range of motion. If you could only get one piece of workout equipment for your home gym, it should be a kettle bell.
The kettle bell -- a type of dumbbell shaped like a bell with a handle on top -- may seem like any other weight you use for strength training. “The kettle bell is probably the most underrated piece of equipment in the gym,” Lauren Kan ski, certified personal trainer and founder of the K Method previously told CNET.
“The way the bell is shaped allows you to train power, endurance and strength all in one little piece of iron.” Kettle bells can add challenge and variety to your workout routine -- whether you're looking to build strength in your core muscles and glutes or get some cardio in -- or a combination of both.
Amazon Diva premium kettle bell comes in a wide variety of weight increments (from 5 to 50 pounds) making it a great quality kettle bell for beginners or more advanced exercisers. This kettle bell from Power has a coated handle and the base is covered in vinyl, making it less susceptible to rust or corrosion in addition to a different grip feel.
Amaranths adjustable cast iron kettle bell is a great pick for advanced exercisers or those who already lift weights and want to be able to progress with their kettle bell weight quickly. You're considered more advanced If you have experience with lifting weights or are currently strength training.
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This simple beginner kettle bell workout will blow your mind. Because ours will teach you how to handle a kettle bell using Mega Man and Mario references.
Once you’ve watched the video above (featuring Matt Shorts, a lead trainer in our 1-on-1 Coaching Program) here’s a quick recap with repetitions for the workout here: Prior to jumping into the kettle bell circuit, don’t forget to do some mobility warm up (you can see our warm-up routine here):
Nothing too crazy, just something to “grease the groove” and get your body used to movement so you don’t pull any muscles once you start swinging the kettle bell. In other words, preparing your muscles and joints to move some weight around!
A few minutes of running in place, air punches and kicks, some jumping jacks and arm swings, should get your heart rate up and your muscles warmed for the Kettle bell Workout. Your muscles are broken down when you strength train, and then they rebuild themselves stronger over the following days of recovery!
Don’t forget to download our Beginner Kettle bell Worksheet, which covers the above sequence from Coach Matt. You can print it out and track the amount of sets and repetitions you complete, which will help ensure you progress in your training.
Let’s go over each exercise in the 20-Minute Beginner Kettle bell Workout: Tip from Coach Matt: with your halos, remember to keep the movement smooth.
Grab the kettle bell with two hands “by the horns,” aka the handle. Tip from Coach Matt: for the goblet squat, focus on depth.
It’s more important to practice doing a full squat than to pump out reps. Tightening your muscles will engage your core, offering a fuller body workout.
Tip from Coach Matt: during the kettle bell swing, focus on hinging your hips. The swing is like a dead lift movement, so you should feel it in your hamstring and glutes.
Pick up the kettle bell by driving your elbow up into your rib cage. Tip from Coach Matt: try to keep your back straight and stomach tight during the row.
This will help engage your legs for stabilization as you pull the kettle bell towards your stomach. Grab the kettle bell with one hand and rest the weight between your arm and chest.
Step your leg back (the same side your kettle bell is on) and lower down until your shin is parallelism with the ground (or as low as you can). Tip from Coach Matt: for the lunges, again keep your back straight.
By keeping your shoulders back, you’ll get a fuller body workout when you come in and out of your lunge. Our spiffy mobile app lets you send video of your exercises directly to your coach, who will provide feedback so you can perfect your technique.
In case you’re still on the fence about grabbing a kettle bell, let’s dig into them a little more. Which one you pick will come down to personal preference, your budget, and your experience with kettle bells.
A standard traditional kettle bell will be cast iron, and as the weight goes up, the dimensions go up. No matter their weight, competitive kettle bells will have the same dimensions for bell shape, base, and handle width.
In general, pick a weight that allows you to complete a workout with good form. If you’re forcing me to pick one for you, knowing NOTHING about you, I’d say consider purchasing a 16 kg if you’re a male or 8 kg if you’re a female.
You’ll often hear the terms ballistic and grinding in kettle bell workout discussions, for fast and slow movements respectively. For ballistic movements, you might actually want a heavier kettle bell, to help with momentum.
For grinding movements, less weight might be in order to help with control. If the handle has rough edges, you’ll feel each and every one of the movements scrap into your hand.
I’ll end our discussion on handles by saying they are generally standardized at 35 mm for thickness. Not too expensive and decent quality, Cap Barbell kettle bells can be found on Amazon or at any Walmart.
The Cap Barbell is the most highly reviewed and reasonably priced kettle bell we have encountered. Plus, they offer free shipping in the US, which is nice since you’re essentially mailing a cannonball.
Some call Dragon Door the gold standard of anything and everything kettle bell.” Innit rocks, and they offer good quality bells that are quite popular.
OUR ADVICE: Before you go buy an expensive kettle bell, check your gym! If you make your own kettle bell (be careful — you don’t want it breaking mid-swing!
If you’re trying to lose weight, a kettle bell and the workout routine above would be a great part of the plan! As we lay out in our Coaching Program and our massive guide on Healthy Eating,” we believe that proper nutrition is 80-90% of the equation for weight loss.
If you fix your diet AND begin to incorporate our kettle bell routine a few times per week, you will find yourself building muscle, losing fat, and getting stronger ! If your goal is weight loss, you have to eat less than you burn each day.
This can be through eating less and burning more (from the kettle bell workout above) Processed foods and junk food make it really tough to lose weight : They have lots of calories and carbs, low nutritional value, don’t fill you up, and cause you to overeat. If you don’t like veggies, here’s how to make vegetables taste good.
Soda, juice, sports drinks: they’re all pretty much high-calorie sugar water with minimal nutritional value. Get your caffeine from black coffee or tea, fizzy-drink fix from sparkling water.
Track your calories and work on consuming slightly less each day. We tackle this point in depth in our article Why can’t I lose weight?
Those tips should get you started, but if you want more specific instruction and guidance, check out the NF Coaching Program — Your Coach will build a routine tailored to your individual needs and what equipment you have available: Like most things in life, the important aspect of any exercise regimen is starting it.
No matter what strength training program you choose, start TODAY. Our coaches can work with you to pick up a kettle bell for the first time or to learn more advanced moves.
Whether you are brand new to your fitness journey, or ready to take it to the next level, we have your back! Join our free community with a biweekly newsletter, and I’ll send you our Beginner Kettle bell Worksheet.