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Best Overall Kettlebell Exercise

author
Maria Johnson
• Wednesday, 28 October, 2020
• 15 min read

They were first used by Russians as counterweights when measuring out goods, and then some old-timey strongmen started to juggle, press, and swing them around for entertainment. There’s probably more to it than that, but that’s essentially how the kettle bell became a staple in gym culture.

kettlebell exercises training workout workouts swing kettlebells weight physique body strength week single swings lose muscle hand challenge beginners kb
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Contents

Although we don’t recommend dressing up in loincloths and haphazardly tossing weights overhead, there are many benefits to a good kettle bell workout. For one, the thick handle that attaches to the cast iron base will challenge your grip more than a dumbbell or barbell.

This means you can perform more explosive and dynamic movements with kettle bells compared to their iron counterparts. You also can get a lot of work done in a tight space, so kettle bells are perfect for small home gyms or apartments.

They’re ideal for explosive exercises that work major muscles, burn body fat, and build power. They also add a new dimension to classic moves like chest presses and flies.

This extra muscle activity means your body burns more calories. Couple that with exercises that target the whole body, and you have a formula for significant fat loss.

Choose a weight that allows you to complete 12-15 reps for each exercise. Read articleWorkout Routines With minor tweaks and subtle changes to your exercise form, you can be sure to finish your chest training on a high note...

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There are so many effective kettle bell exercises for building muscle, strength, explosive power, and endurance. Kettle bells lend themselves to offset, multi planar exercises too, so you will be training through all planes of motion, emphasizing core stability, balance, coordination, and proprioception, or in other words, athleticism.

On that note, we decided to put together a very comprehensive list of kettle bell exercises that target every muscle in your body. There are many variations and progressions of swings, cleans, snatches, lunges, squats, rows, presses, and more.

With kettle bell exercises, you can build muscle, strength, and endurance, lose weight and fat, and increase mobility, stability and durability. Kettle bell training can even help you improve cardiovascular health if you structure your workout correctly.

Kettle bell exercises move you through all planes of motion, which is how we are supposed to train as humans. It’s not a perfectly balanced training tool like dumbbells, it is somewhat awkward and uneven, like most objects in the world.

It makes you work stabilizer muscles and many kettle bell exercises are offset or unilateral. This is why we highly recommend adding the bestkettlebell exercises to any and every training program.

kettlebells
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The exercises are dynamic, athletic and the true definition of functional training. From athletes to bodybuilders to strongmen to calisthenics and any other form of training, kettle bells should be included in everyone’s program.

They are typically compound movements through a single plane of motion, such as presses, rows, squats, and dead lifts. So, if you have experience with conventional training, kettle bell grinds will be easy to pick up.

With kettle bell grinds, a lot of tensions is being created. As such, they are used for building muscle and strength. Kettle bell ballistics involve dynamic, explosive movements that incorporate multiple joints.

They are based on movement patterns, and they typically require a wide range of motion. Most kettle bell ballistics are total body, so you will be working many muscles and muscular chains.

Examples of kettle bell ballistics are swings, snatches, cleans, and jerks. Because kettle bell ballistics are explosive and powerful movements, they are great for all around strength and conditioning.

workout kettlebell hiit exercises overall fitness
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They will build muscular endurance and power, while burning lots of calories too. Now, some kettle bell exercises don’t fall into the grind or ballistic category, as they are sort of a combination of the two.

These are exercises that involve complex multi-joint movement patterns, yet they are done in a slow and controlled manner. They train you for stability, mobility, balance and strength (all of which make for better injury resilience).

This is made possible because we include ballistics, grinds, and hybrids (some of which are great for injury resilience). This means you will be doing exercises based on dynamic, explosive movement patterns that will train you for endurance, compound movements that are slow and controlled for strength and hypertrophy, and mobility and stability strengthening exercises that will build durability, aka injury resilience.

All in all, these exercises will challenge every muscle in your body, it will build core stability, stronger stabilizer muscles, mobility in all joint complexes, and all around strength and conditioning. On top of all that, with these 50 kettle bell exercises, you will always be able to keep things fresh, in a guaranteed effective manner.

You have all the tools needed to train effectively while also keeping your musculoskeletal system guessing, which is an essential aspect of progressive overload for hypertrophy. Scott Villa spent a lot of time putting this together, to make sure it is as comprehensive as possible and you will not need any other resource for kettle bell exercises.

kettlebell swing swings fitness body exercises benefits doing variations ve exercise training resistance kettlebells workout workouts woman exercising popsugar shoulder
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They are staple movements for beginners and many progression exercises and variations for those who are more advanced. Scott has been using kettle bells for a long time, and he still employs all of these exercises on a regular basis.

The “beginner exercises” are not just progressed upon by harder variations, the main movements (like kettle bell swings) can be made more challenging by using heavier kettle bells, adding more reps or sets, reducing rest time, and so on. Beginners will simply need more time to practice their kettle bell skills in order to utilize all the exercises below.

So, we have added timestamps to the main video so you can click them to see how the movement should look. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: Bring the kettle bell from the floor to a racked position in one smooth, dynamic motion.

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: Bring the kettle bell from the floor to a racked position in one smooth, dynamic motion. Each rep you will bring the kettle bell down to knee level, giving a slight bend in your knee so you can use lower body and upper body force to bring it back to the racked position.

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate How to: This exercise incorporates a swing into the clean. So, rather than bringing it down to a hang position like the previous exercise, you're letting the kettle bell fall and swing between your legs, then you swing it back up and through your legs into a racked position.

kettlebell exercises workouts runners body slingshot pass around training sport exercise learn compound kettlebells runner credit via flickr strength conditioning
(Source: www.runnersblueprint.com)

Muscles targeted: Core, Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Hips, Glutes Difficulty: Advanced How to: This is a very dynamic rotational movement. Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Glutes, Erector Spinal/Back, Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Quads, Calves Difficulty: Advanced How to: From a split stance, perform a stiff-legged dead lift.

As you come up, clean the kettle bell to a racked position while stepping your back foot forward. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Hips Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: From a half-kneeling position, clean the kettle bell to a racked position.

Let it drop in a controlled motion back to just above the floor and repeat. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced How to: This exercise is the same as the hang clean except you will be alternating sides with each rep.

If you need to see how the switch should look, click the timestamp to watch the exercise in action. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate How to: This exercise is the same as the swing clean except you are doing it from a half-kneeling position.

Because you are in a kneeling position, it involves rotation, so you will be training through the transverse plane as well. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: Whip the kettle bell up from the floor to an overhead position in one smooth, dynamic motion using both lower and upper body force.

(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate How to: Whip the kettle bell up from the floor to an overhead position in one smooth, dynamic motion using both lower and upper body force. From the hang position, snatch the kettle bell back overhead and repeat.

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced How to: For this snatch, instead of bringing the kettle bell from the overhead position to racked to hang, from the racked position, you will let the kettle bell swing underneath your legs as you hinge your hips. Then thrust your hips forward and swing the kettle bell back through and snatch it up to the overhead position.

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Hips Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: From a half-kneeling position, snatch the kettle bell overhead. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced How to: This exercise is the same as the hang snatch except you will be alternating sides with each rep.

If you need to see how the switch should look, click the timestamp to watch the exercise in action. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate How to: This exercise is the same as the swing snatch except you are doing it from a half-kneeling position.

Because you are in a kneeling position, it involves rotation, and thus you will be working through the transverse plane of motion as well. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: This is the king of kettle bell exercises.

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Feet shoulder-width apart, or even a little wider is fine, with toes facing forward, or slightly pronated outward (whatever feels more natural for you). Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate How to: This is the same exercise as the two handed standard kettle bell swing except you are using only one arm.

This exercise provides all the same benefits as the two handed kettle bell swing, with added emphasis on core strength & stability. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced How to: This is the same exercise as the single kettle bell swing except you will be alternating hands with each swing.

Your working hand, and thus the kettle bell, will be above the elbow/shoulder plane, with the bell higher than the handle, as seen in the pic. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced How to: This exercise is just like a one-handed swing but you will be in a split stance position.

This makes the movement considerably harder for your core, hips, glutes and hamstrings as they will need to stabilize your body more. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Advanced How to: This is the same concept as the high pull swing above, except you will be in an offset, wide split stance position.

Because it is offset, you will be adding a lot of emphasis on core strength and stability, which means your lower body muscles as well. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Intermediate How to: This is the standard kettle bell swing, except with each rep you will be bringing it back down to the floor (starting position).

(Source: www.pinterest.fr)

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: The swing to rack will have you swinging the kettle bell up to a goblet racked position. So, as you swing up, bend your elbows and pull the kettle bell to your chest with the bell down and your hands on the horns of the handle.

From there, release, bring your hands towards center of the handle and swing it back down and through your legs. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinal, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: Using the same movement pattern as above, with this one, you are simply adding a goblet squat to the movement.

So, once it reaches the goblet racked position, squat down then up and release back into the swing. Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Glutes, Quads, Core, Shoulders Difficulty: Beginner How to: From a racked position, do a reverse lunge.

This is a lower body exercise, but because the kettle bell must be held in a racked position and you are only loading one side, both the shoulders and core are put to work too. Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core, Shoulders Difficulty: Beginner How to: From a racked position, perform a forward lunge.

Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core, Forearms Difficulty: Beginner How to: This is a very simple movement. Get into a split stance, holding the kettle bell with your arms straight down in front of your back leg.

kettlebell windmill exercise workout training kettlebellsworkouts
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core, Shoulders, Arms Difficulty: Intermediate How to: This is a challenging workout with simple mechanics. Muscles targeted: Quads, Adductor, Glutes, Abductors, Hamstrings, Forearms, Core Difficulty: Intermediate How to: You’ll need good hip mobility to perform this exercise correctly.

Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Arms, Shoulders, Core Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: Perform a squat with the kettle bell in a racked position. Keep your back straight as your squat down and maintain the racked position at all times.

Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Arms, Shoulders Difficulty: Beginner How to: Perform a squat with the kettle bell in a goblet hold. Keep your back straight as your squat down and maintain the goblet hold at all times.

Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Arms, Shoulders, Arms Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: This is the same as a goblet squat except you are adding a thruster as you come up from the squat. Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Arms, Shoulders, Arms, Core Difficulty: Intermediate How to: This is the same as a racked squat except you are adding a thruster as you come up from the squat.

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Back, Glutes, Forearms, Quads Difficulty: Beginner How to: Holding the kettle bell in front of your body with your arms straight, hinge your hips and bend forward lowering the kettle bell down. Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Back, Glutes, Forearms, Quads, Core Difficulty: Beginner How to: From a split stance, perform a stiff-legged dead lift.

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Just like the dead lift above, make sure the kettle bell is moving in a vertical path up and down, as that means you are hinging correctly. Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Back, Glutes, Arms Difficulty: Beginner How to: Hold the kettle bell is a high goblet position and hinge your hips as you lean forward.

Muscles targeted: Obliques, Glutes, Shoulders, Triceps Difficulty: Advanced How to: This may look simple when Scott performs it, but it is actually a very complex movement. It is going to work your full body, with emphasis on your obliques, glutes and shoulders, while also improving the flexibility of your hamstrings and hips.

From an overhead position, hinge your hips and rotate your torso to the ground, reaching your opposite hand of the kettle bell to the floor. In the bottom position, your arms should make a straight line from the floor to the kettle bell.

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Core Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: From a racked position, press the kettle bell straight overhead. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Core, Glutes Difficulty: Advanced How to: From a racked position with your hips facing the working side, rotate your body to the opposite side as you press the kettle bell above your head.

Watch the video to see how your feet and legs should move as you rotate your hips. Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Upper Chest, Core Difficulty: Beginner How to: Using a goblet hold, press the kettle bell above your head in a straight path up.

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Upper Chest, Core, Quads, Glutes Difficulty: Intermediate How to: This exercise is a press that lets your use your lower body for more force. Your arm should be moving just like it would a push up, which means the elbows are not flared out too much.

Muscles targeted: Back, Biceps, Hamstrings, Core Difficulty: Beginner How to: From a bent over hip hinge position with the kettle bell held straight down, palms facing towards you, pull the kettle bell towards the lower side of your chest. Muscles targeted: Back, Biceps, Hamstrings, Core Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: This is the same concept as the exercise above, except you will be in a split stance hinged position.

Muscles targeted: Back, Biceps, Hamstrings, Core Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate How to: Perform this exercise as you would a single arm back row, but with each rep, alternate sides. Simply pass the kettle bell to your other hand after you perform a rep, then fully extend your arm and row with the other side.

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Core, Glutes, Scapular Stabilizers, Traps, Lats, Triceps, Quads Difficulty: Advanced How to: This is an essential exercise to learn. It is going to strengthen all your important stabilizer muscles, such as your scapular, rotator cuff, hips, core, etc.

Fluidly swing the bell around your body in a nice circular pattern, switching the bell hand to hand as it meets your centerline on both the front and back side. In the stall position, elbows should be tight to the rib cage and forearms on the chest.

exercises kettlebell core using leg workout fitness read
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Even if you don’t plan on doing kettle bell -only workouts, incorporating the bestkettlebell exercises into your routine will be beneficial on multiple fronts. Moreover, because the movements are often unilateral and offset, you will be training your core and overall athleticism in an incredible way.

On top of that, kettle bell exercises are unique in how they train you for explosiveness, power, and total body muscular endurance. Finally, kettle bell exercises build durability in a fantastically effective way.

They combine strength, mobility and stability training, which leads to durability. All in all, kettle bell exercises will provide unique benefits to your training and fitness.

There’s a reason why so much fitness professional and coaches train their clients with kettle bells. Below we will give you a couple examples of how to throw them into a conventional training plan as well as how to structure a kettle bell -only workout.

Overall, we highly recommend incorporating the bestkettlebell exercises into your training plan no matter what kind of equipment you have at your disposal. The essential exercises are Swings, Snatches, Cleans, and Turkish Get Ups.

kettlebell fat burning exercises slim appearance workout
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Sources
1 www.bodybuilding.com - https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/take-the-21-day-goblet-squat-challenge.html
2 www.amazon.com - https://www.amazon.com/Day-1200-Goblet-Squat-Challenge-ebook/dp/B00TEB4R6Y
3 video.ontheedgefitness.com - https://video.ontheedgefitness.com/21-day-squat-challenge
4 drjohnrusin.com - https://drjohnrusin.com/relative-strength-goblet-squat-challenge/