Research backs this up — in fact, kettle bell workouts can burn up to 300 calories in just 20 minutes, while also cranking up your aerobic capacity in as little as four weeks (1, 2). This position is used to properly guide the movement of the kettle bell without straining the forearm and shoulders, especially during exercises like the snatch.
One mistake many beginners make with the racked position is “gripping” the handle from the top. Don’t Skip the Warm Up Even though we’re focusing on our abs with these exercises, the swinging and lifting of our kettle bell involves a lot of shoulder mobility and strength.
This should include light aerobic work followed by dynamic stretches, such as shoulder swings or even a vinyls flow. Maintaining a slight bend in your knee, with your core engaged and back flat, lean forward and grasp the kettle bell with both hands.
In one fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettle bell. Avoid using your arms and shoulders to aggressively yank or lift the kettle bell up.
Drive the kettle bell forward with your hips, keeping your glutes engaged. It works the entire body from head to toe, and also gets your heart rate up — excellent for burning through that last layer of fat covering your abs.
Tip: If you’re a beginner, be sure to master your standard and single-arm kettle bell swings before attempting the snatch. Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, kettle bell on the ground in front of you.
Bend at your hip with your back in a straight line and grasp the kettle bell. Lift the kettle bell so your arm is just resting on your inner thigh while your knees are still bent.
Now explosively drive hips forward, pushing the kettle bell up and out into a swing. Once the kettle bell is above shoulder height, instead of letting it drop like in a regular swing, begin to rotate your hand into the racked position.
Push skyward in the racked position once it is directly over your extended arm. Now swing the kettle bell forward and down, bending at the hips again to prepare for another rep. Repeat for 5 to 6 reps on each side.
The Turkish get-up looks deceptively simple, but trust me: it’s a go-to full-body workout that engages the entire body — especially the core. Begin lying on the floor on your back, arm extended with your kettle bell in the racked position.
The renegade row works the entire core, along with the arms and back. It is also excellent for targeting the obliques as your body works to remain in a plank position.
(Note: you can also elevate yourself on another kettle bell or low bench if you find this too challenging.) Keep your core engaged and body in a straight line from head to toe.
This really engages the stabilizer muscles of the core, as well as the obliques, due to the amount of control required to keep the kettle bell from straightening out. With that being said, it’s best to build up your core strength and swing proficiency before attempting these, as there is a risk of hitting your opposite knee if you’re lacking control.
Keeping your back straight and core engaged, feet hip-width apart, lean forward a grasp the kettle bell with one hand. Push your hips back, then thrust them forward, directly your arm laterally across your body.
Keep your core tight as you swing back down past your opposing knee, then thrust forward again. The windmill engages the entire core while you’re holding your kettle bell skyward in the racked position throughout the movement.
Begin standing with your kettle bell locked in the rack position above your head, arm extended fully. Position your feet wider than shoulder width, toes slightly turned out.
Bend forward at the hips, keeping your kettle bell in place, as you rotate toward your left foot with your right hand. Touch your foot, then raise back up to the starting position, maintaining the balance of the kettle bell over your head.
Begin in a plank position, hands beneath your shoulders, with your legs in a wide, should-width stance. Reach with your left hand and grab the kettle bell, keeping your abs tight.
The side plank row is a challenging exercise for your obliques, while also targeting the shoulders and back. Begin in a push up position with your left hand holding your kettle bell, your feet placed slightly wider than hip-width apart.
If you find the pull to be too difficult without arching, either lower your weight or focus on other core-stabilizing exercises like the renegade row until your core is strengthened. Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
Press your kettle bell above your chest, keeping your arms straight without bending your wrists. Inhale, pull your shoulders down and back, and slowly lower the weight behind you (as far as you feel comfortable).
For the exercise, we use a kettle bell in one hand, providing extra engagement for your obliques and stabilizer muscles as you work to balance. Integrating these kettle bell moves into your routine will have you dropping fat to reveal a toned, strong midline.
Try substituting out some of your regular exercises with these kettle bell options and notice the difference not only in how your muscles engage, but in your overall fitness. Discover 7 unknown ways to lose stomach fat and get flat, toned abs — for FREE!
So as a general rule ensure that you complete your specific kettlebellabs exercises at the end of your workout. Below are my list of favorite kettle bell exercises for abs along with a kettlebellabs workout suggestion:
Below I’ve broken each exercise down into more detail including images and videos : The Turkish Get Up is one of the most important kettle bell exercises for core muscles that you can perform.
Not only is it a full body exercise but it also helps to improve your mobility and stability of your joints as you perform the movement. Getting good at the Turkish Get Up in the early stages of your kettle bell training will help you protect your body against future injury
The abs get targeted through various stages of the Turkish Get Up but in particular during the 1st few phases as you sit up from the lying down position, a great kettle bell obliques movement. The kettle bell beginner can practice this 1st phase by just sitting up along the arm and then lying back down again.
Lifting the heel from the floor as you sit up means that you are using your hip flexors too much rather than your abs. Also ensure that as you come back down from the seated position that you lie down slowly using your abs to resist the downward movement.
Just like the Turkish Get Up they primarily improve your mobility and stability of your shoulders, and hips. Not only will the abs get targeted throughout the movement but it also improves mobility through the hips and strengthens the shoulders.
The movement is very similar except the kettle bell is held in one hand only and the arm is kept straight throughout the kettlebellabs exercise. Leaning the arm into the movement as you sit up will give you a mechanical advantage and you will notice yourself doing this as you get tired….this is the time to stop!
One of the great advantages is the ability to perform a horizontal row and work the back muscles (rhomboids especially). The horizontal row is one of the movements that often gets neglected with kettle bell training but it is important to counteract all the sitting that so many of us do these days.
The main abdominal benefits come from preventing the hips from falling to the floor during the movement. As you row the kettle bell up and down your abs will also have to fight the rotation that is being caused by being supported by just one arm.
Start with a very light kettle bell to begin and master the movement before increasing the weight. You will actually find that this kettle bell exercise is easier using a weight than trying it without due to the momentum that it gives during the standing part of the movement.
This is an advanced kettle bell exercise that is based upon the regular swing but the movement goes sideways rather than forwards and backwards. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to become a real expert at the regular kettle bell swing before moving onto this exercise.
Without good technique and form you risk hitting your knee with the kettle bell as it comes across the body so be super careful. The Kettle bell Swing, Clean, Snatch and Pistol Squat are all core intensive.
With kettle bell training being mostly full body movements the abs are used in practically all exercises that is one of the great benefits of using kettle bells but can ultimately be your downfall if you core/ abs are not strong enough and able to deal with the load. It is for this reason that you should always build up your kettle bell training slowly and allow your core muscles to develop along with everything else.
I’ve included some sample repetition numbers above but you can alter these depending on your goals. Once you have completed the kettle bell ab workout you can rest for 60 seconds and then repeat for a total of 2 – 4 circuits.
Kettle bells unlike many other training tools are most effective when used to target the full body rather than just individual muscles. Kettle bell exercises are excellent for intense full-body workouts, to build strength and muscle tone, burn calories and help you get rid of your belly fat.
Kettle bell swings, goblet squats and the Turkish get up are great exercises. Adding kettle bell ab exercises to your core routine is one of the best ways to intensify your workout and start burning fat faster.
We recommend using a kettle bell weighing between 4 and 8 kg, depending on your existing strength and familiarity with ab exercises. Plus, adding a kettle bell to these exercises makes them harder anyway, so we think you'll be ready for the finish line after 15 minutes.
Do these kettle bell ab exercises consistently and you'll start to say goodbye to excess fat around your middle surprisingly quickly. Don't forget though that exercise alone won't burn your belly fat and get you a six-pack.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold your kettle bell in one hand, in front of your body by the handle. Once again stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold your kettle bell in one hand.
Keeping your arms by your sides — not in front of you — reach towards your knee with the hand holding your kettle bell, bending at your waist. The movement is small, and the key is that the bend comes from the waist rather than your shoulders and back.
Lean back slightly until you can feel that your core is keeping your upper body stable, rather than simply being sat upright. Next, fully extend your legs out in front of you, before pulling them back into your chest.
The difficulty of this exercise is set by how quickly you work, and of course how heavy your kettle bell is. Stay seated, but this time start with your back flat on the floor.
Do a regular sit up but once you are fully sat press your kettle bell from your chest to the ceiling. Advanced exercisers should be able to fully extend their legs and hold them a couple of inches off the ground.
As with the standing side crunches, the movement is in your oblique muscles and not your shoulders. Now you're set, you're going to hold this position for 30 seconds, tapping the kettle bell with alternate hands as quickly as you can.
The key is remained stable, so move at a pace that fits in as many taps as possible, but you don't want to get seasick by too much swaying. The shape and functionality of the kettle bell makes it easy to use in faster-paced exercises, like the kettle bell swing, to get your heart rate pumping, improve cardiovascular fitness, and burn fat faster.
Use these 10 easy kettle bell exercises to work your abs from every angle to build a strong, toned core. Start standing up with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance.
Bring a small bend into the knees and engage your abs. Exhale to thrust your hips forward and swing the kettle bell up in line with your shoulders.
Start standing up with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance. Bring a small bend into the knees and engage your abs.
Exhale to thrust your hips forward and swing the kettle bell up in line with your shoulders. Bend your elbows and hold the kettle bell in your hands in front of your chest.
Reach your left arm straight down alongside your body. Start in a push up position with the kettle bell underneath your left hand.
Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Inhale to lower the kettle bell back behind your head, hovering it about an inch above the ground.
Then, exhale to sit up all the way and press the kettle bell straight up over your head. Lower the kettle bell to your chest and slowly roll down one vertebra at a time.
Sit on your mat with your knees bent and heels on the floor. Hold the kettle bell with both hands in front of your chest with bent elbows.
Lean your torso back a couple of inches to feel your abs start to work. Inhale to side bend to the right, sliding the kettle bell down your outer right leg.
Begin in a high plank position with the kettle bell behind your right wrist. Then, pick up your right hand and use it to slide the kettle bell back under the right shoulder.
Kelly Collins Kelly is a certified Personal Trainer with NASA, a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, and has her Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from San Diego State University. 12 Yin Yoga Poses to Naturally Soothe Anxiety
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These unilateral movements (think moving in a forward direction) challenge your core even harder. Photo credit: fit squad 8 to 10 reps on each side, 4 sets
From a front rack position (holding the kettle bell at your shoulder, with the “bell” part of the weight resting in the crook of your arm), press the kettle bell overhead. Turn the opposite foot outward at 45 degrees and kick your right hip out.
Photo credit: fit squad 8 to 10 reps on each side for 4 sets Lying flat on the floor, hold the kettle bell with your right hand at your chest.
Bend your right leg and extend your left arm to 90 degrees across the ground. Press into your left palm and drive your right heel to extend your hips, lifting your body off the floor.
Photo credit: Fit Squad 10 to 12 reps each side, 4 sets Start like you did with the windmills, holding the kettle bell at your shoulder, with the “bell” part of the weight resting in the crook of your arm.
Continuing pressing the kettle bell above your head, bracing through your core as you lunge. Photo credit: fit squad 10 to 12 reps per side for 4 sets
Photo credit: Jennifer LAU Jennifer is co-owner of FitS quad Toronto and is a highly accomplished personal trainer and holistic nutritionist with 10 years experience in the fitness and health industry. Her passion to empower women has leaded her to become a leader in female training.
A humble lump of metal that sits unobtrusively in the corner of many a home gym, and yet, has become in recent years perhaps one of the most versatile training aids on the market for those looking to build muscle and make gains in explosive power and strength. Although the exercise plans based around KBs are endless and varied, today I am going to focus solely on targeting the abs, and on developing that core workout strength which is so important to anyone undertaking any form of serious physical training.
Fortunately, the kettle bell lends itself very well to core strength training and there are a number of exercises out there guaranteed to give those abs a good going over. This is a good one for getting the heart rate going and can become a real endurance blast if that's your thing; just pay particular attention to your lower back and revise your technique of you experience any pain in that area.
If you want to target the obliques and lats and add a little extra challenge, you could always change things up and work on lateral swings. I prefer to use a slightly heavier 'bell and lower the reps accordingly, but you can also lighten the weight and go for maximum endurance, it’s going to hurt either way!
Just keep the movement under control at all times, particularly if you're using a heavier weight, and keep those abs engaged to avoid stress where you don’t want it. Start with a slightly heavier weight (I warm up with a 16 kg and use a 24 kg for work sets) and initially go for 10 reps each side.
As always, start light as this is tough on the arms and shoulders as well, and this is not an exercise you want to get wrong with a big lump of metal suspended over your head... Just because you can bang out 150 declined ab bench sit-ups doesn't mean that adding a few kg to your upper body isn't going to be a challenge.
I like to work these in alongside my regular sit-ups, maybe going into the high rep-range with standard sit-ups, then a low number of the weighted variety before discarding the kettle bell and going to failure unweighted. It's worth shopping around to see what suits you, and then spending a bit of time finding out what works with your training regime.
To look at it, you wouldn't guess that the simple kettle bell is such a fitness hero-both a superior calorie burner and an ab flattened in one. Take the snatch (a one-arm lift in which, from a quarter-squat position, you fluidly move the kettle bell from the floor to directly overhead as you stand, bell flipping up and over to rest atop your forearm).
(Exercisers in the study did a 20-minute workout consisting of 15-second AMAP intervals of kettle bell snatches followed by 15 seconds of rest.) By engaging the entire posterior chain (back, butt, hamstrings, and calves) plus the chest, shoulders, and arms, the kettle bell snatch and its variations work more muscle groups than other forms of HIIT, such as biking or running, which use primarily the legs and glutes.
Do high-intensity kettle bell intervals like those in the study, and you'll also be dispatching more ab fat into your calorie-burning furnace than if you do steady reps of swings. This pulse-like abdominal contraction stiffens your core and stabilizes the spinal column to help control the heavy, dynamic movement.
A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that when exercisers quickly squeezed their abs at the top of a swing, their obliques contracted more than 100 percent of their maximum potential. (And KB's are fantastic for your booty too; try Emily Sake's Favorite Kettle bell Exercises for a Better Butt.)
Her go-to ab blaster is the Turkish get-up: You fluidly raise your body from lying face up on the floor to standing while holding a kettle bell overhead with one arm the entire time. Stuart McGill, Ph.D., the author of Back Mechanic and multiple studies on kettle bell workouts and their effects on the spine, says that carrying weight on only one side of the body calls on the core to compensate, and the instability of the inverted bell challenges the core more than a dumbbell would.
“Its resistance builds muscles with enough intensity that we can really burn a lot of calories, but because we're standing in place or at least not jumping, there's no pounding on the joints,” says Steve Cotter, the director of the International Kettle bell and Fitness Federation in San Diego. Body weight moves are great for developing a foundation of abdominal size and strength — but if you want to sculpt a rock-solid six-pack, you’ll need to start adding resistance.
“I use kettle bells for abs moves because they’re versatile,” says strength and conditioning expert Aston Turner, from London's Evolve 353 gym. “Single-sided moves make you unbalanced so your body has to work harder to keep you stable.
Any overhead move, like a windmill, will also require good core strength to stabilize your spine.” Why it works The moves in this workout will help you develop your anti-rotation abilities, which enable you to resist being pulled out of position.
Straighten one arm and push upwards so your shoulder leaves the floor and you twist your torso. Expert tip “Lying on the floor reduces the instability, and therefore the risk, of the exercise,” says Turner.
Look at the bell and, keeping your eyes on it, lower your torso until your hand touches the floor. Brace your core and lower your torso to one side while simultaneously straightening your arm.
Expert tip “This is a great oblique — side abs — exercise because you have to stabilize your torso as you push the weight away from your body,” says Turner. Start by sitting down with your knees bent, holding two kettle bells overhead.
Expert tip “Once you’re sitting up straight, tuck your pelvis under and, as you lower, ‘roll through’ your spine so you’re trying to make contact with the ground one vertebra at a time,’ says Turner. Expert tip “This is a great way of making the plank more interesting,” says Turner.
You can also try raising the kettle bell off the floor slightly to turn it into a modified reverse fly.” He has worked with clients across multiple training disciplines including kettle bells, Olympic lifting, strength and conditioning, and Pilates.
Kettle bells, which look like cannonballs with handles, have become a popular strength training alternative to traditional barbells, dumbbells, and resistance machines. Kettle bell exercises often involve several muscle groups at once, making them a highly effective way to give your arms, legs, and abs a great workout in a short amount of time.
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.
Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly. Using your leg muscles, with your upper body still, straighten up to your starting position.
With both hands around the handle, hold the kettle bell close to your chest. 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. 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. 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.
Stop immediately if you feel sudden or sharp pain. 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.
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. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with both hands.
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. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with one hand.
Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettle bell handle with one hand.
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).
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. Hold the kettle bell handle in your right hand with your arm hanging straight at your side.
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. Crew Performance Zip-Front Sports Bra (jcrew.com, $45), Cotton On Body Pocket Crop Tight (, $35), and Puma Fierce Evoking Women's Training Shoes (, $120).