Kettlebell Core Exercises

Bob Roberts
• Thursday, 12 November, 2020
• 23 min read

You've probably used it to do exercises like squats, lunges, dead lifts, cleans, snatches, and swings, with the goal of training your lower body, back, and shoulders. “Many kettle bell skills are compound exercises, which require your whole body to accomplish them in the most effective and optimal way,” says certified personal trainer Sarah Tobacco, fitness director of Achieve Fitness in Boston and Strongest Team Leader.

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The majority of the power and strength comes from your lower body (specifically, your hamstrings and glutes). But your core has to engage the entire time to keep your trunk stable and sturdy as you thrust your hips forward and stand upright.

To create a full workout out of these moves, choose three or four that target a variety of muscle groups and do them as a circuit. Demoing the moves below is Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies.

Hold a kettle bell in each hand and rest them at your shoulders with your palms in and the weight hanging against the back of your forearms. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, arms relaxed by the front of your quads with a kettle bell in each hand.

Hinge forward at your hips and bend your knees slightly as you push your butt way back. Keep your back flat and shoulders engaged as you slowly lower the weight along your shins toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

Keeping your core tight, push through your heels to stand up straight and return to the starting position. Keeping your back flat and a slight bend in your left knee, hinge forward at the hips, push your butt back, and raise your right leg straight behind your body as you lower the weight toward the floor until you feel a stretch in your left hamstring.

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Bend your knees and push your hips back to lower and grab the kettle bell with your right hand, palm toward your body. Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoid, back, and core.

With a soft bend in your knees, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and grab the handle with both hands. Hike the bell high up in your groin area (your wrists should touch high in your inner thigh) and thrust your hips forward aggressively so that at the top of the swing, you are essentially in a standing plank, looking straight ahead, squeezing your core, glutes, and quads.

When you're done with all of your reps, perform a back swing: Bring the bell through your legs but instead of thrusting your hips forward to bring it to shoulder level, safely place it back on the floor. Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoid, back, and core.

With a soft bend in your knees, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and grab the handle with one hand. Hike the bell high up in your groin area (your wrists should touch high in your inner thigh) and thrust your hips forward aggressively so that at the top of the swing, you are essentially in a standing plank, looking straight ahead, squeezing your core, glutes, and quads.

Hinge forward at your hips and push your butt back again, letting the bell drop on its own as you do. When you're done with all of your reps, perform a back swing: Bring the bell through your legs but instead of thrusting your hips forward to bring it to shoulder level, safely place it back on the floor.

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Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoid, back, and core. Bend your knees and push your hips back to lower and grab the kettle bell with your right hand, palm facing your body.

Then hike the bell up to your groin area and thrust your hips forward as you straighten your legs and simultaneously pull the weight up, first to your right shoulder and then continuing until your arm is fully extended toward the ceiling. At the top, your right arm should be locked out, your palm should face forward, and the kettle bell should rest against the back of your forearm.

Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, shoulders, back, and core. Stand tall with a kettle bell on the floor next to each of your feet, the handles running horizontally.

Keeping your chest up and core braced, stand up while pulling through your arms to raise the weights to your shoulders. Walk forward, keeping an upright torso and engaging your abs so that the weight doesn’t dump into your low back.

Imagine there’s a string connected to the top of your head that’s pulling you toward the ceiling. Lift the weight to eye level and slowly circle it around your head counterclockwise, making a halo shape.

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As you circle the weight around your head, maintain a tight core, and keep your elbows close to your body to engage your triceps. Lie face up with your knees bent and feet flat, holding a kettle bell with both hands at your chest.

At the same time, press the weight overhead, extending both arms until your elbows are straight. Grip the weight in your right hand and raise your right arm straight overhead (don't bend your elbow) so that it’s “almost touching the ear,” says Saladin.

Pull your right shoulder away from your right ear and engage your lats to keep the weight hoisted. Hinge forward at your hips as you lower the left hand to the floor between your thighs, rotating your upper body slightly inward so that your right arm stays pointing toward the ceiling.

Targets the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, deltoid, back, and core. Model Amanda Wheeler is wearing Nike Bliss Lux Mid-Rise Training Pants, $90, nike.com ; a Nancy Rose Performance tank; and Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 sneakers, $120, nike.com.

The core is extremely important to athletic performance, as it acts to stabilize the body and transfer energy through the limbs. Once enough force is involved, the link won't be up to the task of handling and transferring that energy, rendering movement inefficient and unimpressive.

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By simply pulling a kettle bell from one side of your torso to the other while holding a Plank, your core must work to prevent your body from rotating. Begin in a natural High Plank position with a kettle bell by your left side.

While working to keep your chest parallel to the floor and resisting movement throughout the rest of your body, slide your right arm underneath yourself to grab the kettle bell handle. Remaining in a good Plank position with your butt down and core engaged, pull the kettle bell underneath yourself to the other side.

The Dead Bug has long been one of our favorite core exercises, as it trains the core to resist extension and protect your lower back. This variation, from renowned strength expert Dan John, looks different from a standard Dead Bug, but the pattern is the same.

Hold a kettle bell or med ball with your arms extended in front of your chest. Raise your legs up until they are perpendicular to the ground and then drive your hips into the air to pulse your feet.

Some experts have even proposed they may deserve the title of world's greatest exercise, and it's hard to fault them. If you've never performed Turkish Get-Ups before, you may want to first start without any weight to see if you have the mobility and full-body strength required to execute the move appropriately.

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This kettlebellcore exercise may seem like a walk in the park at first glance, but you'll quickly realize the benefits once you give it a go. The key is preventing your torso from leaning to the weighted side as you stroll, which requires you to activate a plethora of core muscles, particularly in and around the obliques and lower back.

Renowned strength and conditioning specialist Mike Boyle compares it to a moving Side Plank. Standing straight up with your core activated and shoulders rolled down and back, begin walking.

The Kettle bell Swing is a powerhouse of an exercise that trains and corrects many weaknesses commonly found in the modern athlete. This exercise primarily targets the glutes and lower back, two areas that are not always considered part of the core, but perhaps should be.

Kettle bell Swings train the all-important hip hinge pattern, which is what allows athletes to utilize the full power of their glutes during explosive movements like jumping. A loose core makes for a sloppy, explosive Kettle bell Swing and puts stress on your spine.

Quadruped Bird Dog Kettle bell Rows force the core to resist both extension and rotation while maintaining a neutral spine, aiding in posture problems and reducing the energy leaks that sap athletes of their explosiveness. While maintaining a neutral spine, kneel on a bench in a quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.

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Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, and hold the kettle bell in your left hand. The core is extremely important to athletic performance, as it acts to stabilize the body and transfer energy through the limbs.

You can also take on her new 30-day challenge in our streaming All Out Studio app, check out her Le Sweat workout app, and follow her on Instagram to find out when she's hosting live workouts from her living room. Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. So as a general rule ensure that you complete your specific kettle bell abs exercises at the end of your workout.

Below I’ve broken each exercise down into more detail including images and videos : 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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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. Now I have listed the best kettle bell ab exercises let’s look at how we can put them together into a kettlebellcore workout.

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.

Performing core exercises at the beginning of another workout can over-fatigue your core muscles which are required to stabilize your spine. I hope you have enjoyed these 7 kettle bell ab exercises along with the kettlebellcore workout suggestions.

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Kettle bells unlike many other training tools are most effective when used to target the full body rather than just individual muscles. Therefore, these kettlebellcoreexercises will not only develop beautiful core muscles but also strengthen the rest of your body too.

Kettlebellexercises 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.

The answer lies in kettlebellcoreexercises that engage multiple muscle groups at the same time and make for a killer workout for the midsection. The core is one of most important part of the body that controls the full range of movement right from heavy weight lifting to sprinting.

Therefore, in order to have a balanced core training program, there must be equal emphasis on the abs and the back that will help in yielding faster results and reduce the risk of injuries. Challenging workouts will put stress on the muscle fibers and make them stronger and denser.

Working out with kettle bells helps in increasing the strength and conditioning of the major muscle groups and the best thing about these exercises is that they show quick results. The powerful moves involved in this exercise require powerful hip thrust using the glutes and hamstring muscles that generate submaximal muscular contractions for a long period of time which is amazing for enhancing muscular endurance.

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It is a full body training exercise that engages almost all the major groups of muscles. The upright position of this exercise puts greater emphasis on the quads and also works the hamstrings and glutes.

This kettle bells workout helps in strengthening the back and also boosts up the metabolism process to promote fat burning. Keep your feet placed shoulder width apart and squat down until your elbows touch your knees and then push your body up by driving through the heels.

This exercise works the deep core muscles, lower back and obliques along with the glutes. It works each glute individually and activates the muscles to reduce lower back pain and enhance athletic performance.

Now, come back to the starting position and repeat the move on the other side by switching the kettle bell to your left hand. Stand with your feet placed shoulder width apart holding the horns of the kettle bell with both hands.

Stand with your feet placed shoulder width apart and hold a kettle bell directly over your head. Return to the standing position by forcefully driving the forward heel into the ground.

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Lie down with your knees bent and heels pressed on the floor, holding a kettle bell with both hands and hooking the thumbs inside the handle. Bring the kettle bell over your chest keeping the arms straight and do a sit up by engaging the core.

Lie down holding a kettle bell with both hands, hooking the thumbs inside the handle. Now, curl your knees up towards your chest and lift the shoulders of the ground at the same time.

Next, slowly extend your arms and legs and try to straighten your limbs but keep your feet and the kettle bells 2 to 4 inches up from the ground and then crunch your abs again to repeat the movement. Now, move the weight in the right hand up to your ribs by pulling the shoulder blade back.

Return to the starting position using a reverse movement and repeat the exercise by switching the kettle bell to the left hand. 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.

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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. Kettle bells, which look like cannonballs with handles, have become a popular strength training alternative to traditional barbells, dumbbells, and resistance machines.

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Kettlebellexercises 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 can create a full-body workout using just kettle bells, or you can pick and choose specific kettlebellexercises to add to your strength training regimen.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

Another benefit of doing kettlebellexercises is that you can work several muscle groups simultaneously with a single kettle bell. Kettle bells are also small enough to use anywhere, and you typically don’t need much space to do a variety of kettlebellexercises.

But here’s why you should consider using one: the unique combination of uneven weight distribution and explosive movement involved in kettlebellexercises engages the core like no other. Not to mention the fact the exercises use multiple muscle groups at the same time, which sends your body into fat-torching mode.

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.

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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.

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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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