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.
One major advantage that kettle bells have over dumbbells is that you don’t need a wide range of weight increments to create a workout with them. Note that, unlike what you see in most kettle bell workouts, we’re not having you do the Turkish getup and full swing—even though we’re well aware that they’re two of the most popular kettlebellexercises.
Rather, we’ve modified these exercises to more user-friendly—but still supremely challenging—versions that will allow someone of any experience level to train safely and with optimal form. Use this routine to build strength and burn fat now, and develop the requisite stability and mobility to graduate to more advanced exercises at a later date.
When you’ve completed the entire circuit, rest 1–2 minutes, and then repeat for 3 total rounds. Take a deep breath into your belly and twist your feet into the ground (imagine screwing them down without actually moving them) and squat, keeping your torso upright.
Place the kettle bell on the floor and take a staggered stance with your right foot in front. Rest your right elbow on your right thigh for support and reach for the kettle bell with your left hand.
Stand tall holding the kettle bell in one hand at shoulder level. TIP: “Don’t get fixated on achieving a full overhead lockout right away,” says John Wolf, Innit’s Chief Fitness Officer.
“Just going to where your elbow is bent 90 degrees and holding it isometrically is a ton of work for most people.” If you need to arch your back, causing your ribs to flare in order to lock out your arm overhead, you’re not training the shoulder effectively. Stand with feet between hip and shoulder-width apart and hold the kettle bell by its horns, pulling the bottom of the bell into your lower sternum.
Draw your shoulder blades together and down (“proud chest”) and cast your eyes on a spot on the floor approximately 15 feet in front of you. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, extend your hips and squeeze your glutes, tucking your tailbone under as you lock out.
Stand with feet between hip and shoulder-width apart and hold the kettle bell by its horns upside down—the bell should face up. Begin moving the kettle bell around your head, being careful to maintain your posture and not bend your torso in any direction.
Set up as you did for the shoulder halo but hold the kettle bell by the handle at arm’s length and make circles around your hips. 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. Some below kettlebellexercises are more beginner-friendly than others, Sims says, but even if you've swung a few kettle bells around before, the most basic ones are great to have in your repertoire, and are easy to advance by just opting for a heavier weight.
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.
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). Beginner kettlebellexercises are an excellent way to add variety to your workout routine, whether you're new to strength training or just getting a little bored with your go-to dumbbell moves.
The beginner kettle bell workout we've created below will hopefully allow you to challenge your muscles in new ways, which is key to seeing strength gains. Plus, if you've ever worked out at a crowded gym with limited weight rack choices, you'll love these kettlebellexercises for beginners : They only require a single kettle bell !
To help you get to know this excellent training tool, Andy Speer, co-owner of Soho Strength Lab in New York City, picked a few kettlebellexercises for beginners. Let's lay down some terminology, too, since different exercises have you holding different parts of the kettle bell : The bell refers to the heavy sphere at the bottom.
The handle (the loop attached to the bell) can be gripped at the top, or on the sides, which are called the horns. Holding a kettle bell in a racked position means you'll hold the top of the handle and allow the bell to rest on the outside of your forearm, with your hand held at shoulder height.
You can incorporate this beginner kettle bell workout into your typical training routine two to three times per week or select just a few exercises to try as you see fit. You can do whichever variation you're in the mood for, however the reverse lunge with overhead hold and the two-handed kettle bell swing are the beginner-friendly options.
The first several moves should help improve stability while the swings at the end offer a nice cardio bonus. Hold the horns of the kettle bell with the bell facing up at chest height.
Lift the bell and slowly circle it around your head in a clockwise direction. Both left and right sides equals 1 rep. Do 8-10 reps, then repeat with the other leg staggered forward.
Hold the kettle in your right hand in a racked position at shoulder height. Step back with your right foot and bend both knees to 90 degrees to drop into a lunge.
As you drop into your lunge, press the kettle bell straight up extending your hand overhead. Hold the kettle in your right hand in a racked position at shoulder height.
Step back with your right foot and bend both knees to 90 degrees to drop into a lunge. Hinge at your hips so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to floor, keeping your spine neutral and your core engaged.
Hold the kettle bell in your right hand in a racked position at shoulder height. Do a half-squat by hinging at your hip, sending your butt back, and bending both knees just a bit.
As you stand and return to the starting position, press the kettle bell overhead in a quick, powerful motion. Fully extend your arm, squeeze your glutes, engage your core, and stand tall.
Focus on standing straight—do not allow your torso to tip to one side because of the uneven weight. Return the kettle bell to the racked position and immediately sink into another half-squat to start the next rep. Do 10 reps. Then repeat on the other side.
Hold the kettle bell in your right hand in a racked position at shoulder height. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and hold the kettle bell by the horns with elbows bent and the weight at chest height.
Do a squat by hinging at your hips, sending your butt back, and bending both knees until your thighs are parallel to floor. At the bottom of your squat, do a bicep curl by straightening both arms and allowing the weight to drop toward till it touches floor.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettle bell by the top of the handle with both hands with your arms straight in front of you. Bend your knees slightly, then hinge at your hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs.
Stand up and thrust your hips forward explosively, squeezing your glutes and letting your arms swing forward to chest height (but not higher than your shoulders). Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettle bell by the top of the handle with your right hand only, with your arm straight in front of you.
Bend your knees slightly, then hinge at your hips to swing the kettle bell between your legs. Stand up and thrust your hips forward explosively, squeezing your glutes and letting your right arm swing forward to chest height (but not higher than your shoulders).
Now allow your left hand to bring the weight down, hinge at your hips, and move immediately into the next rep. As you stand for the next rep, pass the weight back to your right hand. Hold the kettle bell with both hands by the horns at chest height, with the bell facing up.
With your core engaged and hips tucked, press the weight overhead. Straighten your arms to lift the weight up and return to your starting position.