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.
Fitness experts suggest using kettle bells with the following weights if you’re at an intermediate to advanced level with your strength training: Aim to add more reps each week, then work toward adding more sets as you build strength.
Push your hips backward, and bend your knees to reach the kettle bell handles. Firmly grip the kettle bells, keeping your arms and back straight.
This is an excellent exercise to boost both your muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. While your shoulders and arms will do a lot of the work, most of the effort should come from the hips and legs.
Engage your abdominal muscles and set your shoulders back. Exhale as you make an explosive upward movement to swing the kettle bell out in front of you.
Squats are an excellent lower-body exercise that work your quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes, as well as your abdominal muscles. Slowly bend both knees so that your thighs are almost parallel to the floor.
Using your leg muscles, with your upper body still, straighten up to your starting position. Alternatively, you can hold a kettle bell by the handle in one or both hands, with your arms at your sides.
Slowly step forward with your left leg, bending your knee while keeping your right foot in place. Make sure your left knee doesn’t extend over your toes.
A great exercise for working your abs and obliques (the muscles on the sides of your abdomen that run from your hips to your ribs), the Russian twist can also be done with a weighted medicine ball or barbell plate. When using a kettle bell, be sure to keep a firm grip so that you don’t drop it on your lap.
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.
If possible, ask a certified personal trainer at your local gym or fitness center to show you the proper form for kettle bell exercises. Kettle bells tend to swing, so get used to the feel and movement in your hands before using one.
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.
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 KettlebellWorkout.
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.
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.
Tip from Coach Matt: when doing the overhead press, get tight. 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 kettlebellworkout 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.
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.
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.
They’re simple but offer more than enough ways to make challenging, creative sweat sessions. These workouts were designed by Tyler Mango, a fitness instructor at Brick New York.
These 10 workouts were provided by Luke Elton, C.S.C.S., SCAC.P.T., a competitive powerlifting coach and weight-training instructor based in New York. A lighter kettle bell used for a few sets of higher reps (15+) will promote muscular endurance.
A heavier kettle bell used for multiple sets of a few reps (5-8) will promote more hypertrophy and strength. In both cases, choose a kettle bell heavy enough so that you’re nearing muscle failure by the end of the set.
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.
Note that your chin should be pulled back so that weight has no trouble clearing it. 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.
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. When used correctly, kettle bells are extremely effective training tools for providing total-body strength and conditioning.
As with any technical movement, lift, or skill, proper coaching is required to maximize the benefits. It's a two-for-one exercise, meaning you're able to combine strength training and cardiovascular conditioning into one efficient movement.
Though it looks easy to perform, the swing can take a significant amount of time, practice, and coaching to perfect. Unfortunately, this exercise is often performed incorrectly, which will limit your results as well as any further progressions that are based on this basic movement.
It's a powerful full-body exercise that requires attention to detail and a respect for human movement. For strong, resilient shoulders, improved hip and trunk strength, and enhanced mobility, the Turkish get-up is essential.
You just feel like you have more power to press efficiently with a kettle bell, mostly because of the more natural plane of motion. Similar to the kettle bell swing, the clean is another explosive exercise for total-body strength and conditioning.
The difference here is that the kettle bell finishes in the rack position as opposed to being projected horizontally away from your body. The kettle bell snatch is physically demanding and technical, but offers outstanding total-body strength and conditioning benefits.
It can help transcend athletic performance to new levels, build explosive strength, and forge strong, powerful shoulders. The snatch requires proper technique, explosive hip power, and athleticism.
This exercise should not be attempted until the kettle bell swing hip-hinge pattern and explosive hip drive are established. Though watching videos is helpful, the best way to learn how to correctly do these challenging movements is to work with a certified kettle bell instructor.
Kettle bells, which are essentially weighted balls with handles, provide the perfect workout by increasing strength, endurance, agility and balance while also challenging both the muscular and cardiovascular system with dynamic, total body movements. In addition to the kettle bells, we also carry information tools such as books and DVD’s to ensure you get a proper and effective kettlebellworkout.
Training with kettle bells will allow you to develop total body strength, generate fast weight loss to remove unwanted fat, restore youthful flexibility to reduce injury and improve mobility all while redesigning the shape of your entire body. Thousands of people have experienced the cardio and muscular endurance benefits of kettle bell training.