Kettle bells can be used for a variety of exercises that improve both your strength and cardiovascular fitness. And, if you want to learn more about the benefits of working out with a kettle bell, we’ve got that covered, too.
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. 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.
There's an underrated piece of gear in the weight room, and it's time you started using it way more frequently. I'm talking about the kettle bell, an effective, bell-shaped piece of equipment that will help you build some major muscles.
But the kettle bell is super versatile—it's a great addition to leg-day exercises like squats, or upper body moves like an overhead press because it disperses the weight differently (all in the center and away from the handle) than a dumbbell. Because of this, kettle bells require you to engage your core even more in order to move the load efficiently.
These moves are great for a beginner kettlebellworkout when done with lighter weights at a slower pace. While intermediate or advanced fitness levels can turn them into a more challenging training session by opting to lift a heavier load and picking up the pace.
You can also sprinkle some of my favorite kettle bell exercises for women into your workouts two to three times a week in lieu of doing a full-body kettlebellworkout as prescribed below. Get Our All/Out Studio App Free For 30 Days: Visit alloutstudio.com, click “Start Free Trial,” create an account, select “monthly subscription,” and enter the coupon code FREE30.
Then download All Out Studio on iOS, Android, or Apple TV and use the same login credentials to access unlimited workouts. (It could take 20 minutes to complete this volume of sets and reps, depending on your pace.)
How to: Start in a squat position with a kettle bell in each hand, arms extended toward floor between feet, palms facing away from body. Then, in one motion, press through heels to stand up, raising the kettle bells overhead, rotating palms to face inward and stopping when biceps are by ears.
How to: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettle bell with both hands in front of chest and close to body (elbows bent). Push hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat.
How to: Start standing with feet hip-width apart holding the handle of a kettle bell with both hands in front of face, elbows bent and wide at sides. How to: Start in a hinge (hips back, knees slightly bent, torso leaned forward at 45 degrees) holding the handle of a kettle bell with both hands, arms extended straight toward floor and bell between knees.
In one motion, squeeze glutes, straighten legs, lift torso, and thrust hips forward, while swinging the weight to shoulder height, keeping your arms straight and core tight. In one motion, press hips forward and rise up to high kneeling position using that momentum to rotate palms away from body and press the kettle bells overhead until arms are straight and biceps are by ears.
How to: Start seated in a cross-legged position, butt on ground, back straight, with a kettle bell in each hand, arms bent, elbows narrow, palms facing inward, and weights resting against upper arms. In one motion, rotate palms away from body and press the kettle bells overhead until arms are straight and biceps are by ears.
How to: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, left hand on hip, right-hand holding kettle bell at shoulder height, palm facing inward, elbow bent. Engage core and rotate palm away from body while pressing weight overhead until arm is straight and bicep is by ear.
How to: Start standing with feet under hips holding a kettle bell in each hand, weights resting on quads and palms facing body. Stop when chest and right leg are parallel to floor, then reverse movement to return to start.
How to: Start standing with feet under hips holding a kettle bell in each hand, arms by sides, and palms facing body. Squeeze shoulder blades together while lifting elbows toward ceiling and pulling weights up toward ribs, then reverse entire movement to return to start.
How to: Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettle bell in each hand, arms bent, elbows narrow, palms facing inward, and weights resting against upper arms. Then, engage core and in one motion, push through heels to stand, rotate palms to face away from body, and press the weights overhead until arms are straight.
How to: Start in a hinge (hips back, knees slightly bent, torso leaned forward at 45 degrees) holding the handle of a kettle bell with left hand, arm extended straight toward floor in front of left foot, and right hand resting on bench or chair for balance. How to: Start lying face up with left leg straight on mat, right leg bent, foot flat on floor, left arm out at side on floor at 45-degree angle, and right arm holding kettle bell above shoulder, tricep on floor, and elbow at 45-degree angle from body.
Raise the weight up above chest, keeping gaze on it, until arm is straight but not locked at the elbow. Sweep left foot back behind body to come into kneeling lunge with both legs bent at 90 degrees.
Rotate chest to the right, look up at the kettle bell, and slowly hinge at waist to lower torso toward floor and touch left foot with left fingers, pushing hips back to the right corner of the room. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
Bilateral movements, which involve using two hands, challenge you to lift heavier weights and recruit multiple muscle groups at once. Firmly pressing your feet into the ground, lift the kettle bell up to stand, squeezing your glutes.
Bring the kettle bell back down to the ground with a straight spine and don't let your chest fall past your hips. When you transition from a bilateral movement to a unilateral one, you're adding an anti-rotation component, Peel says.
“This means your core is recruited to keep your body from rotating, as a result of the weight being loaded to one side. Extend your other arm to the side or in front of you and make a fist with your hand.
Firmly pressing your feet into the ground, lift the kettle bell up to stand, squeezing your glutes. Bring the kettle bell back down to the ground with a straight spine and don't let your chest fall past your hips.
At the top of the exercise, your chest and back should be lifted—not hunched over—and your elbows pointing straight down at your sides. Bring the kettle bell back down to the ground with a straight spine and don't let your chest fall past your hips.
This kettle bell exercise will fire up your quads and glutes, while also engaging your core to keep your chest lifted. You want to keep your abs tight and your hips square throughout the entire movement.
Peel says to make sure the bell is set between your feet and behind your toes so you don't lift with your back. While many people think they need to pull the bell up from this position, you should be pushing with your legs off the ground.
“It helps to imagine a wall in front of you and you can't let the bell hit it,” she adds. Once you clean the kettle bell to your shoulder in a rack position, you want to make sure your wrist is flat and knuckles are facing up.
Extend your other arm in front of you or to the side and make a fist with your hand. Challenging your balance and grip strength, the off-set reverse lunge forces you to engage your back, chest, and core to stand upright.
Extend your other arm in front of you or to the side and make a fist with your hand. Push off with your front foot to stand back up and maintain your balance.
As one of the most popular ballistic kettle bell exercises, a strong swing starts with a solid hip hinge. Inhale as your swing the kettle bell between your legs and exhale at the standing plank.
Then, aggressively press your feet into the ground, powering the kettle bell up to chest height. Continue for at least 12 reps, then swing the kettle bell between your legs before placing it safely back on the ground in a hike position.
Since your glutes and legs are larger muscle groups, they can handle more load. These power-producing muscles are essential for carrying heavier things and preventing injury.
How to do a sumo kettle bell dead lift: Stand with your feet wider than hip-distance apart with your toes slightly turned out to the sides. Firmly pressing your feet into the ground, lift the kettle bells up to stand.
Bring the kettle bells back down to the ground with a straight spine and don't let your chest fall past your hips. This single-leg dead lift will work the entire posterior chain and challenge your balance while you're at it.
The key is to move with control and ensure your hips remain square to prevent injury. Bracing your core, slowly kick your free leg out to push your hips back, making a straight line from your head to your heel.
Engaging your glutes and thighs, pull your back leg forward until your torso is upright again. How to do a farmer's carry: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and hold one kettle bell in each hand at your sides.
Lift one leg off the ground, bending your knee to hip height. This is one rep. Continue alternating sides for 12 reps, standing tall with your chest and back upright.
This kettle bell exercise will challenge your forearm and grip strength, as well as your balance. Be sure to engage your core to keep your chest lifted and back upright.
Lift one leg off the ground, bending your knee to hip height. This is one rep. Continue alternating sides for 12 reps, standing tall with your chest and back upright.
This bent-over row kettle bell exercise also has an anti-rotation element for your core, forcing you to maintain your balance in a split stance. Place a kettle bell right next to your front foot and grip it with your hand on the same side.
Extend your other arm to the side or in front of you, making a fist with your hand. Row the kettle bell toward your rib cage while maintaining proper form.
A great position for beginners, this set-up also helps you engage your core for a safer press. Extend your other arm in front of you or to the side and make a fist with that hand.
Take a big step back with your leg on the same side, placing your knee on the ground. Make sure your shoulder doesn't stray by your ears and keep the kettle bell above your elbow.
How to do a kettle bell floor press: Lie face-up on a yoga mat, knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Press the kettle bell above your chest and then bring it back down to the starting position.
But this 1/4 variation gets you to roll onto your free forearm, engaging your abs and shoulders. Bring the heel of the loaded side closer to your butt, firmly pressing on the ground.
Pushing your foot against the ground, punch the loaded arm and roll onto your free forearm without shrugging your shoulders toward your ears. This will help you keep your torso stable and prevent rotation as you circle the kettle bell.
How to do halos: Kneel on a yoga mat and hold a kettle bell bottoms-up with your hands around the horns to your chest, elbows pointing straight toward the ground. Keeping your shoulders down, chest proud, and abs tight, rotate the kettle bell in a circle around your head at eye level.
Working your legs and shoulders, this power training exercise is sure to get your heart rate up. Extend the other arm to the side or in front of you, making a fist with your hand.
Keeping your chest lifted, sit into your heels to get into a squat position. Tiffany Ayuda, a senior editor at Prevention and certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise, has specialized in fitness, health, and general wellness topics in her previously editorial roles at Life by Daily Burn, Everyday Health, and South Beach Diet.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. If you've never used a kettle bell, these strength training tools might look intimidating at first, but once you learn how to use them safely and effectively, you'll find that they're one of the best pieces of equipment for at-home workouts and are a great way to spice up your lifting routine.
Barbells take too much space and dumbbells aren't as versatile for compound exercises, such as dead lifts and swings. But because of the way kettle bells are designed—a weighted ball with a handle—you'll activate many muscle groups at once doing a variety of exercises.
“The handle allows for both grind strength movements (dead lifts) and ballistic movements (swings), so you have a tool that you can use for both strength and conditioning in a low-impact way,” says Renee Peel, an NSCA-certified personal trainer at the Hitting Room with Strongest kettle bell level 1 and 2 certifications. Kettle bell exercises are highly functional and mimic many everyday movements.
“The shape and distribution of weight is more like things you would pick up in real life, like grocery bags, a tote, or a baby car seat. The weight doesn't sit evenly on both sides with a nice handle in the middle,” Peel says.
Because the kettle bell handles are typically thicker than most dumbbells, your muscles work harder just to hold onto them. “The way the weight is distributed and the movement of the bell challenges your grip in an even more dynamic way.
For example, when doing kettle bell swings or snatches, the weight moves and your body needs to react to hold on,” Peel explains. “As a general rule of thumb, larger muscles can lift more so you want to choose a heavier kettle bell.
So for most people, a dead lift will be the heaviest lift, followed by the squat, then for the upper body, the back is usually stronger than the chest and shoulders,” Peel says. You also want to keep the number of reps and sets in mind for each exercise when choosing the right weight.
If you're thinking of buying kettle bells, Peel recommends purchasing a pair. “This way you can use one for the upper body, such as the row and press, and then a pair to double the weight for lower-body exercises,” Peel says.
Allow yourself to play with different weights for a variety of movements, both ballistic and grind, and possibly bottoms-up work as well!,” she says. More and more ladies are discovering the benefits of effective kettle bell workouts for women.
Women on the other hand tend to steer clear of the weight section down the gym and opt for more aerobic training options like running, spin classes and Zumba style dance classes. There are a number of reasons however why women should be spending more time performing resistance based workouts and using a kettle bell is a great choice providing you progress slowly and receive some expert tuition.
Below are 5 reasons why women will achieve some great benefits by training with kettle bells: Effective kettle bell workouts for women are very dynamic and cardiovascular in nature.
Great news for women who wish to add muscle tone without the bulk. The more muscles that are targeted at one time the more energy you will require and the more fat you will burn.
You will find that these full body workouts for women are hard work from the beginning, using lots of energy in one go is tiring but also very time efficient. If you use the correct exercises, as listed below, then you’ll only need to work out with kettle bells for less than 15 minutes per day.
However, by targeting the really important larger muscles including the hips, glutes, and quads you will increase your body’s metabolic rate. Kettle bell exercises like the swing hit all those important muscle groups in one fluid movement, ramping up your metabolic rate.
Kettle bells offer an exciting dimension to a fitness routine that can become very addictive. Learning to train correctly with kettle bells takes skill, time and dedication.
Often women get wrapped up in the intricacies of kettle bell training and forget that they are even working out. In my personal experience I have found more women seem to stick to a kettle bell program than men.
Just as an exercise like running is totally mindless (which some people do enjoy) kettle bell training takes focus and understanding. Women carry children with one arm, drag large suitcases through airports and have lots of natural strength in the legs and buttocks.
One of the largest misconceptions is that women should be using small 3lb weights to avoid bulking up. As mentioned earlier, women have very little growth hormone so bulking up will not be a problem.
When you perform kettle bell exercises correctly you use your whole body, you drive with your hips and legs, you burn a lot of calories and use 100’s of muscles at once. The single arm dead lift sends the focus right to the back of your body and into the glutes.
The single arm dead lift will also raise your heart rate and burn a lot of calories for you. The single leg dead lift works hard into the core muscles connecting the shoulder with the opposite hip via the cross body sling system.
Mastering the single leg dead lift will not only give you stunning torso but also protect your spine from future exercise injury. Muscles Used : Glutes, Hamstrings, Hips, Quads, Core, Back Why it’s important : Once you have mastered the two exercises above then this is where the fun will really start.
Kettle bell swings will quickly become your number one fat burning exercise. Get ready for a cardio, strength, and super fun exercise all rolled into one.
Muscles Used : Glutes, Hamstrings, Hips, Quads, Core, Triceps Why it’s important : The Turkish Get Up is a big fully body exercise that not only works deep into your core muscles but also improves your joint mobility too. Muscles Used : Glutes, Hamstrings, Hips, Quads, Core, Shoulders, Back, Biceps Why it’s important : The row is a crucial exercise that will focus into the back as well as the rear of the shoulders.
Performing the row standing as demonstrated below also works into the legs and core too. The row exercise will help pull your shoulders back and improve the appearance of the chest.
Work hard to get your thighs down to level with the floor for an added glute activation bonus. Muscles Used : Glutes, Core, Chest, Triceps Why it’s important : Men have a naturally stronger upper body than women which usually results in them avoiding the Push Up.
If you struggle with full push-ups then increase the elevation of your hands to a table. Following each workout your body needs time to repair the tissue damage and restore balance or homeostasis.
Failure to rest long enough between workouts will result in over fatigue, possible injury and an inability for your muscles to increase in size and shape. Age Quality of Nutrition Workout intensity Daily activity Genetics Athletic experience
So ultimately you need to listen to your body and if you feel tired or demotivated then take an extra days rest. Kettle bells workouts for women are a great choice and highly effective.
If you would like to take your body and training to the next level and add a new dimension of skill and fun then I highly recommend you get started today.