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.
You'll use them as you do things like lunges, lifts, and shoulder presses. The workout gets your heart pumping and uses up to 20 calories per minute: about as much as running a 6-minute mile.
You can include a few of the moves in your own workout or do a dedicated kettlebellworkout a few times a week. Buy a DVD or sign up for a kettle bell class at the gym to learn how to do the moves safely.
It won’t take long to understand why celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Biel, and Katherine Hall are huge fans of kettle bell workouts. You’ll work up a sweat doing a series of fast-paced cardio and strength-training moves like kettle bell swings, lunges, shoulder presses, and push-ups.
Most kettle bell workouts include squats, lunges, crunches, and other moves that work your abs and other core muscles. The kettle bell is used as a weight for arm exercises like single-arm rows and shoulder presses.
Your tush will be toned by using the kettle bell for added weight during lunges and squats. Using a kettle bell for a dead lift helps tone your back muscles.
The kettle bell is an effective weight that will build muscle strength. You may want to buy DVDs or sign up for classes to learn the basics of a kettlebellworkout.
Yes, if you take a class or pick a DVD that's for beginners and use a lighter kettle bell. Depending on the program, you may be getting both your strength training and your aerobic workout at the same time.
If you choose a kettle bell that is too heavy or if you have poor form, you are likely to lose control of it. Start out with an experienced trainer who can correct your technique before you hurt something.
Adding a kettle bell to your existing workout is great if you want to burn more calories in less time. This type of high-intensity workout is not for you if you would rather do a more meditative approach to body sculpting, or if sweating isn’t your thing.
With your doctor’s OK, you can include kettle bells in your fitness routine if you have diabetes. Muscle burns energy more efficiently, so your blood sugar levels will go down.
Depending on the workout, you may also get some cardio to help prevent heart disease. Using kettle bells in your workout puts some serious demands on your hips and back, as well as your knees, neck, and shoulders.
If you have arthritis or pain in your knees or back, then look for a less risky strength-training program. If you have other physical limitations, ask an experienced instructor for advice on how to modify your workout.
If you worked out with kettle bells before becoming pregnant and are not having any problems with your pregnancy, then you will likely be able to continue using them -- at least for a while. Talk to your instructor and your doctor; they might suggest switching out your kettle bells during your last trimester.
Sources American Council on Exercise: “Exclusive ACE research examines the benefits of kettle bells.” Build a Better Butt: Workouts for Slim and Shapely Glutes
Quiz Test Your Sports Injury Savvy These kettle bells come in different weights and you can make use of these equipments as you do lunges, shoulder presses, and lifts.
The kettle bell workouts get your heart pumping and are quite beneficial in burning calories, offering body flexibility and many other things. Kettle bell exercises mostly targets areas like the core, arms, glutes, legs, and back.
These kettle bells come in weights that range from 5-100 pounds and you can purchase them from sporting goods stores or from online retailers. There is a short review of research on kettle bell exercises that teaches about some workouts and its benefits.
Kettle bell exercises stimulate an incredible amount of abdominal contraction because of their explosive conditioning movements. The abdominal contraction along with coordinated breathing offers quite a high level of conditioning that actually has made kettle bells popular among athletes and fighters.
In one study there was absolutely clear evidence of some effective positive changes in cardiovascular health from kettle bell exercises. Since there are several kettle bell exercises which we do with our arms in an overhead position, the muscles that are responsible for assisting our breathing process are pretty engaged in the muscular activity; thus not allowing them to assist in the process of respiratory.
This in turn forces the muscles that are most responsible for the breathing process to play an even higher role in the cardiovascular health. They also enable you for increasing your strength and building up speed and also your endurance levels simultaneously.
The first thing that must be kept in mind is that your entire back and abs remain absolutely straight. Most physical therapists value these exercises because they teach us to move in a better, stronger, and a safer way.
Kettle bell exercises help you build powerful forearms and also improves your grip. Moreover, such exercises also allow you to devote your attention towards your skill, strategy, rest and recovery.
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. 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.
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.
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. Because ours will teach you how to handle a kettle bell using Mega Man and Mario references.
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 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. 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 KettlebellWorkout: 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. 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. They were first used by Russians as counterweights when measuring out goods, and then some old-timey strongmen started to juggle, press, and swing them around for entertainment.
There’s probably more to it than that, but that’s essentially how the kettle bell became a staple in gym culture. Although we don’t recommend dressing up in loincloths and haphazardly tossing weights overhead, there are many benefits to a good kettlebellworkout.
For one, the thick handle that attaches to the cast iron base will challenge your grip more than a dumbbell or barbell. This means you can perform more explosive and dynamic movements with kettle bells compared to their iron counterparts.
You also can get a lot of work done in a tight space, so kettle bells are perfect for small home gyms or apartments. Lastly, you can more naturally string together moves to create a workout flow — do a swing, then a clean, and then a press for example.
Kettle bell workouts offer all the benefits of dumbbell training, with the added advantage that the super-thick handles challenge your grip. They’re ideal for explosive exercises that work major muscles, burn body fat, and build power.
They also add a new dimension to classic moves like chest presses and flies. And you don’t need a wall-length rack of them to get a great workout —one pair will suffice for this routine.
The idea is that you’ll exhaust your muscles just enough while jacking up your heart rate to burn more calories and therefore more fat. Just like the kettle bell itself, the methods of this routine aren’t new — but they’ve stood the test of time because they work.
The weight of a kettle bell hangs a few inches below its handle, which makes it more difficult to control. This extra muscle activity means your body burns more calories.
Couple that with exercises that target the whole body, and you have a formula for significant fat loss. Choose a weight that allows you to complete 12-15 reps for each exercise.
Read article Workout Routines With minor tweaks and subtle changes to your exercise form, you can be sure to finish your chest training on a high note... 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.
The kettle bell goblet squat isn't just a leg exercise; it's another total-body juggernaut that offers more mobility—the ability to move easily so you can safely train with heavier loads—and improved conditioning. It teaches you to move fluidly, and when you add the external load (a kettle bell) it requires strength, mobility, and skilled 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.
Once you can do the first three exercises—and have demonstrated appropriate shoulder mobility and stability—the kettle bell press is another exceptional movement to learn. The unique shape of a kettle bell and offset handle allow you to press in the natural plane of motion relative to your shoulder joint.
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.
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.