Kettlebell workouts are some of the best exercise routines you can possibly do for a whole body workout that incorporates every part of the body. But before you go and buy kettlebells to fill your home gym, take a look at my top 10 Kettlebell workout moves and how to do them.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Do A Kettlebell Swing
- 2 The Kettlebell Snatch
- 3 Performing the Kettlebell Jerk
- 4 How to Do a Kettlebell Military Press
- 5 How To Do Kettlebell High Pulls
- 6 Kettlebell Goblet Squats
- 7 The Kettlebell Clean And Press
- 8 How to Do a Kettlebell Deadlift
- 9 How to Do Kettlebell Windmills
- 10 How To Do the Kettlebell Farmers Walk
How To Do A Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing is one of the best exercises that you can possibly do to burn a lot of calories in a short space of time. You can burn as many as 600 calories in only 30 minutes of swinging, which makes it the perfect exercise for weight loss. However, it may not be possible to do these swings for 30 minutes straight and it is best to do them in HIIT training. This means that you do swings for 30 – 60 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds, then swing for 30 – 60 seconds, rest and repeat until 20 – 30 minutes are up.
With that said, you need to learn how to properly execute the kettlebell swing. You will have to place the kettlebell directly in front of you, then hold onto the handle with both hands. When you lift the kettlebell off the ground, you need to engage your legs and be sure to keep your back straight. Then, you swing the kettlebell, by using the explosive power of your hips. It is essential that you use momentum and not your arms or chest when swinging the kettlebell.
As you can see, there is a great deal of technique when doing kettlebell swings, so be sure to master the technique before making it a part of your workout routine.
The Kettlebell Snatch
The kettlebell snatch uses hundreds of muscles in every movement that you make during this exercise. This is what makes this move one of the best fat-burning moves you can possibly do.
The kettlebell has to be swung from between the legs while standing upright, to a position over the head and then bringing it back to its original position. The basic movements are the swing, the snatch and the clean and jerk. It largely imitates shovel work. The exercise builds endurance and strength in the shoulders, legs, and lower back, while it increases grip. The exercise is partly aerobic and exercises several muscles at the same time. It is best if it is repeated for several minutes at a time, with short breaks.
The kettlebell must be swung from below the groin to a point between the abdomen and shoulders in a conventional swing. A high pull will take it above the head and back again. There are many variations to this exercise and you must decide the one that you feel you’re ready for. You can also do the exercise with two kettlebells if you’re feeling froggy.
Performing the Kettlebell Jerk
The kettlebell jerk is a great full body workout that calls for a high degree of timing, coordination as well as the ability to produce maximum power in just a short time. Even though this movement can be used to develop maximal strength, it’s best suited for the ability to be fast, explosive and strong over long durations.
There are various techniques for the kettlebell jerk but I personally like the bump and the half squat.
This technique involves what is known as quadruple extension. The knees, hips, ankles and the torso all extended during this exercise. The hips end up in a forward and up position while the shoulders stay in a down back position at this movement’s final form. The degree of energy to put into this part of the jerk usually depends on your athletic features as well as body type.
The Half Squat
Here, you should drop into a small knee bend while keeping the pelvis forward. The important things here are to first drop into the half squat in order to activate a stretch reflex. The second is to maintain a connection between the heels and the ground as well as the elbows to the torso. This increases power transfer from the lower body to the upper part.
How to Do a Kettlebell Military Press
Most kettlebell workouts offer variations, and the kettlebell military press is no different. You can do it using one kettlebell with one arm or you can do it using two kettlebells with both. Either way, stand with your feet slightly apart and hold the kettlebell to your chest with your arm bent. You want to feel as if you are ready to punch but you are going to tighten your core, breathe out and press the kettlebell upwards.
When you complete the movement, the weight should be just behind your head. Breathe again and lower the weights using your lateral muscles. Only bring the weight up as much as necessary to pass above your head.
Do not swing it outside the line of your waist. Lift it straight up. A good tip to follow is, when your weights are down, have them sit at your midsection so you have more of your core power to help lift the kettlebells without swinging outward.
You can do multiple sets of reps on each side or do reps for both. Listen to your body and only increase the reps and weight sizes when you are ready.
How To Do Kettlebell High Pulls
The kettlebell high pull is an exercise that is great for targeting the traps as well as a lot of the muscles that are also used in the deadlift and squat. To do the high pull you start with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart with the kettlebell in front of you. You bend down with your knees just past your toes with your butt down and chest up. Grab the top of the kettlebell handle, and stand up, pushing with your heels like a squat. As you stand you want to lift the bell to your chin in one smooth motion, keeping it close to your chest. Now bend your knees and go back down and touch the kettlebell to the floor. That is one rep.
Kettlebell Goblet Squats
Squats are one of the best exercises that you can do and they can help you to increase your overall strength, improve leg and muscle tone as well as burn a massive amount of calories. Squats engage your entire body, even though it may seem as though only your legs are doing the bulk of the work. Many people think that you can only do squats with dumbbells or a barbell, but that is not true. You can do goblet squats with a kettlebell and they are just as effective, if not more so.
First, place the kettlebell in front of you, on the ground. Then, you place your hands on either side of the handle and lift it off of the ground. Then, you raise the kettlebell so that you are holding it, in front of your chest. Once it is at chest level, you can do a squat, while holding the kettlebell. It is essential that you don’t allow your knees to go past your toes and makes sure to fully squat parallel to the floor. Imagine yourself sitting on a chair. Remember to breathe out when descending and inhale when rising.
When doing goblet squats, it is critical that you maintain good form and use the proper weight. If you can’t do at least 8 squats, one after the other, then you should choose a lighter kettlebell and continue squatting.
The Kettlebell Clean And Press
The kettlebell clean & press is a very popular exercise that engages both your upper and lower body. The clean and press is an Olympic lift and it is essential that you practice proper form in order to prevent injury and make sure you get the full benefit of the lift (see the trend here?). Performing the clean and press with a kettlebell is actually much easier on your wrists as opposed to doing the same exercise with a barbell.
First, you need to pick up the kettlebell with one hand and allow it to swing between your legs, while your other hand is at your side. Then, you pull up the kettlebell as though you’re starting a lawnmower, followed by an uppercut motion so that the body of the kettlebell ends up between your bicep and forearm. This is referred to as the rack position and you then press the kettlebell upwards, above your head. You can then drop the weight back to the ground in a controlled and smooth motion. The last thing you want to do is be herky jerky here. This is a kettlebell clean and press and you can then repeat the exercise for as many reps as you wish, as long as your form remains intact.
How to Do a Kettlebell Deadlift
Kettlebell deadlifts are performed by standing with your feet slightly less than shoulder-width apart, with the toes facing forward. You can perform a kettlebell deadlift with one kettlebell or two. Place the kettlebell(s) on the outside of the feet for a suitcase deadlift, or in front for a sumo deadlift.
Inhale through your nose, and grip the kettlebell, carefully hinging at the hips while keeping the knees in track with the toes. Concentrate on your form – load the lats and keep the spine neutral with your eyes on the horizon.
Instead of trying to stand up, focus on ‘pressing the ground away from you. Lift the load carefully. Remember to breathe out at the same time as the hips move.
The suitcase deadlift allows you to lift a heavier weight by using two kettlebells. Again, the cues are to breathe out as you stand, keep your spine neutral and hinge at the hips. Try not to rock onto the toes. Do not look up. Some people make the mistake of looking up as they lift, but this causes the spine to become poorly aligned, which can increase the risk of injury if you are lifting heavy weights.
How to Do Kettlebell Windmills
Kettlebell windmills are some of the best exercise moves you can do with a kettlebell. Remember to choose an appropriate weight for you. If you are just starting out, you should not go over 25 pounds or so as a man or 16 if you are a woman. Once you find your reps are getting easier or you feel a little like you are swinging more when you should not be, it is time to graduate to a heavier kettlebell. Always use the proper form (I can’t stress this enough).
So, to get started on the windmills put a kettlebell in front of your stronger foot. Next, press it over your head using your opposite arm. Move the kettlebell past your shoulder by stretching through your legs and hips. Pull the kettlebell to your shoulders and rotate your wrist to finish.
How To Do the Kettlebell Farmers Walk
The kettlebell farmers walk is a fantastic exercise no matter what your fitness goal. With the farmers walk, you can dramatically improve your conditioning, boost your metabolism and burn tons of calories, all while you build strength.
And you’ll really build your mental toughness too because it’s a brutal exercise and requires you to be locked in mentally.
The kettlebell farmers walk is pretty simple. Start with a kettlebell held in each hand with your arms at your side. This assumes you have two kettlebells. If you only have one, that will be addressed below.
Once you are holding the kettlebells at your side, you walk. Simple but incredibly powerful, effective and surprisingly difficult!
There are a number of different variations. You can walk for a set time, resting when needed. For example, you could walk for five minutes, putting down the kettlebells to rest whenever you need to.
In this workout, keep track of the distance you travel and try and beat that distance in your next farmers walk workout.
You can also do the kettlebell farmers walk for a set distance and time yourself. Try and improve on that time in the next workout.
Another version of the kettlebell farmers walk is to do intervals. With intervals, you do the farmers walk for a set amount of time, then take a set amount of rest and perform a set number of intervals.
For example, you could do the farmers walk for forty seconds, then rest for twenty seconds, and repeat for ten intervals, which is a ten-minute workout.
If you have one kettlebell, you simply switch hands periodically during your farmers walks. A one kettlebell farmers walk has its own challenge and that is staying upright. A one kettlebell farmers walk is also extremely brutal on your core as it has to stay engaged at all times.
So there you have my top 10 kettlebell exercises. Incorporate these into your kettlebell workout routine and you will be incredibly surprised at the results.