kettlebell exercises

50 Best Kettlebell Exercises

December 31, 2020

Kettlebells are one of the best training tools for strength and conditioning. There are so many effective kettlebell exercises for building muscle, strength, explosive power, and endurance. Kettlebells lend themselves to offset, multiplanar exercises too, so you will be training through all planes of motion, emphasizing core stability, balance, coordination, and proprioception, or in other words, athleticism.

On that note, we decided to put together a very comprehensive list of kettlebell exercises that target every muscle in your body. These kb exercises range from beginner to advance. These are the best kettlebell exercises that you can do, as they include ballistics, grinds, and hybrids of the two. There are many variations and progressions of swings, cleans, snatches, lunges, squats, rows, presses, and more. This has everything you need for your kettlebell training.

best kettlebell exercises

ARE KETTLEBELL EXERCISES GOOD ?

Kettlebell exercises are more than good, they are great! They train you in all the ways you need for fitness. With kettlebell exercises, you can build muscle, strength, and endurance, lose weight and fat, and increase mobility, stability and durability. All the pillars of fitness. Kettlebell training can even help you improve cardiovascular health if you structure your workout correctly.

Kettlebells exercises provide you everything you need to get into all around fantastic shape. You can get ripped, strong, lean and muscular with just kettlebells.

Even if you don’t do kettlebell-only workouts, adding kettlebells into your current routine is smart. Kettlebell exercises move you through all planes of motion, which is how we are suppose to train as humans. Kettlebell exercises are very primal. It’s not a perfectly balanced training tool like dumbbells, it is somewhat awkward and uneven, like most objects in the world. It makes you work stabilizer muscles and many kettlebell exercises are offset or unilateral. This means you will be training in a very dynamic way. It will work you in ways barbells and dumbbells simply can’t. This is why we highly recommend adding the best kettlebell exercises to any and every training program. The exercises are dynamic, athletic and the true definition of functional training.

kettlebells

Shop Kettlebells

So, the answer is yes, kettlebell exercises are good. From athletes to bodybuilders to strongmen to calisthenics and any other form of training, kettlebells should be included in everyone’s program. If you could only have one free weight tool, we’d say kettlebells are the obvious choice because it will allow you to train in all the ways you should if you want true fitness and longevity.

what are the most effective kettlebell exercises

WHAT ARE THE BEST KETTLEBELL EXERCISES?

There are tons of kettlebell exercises, but they can be broken down into two main categories - grinds and ballistics. However, some exercises are like a combination (or hybrid) of the two.

Kettlebell grinds involve slow and controlled movements. They are typically compound movements through a single plane of motion, such as presses, rows, squats, and deadlifts. The mechanics are similar to conventional barbell and dumbbell exercises. So, if you have experience with conventional training, kettlebell grinds will be easy to pick up.

With kettlebell grinds, a lot of tensions is being created.  As such, they are used for building muscle and strength.

Kettlebell ballistics involve dynamic, explosive movements that incorporate multiple joints. They are based on movement patterns and they typically require a wide range of motion. Most kettlebell ballistics are total body, so you will be working a large number of muscles and muscular chains.

Examples of kettlebell ballistics are swings, snatches, cleans, and jerks. They are Olympic-style lifts.

Because kettlebell ballistics are explosive and powerful movements, they are great for all around strength and conditioning. They will build muscular endurance and power, while burning lots of calories too.

Now, some kettlebell exercises don’t fall into the grind or ballistic category, as they are sort of a combination of the two. These are what we call hybrid exercises.

Hybrid exercises can combine grinds and ballistics, such as a squat snatch or a goblet squat to swing (the squat being grind and the swing being ballistic). Other examples of “hybrids” are exercises like the Turkish Get Up and Windmill. These are exercises that involve complex multi-joint movement patterns, yet they are done in a slow and controlled manner. They train you for stability, mobility, balance and strength (all of which make for better injury resilience).

Our list of the best kettlebell exercises includes all of the above, with many examples of each.

In terms of kettlebell specific exercises, the top exercises are based on a few main movements - swings, cleans, snatches, lunges, squats, hinges, and rows. With each of those main movements, you have many progression and variations. Again, we have many of these included. We move through each main movement starting with basic to more advanced movements and variations…

are kettlebell exercises effective

WHY ARE THESE THE 50 BEST KETTLEBELL EXERCISES?

These are the best kettlebell exercises because combined, they cover all pillars of fitness - mobility, stability, durablity, endurance, and strength. This is made possible because we include ballistics, grinds, and hybrids (some of which are great for injury resilience).

This means you will be doing exercises based on dynamic, explosive movement patterns that will train you for endurance, compound movements that are slow and controlled for strength and hypertrophy, and mobility and stability strengthening exercises that will build durability, aka injury resilience.

What’s more, the nature of kettlebells makes for movements that are multiplanar. Therefore, you will be working through all three planes of motion - sagittal, frontal, and transverse. All three planes of motion are essential if you want well-rounded fitness and athleticism.

All in all, these exercises will challenge every muscle in your body, it will build core stability, stronger stabilizer muscles, mobility in all joint complexes, and all around strength and conditioning. If you could only use kettlebells and you had these 50 exercises, you would have everything you need to be in perfect shape. Literally nothing would be missing in your training program, so long as you program reps, sets and workout protocols correctly, which we will get into after we run through the 50 best kettlebell exercises.

On top of all that, with these 50 kettlebell exercises, you will always be able to keep things fresh, in a guaranteed effective manner. You have all the tools needed to train effectively while also keeping your musculoskeletal system guessing, which is an essential aspect of progressive overload for hypertrophy.

what are the best kettlebell exercises

Beginners to Advanced KB Exercises

We are proud to say, these are the best kettlebell exercises because they include everything you need for your kettlebell movement arsenal. Scott Viala spent a lot of time putting this together, to make sure it is as comprehensive as possible and you will not need any other resource for kettlebell exercises. These will keep you busy for a very long time. They are staple movements for beginners and many progression exercises and variations for those who are more advanced. Beginners can improve and try new, more difficult exercises within, and intermediate to advance trainees can use every single exercise below, even the ones labeled as beginners, because those are staple exercises that will never become unuseful. All of these exercises will be used for the entire length of your kettlebell journey. Scott has been using kettlebells for a long time and he still employs all of these exercises on a regular basis. The “beginner exercises” are not just progressed upon by harder variations, the main movements (like kettlebell swings) can be made more challenging by using heavier kettlebells, adding more reps or sets, reducing rest time, and so on. There are many progressive overload methods for you to employ as you advance. That’s why all of these exercises are good for all levels. Beginners will simply need more time to practice their kettlebell skills in order to utilize all of the exercises below.

50 BEST KETTLEBELL EXERCISES


50 KETTLEBELL EXERCISES (WITH TIMESTAMPS):

1. Dead Clean (0:05)
2. Hang Clean (0:19)
3. Swing Clean (0:35)
4. Clockwork Clean (0:46)
5. Offset Deadlift Clean (0:58)
6. Kneeling Clean (1:26)
7. Alternating Hang Clean (1:40)
8. Kneeling Swing Clean (2:00)
9. Dead Snatch (2:15)
10. Hang Snatch (2:35)
11. Half Swing Snatch (2:50)
12. Swing Snatch (3:07)
13. Kneeling Snatch (3:25)
14. Alternating Hang Snatch (3:40)
15. Kneeling Swing Snatch (4:00)
16. Kettlebell Swing (4:18)
17. One Arm Swing (4:30)
18. Alternating Swing (4:40)
19. High Pull Swing (4:58)
20. Offset Swing (5:11)
21. Offset High Pull (5:24)
22. Kneeling Swing (5:40)
23. Stop Start Swing (5:50)
24. Swing to Rack (6:03)
25. Swing to Goblet Squat (6:22)
26. Racked Reverse Lunge (6:35)
27. Racked Front Lunge (6:47)
28. Static Lunge (7:05)
29. Overhead Lunge (7:17)
30. Lateral Lunge (7:32)
31. Racked Squat (7:49)
32. Goblet Squat (8:03)
33. Goblet Squat Thruster (8:20)
34. Racked Squat Thruster (8:34)
35. Kettlebell Deadlift (8:52)
36. Offset Deadlift (9:10)
37. Goodmornings (9:28)
38. Windmill (9:47)
39. Strict Press (10:14)
40. Rotational Press (10:30)
41. Goblet Press (10:50)
42. Push Press (11:10)
43. Floor Press (11:24)
44. Back Row (11:42)
45. Offset Back Row (11:57)
46. Alternating Back Row (12:13)
47. Turkish Get Up (12:33)
48. Halo (13:06)
49. Around the Body (13:32)
50. Around the Body Stall (13:55)

Below is a list of the best kettlebell exercises in picture format, taken from the video above. Use the pictures as reference. Many of the more complex kettlebell exercises are better to see via video. So, we have added timestamps to the main video so you can click them to see how the movement should look.

Dead Clean (0:05)

kettlebell dead clean exercise

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: Bring the kettlebell from the floor to a racked position in one smooth, dynamic motion. Return the kettlebell back to the floor and repeat. This means you will be touching the kettlebell to the floor each rep.

Hang Clean (0:19)

kettlebell hang clean

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: Bring the kettlebell from the floor to a racked position in one smooth, dynamic motion. In a controlled manner, drop the kettlebell down to about knee level, so your arms are nearly straight, then whip the kettlebell back up into a racked position. Each rep you will bring the kettlebell down to knee level, giving a slight bend in your knee so you can use lower body and upper body force to bring it back to the racked position.

Swing Clean (0:35)

kettlebell swing clean

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: This exercise incorporates a swing into the clean. So, rather than bringing it down to a hang position like the previous exercise, you letting the kettlebell fall and swing between your legs, then you swing it back up and through your legs into a racked position. 

Clockwork Clean (0:46)

Kettlebell rotation exercises

Muscles targeted: Core, Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Hips, Glutes
Difficulty: Advanced
How to: This is a very dynamic rotational movement. It will take some time getting used to the mechanics of this exercise. Watch the video so you can learn how to execute it properly. 

Offset Deadlift Clean (0:58)

kb exercises

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Glutes, Erector Spinae/Back, Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Quads, Calves
Difficulty: Advanced
How to: From a split stance, perform a stiff-legged deadlift. As you come up, clean the kettlebell to a racked position while stepping your back foot forward. Keep on the balls of your foot for the moving leg.

Related: 7 Best Kettlebell Deadlift Variations

Kneeling Clean (1:26)

best kb exercises

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Hips
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: From a half-kneeling position, clean the kettlebell to a racked position. Let it drop in a controlled motion back to just above the floor and repeat. Your arms should be straight when the kettlebell is in its lowest position, but the kettlebell does not need to touch the floor.

Alternating Hang Clean (1:40)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
How to: This exercise is the same as the hang clean except you will be alternating sides with each rep. The switch should occur from the hang position. If you need to see how the switch should look, click the timestamp to watch the exercise in action. 

Kneeling Swing Clean (2:00)

kneeling kettlebell exercises 

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: This exercise is the same as the swing clean except you are doing it from a half-kneeling position. Because you are in a kneeling position, it involves rotation, so you will be training through the transverse plane as well.

Dead Snatch (2:15)

kettlebell dead snatch

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: Whip the kettlebell up from the floor to an overhead position in one smooth, dynamic motion using both lower and upper body force. Bring the kettlebell down to a racked position, then to the floor. Don’t just let it drop to the floor from the overhead position. Repeat.

Hang Snatch (2:35)

kettlebell hang snatch

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: Whip the kettlebell up from the floor to an overhead position in one smooth, dynamic motion using both lower and upper body force. Bring the kettlebell down to a racked position, then to a hang position (between your legs with arms straight and slight bend in knees). From the hang position, snatch the kettlebell back overhead and repeat.

Half Swing Snatch (2:50)

full body kettlebell exercises

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
How to: For this snatch, instead of bringing the kettlebell from the overhead position to racked to hang, from the racked position, you will let the kettlebell swing underneath your legs as you hinge your hips. Then thrust your hips forward and swing the kettlebell back through and snatch it up to the overhead position.

Swing Snatch (3:07)

total body kettlebell exercises

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Advanced
How to: This is the same exercise as above but instead of bringing the kettlebell from overhead position to racked position, you are going directly from the overhead position to the swing. So, skip the racked position when the kettlebell comes down from overhead. 

Kneeling Snatch (3:25)

kettlebell exercises for core strength

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Hips
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: From a half-kneeling position, snatch the kettlebell overhead. From overhead, bring it down to the racked position, then floor. Snatch and repeat. 

Alternating Hang Snatch (3:40)

single kettlebell exercises

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
How to: This exercise is the same as the hang snatch except you will be alternating sides with each rep. The switch should occur from the hang position. If you need to see how the switch should look, click the timestamp to watch the exercise in action. 

Kneeling Swing Snatch (4:00)

one handed kettlebell exercises

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: This exercise is the same as the swing snatch except you are doing it from a half-kneeling position. Because you are in a kneeling position, it involves rotation, and thus you will be working through the transverse plane of motion as well. 

Kettlebell Swing (4:18)

kettlebell swings

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: The kettlebell swing is the king of kettlebell exercises. It is the main movement everyone should learn first. “Stand about a foot and half behind the kettlebell. Feet shoulder-width apart, or even a little wider is fine, with toes facing forward, or slightly pronated outward (whatever feels more natural for you). Put a little bend in your knee, shoot your hips back, chest down, and back flat. This is a hinge pattern. So, with that, our hamstrings and glutes should be active immediately, before even touching the bell. Bring your hands forward and grab the handle of the kettlebell with both hands. Put the kettlebell at a slight angle towards you. Set your shoulder blades back so your lats are tight, core is braced, quads are tight, and glutes are engaged. Hike the bell back like its a football, so it goes   between the leg. As soon as your hands go past your quads, drive your hips forward and propel the bell up and forward to about shoulder level, keeping your arms straight. Remember to keep tight and your shoulder back in this top position.” - this “how to” is taken from a previous post we did ‘best full body kettlebell workout for beginners - full length’. 

One Arm Swing (4:30)

kettlebell ballistic exercises

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: This is the same exercise as the two handed standard kettlebell swing except you are using only one arm. Use your non-working hand to maintain balance by swinging it back behind you on the way down and up to your head on the way up. See video timestamp above for a better understanding. This exercise provides all the same benefits as the two handed kettlebell swing, with added emphasis on core strength & stability. It also makes it significantly more demanding since you are only using one arm. You likely want a lighter weight kb than you use for two-handed swings. 

Alternating Swing (4:40)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
How to: This is the same exercise as the single kettlebell swing except you will be alternating hands with each swing. Switch the kettlebell to your alternating hand as the kettlebell starts to reach mid-to-top of the swing (the switch should happen before the swing reaches its peak height - It should feel natural). Click the timestamp to see how the switch should be done. 

High Pull Swing (4:58)

kettlebell high pull

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Advanced
How to: The motion of the swing is the same on the lower half, but instead of bringing the kettlebell straight up in front of you, bring your elbow up so your elbow and shoulder are aligned horizontally (almost like a lateral raise). Your working hand, and thus the kettlebell, will be above the elbow/shoulder plane, with the bell higher than the handle, as seen in the pic. Please watch the exercise by clicking the timestamp so you can see how it should look. 

Offset Swing (5:11)

Kettlebell offset swing

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
How to: This exercise is just like a one-handed swing but you will be in a split stance position. This makes the movement considerably harder for your core, hips, glutes and hamstrings as they will need to stabilize your body more.

Offset High Pull (5:24)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Advanced
How to: This is the same concept as the high pull swing above, except you will be in an offset, wide split stance position. Because it is offset, you will be adding a lot of emphasis on core strength and stability, which means your lower body muscles as well. Strong legs and core are required to maintain your stance. 

Kneeling Swing (5:40)

most effective kettlebell exercises

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, Back, Core, Glutes, Hips
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: Perform the swing from a half-kneeling position. Learn about why half-kneeling exercises are beneficial for your training.

Stop Start Swing (5:50)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: This is the standard kettlebell swing, except with each rep you will be bringing it back down to the floor (starting position). This is a great way to develop max power for each swing. You can go heavier one this one!

Swing to Rack (6:03)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: The swing to rack will have you swinging the kettlebell up to a goblet racked position. So, as you swing up, bend your elbows and pull the kettlebell to your chest with the bell down and your hands on the horns of the handle. From there, release, bring your hands towards center of the handle and swing it back down and through your legs.

Swing to Goblet Squat (6:22)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Arms, Back, Erector Spinae, Core, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: Using the same movement pattern as above, with this one, you are simply adding a goblet squat to the movement. So, once it reaches the goblet racked position, squat down then up and release back into the swing. Repeat.

Racked Reverse Lunge (6:35)

kettlebell exercises for legs

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Glutes, Quads, Core, Shoulders
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: From a racked position, do a reverse lunge. This is a lower body exercise, but because the kettlebell must be held in a racked position and you are only loading one side, both the shoulders and core are put to work too.

Racked Front Lunge (6:47)

kettlebell exercises for quads

Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core, Shoulders
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: From a racked position, perform a forward lunge.

Static Lunge (7:05)

kettlebell exercises to strengthen knees

Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core, Forearms
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: This is a very simple movement. Get into a split stance, holding the kettlebell with your arms straight down in front of your back leg. The movement is straight up and down, so the kettlebell will be moving in a straight vertical path.

Overhead Lunge (7:17)

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Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Core, Shoulders, Arms
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: This is a challenging workout with simple mechanics. Hold the kettlebell in an overhead position and perform a lunge. Maintain the overhead position for the entire set. 

Lateral Lunge (7:32)

intermediate kettlebell exercises

Muscles targeted: Quads, Adductor, Glutes, Abductors, Hamstrings, Forearms, Core
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: You’ll need good hip mobility to perform this exercise correctly. So, make sure your hip mobility is up to par before trying this one. When lunging to the side, the kettlebell and your arm is not actually moving, but if done correctly, it should be at the centerline of your body just above the floor when at the bottom of the lunge. Be sure to try to keep your knee in line with your toes for the working leg and your opposite leg should be straight. 

Racked Squat (7:49)

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Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Arms, Shoulders, Core
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: Perform a squat with the kettlebell in a racked position. Keep your back straight as your squat down and maintain the racked position at all times.

Goblet Squat (8:03)

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Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Arms, Shoulders
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: Perform a squat with the kettlebell in a goblet hold. Keep your back straight as your squat down and maintain the goblet hold at all times.

Goblet Squat Thruster (8:20)

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Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Arms, Shoulders, Arms
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: This is the same as a goblet squat except you are adding a thruster as you come up from the squat. This is a total body exercise that will get your heart pumping like crazy. 

Racked Squat Thruster (8:34)

advanced kettlebell exercises 

Muscles targeted: Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Arms, Shoulders, Arms, Core
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: This is the same as a racked squat except you are adding a thruster as you come up from the squat. Simple yet very challenging full body exercise.

Kettlebell Deadlift (8:52)

kettlebell exercises for hamstrings 

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Back, Glutes, Forearms, Quads
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: Holding the kettlebell in front of your body with your arms straight, hinge your hips and bend forward lowering the kettlebell down. Make sure your back doesn’t roll forward. As you come up and down, the kettlebell should be moving in a vertical path. Make sure you are feeling a stretch in your hamstrings with this one. Squeeze your glutes at the top.

Offset Deadlift (9:10)

kettlebell exercises for back

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Back, Glutes, Forearms, Quads, Core
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: From a split stance, perform a stiff-legged deadlift. Just like the deadlift above, make sure the kettlebell is moving in a vertical path up and down, as that means you are hinging correctly.

Goodmornings (9:28)

kettlebell exercises beginners

Muscles targeted: Hamstrings, Back, Glutes, Arms
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: Hold the kettlebell is a high goblet position and hinge your hips as you lean forward. You should have a slight bend in your knee and your back should remain straight. Feel your hamstrings stretch. This is a hamstring and glute focused movement. Squeeze your glutes at the top. 

Windmill (9:47)

kettlebell exercises advanced 

Muscles targeted: Obliques, Glutes, Shoulders, Triceps
Difficulty: Advanced
How to: This may look simple when Scott performs it, but it is actually a very complex movement. It is going to work your full body, with emphasis on your obliques, glutes and shoulders, while also improving the flexibility of your hamstrings and hips. From an overhead position, hinge your hips and rotate your torso to the ground, reaching your opposite hand of the kettlebell to the floor. There should be just a slight bend in your knees. As your reach down to the ground, your chest should open up to the working side and you should be looking at the kettlebell as it remains looked out straight above your head. In the bottom position, your arms should make a straight line from the floor to the kettlebell. Reverse the movement with the same pattern back to the starting position. 

Strict Press (10:14)

kettlebell exercises for shoulders

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Core
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: From a racked position, press the kettlebell straight overhead. Make sure your body remains squared forward. Do not lean to the side. This is a strict movement, so only your working arm should be moving.

Rotational Press (10:30)

kettlebell exercises with 1 kettlebell

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Core, Glutes
Difficulty: Advanced
How to: From a racked position with your hips facing the working side, rotate your body to the opposite side as you press the kettlebell above your head. Watch the video to see how your feet and legs should move as you rotate your hips. 

Goblet Press (10:50)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Upper Chest, Core
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: Using a goblet hold, press the kettlebell above your head in a straight path up.

Push Press (11:10)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Upper Chest, Core, Quads, Glutes
Difficulty: Intermediate
How to: This exercise is a press that lets your use your lower body for more force. This means you can go with a heavier kettlebell than you would a strict press. This a more dynamic, power movement. 

Floor Press (11:24)

kettlebell exercises for chest

Muscles targeted: Chest, Triceps, Shoulders, Core
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: From a supine position, press the mace up using your chest. Your arm should be moving just like it would a push up, which means the elbows are not flared out too much. They should be tucked in a bit, at a 45 degree angle. Focus on your chest as you press up.

Related: 12 Kettlebell Chest Exercises

Back Row (11:42)

kettlebell exercises for lats

Muscles targeted: Back, Biceps, Hamstrings, Core
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: From a bent over hip hinge position with the kettlebell held straight down, palms facing towards you, pull the kettlebell towards the lower side of your chest. As you do this, rotate your hand so your palm faces in. Really feel this in your lats and back. 

Offset Back Row (11:57)

kettlebell exercises for abs

Muscles targeted: Back, Biceps, Hamstrings, Core
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: This is the same concept as the exercise above, except you will be in a split stance hinged position. 

Alternating Back Row (12:13)

kettlebell back exercises

Muscles targeted: Back, Biceps, Hamstrings, Core
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
How to: Perform this exercise as you would a single arm back row, but with each rep, alternate sides. Simply pass the kettlebell to your other hand after you perform a rep, then fully extend your arm and row with the other side. 

Turkish Get Up (12:33)

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Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Core, Glutes, Scapular Stabilizers, Traps, Lats, Triceps, Quads
Difficulty: Advanced
How to: This is an essential exercise to learn. It is among the top 5 kettlebell exercises that exists. While it is a total body exercise, it is more than a muscle and strength builder. It is a movement that builds injury resilience. It is going to strengthen all your important stabilizer muscles, such as your scapular, rotator cuff, hips, core, etc. It’s also going to increase the mobility of your joint complexes. Be sure to watch the video and pay strict attention to the form. Go light to start so you can get the form down pat.

Related: Your Complete Guide To Mastering The Turkish Get Up

Halo (13:06)

kettlebell exercises for shoulder mobility

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Triceps, Upper Back
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: This is not so much a strength and conditioning workout. It is more of a mobility warm up exercise for the upper body. As you halo the kettlebell around your body, make sure to stand tall, keep the kettlebell close as it moves around you, engage your core, maintain hip stability, and relax those shoulders!

Around the Body (13:32)

kettlebell exercises for core 

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Forearms, Back, Core
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: Feet are shoulder width apart, with a little brace in the knees. Keep your entire body nice and tense. Fluidly swing the bell around your body in a nice circular pattern, switching the bell hand to hand as it meets your centerline on both the front and back side. 

Around the Body Stall (13:55)

Dynamic kettlebell exercises

Muscles targeted: Shoulders, Forearms, Back, Core
Difficulty: Beginner
How to: “This variation will target also target your arms, shoulders, back, and core, but it adds emphasis on the obliques and shoulders and it is a bit more explosive. Bring the bell up across the front of your body/chest, so the bell stalling right by the shoulder. In the stall position, elbows should be tight to the ribcage and forearms on the chest. Let the bell sort of free fall down to your side then bring it around your back, switch hands at the centerline of your back and fire it across your chest to the other side. Stall and repeat.” - this “how to” is also taken from our ‘full body follow along kettlebell workout for beginners’.

Note: If you want full body exercises, do the ballistics and hybrids, which are any of the exercises with a snatch, clean or swing. These exercises will hit almost all of the muscles in your body. 

kettlebell movements

This article has a lot of good kettlebell exercises, but our single kettlebell training e-guide has step-by-step demo videos of tons of exercises and complexes so you can master the movement without fail. It also has an 8-week single kettlebell workout program to follow!

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM KETTLEBELL EXERCISES? 

Everyone who workouts can benefit from kettlebell exercises. Even if you don’t plan on doing kettlebell-only workouts, incorporating the best kettlebell exercises into your routine will be beneficial on multiple fronts. Kettlebell exercises are effective and efficient. Kettlebell exercises are designed to target multiple muscle groups, so you don’t have to waste time with isolation exercises. Moreover, because the movements are often unilateral and offset, you will be training your core and overall athleticism in an incredible way.

On top of that, kettlebell exercises are unique in how they train you for explosiveness, power, and total body muscular endurance. They are dynamic exercises that move you through multiple planes of motion. This is how we are meant to move as humans. We don’t move like robots in a single plane of motion. While single plane exercises are effective for building muscle, they won’t give you the athleticism that multiplanar exercises will.

Finally, kettlebell exercises build durability in a fantastically effective way. They combine strength, mobility and stability training, which leads to durability. Durability means injury resilience. An essential aspect of fitness. After all, longevity is key.

All in all, kettlebell exercises will provide unique benefits to your training and fitness. So, we highly recommend that you implement kettlebells into your workouts. There’s a reason why so many fitness professional and coaches train their clients with kettlebells. The above is why.

kettlebells

best kettlebell movements

HOW TO IMPLEMENT THESE KETTLEBELL EXERCISES?

Now that you know what the best kettlebells exercises are, you might be wondering how to implement them into your training. Below we will give you a couple examples of how to throw them into a conventional training plan as well as how to structure a kettlebell-only workout.

Kettlebell Workouts 

Full Body Workout 

  1. Swings x 20 reps
  2. Dead Clean x 10 reps each side
  3. Overhead Forward Lunge x 10 reps each side
  4. Floor Press x 10 reps each side
  5. Rows x 10 reps each side

Do 3 sets of each exercises. You can do them one after the other or 1 set of each, then repeat for 3 rounds. Take rest as necessary. Usually we recommend 30-60 seconds between sets. If your goal is burning fat, minimize the rest time.

It’s good to switch up your workouts, to keep things fresh and to keep your body guessing. This can be done by simply replacing the exercises with another variation of a similar exercises. For example…

  1. Alternating One Hand Swings x 20 reps
  2. Kneeling Clean x 10 reps each side
  3. Goblet Thrusters x 20 reps each side
  4. Rotational Press x 10 reps each side
  5. Alternating Rows x 10 reps each side 

You should also rearrange the order of the muscles you are targeting. For example, if you do presses first one week, do rows first the next.

Related: Full Length Follow Along Kettlebell Workout

Adding kettlebell exercises into conventional training plans

If you want to do kettlebell exercises, but you don’t want to do kettlebell only workouts, that is perfectly fine. In fact, that’s great. Other training implements are useful too! Use each tool in their ideal way.

For example, your workout could look like this…

  • Barbell Squats
  • Dumbbell Forward Lunges
  • Barbell Stiff-legged Deadlifts
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Kettlebell Goodmornings
  • Battlerope finisher workout

You could also superset kettlebell exercises with barbell exercises. This is a very effective way to burn fat while building muscle. 

The options are endless. Overall, we highly recommend incorporating the best kettlebell exercises into your training plan no matter what kind of equipment you have at your disposal. The essential exercises are Swings, Snatches, Cleans, and Turkish Get Ups. These exercises offer a very unique kind of benefit that you won’t get with other fitness equipment. 

basic kettlebell exercises

How often should you use kettlebells? 

You could incorporate kettlebell exercises into every weightlifting/resistance training session. There are so many exercises to choose from for the specific goal on any given day.

If you plan to only train with kettlebells, do 3-5 workouts per week with them. Make sure you target your entire body each week. Don’t skip any muscles! Also, make sure you have a good mix of endurance and strength training. That way you can keep off fat and build muscle.

Buy Kettlebells From SET FOR SET (18-53LBS)

kettlebells


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