How Tos: Basic Kettlebell Exercises

Do you want to learn which are the basic kettlebell training exercises? Well, here is the list of the most popular and effective activities that beginners should know about. If you learn these drills, you will be able to follow any kettlebell training workout you choose in the future.

1. Basic Kettlebell Swings

This is the most well-known exercise. Depending on your fitness level and the intensity of your workout, there are two versions you can do. The basic one is when you lift the kettlebell to the eye level. A more advanced variation when you raise the weight above your head. Also, you can do double or single-arm swings. This drill is great to get used to kettlebell training and works the entire body.

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2. Kettlebell row exercises

For this exercise, you need to grab two kettlebells. Band forward with your knees slightly bent, but keep your back straight during the entire movement. Pull the weights towards your stomach but keep your elbows close to your torso. If you are a total beginner, you can use one KB instead and get support by placing your free hand on something high (a weight bench or a chair) that is at the level of your knees. Great kettlebell exercise to strengthen you back and rare shoulders.

3. Kettlebell Figure-8

This is a fascinating exercise that needs practice. Place your feet a bit wider than your hips and slightly bend your knees, as if you were doing a quarter squat. Now, catch the KB with your left hand and bring it around outside of your left leg, then between your legs. Then, pass the weight to your right hand and move it around your right leg. The best is if you imagine you make an 8. A powerful move for the arms, core, and lower body.

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4. Goblet Squat

A great way to enhance the regular bodyweight squat. Grab the kettlebell with both of your hands, and lift it up to chest or shoulder level. Because the weight pulls you forward, this drill works your lower body and your lower back very well.

5. Kettlebell Russian Twist

Well, this is a not easy exercise, and you should not do it until you cannot do at least 20 reps proper Russian twist without weight. The movement is the same, but much harder because of the additional resistance. Hence, your core muscles are activated even better.

6. Kettlebell high pull

This is a compound exercise that works both your lower and upper body. Put your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward. The weight is between your feet. Now grab the KB with one or two hands. Now, squat down and lift the kettlebell in a straight line until it reaches your chest. During the motion, use the power of your legs and arms to perform the move. The one-arm version is a bit harder but works the core better than the two-handed since more control is required.

7. Kettlebell deadlift

The deadlift with a barbell is among the most beneficial weight training exercises working the entire body at once. And, the same is true for kettlebell version. The execution is the same. Catch the kettlebell and lift it up as if you were doing a regular deadlift. Obviously, you need to use a heavy weight to get enough resistance.

8. Slingshot

A beginner-friendly exercise which is also suitable for warming up your shoulders. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift the weight and hold it in front of your body with an extended arm. Now, move the kettlebell around your torso and pass it to your other hand, swing it forward and give it back to your other hand. Actually, you make a circle around your body.

9. Renegade Row

One of the best kettlebell core exercises to build rock-solid midsection. Put two kettlebells on the floor, catch them, and get into a plank/push up position with extended arms. Now, pull one of the weights backward by keeping your arm close to your body as far as your shoulder blade lets. Slowly place the kettlebell back and switch to the other side. This compound move helps to develop your functional strength and all the most muscles of the body.

10. Kettlebell Snatch

Another classic kettlebell exercise. Get into a shoulder-width position with your feet bent. Catch the weight and explode upwards onto your toes, pulling the KB upwards until it gets into the chest level. From there, pull it over your head. Finally, lower it back to the floor. This movement is built up from many small motions, so it requires practice to make it fluid what we want. Beginners can break it up and practice the small moves individually first.

11. Push Up

The execution is the same as if you were doing regular push-ups, but you will enjoy more benefits. Firstly, you can go deeper this way the length of the motion is longer leading to better muscle development. Also, because of the shape of the kettlebells, your body gets into a more unstable position. This way, stabilizer muscles are activated as well. It is a good alternative to push up bars.

12. Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

On this list, I think this is the most complex exercise that requires a lot of practice to do it correctly. But, because of that complexity, it is excellent for functional strength development. You can check out my detailed Turkish get up tutorial here.

13. Burpees

If you want to burn fat and boost your endurance, burpees are what you need to do. And, if you do them with weights, you can imagine how powerful they are. The movement is the same, but you want to do it slower because of the tilting equipment.

14. Kettlebell jerks

Pull the weight up to chest level, get into a shallow squat position, and push your hips forward. Now, push the kettlebell up while raising your toes. Push the weight overhead until your arm is extended, in this phase straighten your legs as well. Now slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

15. Kettlebell Lunge

The lunge is a hard yet beneficial exercise to strengthen your lower body (hams and quads.) By holding two kettlebells next to you, you can make it harder.

16. Shoulder Presses

If you want to target your shoulders, include presses in your workout routine. This exercise is almost the same as if you were using dumbbells. You can do it with one or two weights. Get the kettlebell to shoulder/chest level. Now, without using the momentum press it up until your arm is extended. Now lower it back to the starting position.

17. Kettlebell Clean

The movement starts with swinging the weight upwards by shrugging your shoulder. Now, pull your body upward, and get the KB into the position where it rests on your forearm about at your chest level. Your arm should be close to your body at the end. Learning the proper technique, especially the correct grip, needs some time.

From the following presentation, you can learn additional exercises.


What are the benefits of kettlebell training?

  • One of the best workout technique to develop functional strength.
  • Suitable for home workouts and portable.
  • Strength and cardio training at same time leading to better endurance, fat loss, cardio, power, etc.
  • Very versatile. You can choose from a lot of exercises, variations for your fitness level.
  • Better for joints.
  • Improves posture, stability and coordination.

Read more about the benefits here.

What is the best kettlebell weight for beginners?

For absolute beginner men who have never done weight training before 25 lb is recommended. For men used to strength training is 35 lbs.

Kettlebells for women? Without a workout background, 15 lb is suggested. For those girls who are familiar with strength training, 25 lb is the recommended weight.

But, the best is if you try various weights since the load depends on other factors such as your weights, age, the job you do, etc.

How to create a kettlebell training for beginners?

Firstly, always spend at least 5 minutes with a full-body warming up without weight. For beginners, it is much better and safe to have short workouts more frequently. 10-15 minutes will do about 5 times a week. Since the mentioned kettlebell exercises are compound ones even if you choose just one or two, you will get a full-body workout.

For example, you do 10 sets of swings for 30 seconds each and rest 30 seconds between. Or you do 2 types of exercises with 5-5 rounds with the same rest between. There is no need to overcomplicate your program at the beginning, it is better to focus on learning the proper forms.

Find a beginner kettlebell workout for weight loss or strength here.

To conclude

I hope you liked these tutorials about the best kettlebell exercises. The next step is to grab the weight and start learning moves. This Russian invention is simple yet powerful equipment to build strength and burn fat.

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