The kettlebell brings its own unique load to your strength and conditioning practice—with its handle and rounded bottom, the kettlebell is especially well-suited for swings, carries, and presses.
You get the same ability for unilateral work you have in a dumbbell without the sometimes awkward feel the shape creates during dynamic movements like swings and cleans. When you’re using larger kettlebells you can also grip the weight with two hands, an option you never have with a dumbbell. Adding kettlebells to your workouts can be as easy as subbing the implements for dumbbells on moves like loaded carries or goblet squats.
You can even build out an entire routine with nothing but kettlebells using other dynamic exercises like swings or cleans, or thread them together into seamless transitions as part of a flow series, which are just as cool-looking as they are effective.
Check out these exercises and workouts for a full catalogue of kettlebell goodness.
Start off slowly with the basic kettlebell halo. This simple, incredibly effective movement is a great way to build shoulder stability while working the core. Try the exercise for 10 to 20 reps per side to start before adding extra features, like the squat in the video, for more of a metabolic impact.
The swing is one of the most popular and effective kettlebell moves, so mastering the finer points of the form is a must for anyone looking to add the implement to their repertoire. The key here is making sure to emphasize the hip hinge—when you lower the weight down, be sure not to squat—before thrusting to snap the weight up.
Full Body Kettlebell Moves
Swings too much for you? Try these exercises instead: the kettlebell clean, goblet squat, kettlebell thruster, and reverse lunge. Perform 4 sets of 12 reps of all or any of the moves individually, or hit them back-to-back as a circuit with no rest as a workout that will torch your whole body.
Kettlebell flows are becoming more popular thanks to coaches like Eric Leija (aka primal.swoledier), who put this routine together for Men’s Health.
- Squat lift to goblet squat
- Squat return
- Squat lift to bottoms up hold
- Overhead tricep extension to squat return
Complete five reps of the flow for one set, and 10 sets for the workout. Take 30 seconds to rest between sets.
12-Minute Kettlebell Calorie Burner
This short workout uses four full body moves to torch off calories—so you’ll be feeling its effects for a lot longer than it takes to finish the routine itself. Perform each exercise for 1 full minute. If you can’t keep up the pace that whole time, try working for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 twice within the period. Repeat the whole series 3 times.
- Goblet Squat
- Clean and Press
- Sumo Deadlift
Kettlebells from Hell for Full Body Conditioning
This routine from trainer Alexia Clark is fast-paced to put your stamina to the test—just make sure you have a set of matching kettlebells. This workout is composed of 3 circuits. You’ll have 60 seconds on of constant motion, then 30 seconds off to rest. Repeat each circuit 3 times, then rest for 1 to 2 minutes before moving onto the next one.
- 2-Kettlebell Sumo Squat to Overhead Press with Reverse Lunge
- Kettlebell Deadlift to Jump Squat
- Kettlebell Swing Switch
20-Minute Kettlebell Metcon
Most of these workouts have been quick and to the point. Take the longer approach with this routine designed to ramp up your metabolic conditioning. Just set a timer for 20 minutes and perform as many rounds of this series as you can until it rings.
- Kettlebell Swing – 20 reps
- Goblet Squats – 10 reps
- Single Arm Press (L) – 5 reps
- Single Arm Press (R) – 5 reps
By Brett Williams