A Killer Kettlebell Workout


A Killer Kettlebell Workout

Feb 9, 2015 //

The kettlebell may look like your grandma’s teapot, but this cast-iron ball with a handle will give you an incredible workout. A kettlebell’s unique shape distributes weight unevenly, unlike a dumbbell. That means every kettlebell workout develops stability and balance, which is great for core strength! Kettlebells come in varying weights, from five pounds up to 75-pound competition-weight bells.

Kettlebell is a unique exercise that’s equal parts strength training, endurance building and cardio. Kettlebells have been around at least 350 years – it’s a time-tested method of building strength and increased muscular endurance. Exercises like kettlebell swings will get your heart rate up. And the American Council on Exercise found that the average person can burn up to 400 calories in just 20 minutes with a kettlebell workout.

Do these killer kettlebell moves for a serious workout that will get your heart pumping, build muscle strength, and strengthen your core.

Swinging Kettlebell Squats

  • Begin with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart.
  • Squat down, holding the kettlebell between your legs with both hands.
  • Your back should be flat, abs engaged, and toes slightly out.
  • Inhale, pushing the floor away from your feet as you explode up.
  • Legs should be straight while the kettlebell swings out in front of you until your arms are straight out at shoulder height.
  • Exhale and return purposefully to a starting position, swinging the kettlebell back between your legs.
  • Repeat 12 to 15 times.

One-Arm Kettlebell Swings

  • Begin with feet hip-distance apart and a kettlebell between them.
  • Bend at the hips and knees until your back is flat, your rear is pointed toward the back wall, and your eyes are looking straight ahead.
  • Inhale, and with the right arm, swing the kettlebell back between your legs.
  • Reverse the direction and drive the kettlebell through with your hips until it’s straight out in front of you as you exhale.
  • Inhale again, letting the kettlebell swing back between your legs and repeat 12 to 15 times.
  • Switch arms for 12 to 15 reps on the other side.

Alternating Floor Press


  • Begin on the floor with a kettlebell next to each of your shoulders.
  • First place one kettlebell on your chest, gripping the handle with your palm facing forward.
  • Then sit the other kettlebell on your chest.
  • Inhale, extending both arms to press the kettlebells directly above your chest.
  • Exhale, lowering one arm to your chest.
  • Alternate pressing one arm up and lowering the other.
  • Repeat 12 to 15 times.

Single Arm Row


  • Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, bending at the hips until you have a flat back.
  • Keep your upper body parallel.
  • Step your right foot forward, bracing your right forearm across your right thigh.
  • Hold the kettlebell in your left hand, pulling it up toward your ribcage.
  • Repeat 12 to 15 times, then repeat on the other side.

Kettlebell Halo

  • Begin by standing straight up with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold the kettlebell in both hands by the handle, with the weight facing toward your face and the handle below the weight like an upside-down teapot, at chest height.
  • Lift the kettlebell up to the outside of your face, in a straight line above your ear.
  • Slowly draw the kettlebell behind and around your head, drawing a circle around the top of your head.
  • Trace your halo first in one direction, and then the other.
  • Repeat 12 to 15 times.

Remember: Kettlebells can be deceiving. If you’re used to heavier dumbbells and barbells, don’t make the mistake of thinking that a heavier kettlebell is right for you. The unique shape of the kettlebell and its small stature can cause people to reach for heavier weights than they should. Start with a lower weight, and work toward a flawless execution of the moves. Once you’ve mastered each exercise and can go through the entire workout 2 or 3 times, you can move up in weight. Try it for yourself, and experience the killer workout that kettlebells have been offering athletes for centuries.

Melissa Zimmerman

Melissa Zimmerman is a freelance writer specializing in health and nutrition writing. A California native living in Central Oregon, Melissa enjoys the outdoor adventures and beauty of the Pacific Northwest. When she is not kayaking on the river, you can find her in a yoga studio or practicing asanas outdoors. Melissa is a big believer in the power of yoga and healthy food to radically improve anyone's quality of life.

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