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Kettlebell exercises

Kettlebells exercises

We aim to compile a comprehensive list of kettlebell exercises with Videos and descriptions:

Kettlebell exercises list

Kettlebell swing

Kettlebell windmill

Turkish get up
Kettlebell clean
Kettlebell press
Kettlebell renegade row
Kettlebell side plank

Kettlebell side plank and row

Kettlebell single arm row
Kettlebell squat
Kettlebell deadlift
Kettlebell single leg deadlift
Kettlebell military press

Kettlebell figure of eight
Kettlebell figure of eight hold

Kettlebell swing

The kettlebell swing is the foundation movement for the majority of kettlebell exercises, so it is important to master the kettlebell swing when you start.

Kettlebell swing stance:

Lower body position

Squat down pushing your glutes out to load your hamstrings, as if you are sitting down in a chair. Place the kettlebell just behind your heels.

Upper body

Keep chest wide and open and head up looking in front.

Kettlebell swing Movement:

Stand up thrusting the hips forwards using glutes and abs.

Keep arms straight but loose, the main focus of the kettlebell swing should be on the glutes abs and quads.

Keep the kettlebell swing explosive and fast.

The kettlebell should rise to about eye height, but the focus is on the hip snap not the height of the kettlebell.

Check out this video to monitor your technique:

Kettlebell windmill

The kettlebell windmill is a fantastic kettlebell exercise for strengthening the core and back muscles.

Start position of kettlebell windmill

Start with the kettlebell above your head with a single straight arm. Use a clean and press to get it into this position safely.

Your arm should be locked with the kettlebell aligned over your shoulder and your hip.

Point your feet away from kettlebell, so if its in your left hand your feet should be pointing right at around 45 degrees.

Kettlebell windmill Movement

Keep your eyes on the kettlebell pointing chest out.

Keep your rear leg straight, pushing your hips back and leg straight through movement. Bending at hips only.

Finish position for windmill

Touch free hand to floor, starting with your fingers and progressing to you whole hand. In this position your rear lag is at a right angle to your torso which is again at a right angle to the arm holding the kettlebell.

A good target weight to aim for on the kettlebells windmills is:

16kg kettlebells for a male

8kg kettlebells for a female

Kettlebell clean

The kettlebell clean is a strong kettlebell exercises. It is an important exercise to master before moving on to more complex and dynamic kettlebell exercises.

Kettlebell clean movement:

The kettlebell clean movement starts with the kettlebell on the floor and finishes standing with the kettlebell on one shoulder ready either for a kettlebell snatch.

Kettlebell clean Training:

First the best way to learn the clean is in reverse. So start off by using both hands to get the kettlebell onto one shoulder.

Then allow the kettlebell to drop straight down driving your hips back into a deep squat position until the arm is vertically down holding the kettlebell between your legs. Your body position is the same as in the kettlebell swing

Again cheat lift the kettlebell upto your shoulder and preform this movement 10 times. This will help build muscle memory for the movement.

Once you have mastered this, you are ready for the kettlebell clean.

Kettlebell clean instructions:

Again start with the kettlebell on one shoulder, drop the kettlebell straight down (don’t let go!). Then Perform this movement in reverse standing up laterally rotating your arm (similar to a bent over row) and finishing with the kettlebell in the start position on one shoulder.

This is how to perform a kettlebell clean.

Kettlebell press

The kettlebell press uses the momentum from a half squat to propel the kettlebell from the shoulder until the arm is fully extended above the head. It is the final part of the clean and press movement and is one of the main kettlebell exercises.

The kettlebell press differs from the military press, which uses no momentum from the legs and only the arms and shoulder.

Kettlebell press instructions

The start position for the press  is the finish position of the clean with the kettlebell on your shoulder.

Learning the movement

It is important to use the momentum of your body generated from the half squat and not overly rely on your shoulder. So start by doing a brief half squat and allowing the kettlebell to raise off your shoulder half way up as your body powers back up to standing.

Now bend your knees keeping your back upright, power back to standing allowing the momentum of your body to transfer to the kettlebell and fully straighten your arm.

Turkish get up

The turkish get up is ideal kettlebell exercise for building up total core strength.

It is performed when the weight is held overhead whilst getting off from the ground.

This is a tough kettlebell exercise so start off with a medium weight:

8kg to 12kg kettlebells for men and 4kg to 8kg kettlebells for women.

How to perform the Turkish get up with kettlebells:

Lets go through the method using a kettlebell in your right hand

  1. Lay on you back, roll to your right side to pick up the kettlebell this will reduce shoulder strain during the kettlebell movement.
  2. Roll flat on your back with right leg bent at knee, extend your arm fully with your wrist and elbow straight. Through out the whole movement keep arm fully extended above head keeping eyes fixed on kettlebell.
  3. Drive right foot down twisting onto left elbow
  4. Then straighten left arm taking weight on left palm and right foot.
  5. Twist onto left knee.
  6. Now transfer weight off hand onto right foot and left knee into lunge position
  7. Then stand up.
  8. Now reverse this exactly until you are laying flat again with the kettlebell on your shoulder.

The kettlebell renegade row

Using 2 kettlebells, you go into the press up position but on the handles of the two kettlebells. You then perform a press up and then a single arm Row.

This an awesome kettlebell exercise, which really challenges balance, core control and total body strength. It also really develops wrist strength.

How to do a kettlebell renegade row:

You will need two kettlebells of the same size and weight to get a balanced and even workout.

Start in the press up position with your hands on the two kettlebell handles.

Just holding this position takes a lot of wrist strength and control.

Then Lower your chest to the kettlebells keeping your back rigid and controlled.

Raise back up completing the kettlebell press up.

The Row

kettlebell renegade row exercise

Next squeeze the Right kettlebell and shift all your body weight across to this arm without any movement. Now without twisting your back or moving your support arm at all, perform a row with the Left arm. Try and keep the movement down to a minimum and only use your arm to Row.

Next perform the same row with your left arm.

Then repeat this drill, Press up – Row right – row left.

Start with 8 reps of renegade rows with kettlebells.

Kettlebell side plank

Kettlebell exercise - side plank

The kettlebell side plank is a great core strength and control exercise. It also really develops shoulder control and co-ordination.

On top of this it is toning for your Oblique’s and arms.

Kettlebell side plank – Technique

Start in the side plank position, with on your hand not your elbow with your one foot on top of the other.

Make sure your hips are up, keeping your legs and torso in line. As shown above.

Holding this position using your free arm lift the kettlebell until your arm is fully extended. As shown above.

Hold the kettlebell side plank until your body begins to shake and rest here.

When your body shakes you are no longer using your core muscles, your larger fast twitch muscles have taken over and are fatigued.

Kettlebell side plank and row

The kettlebell side plank and row is a great core strength and control exercise. It also really develops shoulder control and co-ordination.

The addition of the row, brings movement into the kettlebell exercise which increases the stability challenge for your core and shoulder.

The row develops your shoulder upper back and biceps.

Kettlebell side plank and Row – Technique

Start in the side plank position, with on your hand not your elbow with your one foot on top of the other.

Make sure your hips are up, keeping your legs and torso in line.

Kettlebell row

Holding this position using your free arm Row the kettlebell directly upwards, with your elbow pointing to the ceiling (not finishing as shown above with the kettlebell up) finishing with the kettlebell at in line with chest and the elbow still pointing to the ceiling. Keep your hips up and control your body movement so movement is to a minimum.

Kettlebell single arm row

This kettlebell exercise will really help strengthens the rhomboids, lats and traps and biceps.The movement focuses on good posture and control of the shoulder, and will help strengthen and back muscles which will improve and strengthen your posture.

The control required using kettlebells for this single arm exercise, strengthens and develops your core stability.

How to perform the kettlebell single arm row

The start position, is a split stance, with your front leg (left) bent at 90 degrees and your rear (right) leg behind you and straight.

Rest your left fore arm and elbow on your Left leg for stability.

Your back should be straight and in a line down to your rear leg.

With your right arm row the kettlebell to hip height, through out the exercise ensure you keep your back straight and not rounded.

A good tip to keep your back straight during the kettlebell row as to keep your head up looking directly in front of you.

Kettlebell squat

It is important to master the kettlebell squat before you move to more advanced explosive exercises.

This video demonstrates really well how to perform the kettlebell squat, with and without kettlebells.

How to perform the kettlebell squat

Using a bench for a guide, start with out a kettlebell. Lower your backside down to the bench allowing your knees out slightly. Squeeze your glutes and abdominals to drive you upright.

This video demonstrates really well the abdominal and glute movement you are after.

Next holding the kettlebell in a front squat, repeat the movement. If you are learning just stick to the depth of the bench. Progressing to the deep squat demonstrated should be done with time unless you are athletic and used to this depth of movement.

Kettlebell squat benefits

By using this technique it will really improve the strength of your glutes and abdominals, if you combine this with some hip flexor stretches it will really help reduce lower back weakness caused by excess sitting.

The squat if done gradually and correctly will really improve knee control and strength.

The kettlebell deadlift is a good exercise to master if you want to build up to a kettlebell swing.

Start using relatively heavy kettlebells for this exercise, this loading will force you to activate the large muscle groups to perform this movement.

Kettlebell deadlift

The kettlebell deadlift is a foundational kettlebell exercise and is important to master.

The movement for the kettlebell deadlift comes fromt the hips not the back or the knee joint.

So the start position is with a slight knee bend and straight back. Now bend forwards keeping the same bend in your knees and pushing your hips backwards.You should feel the stretch in your hamstrings as you go down.

Ensure you keep your eyes forward and your shoulders back.

The kettlebell should be between your feet. Now grab the kettlebell with both hands. Push through your heels as you stand focusing on using your back side and abdominals to drive you up and also to finish with hips extended forwards, squeezing your glutes at the top.

Kettlebell single leg deadlift

This is a great kettlebell exercise for your hamstrings and glutes. it is also really good for improving balance and core stability.

How to perform the single leg deadlift – kettlebells

As with all kettlebell exercises this one is best performed barefoot. Start by stamping your foot down on the ground and griping the floor with your toes.

Transfere all your weight to this leg, and bend your free leg behind you.

Bend at the waist keeping your back straight, focus on keeping your eyes forward and your shoulders down. Also keeping a slight bend at the knee but not allowing this to bend during the movement. (check out kettlebell deadlift)

Now grip the kettlebell with both hands and straighten at the hips using your glutes (back side) and your abdominals. Finish by squeezing your glutes at the top of the kettlebell movement.

Kettlebell military press

The kettlebell military press is a shoulder strengthening kettlebell exercise. It differs from the Kettlebell press, The kettlebell press uses body momentum to generate the power to lift the kettlebells. In the military press however the body is stationary so all the strength comes from the shoulder and arm.

Benefits of the military press

The military press strengthens the shoulder and arm, and also because of its static nature requires a lot of core strength and control to keep the body stationary.

How to perform the kettlebell military press

The exercise is best performed with one kettlebell.

Stand with legs shoulder width apart, use a kettlebell swing or two hands to get the kettlebell onto your shoulder.

It is important to keep your shoulders level, through out the movement.

Now press the kettlebell straight above your shoulder. Pause and then lower it.
Kettlebell figure of eight

The kettlebell figure of eight is performed in a squat position, passing the kettlebell between your hands in a figure of eight motion.

This exercise is best performed with medium to heavy kettlebells.

Benefits of the kettlebells exercise

Whilst performing the kettlebell figure of eight your weight and balance is constantly changing, also the direction of the force of the kettlebells that needs to be controlled is varied and really challenges the full range of your shoulders. This all works to improve you’re core and shoulder stability.

How to perform the kettlebell figure of eight

Start with your feet shoulder width apart, with the kettlebell in your right hand, go into a squat position with your back straight.  Now Pass the kettlebell through your legs to your left hand, swing the kettlebell around your left leg and back through your legs to your right hand, now swing the kettlebell around your right leg and through your legs.

Continue this movement for 6 – 15 reaps each side.

Kettlebell figure of eight hold

The kettlebell figure of eight hold is similar to the standard figure of eight, The basic movement is performed passing the kettlebell between your hands as you bring the kettlebell back to your front you stand and bring the kettlebell to your opposite shoulder.  You then perform this action with the opposite hand.

This exercise is best performed with medium to heavy kettlebells.

this will ensure you engage your muscles whilst performing the movement.

Benefits of this kettlebells exercise

By performing the kettlebell figure of eight hold,  your weight and balance is constantly changing, also the direction of the force of the kettlebells that needs to be controlled is varied and really challenges the full range of your shoulders. The addition of the hold really intensifies the work out on your legs and biceps. your This all works to improve you’re core and shoulder stability.

How to perform the kettlebell figure of eight hold

Start with your feet shoulder width apart, with the kettlebell in your right hand, go into a squat position with your back straight.  Now Pass the kettlebell through your legs to your left hand, as you swing the kettlebell around your left leg  stand up and drive the kettlebell up to your right shoulder. Next go back into the squat position and back through your legs to your right hand, now swing the kettlebell around your right leg and through your legs and stand again raising the kettlebell to your left shoulder.

Perform this exercise 10 – 20 times.