Kettlebells are bell-shaped weights with an offset handle connected to the weight by the “horns.” Unlike dumbbells the center of gravity is offset below the 'handle'. Dumbbells have equal-sized weights at either end of the handle.
This makes the kettlebell more versatile to use as it can be can be grasped by the handle or horns, while the bell end hangs down. Kettlebells tend to be heavier and are perfect for squats, rows, swings, and many more exercises. See the collection of kettlebell exercise routines shown below.
Kettlebells can be used to develop workouts that include all major muscle groups. Aim for workouts that include all the major strength-building motions, such as:
One of the biggest mistakes is to assume kettlebells are used the same as dumbbells, and so the kettlebell weights should be the same as the dumbbells you use. But, this is incorrect as kettlebell exercises are based on full body movements, unlike dumbbell training that is focused on isolation exercises like tricep extensions or bicep curls.
Kettlebell exercises use a large number of muscles at a time. The entire body is engaged so that you are able to lift more weight and also condition the body muscles quicker using kettlebells. So it makes no sense to start with a light kettlebell as this will not challenge your body especially not your powerful hips and leg muscles. So you should choose a heavier kettlebell than the dumbells you use.
The various Kettlebell exercises will require a range of weight sizes. See the guide below for suggestions for men and women depending on their weight training experience.
Women who consider 8kg (15lbs) is far too heavy to start are probably performing the wrong exercises,. Kettlebells are designed for whole body routines.
Using kettlebells above 24kg (53lbs) is probably excessive for most men.
Purchasing a range of sizes allows you use various weight for different exercises. Also, two-handed exercises will generally require lighter weights.
Having 2 or 3 kettlebells will greatly increase your ability to scale the weight up and down for the different exercises.
Some examples of how the weights will vary with the exercises are:
Start by holding the kettlebell by the horns. Stand upright and turn out your feet set about hip-width apart. Tuck your elbows, keep your forearms perpendicular to the ground. Keep your torso upright and back straight throughout. Do a series of squats, as low as you can without undue pressure on your knees or lower back.
Stand with your feet set apart, about the width of your hips. Keep your core engaged and and your head up.
Hold one kettlebell in each hand, with your palms facing forward. Grip the weights so that they hang behind your hands.
Get to the starting position by pulling the kettlebells up to shoulder height, with the weights slightly behind your shoulders.
Press the kettlebells up over your head and straighten your arms. The speed can vary. Then, slowly lower the weights back down to shoulder height. Repeat the lift for a full set.
Place your kettlebell on the floor and bend over it at the hips keeping your back is at a 45-degree angle.
Rest your left or right elbow on your opposite knee. Swap arms after each routine.
Grab the kettlebell with your opposite hand and pull the weight up to your hip.
Slowly return to the starting position.
Complete for 10-12 sets and then repeat for your other hand on the other side.
Stand with your feet placed just a little wider than the width of your shoulders.
Place the kettlebell on the floor just behind your knees.
Bend your knees and reach down and behind to grab the kettlebell in both hands.
Ensure you tilt your body at the hips, pushing your butt out. Ensure you keep your chest up and your back straight.
Drive your upper body forward and upward with your hips in a firm thrusting motion, to lift the kettlebell to shoulder height.
Continue the swing to lift the kettlebell over your head and slowly lower to behind your knees.
Repeat in a continuous loop for a full set. Repeat for 10-12 times.
Place your kettlebell on the floor and stand directly over it with your feet set about the width of the hips.
Bend your knees and bend your body to hinge at the hips
Grab the kettlebell handle with both your hands
Lift your body straightening at the hips to a standing position
Slowly bend down again to your starting position
Repeat for a set of 10-12 lifts
Lie on your back, ensuring that you keep your abdominal muscles pulled in, preventing your back from arching.
Hold the kettlebell in one hand, so that the weight is behind your hand, and your palm is facing towards your feet.
Push the weight up vertically until your arm is straight.
Then, lower the kettlebell back to the starting position.
Complete a full set of 10-12 presses with one arm, before moving to the other arm and repeat.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart
Hold the kettlebell by the horns so that it is upside-down
Slowly move the kettlebell out and around your head to form a halo shape
Maintain a strong core. Keep your feet flat on the floor and maintain good posture throughout
Draw full circles and swap directions each time
Repeat 10-12 times
Stand with your feet set just a little wider than your hips apart. Keep your back straight and your core tightened.
Grasp one kettlebell in each hand at and lift to chest height. Lower your body into a squat position until your knees are at an angle of 90 degrees. Ensure you bend your body at the hips, keeping the chest up and pushing your butt backwards.
Drive your body straight up and return to a standing position. Keep the movement going and drive the two kettlebells up into a shoulder press, using fully extended arms.
Then, slowly lower the weights down to chest height, and then drop back into a squat, continuing the routine for a full set.
Stand with your feet set the width of your hips apart
Take a kettlebell in each hand, and hang your arms down by your sides
Move one foot a step backwards and drop your body into a lunge position. Ensure you keep both your legs bent at 90-degrees at your knees.
Return your back foot to the middle in your original starting position
Repeat the by moving your opposite foot back into a lunge position, and then back up. Complete a full the set of 10-12 repeats with alternate legs.
Lift the kettlebell to a position under your chin, using both hands.
Lift one leg, and position it out in front of you as you drop your body into a squat position on the other leg. Ensure the raised leg is kept as straight as you can.
Then,return your body to a standing position, without letting the leg extended out in front of you touching the ground.
Lower your body back down into another squat on the same leg, and complete a set of 10-12 repeats before switching legs.
Assume a standing position with back straight, and core engaged.
Lift one kettlebell with an extended arm high over your head, with the weight positioned behind your hand.
Grip the second kettlebell in the other hand, handing down by your side. Keep the palms facing inward. Then, lower this kettlebell to touch the ground, near the floor, inside of your foot on the same side.
Make sure you bend at the hips, with your body in an oblique angle. Keep your back straight, while you twist.
Keep your other arm raised straight up all the time, as you lower your torso down in a twisting motion.
Then, pull your torso, and the kettlebell in the lower hand, back up into the starting position.
Complete the set on one side and then switch to the other arm.
Assume a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Hold a kettlebell in one hand between your legs.
Then drop into a squat position, so that your knees are at an angle of 90-degrees.
Lift the kettlebell up to the height of your shoulders. Catch the weight as you descend to a half squat.
Then, push back up again to a standing position.
Lower your body into another squat and this time use the momentum from the lift to press the kettlebell up above your head until your arm is straight. Once again, catch the weight as you descend to a half squat. Then, push back up again to a standing position.
Finally, lower the weight back down to your shoulder, then down to between your legs.
Complete the set on one side before switching arms and repeating on the other side.
Stand up straight with legs shoulder-width apart.
Hold the handle of the kettlebell with both hands in front of your body.
Then, take a step forward into a lunge position with your left leg. Simultaneously, raise the kettlebell with your right arm straight up over your head.
Return your legs to the standing position while lowering the kettlebell back down to your chest.
Aim for about 12-15 repetitions for each leg.
Squat on the floor in a sitting position with your feet out in front of you.
Bring the kettlebell up to your chest.
With your arms bent, raise your feet off the floor and keep them in the air.
Once in this position, start twisting your body from side to side.
If you can, tap the kettlebell on the floor on each side of your hips as you twist.
This exercise is great for your abs.
Aim for a target of 15-20 repeats for each session.
Straddle the kettlebell place on the floor with your feet at shoulder width.
Bend down using your knees and hips, and extend your arms down between your legs.
Grab the kettlebell handle with both hands using an overhand grip.
Assume a position with your shoulders over kettlebell.
Ensure your trunk is close to vertical and your lower back is taut at all times.
Pull the kettlebell up by extending your body at your knees and hips.
Raise your body into an upright position with your chest held high for several seconds.
Then, lower the kettlebell down to the ground between legs while squatting down once again.
Aim to 10-12 repeats.
Grab a kettlebell in each hand.
Place them just in front of your feet.
Assume a standing position and keep your knees bent slightly.
Next, bend your body over to grab both kettlebells in your hands.
Pull the kettlebells up toward your stomach.
Ensure your elbows are kept close to your body and your back is straight at all times.
Lower the weights back down between your feet.
Repeat for about 12–15 repetitions