Kettlebells are all bells, no whistles. Resembling a mini bowling ball with a handle, kettlebells are great for cardio, strength, and flexibility training. Start by picking up the weight of your choice—women usually grab between eight and 16 kg weights, while men go for 16 to 32 kg, though these weights vary depending on the exercises of choice. (No harm in starting low and working your way up!) Reps and sets will depend on intensity and fitness levels, for most of these moves, we recommend aiming for 3-5 sets of 10-30 reps with good form. (We suggest starting with a trainer or kettlebell aficionado to make sure everything’s kosher). Ready to rock? Let’s give these kettlebells a swing, snatch, or clean!
1. Russian Kettlebell Swing
Targets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs
How to: To do the perfect kettlebell swing, stand up straight, with feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart. Grab the handle with both hands, keeping the palms face down and arms in front of the body. Maintain a slight bend to the knee and drive the hips back, lowering the body—but not too low (this isn’t a squat!). Then, in a fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettlebell, keeping the glutes and core engaged. Remember: The motion should come from the hips, not the arms, as the body returns to standing. Lower the weight back down between the legs and keep this swinging motion going for 12 to 15 reps.
2. Two-Arm Kettlebell Row
Targets: Back, arms, shoulders
How to: Grab two kettlebells for this one. (Double the pleasure, double the fun, right?) Place them in front of the feet and bend the knees slightly. Next, bend over to grab both kettlebells and pull them towards the stomach, keeping the elbows close to the body and the back straight. Lower the weights, repeat for 12 to 15 reps max, feel like a champ.
3. Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Targets: Legs, glutes, back
How to: What’s a squat without a kettlebell in hand? Stand up straight, holding the kettlebell in front of the chest with both hands, keeping the elbows close to the body. Start squatting by driving the heels into the ground and pushing the hips back until the thighs are parallel to the ground or just below. Return to standing, and repeat for 15-20 reps (or more!) Just remember: quality over quantity!
4. Kettlebell Lunge Press
Targets: Shoulders, back, arms, abs, glutes, legs
How to: Here’s a new way to spice up those lunges. Stand up straight while holding the kettlebell in front of the chest with two hands, arms bent and palms facing each other. Lunge forward with one leg while raising the kettlebell overhead (raise the roof!). Return to standing while returning the kettlebell to the chest. Try for 10-15 reps on each leg.
5. Kettlebell Russian Twist
Targets: Abs, obliques
How to: Forget crunches. Sit with the legs bent and feet flat on the floor, about hip-distance apart. Hold the kettlebell with both hands at the chest, and then lean back to a 45 degree angle. Here’s the fun part: Rotate the torso from left to right by twisting at the waist and swinging the kettlebell across the body. See how many you can do, with perfect form of course!
6. Single-Arm Kettlebell Floor Press
Targets: Chest, arms, core
How to: Lie on the ground with your legs straight. (Nope, it’s not time for savasana!) Grab a kettlebell by your side and, with the palm facing in, press the weight straight up while rotating the wrist (so the palms face the feet). Bring the kettlebell back down to the starting position, and repeat for 6 to 8 reps.
7. Kettlebell Deadlift
Targets: Legs, glutes, arms, back, abs
How to: Who says you need a barbell to deadlift? Stand with the kettlebell between the feet on the floor. Squat down and grab a hold of the handle with both hands while the back remains flat. Engage the core, tighten those glutes, and keep the arms extended as the body rises on up, kettlebell and all! Aim for 12 to 15 reps, maintaining proper form throughout.
8. Two-Arm Kettlebell Military Press
Targets: Shoulders, arms, back
How to: Made it through move the kettlebell clean without breaking a sweat? Grab two kettlebells and clean them to the “rack” position. Then, press the kettlebells up while leaning forward at the waist so the weights are positioned behind the head. Bring them back down to the shoulders and continue pressing for 10 to 20 reps, depending on the weight you’re pushin’.
9. Single-Arm Kettlebell Snatch
Targets: Shoulders, chest, back
How to: Start with a kettlebell between the feet with the knees bent. Then, explode up onto your toes, pulling the kettlebell until it reaches the chest with the elbow tucked in. From there, bring the weight overhead (hold on tight!). Then bring it back down close to the ground—that’s one rep; try for 6 to 8!
10. Kettlebell Push-Up
Targets: Chest, arms, back
How to: This move is simply a push-up, but with kettlebells included! Grab hold of each handle in the usual start position, then lower the body before pushing back up. It’ll definitely feel challenging with those hands on handles rather than on the floor! Shoot for 10-15 reps.