13 Kettlebell Exercises That Firm and Burn

Use these moves to build a kettlebell workout that will tighten and tone your butt, legs, and abs

July 3, 2013
kettlebell workout
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Get a super-effective total-body workout with kettlebell exercises. Kettlebell training is unique because the exercises combine cardio and strength training and force you to focus on creating and controlling the momentum of the bottom-heavy bell. As a result, kettlebell routines challenge your balance, coordination, power, and stability, says Paul Katami, a kettlebell instructor featured in the Ultimate Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners DVD. Needless to say, attention to body mechanics is important. "Start slow and take your time to learn proper form for each move," suggests Katami. To help you get started, here are 13 kettlebell exercises that will burn fat and firm your butt, legs, and abs.

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kettlebell swing
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Beth Bischoff
Kettlebell Swing

  1. Grab a kettlebell with an overhand grip and hold it in front of your waist at arm's length. Bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso until it forms a 45-degree angle to the floor. Swing the kettlebell between your legs.
  2. Keeping your arm straight, thrust your hips forward, straighten your knees, and swing the kettlebell up to chest level as you rise to standing position. Now squat back down as you swing the kettlebell between your legs again. Swing the weight back and forth forcefully.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the kettlebell swing.

Related: 6 Moves You Can Do Anywhere

Alternating Kettlebell Clean
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Beth Bischoff
Alternating Kettlebell Clean

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a kettlebell sitting between your feet. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower and grab the weight with your right hand.
  2. With your back flat and core tight, stand and raise the weight to shoulder height. Reverse the move to return to start. Repeat with your left hand. That's one rep. Continue alternating.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the alternating kettlebell clean.

Push Press with Kettlebell
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Beth Bischoff
Push Press with Kettlebell

  1. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand at shoulder height, elbow close to your body, feet hip-width apart, and knees slightly bent.
  2. Keeping your core tight and back flat, straighten your legs and press the weight overhead until your arm is straight. Pause, then slowly lower back to start. That's one rep. Do 10, then switch sides and repeat.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the push press with kettlebell.

Single-Arm Kettlebell Snatch
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Beth Bischoff
Single-Arm Kettlebell Snatch

  1. Grab a kettlebell with an overhand grip. Bend at your hips and knees to squat down until the weight is centered between your feet, your arm straight. In a single movement, try to throw the kettlebell at the ceiling--without letting go of it.
  2. Allow your forearm to rotate up and back from the momentum of the lift, until your arm is straight and your palm is facing forward. Pull your body under the weight.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the single-arm kettlebell snatch.

 

Kettlebell Straight-Leg Deadlift
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Beth Bischoff
Kettlebell Straight-Leg Deadlift

  1. Grab a pair of kettlebells and hold them at your sides at arm's length, with your knees slightly bent. 
  2. Keeping that angle in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor. Pause, and raise back up to the starting position.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the kettlebell straight-leg deadlift.

Side Plank Row with Kettlebell
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Beth Bischoff
Side Plank Row with Kettlebell

  1. Get into a pushup position with your right hand grasping the kettlebell's handle and your feet slightly more than hip-width apart.
  2. Row the kettlebell to the side of your chest while rotating into a side plank, supporting yourself with your left arm. Reverse to return to start. That's one rep. Do 10, then repeat on the other side.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the side plank row with kettlebell.

 

Kettlebell Pushup
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Beth Bischoff
Kettlebell Pushup

  1. Place a pair of kettlebells on the floor, slightly beyond shoulder width. Grasp each kettlebell handle and assume a pushup position. Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head. 
  2. Lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor, and then push back up.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the kettlebell pushup.

 

Kettlebell Half Getups
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Beth Bischoff
Kettlebell Half Getups

  1. Lie faceup holding a kettlebell in your right hand, with your right arm straight up and left leg bent. 
  2. Keeping your eyes on the kettlebell and with the kettlebell overhead, raise your torso and use your left hand for stability. Return to the start. Do all reps, switch arms, and repeat.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the kettlebell half getups.

 

Kettlebell Windmill
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Beth Bischoff
Kettlebell Windmill

  1. Grab a kettlebell with your left hand and stand with your feet more than hip-width apart. Bring the weight next to your left shoulder, then press it overhead. 
  2. Rotate your chest to the left and look up at the kettlebell as you try to touch your right foot with your right hand. Pause, then return to start, keeping your left arm extended. Do eight reps before lowering the weight, then repeat on the other side.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the kettlebell windmill.

Squat Flip with Kettlebell
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Beth Bischoff
Squat Flip with Kettlebell

  1. Stand with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell with both hands above your right shoulder. Push your hips back and lower into a squat.
  2. In one motion, push through your heels to stand while straightening your arms to raise the kettlebell overhead.
  3. Then squat again as you lower the weight to your left shoulder. That's one rep. Do 20.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the squat flip with kettlebell.

 

Lateral Lunge and Pass with Kettlebell
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Beth Bischoff
Lateral Lunge and Pass with Kettlebell

  1. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand at shoulder height, elbow bent.
  2. Take a big step to the left and sit back into a side lunge, passing the weight under your left knee and grabbing it with your left hand. Release your right hand and press through your left heel to return to standing, raising the kettlebell to your left shoulder. That's one rep. Alternate sides for 20 reps.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the lateral lunge and pass with kettlebell.

 

Kettlebell Burpee with Shrug
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Beth Bischoff
Kettlebell Burpee with Shrug

  1. Stand with your arms at your sides, holding a pair of kettlebells. 
  2. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower your body into a squat until the kettlebells are on the floor. Kick your legs backward into a pushup position. 
  3. Do a pushup, and then quickly bring your legs back toward your torso and return to the squat position. Stand back up and shrug your shoulders. That's 1 rep.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the kettlebell burpee with shrug.

 

Kettlebell Bench Press
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Beth Bischoff
Kettlebell Bench Press

  1. Grab a pair of kettlebells and lie on your back on a flat bench. 
  2. Hold the kettlebells over your chest so that they're nearly touching, your palms facing out. Lower both kettlebells simultaneously to the sides of your chest while keeping your elbows close to your body. Pause, and then press the weights back to the starting position.

Click here for detailed instructions and step-by-step images of the kettlebell bench press.

 

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