The kettlebell is a super versatile piece of exercise equipment. That said, it has a funny shape and many beginners just don’t know what to do with it. Today, we want to teach you the 6 best kettlebell workouts out there to build some serious muscle.
Best Kettlebell Workouts
1. The Kettlebell Thrust
If you are looking to work out your shoulders, legs, and core, then the kettlebell thrust is a fantastic exercise.
This is a fairly difficult exercise, one that will definitely put you to the test. This is a combination of an overhead press and a squat.
Your glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders are going to get an especially good workout with this exercise. Here is how to do the kettlebell thrust:
- You are going to need two kettlebells for this exercise. For beginners, start with a lower weight to avoid injury. Most recommend starting with three sets of three reps, with as much weight as you can comfortably handle.
- Stand with your feet at hip-width.
- Hold both kettlebells in the rack position, which means that they are resting on the back of your shoulders.
- You are now going to bend at the knees and lower yourself into a squat. Hold this squat for a second or two.
- Use all of your strength to lift yourself up out of the squat, using your legs and heels to push through.
- As your body straightens up and becomes vertical, use that momentum to press the kettlebells up above your head. If done properly, your palms should be facing outwards.
- Lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat as desired.
2. The Kettlebell Snatch
If you are looking to get your heart rate up to near its maximum, the kettlebell snatch is a fantastic workout to consider. Cardiovascular and aerobic endurance will both be heavily tested here.
When done properly, this exercise is also known for burning upwards of 20 calories per minute. Moreover, this is an absolutely fantastic full body workout that exercises a wide variety of muscles.
The kettlebell snatch will work the quads, hamstrings, glutes, upper back, core, shoulders, and your grip. Beginners beware, the kettlebell snatch is considered a fairly advanced exercise.
For this exercise, it is recommended you start with 30-second bouts. You want to perform as many snatches as you can in 30 seconds, and then rest for an equal amount of time. You will want to start with three sets and work your way up from there. Here is how to do the kettlebell snatch:
- Use a kettlebell that you feel comfortable holding in one hand. For beginners, anywhere between 5 and 15 pounds is recommended.
- Using a single hand, and standing at shoulder-width apart, hold a single kettlebell between your legs.
- You are now going to lower yourself down into a semi-squat position.
- Before you get into a full squat, use your knees and hips to thrust upwards aggressively.
- Once the kettlebell reaches your shoulder, turn your hand and push up until your arm is extended.
- Return to the squat position and repeat.
3. The Kettlebell Windmill
Here we have another fairly advanced kettlebell workout that is certainly not for the faint of heart. If you are looking to build massive strength, then the kettlebell windmill is a fantastic exercise to consider.
This exercise is designed mostly to work your abdominal muscles for that great six pack. It’s also a fantastic hamstring and shoulder workout. It is fairly difficult, so you will want to start with a lower weight.
Here, you are going to do two or three sets of three to five reps, depending on your fitness level. Of course, as you get stronger, you can add more weight, reps, and sets to the mix. Here is how to do the kettlebell windmill:
- Stand at shoulder-width apart and place a kettlebell of choice in front of your main foot.
- Using your opposite arm, lift the kettlebell onto your shoulder, ensuring that you extend through the hips and legs. You will also rotate your wrist so that the palm of your hand faces forward.
- Press the kettlebell over your head and extend your elbow.
- You will now lock your arm and push your rear, glutes, and hamstrings in the same direction as the kettlebell.
- You now want to turn your feet about 45 degrees from the arm that you are using to lift the kettlebell.
- While keeping your glutes pushed out, bend your hip and rotate to touch the ground with your free hand. With your hip turned and your free hand touching the ground, the other arm should be holding the kettlebell in the air above you.
- Go back to the original position and then repeat this on the other side.
4. Kettlebell Pushups + Kettlebell Bear Crawl Pushups
Here we have a fantastic kettlebell exercise that is suitable for beginners. If you like doing pushups, then you will love these kettlebell pushups. These are fantastic for working both your chest and your shoulders, as well as your core.
This exercise is all about building big upper body strength. You can choose to do reps and sets here, although we recommend simply doing as many as you can. Here is how to perform the kettlebell pushup:
- Get two kettlebells and place them on the ground. Keep the kettlebells at shoulder width.
- Get into pushup position, supporting yourself on the kettlebells.
- You are now simply going to do regular pushups as you usually would.
- If this exercise is too easy for you, there is a good way to make it harder. You can turn this into a kettlebell bear crawl pushup.
- When you lower your body during the pushup, take one leg and bring your knee as far up the side as you can, as if you were crawling. This will add a whole new level of difficulty to the mix, especially where your core is concerned.
5. Turkish Standups
If you are looking for a super advanced exercise that will push you to the limits, the Turkish standup or getup is a great one.
This is an exercise that will intensely work your abs, obliques, lower back, glutes, triceps, and pectorals. Generally speaking, more or less everything from your hips upward is going to feel the burn from this one.
This is a really hard one, so starting with minimal weight is recommended. There is a lot of balance involved here too, so you do first need to learn how to balance during this exercise.
In terms of quantity, we recommend starting with three sets of three reps per arm, and then going from there. Here is how to do the Turkish standup:
- Lay down on your back, holding the kettlebell with one hand, while allowing it to rest on your chest.
- Bend your knee on the same side as you are holding the kettlebell. So, if using your right hand, bend your right knee. Ensure that your left leg stays on the ground flat.
- Using your arm, lift the kettlebell up directly above your body, then lock your arm.
- You will now push off the ground with your right foot as you rotate toward your left hip, using your left elbow for support.
- Push off on your left hand and raise your back off the ground, all while keeping the kettlebell raised up.
- Transfer into a kneeling position with your left leg, flex your core, and stand up. Make sure to keep the kettlebell raised above your head.
- Slowly go back down into the laying position, just like you stood up, and then repeat.
6. Two-Handed Kettlebell Row
If you are looking for a moderately difficult kettlebell workout for your upper body, the two-handed row is ideal. This exercise is designed to work mainly your upper back and shoulders. It’s a good way to build those big and puffy shoulders.
Here, you can use a moderately heavy kettlebell, depending on your strength level. We recommend starting with three sets of 10 reps, and then advancing from there. Here is how to do the two-handed kettlebell row.
- Stand with your feet at shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your upper body at the hip slightly, not too much, so your back is at an angle. Make sure that you bend at the hip. Don’t bend your back, or else you may hurt your back.
- Take your kettlebell and hold it in front of you with both hands, right in front of your groin.
- You are now going to use your shoulder muscles to lift the kettlebell up towards your chest, bending at the elbows.
- Simply raise and lower the kettlebell as you would with a basic two-handed row.
There you have it, six of the best kettlebell workouts that will build a lot of muscle. Remember that proper execution is always the most important part!