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Kettlebell Exercises For Beginners

There is no piece of equipment that provides the perfect workout or is more useful than all the others. With a long history of proven effectiveness, the kettlebell is perhaps the most under-utilized tool found in most gyms.

You can use kettlebells for just about anything, from high-rep workouts to low-rep heavyweight slogs, and they’re particularly useful for compound moves like swings and squats.




Perhaps because of the shape or uniqueness of the kettlebell, beginners often avoid or are unsure what to do with a kettlebell. I was the same way before I had a chronic back pain and a kettlebell workout was incorporated into my fitness plan.

Below I am going to introduce and explain five key kettlebell exercise that will introduce you to the kettlebell, and bridge you into more advanced workouts when you feel comfortable.

Next time you visit the gym, take a kettlebell and try some of these kettlebell exercises for beginners, selected and described below.

Kettlebell Exercises For Beginners

 

Kettlebell swing

The granddaddy of them all and the first kettlebell technique you need to learn.

  • Stand up with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
  • Grab the kettlebell handle with both hands with your palms facing you and arms in front of your body.

A good tip is to set the kettlebell a little further away from you then you would naturally feel comfortable. This forces you to extend forward, activating your glutes to enhance the benefits of the workout.

  • Initiate the swing by pulling the kettlebell between your legs and then explosively push your hips forwards and swing the kettlebell with straight arms.
  • Keeping your glutes and core engaged, allow the kettlebell to swing back down between your legs.
  • The once again WITHOUT using your arms, use your hips to thrust the kettlebell forwards.

Continue repeating this set of actions, focusing on using your hips to thrust the kettlebell forward. Focus on not allowing your arms to activate and allowing your hips and torso to provide the energy for the momentum of the swing.

As you begin to feel more comfortable with the kettlebell swing you can begin incorporating variations like the single arm and alternating kettlebell swing.

Kettlebell Triceps Extension

These can be done seated or standing. Standing is the “more preferred” method and is considered more comfortable by most people.

  • Grasp the kettlebell with both hands
  • Maintain a comfortable, balanced position and lift the straight kettlebell overhead with both arms stretched
  • Keep your elbows tight to your ears as you drop the kettlebell behind your head until your hands are in line with your elbows, then return the kettlebell back overhead by stretching your arms

Kettlebell Reverse Lunge
  • With a kettlebell at each side, stand shoulder width apart
  • With a straight torso and chest up, take a slow step backwards touching your knee to the ground. Make sure to focus on stability in your movement.
  • Pause, then return to your starting position. Again, focus on keeping your head up and moving in balance.

Goblet Squat

You can keep the kettlebell between your legs by the handle with both hands or turn the kettlebell upside down, holding the rounded part with both sides at chest level.

  • Your feet should be broader than shoulder-width apart and pointing slightly outwards.
  • Keep your back upright, chest up, and retain your core.
  • Drive your hips backward and bend your knees to bow as low as your range of motion allows.
  • Drive through your heels and push your hips forward to revert to the starting position.
  • Don’t let your knees rotate in during the upwards phase of the squat.

Figure Eight

Keeping a kettlebell in front of you in your right hand, lower into either a squat or half squat form (the lower you go, the more beneficial), assuring your back is upright, and your core is supported.

  • Circle the kettlebell around the outside of your right leg then through your legs from the end.
  • Now, pass the kettlebell to your left hand from the front to bring it through your legs.
  • Repeat the step on the contrary side, so you’re pushing the bell in a figure of eight patterns.

I have posted some videos to help visualize these exercises. The kettlebell is an amazing tool to use and often overlooked as many are unfamiliar with how to use it. I hope these kettlebell exercises for beginners can help you get started on a path to a healthier you!

Let me now if you have any questions or wish to provide any insight if you are already utilizing kettlebell exercises as part of your fitness routine.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Robert

    Hello!
    I have been using kettlebells for years in my workouts. Easily, kettlebells are the best piece of equipment for a home gym. As you said, they provide so many exercise opportunities that deal with functional fitness. The exercises you proposed are great for beginners and are awesome for more advanced fitness buffs because they’re simple yet technical as well. The better you get at these, the more you’ll be able to do down the line. I firmly believe in functional fitness and applying it to daily life, and kettlebells are the way to go. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Lee Goupil

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate your insight as someone who has used kettlebells for awhile. I agree as well, kettlebells are an excellent addition to a home gym as they require minimal storage space.

  2. Lyne

    Hi, I like your video!
    My daughter and I start to do yoga and we add squats to our routine but my daughter had two accidents and her knee was injured. (twice the same) That was 15 years ago and since she can’t do squats. Her knee can no longer bend.
    What would you suggest instead of squats but which gives the same result as squats?
    Thank you
    Lyne

    1. Lee Goupil

      Hi Lyne,
      Yoga is great and adds so many benefits to a healthy lifestyle! I’m glad to hear that you are adding some strength training to your yoga routine as well. Without being able to diagnose your daughter’s range or comfort because of her knee injury I can’t designate a specific exercise as easily. What I feel safe to recommend are the kettlebell swings and a also a kettlebell deadlift. Those are two great exercises that should help to be an alternative to squats if she is currently unable to perform them right now.
      Take care and thank you for reading an taking the time to comment

  3. Dereck

    I’ve been going to the gym on a somewhat regular basis for the past 3 years and I’ll admit that I still stay away from the kettlebells most of the time. That being said, the times that I have incorporated them into my workout, I’ve been impressed with how I feel afterwards. Maybe one day I finally will give kettlebells more of a try, but thanks for putting together this list of exercises to start off with. They are very helpful and a great introduction.

    1. Lee Goupil

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I’m glad you’ve felt good after using the kettlebell in the past. Which exercise were you performing?
      I’d certainly recommend incorporating them into your workout routine on a more consistent basis. Just start with the kettlebell swing and grow from there.
      Take Care

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