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12 Best Kettlebell Exercises for a Total Body Workout

8th July 2020

Kettlebells, while sometimes overlooked at the gym, are a brilliant and versatile piece of equipment. You can do a full-body workout with a few simple kettlebell exercises to build strength everywhere from your legs and core to shoulders and back. Plus, many of these will get the heart pumping and blood flowing. Try these best kettlebell exercises for the ultimate workout.

1. Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell swings are a great way to elevate your heart rate and strengthen your posterior chain. It’s a hip hinging move that requires full engagement of the hamstrings and glutes to initiate the hip thrust to swing. If you’re new to kettlebell swings, start with lighter weights to get your form correct. However, once it is right, heavier loads are going to strengthen you faster, burn fat, and give you a great cardio workout.

2. Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Give your glutes, hamstrings, and quads an excellent workout with goblet squats. This kettlebell exercise is a compound move that works multiple joints and multiple muscles at once, so it’s efficient and effective for fat burning and strengthening. Plus, goblet squats allow you to drop into your natural center of gravity, which is useful for anyone struggling with form.

3. Kettlebell Farmer’s Walk

Kettlebell farmer’s walks are a full-body workout. This kettlebell exercise will strengthen your grip and upper back, work the muscles in your legs, and engage the core. Carrying more weight as you walk, makes your leg muscles work harder. Additionally, by holding weights, then adding momentum, it forces your abdominals to compensate for the shift in weight. Then, your upper arm and back muscles engage to help carry the load and take the pressure off your forearms. Plus, it’s practice for bringing the groceries inside in one trip without breaking a sweat!

4. Kettlebell Two Arm Military Press

A military press targets both the deltoids in the shoulders, as well as the triceps. Plus, it works the legs and core as a byproduct of maintaining stability throughout the move. Performing a military press with kettlebells will improve the mobility in your upper body, and perfect your pressing form.

5. Kettlebell One Arm Floor Press

While you get to lie down for this kettlebell exercise, it’s not a rest. These one-arm floor presses target the pecs, as well as the deltoids and triceps. Additionally, you’re going to be working your core as you engage these muscles to keep your back flat on the floor and initiate the momentum to push the kettlebell up.

6. Kettlebell Deadlift

Kettlebell deadlifts are another brilliant compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups. You’ll feel the burn in your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, as well as your lats and traps. Deadlifts can be done with a barbell as well, but are great to do with kettlebells as an alternative.

7. Kettlebell Thruster

Take your kettlebell workout to the next level with some thrusters. This killer move is a full-body workout that is extremely effective and will get your heart pumping. Firstly, it targets your quads, calves, and glutes in your lower body. Then, in your upper body, it works the pecs, delts, biceps, and traps.

8. Kettlebell Backward Lunge

Thick thighs save lives! Reach those leg goals with some kettlebell lunges. These are great for developing the quads and hamstrings, as well as the glutes. Additionally, weighted movements like this also challenge the core and abdominal muscles to maintain balance and posture.

9. Kettlebell Pistol Squat

Pistol squats are a challenging move that will test even the toughest of gym-goers — adding the weight ups the ante even more. This kettlebell exercise tests your balance and engages your core. Additionally, it puts the burn on the glutes and quads, by only using one leg at a time. Finally, it also increases the mobility of the joints through your legs and ankles. While it’s a more advanced move, beginners can still tackle this by sitting back onto a chair or allowing your foot to touch the ground.

10. Kettlebell One-Arm Row

Build strength in your back muscles, including the traps, lats, and other stabilizing muscles with a one-arm kettlebell row. This row uses a lunge position. As such, it’s more athletic and requires full body activation. One-arm exercises are also great for identifying if you have a weak side. If you do, this is a great way to bring it up to speed and even out your strength.

11. Kettlebell Double Windmill

Get a lot of bang for your buck with double kettlebell windmills. This full-body exercise is going to hit your glutes, legs, shoulders, back, and abdominals all in one power move. Plus, it increases the flexibility in your hips and hamstrings and boosts your shoulder stability. It’s a kettlebell exercise that packs a punch.

12. Kettlebell One-Arm Clean and Jerk

A kettlebell one-arm clean and jerk is a power move to work nearly every muscle in your body. First, it uses the power from your legs to push you up from a squat. Secondly, the muscles through your shoulders and back pull the weight of the kettlebell up, then jerk it over your head. Thirdly, your entire core is engaged and working hard to make sure you don’t fall over and bruise your body or ego. Finally, because it involves such large muscle groups, it’s an incredible cardiovascular workout that’s sure to get the blood pumping.

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