Every gym-goer has been there - your go-to machines are all in use and the weights area is filled to the brim. Luckily there is a solution.
The humble kettlebell is a staple of every gym, yet is often left underrated and underappreciated. Kettlebells are one of the most versatile pieces of gym equipment available and can be incorporated into almost any workout.
From high-rep HIIT workouts to slogging away at heavyweight training, kettlebells give you an effective and time-efficient way to exercise. Plus, it doesn’t matter if it’s chest or leg day, the huge range of kettlebell workouts mean you’re not limited by options.
To help give kettlebells the respect they deserve, we’ve listed our top 10 essential kettlebell exercises for you to try. You can add any of these exercises to your current workout plan, or even tailor and develop your own kettlebell routine.
Choose a weight you’re comfortable with and gradually increase the weight as you progress.
1. Kettlebell snatch
- Hold the kettlebell in one hand between your legs and squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor
- Drive yourself up through your hips and knees to raise the kettlebell up to shoulder height
- While rising, rotate your hand and push it upwards until your arm is fully locked
- Squat back down and bring the kettlebell back to the starting position
- Switch arms and repeat
2. Kettlebell swing
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width
- Bend your knees and grab a single kettlebell with both hands
- While keeping your back flat, drive through your hips to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height
- Swing the kettlebell back down to the starting position without losing momentum
3. Kettlebell pistol squat
- Hold a single kettlebell with both hands under your chin
- Lift one leg off the ground and squat down on the other
- Keep your other leg straight and in front of you as you squat
- Drive through your heel and bring yourself back up to the starting position without letting your leg touch the floor
- Hold two kettlebells by the handles with the weight resting on the back of your shoulders
- Squat down with your legs in line with your shoulders
- Drive through your legs until they’re fully straight
- Extend your arms as you rise to lift the kettlebells above your head
5. Farmer’s walk
- Hold two kettlebells by your sides
- Keep your arms strong and walk in short, quick steps
- Turn around and walk back the way you came
6. Goblet squats
- Stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width
- Grab a single kettlebell with both hands and hold it in front of your chest with your palms facing each other
- Bend your knees to lower yourself into a squat
- Keep the kettlebell in the same position and make sure you don’t round your back
- Use your legs to drive yourself back up to the starting position
7. Figure of eight
- Hold a single kettlebell in front of you with your right hand
- Drop into a squat with your back straight and your core braced
- Bring the kettlebell around the outside of your right leg and then through your legs from the back
- Once in between your legs, switch hands from the front and bring the kettlebell around the outside of your left leg
- Keep the momentum of the kettlebell going so that you’re performing one smooth movement
8. Russian twists
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor at shoulder-width and your legs bent
- Lean backwards so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor
- Hold the kettlebell against your chest with both hands and rotate your torso from left to right by twisting your hips
- Don’t let the kettlebell or your feet touch the floor as you twist
9. Plank drag
- Start in the raised plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your arms extended
- Keep your core braced and your body in a straight line
- Place a single kettlebell on the floor beneath one of your hands
- Reach under your body with your other hand and drag the kettlebell across the floor to the other side of you
- Switch hands and repeat
- Stand with your shoulders hip-width apart
- Hold a single kettlebell by the horns and raise it in front of your face
- Keeping your body fixed and your elbows bent, slowly circle the kettlebell all the way around your head until you’re back to the starting position
Now that you’re ready to put your newfound kettlebell expertise to the test, why not upgrade your tired old gym kit while you’re at it? Check out our extensive range of training gear for men and women, as well as our collection of training accessories.
To learn more helpful hints and tips on fitness and nutrition, head over to Inside Track.