The kettlebell is one of the most versatile and effective pieces of equipment for getting you in top-notch shape — and giving you one doozy of a workout. Not only will your muscles be sore afterward, but your heart will be racing as you swing this weighted iron ball over, under and through your body in every possible direction.
You might be wondering how a kettlebell is better or different from a regular dumbbell. The biggest difference is the distribution of the weight. A dumbbell has the weight evenly distributed on both sides of the handle whereas a kettlebell has all its weight in the center with just a handle above it to hold. And because all the weight is centrally located in one spot, it's more of a challenge to lift it. Unlike a dumbbell, it will not tilt to one side.
If you've seen kettlebells, but weren’t quite sure what to do with them, you're in luck. Here are 14 great kettlebell exercises that will work your entire body while torching some major calories and fat. If you're a beginner, pick a few of the exercises and complete them in a sequence workout doing 3 sets of 12-15 reps each. If you've been around the block once or twice, try to get through the whole sequence two times through doing 12-15 reps of each exercise.
Pick up a kettlebell (or two) and give these exercises a try. You can do an entire kettlebell circuit workout with some or all of these exercises. It makes for a great workout that gives you both strength and cardiovascular conditioning. As you get more comfortable performing these moves, you can begin increasing the weight of the kettlebell. It won’t be long before you are swinging, cleaning and thrusting like a pro. Once you're finished reading the infographic below, be sure to scroll for detailed instructions on each exercise.
1. Kettlebell Cleans: Funny name for an exercise — until you start doing it. This is a great move for someone just starting out with a kettlebell, especially if you're ready to start strong! This move is often the first step in a Kettlebell Clean and Press, so check number two below to see how it's done!
2. Kettlebell Clean and Presses: Taking the clean one step further, after bringing the kettlebell to your shoulder, press it all the way up. Slowly lower it back down to your shoulder and then all the way down to your side. If you're using two kettlebells at once, this will be very challenging. Click here to see how it's done!
4. Kettlebell One-Arm Swings: This is done exactly the same way as a two-arm swing except that you will only use one arm at a time. You might find that you have to use a lower weight for the one-arm swing, as these are a bit more challenging because you can’t rely on both arms to swing. Click here for more details on this move.
5. Figure Eight Squat with Kettlebell: When you perform this move, try not to twist your body too much, but focus on using your obliques on every pass. Watch the video below or click here for more information.
6. Goblet Squats: This squat isn't so different than your average squat, but the kettlebell gives it an added challenge. Click here for more information.
7. Kettlebell Around The World: Here is one for your abs and obliques. Be sure to stand up straight and keep your arms straight to avoid hitting your body with the kettlebell. That will also cause you to engage your core a lot more. See full instructions on the move here.
8. Kettlebell Snatches: Think of this exercise as a press meets an upright row with a bit of a swing. Snatches require coordination and a lot of practice, but once you master them, you will love them. The move is fast and explosive so start off with a light weight at first. Click here for more instruction.
9. Kettlebell Pass-Through Lunges: This move is great for your triceps, shoulder, quads AND glutes! Be sure to keep your upper body tall, not hunched over, when you pass the kettlebell underneath your legs. For more information, click here.
10. Kettlebell Overhead Swings: Unlike the two-arm and one-arm swings that stop mid-body, the overhead swing means that the kettlebell will be going all the way up until it’s just over your head. For more details, click here.
11. Kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups: The exercise itself is as interesting as the name. This is a terrific total-body exercise that will have you sweating and burning crazy calories! Click here for step-by-step instructions.
12. Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift High Pulls: The name is a mouthful, and a bit odd, but you will feel anything but odd after a few reps of these. This move will work your arms and upper body just as well as it does your booty! To find out how to properly perform this move, click here.
13. Kettlebell Renegade Rows: This type of row is often done using dumbbells, but switching to kettlebells gives it a whole new feel. It's a great upper body workout that also engages your abdominal muscles. To find out how to do it, click here.
14. Kettlebell Thrusters: Although this exercise is usually done with a weighted bar or dumbbells, you can definitely use kettlebells too. Try to always maintain a tight midsection and contract your glutes on the lift and you'll feel this workout all over. Get more info on the move here.