You can only go so far with cardio and bodyweight exercises. It won’t take long before your body is ready for more. Research shows that using a kettlebell can burn 40 to 50% more calories than a typical strength-training session. It’s hard to argue with results like that.
If you’re ready to embrace the kettlebell and push your limits, the following exercises are a great place to start.
1. Bent row
For an arm and ab workout, try this rowing inspired exercise. Pick up the kettlebell in your right hand and squat slightly as you bend forward so your torso is almost parallel with the floor. Let the kettlebell hang down at arm’s length. Contract your stomach as you pull the weight up toward your right armpit, keeping your elbow tight to your side. Lower back down to complete one rep. Do 10 to 12 reps, repeat on the other side, and rest before completing a second set.
2. Single leg deadlift
This exercise will give your core a workout, while also strengthening your glutes and hamstrings. Start standing and take the kettlebell in your right hand. Keep your core stiff as you lift your right leg back behind you and drop your straight right arm toward the floor. Balance carefully on your left foot, keeping your gaze on one point. Tap the kettlebell on the floor and return to standing. This is one rep. Complete 10 to 12 on both sides for a total of three sets.
3. Weighted deep squat
Start with your feet spread wide apart and point your toes out. Hold the kettlebell with both hands in front of your body allowing the weight to pull your arms straight down towards the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles and keep your back straight as you bend your knees and send your hips back. Lower down into a squat as far as possible without compromising your posture. Try to get the weight all the way to the ground without actually touching it to the floor. Return to the starting position. Do 15 reps for at least three full sets.
4. The swing
This fun to do workout will get your heart rate up as it works multiple muscle groups. Begin standing with your feet hip distance apart. Grab your kettlebell with both hands and let your arms hang down straight in front of you. When you’re ready, bend your knees and hinge from your hips to swing the weight back between your legs. As you straighten your legs, swing the kettlebell forward and up so it reaches chin height. Repeat this fluid movement for 90 seconds straight, creating momentum and rhythm. Rest and repeat two more 90-second sets.
5. Half get-up
Start lying on your back with your legs straight. Pick up the kettlebell with your right hand and hold it up so it’s directly above your shoulder. Bend your left knee and place your left foot flat on the floor. Raise your torso and prop your body up with your left arm as you keep the kettlebell directly in line with your shoulder. Reverse the movement and return to the floor to complete one rep. Do five on each side to complete a total of three sets.
6. Lunge and press
This simple workout targets your shoulders, legs, and butt. Start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder width apart, a single kettlebell to your right side, at your hip. With your right foot, take a long step forward into a lunge, your thigh at a 90-degree angle and parallel to the floor. Your knee should not go past your toes. Press the kettlebell above your right shoulder, breathing out as you do. Lower the kettlebell back down to your side and step back so your feet are shoulder width apart again. Repeat with your left side.
7. The halo
Whether you’re warming up or cooling down, the kettlebell halo is a light and speedy exercise anyone can do. You can either start by holding the ball of the weight, thumbs on the handles, or holding it upside down by the handles. Either way, keep the kettlebell close to your body all the way through as you hold it with both hands. With your chin and chest up (don’t lean forward) and keeping your core tight, bring the weight around to the back of your head, “brushing” your hair with your forearm as you bring it back and around again. You can do this for a set amount of time or a fixed number of reps.