Calling all fitness freaks! We watched the best kettlebell workout videos on the Internet and are bringing you the results. But before we dive into the best kettlebell exercises for men, you might be wondering: just what are kettlebells, anyway?
Basically, a kettlebell is a cast iron or steel ball that resembles a cannonball and comes with a handle attached to the top. Portable and heavy in equal measure, it’s used primarily in ballistic exercises and weightlifting routines. The equipment is also popular enough to have an entire sport–aka kettlebell lifting–dedicated to it.
Thanks to its compact design and offset centre of mass, the kettlebell enables high-repetition sets while infusing an extra tier of leverage into your regimen. Ideal for beginners and experts alike, the best kettlebell workouts accelerate heart rate, burn calories, and build muscles with impressive alacrity. Making them part of your overall fitness routine is a no-brainer.
Now that you’re up to speed: onto the exercise! From the best kettlebell workouts for fat loss to resistance training to strength-builders like kettlebell squats, thrusters, and swings, we’ve got you covered in all things kettlebell. Culled from websites, magazines, and videos, here are the 15 best kettlebell workouts for men.
1. Kettlebell Swing
One of the best kettlebell workouts for beginners is a bona fide calorie burner, which targets muscles in the hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, pecs, and grip. To make the kb swing part of your routine, perform the following steps:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
- Pick up the kettlebell and hold it between your legs, using both hands in an overhand grip.
- Staring straight ahead, arch your lower back and bend at the hips until the kettlebell is behind your legs.
- Squeeze your glutes, extend your hips, and swing the kettlebell upward.
- As the weight swings back between your legs, bend your hips and bend slightly at the knees.
- Extends the hips and knees so that the swing reverses course on its own momentum, beginning your next rep.
- Use the natural momentum of the kettlebell and your hip gestures to keep the weight swinging. Your arms shouldn’t be doing the work.
Perform as many kettlebell swings as you can for 30 seconds, and then take 30 seconds of rest. Do this for 3 sets when you start out, increasing the weight and number of sets as you improve.
2. Kettlebell Thrusters
This overlooked kettlebell exercise combines a front squat with an overhead press and works your full body in the process. There will be pain, but it will be a good kind of pain, which is what the best kettlebell workouts are all about. Here’s how to execute:
- Grab two kettlebells and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold the kettlebells in the rack position (so that the weight is resting on the back of your shoulders).
- Lower as you bend slightly at the knees into the semi-squat position.
- Hold for a second and then power upward with all your might, pushing through at the legs and heels.
- As you reach the upright position, use the natural momentum of the kettlebells to press them up.
- Finish with your palms facing outward.
- Lower back into the starting position and repeat.
Perform 3 sets of 3 reps, increasing the weight and number of sets as you improve.
3. Kettlebell Clean and Press
Want to work your shoulders and core while improving your grip strength? The kettlebell clean and press is one of the best ways to do it. It can be done with one kettlebell (per arm) at a time, or two at once. For the double kettlebell set, perform the following manoeuvres:
- Stand in the upright position, holding a kettlebell by either side (i.e. two kettlebells total).
- Bend your knees slightly and keep your legs shoulder-width apart.
- In one graceful movement, jump slightly off the ground while raising your arms.
- Bend your knees as you land into the semi-squat position while continuing to extend your arms straight above your shoulders.
- Return to the starting position. Repeat.
Perform 5 sets of 5 reps, taking 1 minute of rest between each set.
4. Kettlebell Snatch
One of the best kettlebell workouts for fat loss, the snatch reportedly burns about 20kcals a minute. It’s also known to (nearly) max out the heart rate. Here’s how to perform it:
- Hold a single kettlebell between your legs using one hand.
- Go into the semi-squat formation.
- Use your hips and knees to thrust upward.
- When the kettlebell reaches shoulder height, rotate your hand and push upward until your arm is completely straight.
- Return to the semi-squat position, with the kettlebell between your legs, and repeat.
Perform as many snatches as you can for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Start with 3 sets and increase the number of sets as you improve. When you’ve worked your way up to 10 sets, increase the weight.
5. Kettlebell Pistol Squat
A true exercise of champions, the kettlebell pistol squat fires on all conceivable cylinders (no pun intended). By that we mean it builds upon stability, strength, and mobility in one fell swoop. This is also one of the best kettlebell workouts for abs.
Before we dive in, a quick word of advice: master this exercise using just your own bodyweight before bringing a kettlebell into the mix. Only when ready, perform the following steps:
- Using both hands, hold a single kettlebell directly under your chin.
- Raise one leg off the floor and extend it, while simultaneously squatting down with the other leg.
- Push through the heel to bring yourself back to the upright position, all without letting your raised leg touch the floor.
- Lower back down and repeat.
Perform 5 reps per set and 3 sets total, taking 1 minute of rest between each set. Increase the number of reps per set as you improve.
6. Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Here’s another one of the best kettlebell workouts for fat loss, if not the best. Pull it off and you’ll have some firm glutes and six-pack abs to show for it. Here’s how to execute:
- Grip a kettlebell in each hand, and stand with your legs just wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Bring the kettlebells to the front of your chest, with your palms facing one another.
- Bend at the knees, lower into a squat, and tighten your glutes, all while keeping the kettlebells in their original position.
- Return to the starting position and repeat.
Perform 3 sets of 5 reps, taking 1 minute of rest between each set. Increase the number of reps per set as you improve.
7. Kettlebell Farmer’s Walk
This kettlebell exercise targets the upper-back muscles, wards off back pain in general, improves grip, and helps with fat loss. Should you be executing a full kettlebell set, save this routine for the end. Perform the following steps:
- Hold a kettlebell at either side.
- Keeping your arms flexed, take short steps as you walk forward as quickly as possible.
- Turn around and walk back.
Walk 30 feet per set and perform 3 sets. Increase the distance as you improve.
8. Kettlebell Front Squat
Here’s a top kettlebell exercise that needs no introduction. To execute, do the following:
- Hold a kettlebell in front of each shoulder, palms facing one another.
- Staring straight ahead, get into the full squat position, going as low as you can.
- Pause at the bottom, keeping your chest out and your hips straight.
- Drive through at the heels and return to the starting position. Repeat.
Perform 3 sets of 10 reps, resting 1 minute between each set.
9. Kettlebell Windmill
You might want to watch some of the best kettlebell workout videos YouTube can muster before giving this one a go, as it comes in various forms and can be quite tricky to execute. Here’s a classic variant:
- Place a kettlebell on the ground, in front of your lead foot.
- Using your opposite arm, raise the kettlebell to your shoulder, extending through the legs and hips as you go, and rotating your wrist until the palm faces forward.
- Extend your elbow as you press the kettlebell overhead.
- Lock the kettlebell in position and push out at the glutes in the direction of the kettlebell.
- Rotate your feet 45 degrees from the arm that’s holding the kettlebell.
- Bend at the hip while sticking your glutes out, slowly leaning until you can touch the floor with your free hand.
- Make sure you’re keeping an eye on the kettlebell as it hovers above your head.
- Pause when you reach the ground and reverse back into the starting position. Repeat.
Perform 2 sets of 3 reps until you’ve mastered the motions, increasing the number of both sets and reps as you improve.
10. Turkish Getup
Here’s another one that might require some intensive visuals (i.e. kettlebell workout videos or DVDs). To execute, perform the following steps:
- Lie on your back and grab one kettlebell with your left hand, holding it on your chest.
- Bend your left knee while your right leg stays straight on the ground.
- Raise the kettlebell above your body, and lock your arm into position.
- Push off with your left foot as you roll lightly toward your right hip, leaning onto your right elbow.
- Push onto your right hand and bring your back off the ground, keeping the kettlebell locked in its raised position.
- Swing your right leg back into a kneel, tighten your core, and thrust into the standing position.
- Reverse and repeat.
Complete 1 minute per arm.
11. Kettlebell Pushups
This one is more or less as simple as it sounds. Do the following:
- Place two kettlebells on a mat, and make sure that they won’t slide around.
- Keep the kettlebells shoulder-width apart as you grip each one while assuming the push-up position.
- Lower and raise as you would during a regular push-up.
Complete as many kettlebell push-ups as you can in 1 minute.
12. Renegade Rows
Here’s one for all the experts out there. Perform the following steps:
- Assume the kettlebell push-up position.
- Put your feet into a wider-than-normal stance so that you don’t lose your balance.
- Drive one kettlebell into the floor while rowing the other one up to your chest, your shoulder retracting and your elbow flexing.
- Lower back to the starting position, then bring the opposite kettlebell into a row.
Perform 3 sets of 10 reps, taking 1 minute of rest between each set.
13. Kettlebell Jerk
No, it’s not the newest dance craze. It’s the kettlebell jerk and here’s how to execute it:
- Hold a kettlebell just below your shoulder using one hand, palm facing your chest.
- Bend your knees and drive through your heels as you raise the kettlebell overhead, rotating your palms so that they’re facing forward.
- Extend your arm fully and lock it in place as you quickly assume the semi-squat position.
- Return to the standing position and repeat.
Perform 5 sets of 10 reps per hand, resting 1 minute between each set.
14. Single-Leg Kettlebell Romanian Deadlifts
A gym classic gets the kettlebell upgrade! Here we go:
- Holding a kettlebell with one hand, lift the leg that’s on the same side as the kettlebell.
- Slightly bend your standing leg as you bend at the hip and extend the elevated leg behind you.
- Slowly lower the kettlebell until your chest is parallel with the ground.
- Return to the upright position and repeat.
Complete 3 sets of 5 reps per leg, resting 1 minute between each set.
15. Single-Arm Kettlebell Row
Let’s close out with a somewhat basic kettlebell exercise. Here’s how to perform it:
- Place a kettlebell in front of your feet.
- Bend slightly at the knees, push your glutes out, and bend into the starting position.
- Grip the kettlebell and raise it toward your stomach, retracting your shoulder blade and flexing the elbow.
- Keep your back straight the entire time.
- Lower and repeat.
Perform 3 sets of 10 reps, resting 30 seconds between each set. Increase the number of both sets and reps as you improve.