In our guide of exercising with kettlebells, we’ll list actionable kettlebell exercises that you can start doing right away. Whatever your exercise level is, you can start doing these exercises to get fit with losing weight and gaining strength. In fact, after you’ve started using kettlebells, you’ll realize how indispensable they’ve become to your workout programs.
You might be wondering, how so? There are several reasons for that; for example; most kettlebell exercises help you use your whole body and even if you’ve been lifting for several years, exercising with kettlebells is a different ballgame. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself struggling and sweating like a beginner while exercising with kettlebells. However, real gains are made by real struggles; if you don’t challenge yourself and only go through the motions, you won’t be making any progress. You can buy some made-up equipment called “SuperFitMaker9Billion” to use, but it won’t make any difference if you don’t put any effort. Please don’t be one of those people who search for “how to lose weight without exercising”, put real effort and energy.
Besides exercises, we’ll also answer some of the most asked questions related to kettlebells. We’ll start this guide by answering questions for beginners, so the mechanics of exercising with kettlebells can be better understood. Then, move to answer questions about the relation between kettlebells and losing fat. Finally, we’ll compare kettlebells with dumbbells, to see the difference between the two and also list our favorite kettlebells.
You probably know that kettlebells are quite popular with CrossFitters; they use kettlebells to; build strength, lose weight, increase stamina, and cardiovascular endurance. Even if you are not interested in CrossFit, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start exercising with kettlebells. In fact, kettlebells are great for full-body workouts that help you build a strong foundation, no matter what’s your fitness level, there are workout programs for everybody that focus on kettlebells.
Now, let’s answer some of the most asked questions related to exercising with kettlebells.
Are Kettlebell Exercises Good for You?
Kettlebells are great no matter what’s your training level is because; they can be used for various training types such as strength, flexibility, endurance, and balance. In fact, kettlebells could be the best overall full-body exercise equipment you can use. Besides some of the exercise equipment that is one-trick ponies, you’ll realize with a kettlebell; you can do almost any exercise you want to. Full-body workouts have lots of benefits outside of the gym as well; you’ll get functional strength which will help in daily chores.
If you want to lose fat and have a stronger core, you can’t go wrong with using a kettlebell. The explosive movements you do with a kettlebell need a lot of balance and core strength; that’s exactly why you’ll start to make gains in these areas. Also, this translates to a stronger posterior chain and a better posture.
Above all, you can make effective cardio gains by exercising with kettlebells. We’ll be listing some programs in our guide to blast fat out of your system and increase cardiovascular endurance.
- Prefer to exercise at home.
- Are an athlete who wants to perform better.
- Want to be physically fit with using a piece of compact exercise equipment.
You should start exercising with kettlebells.
How to Do Kettlebell Exercises?
Most kettlebell exercises require you to swing the kettlebell in an explosive manner, which means you should be focused while using it. In fact, focusing and controlling the kettlebell at all times means; you won’t be going through the motions as you can with other exercise equipment which means more gains. Besides that, also compared to a dumbbell, even though you do the same exercise, the feel will be much different. That’s because; weight is distributed differently and kettlebells work your wrists and forearms more than dumbbells.
You can do kettlebell exercises like you are handling a dumbbell even though the feel and the weight distribution are different. In fact, you do most kettlebell exercises by relying on your grip strength. There are two grip types you should know:
First is the standard grip; hold the handle (Some call it the horn) as you would hold a dumbbell.
And the second is the front-racked position; hold the handle and let the weight part (Some call it the ball) rest on your chest and bicep. You can do presses and squats like that.
Kettlebell Exercises and Muscles Used
Kettlebell exercises target muscles in the lower body; hips, glutes, hamstrings, and upper body such as; lats, abs, shoulders, pecs, biceps, triceps, and wrists. In fact, because there are so many movement variations and programs; you can basically exercise any muscle you want; however, you please.
However, most exercises you can with a kettlebell target the core and lower body muscles.
Does Kettlebell Exercises Burn Fat?
There are kettlebell exercises built upon impactful, explosive, and high-rep training. In fact, it’s pretty close to HIIT training which is known to blast fat in a short amount of time. Also, the EPOC effect (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) can’t be underestimated for its contribution to fat loss. After you’ve done your grueling exercise, you’ll be still burning calories thanks to EPOC!
Kettlebell exercises absolutely burn fat. However, if you don’t stay consistent and put in any effort; your exercises will fall short of helping you lose fat. Real fat loss, therefore physical change doesn’t happen unless you put effort and time into it. Don’t worry; fitness is very rewarding once you understand the mentality behind it. Don’t listen to the naysayers, who claim they can’t lose fat no matter what they do; just be honest with yourself and start exercising.
Also, we can’t forget that the other vital part of losing fat is keeping your diet in check. If you are not consistent with your diet and feed your body with junk food; your body won’t recover properly from the exercises you do.
See if you have any of these superfoods in your diet!
Check “27 Super Foods for Weight Loss That Will Make You Lose Belly Fat Quickly!”
Kettlebell Exercises to Lose Weight
If you’ve never done kettlebell exercises before, you should be extra careful. Please start slow, understand the dynamics, and don’t forget to warm up properly before you jump into exercising. Now, let’s get to our list of exercises you can do with a kettlebell for weight loss and strength gains.
1) Kettlebell Squats
Let’s start easy. Squats are pretty basic and impactful for shaping your lower body and making you lose weight. By lower body we mean; glutes, quads, and hamstrings. While you are doing kettlebell squats, don’t forget to get low properly.
Kettlebell Squats – Step by Step:
- Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and slightly lookout.
- Hold the kettlebell at chest height by gripping the handles.
- Squat down low as you keep your upper body stable.
- Push with your legs to get back to position.
2) Kettlebell Deadlifts
Yeah, we are sticking to the basics, not only because they are easier to do, but also they are super effective. Deadlifts exercise muscles in your legs and back. Also, by doing deadlifts, you’ll challenge your core.
Kettlebell Deadlifts – Step by Step:
- Hold a kettlebell right in front of your legs as your palms look at you, keep your arms straight.
- Your feet should be hip-width apart.
- Slowly bend over to feel the strain in the back of your legs.
- Don’t forget to keep your back flat and core tight.
- Push with your feet to get back into position, squeeze your bottom as you pause for a second.
3) Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are all about technique and balance. Don’t try this exercise with a weight you can’t handle. You are going to use your hips to drive the kettlebell forward. Also, this exercise works; glutes, legs, and lower back.
Kettlebell Swings – Step by Step:
- Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and slightly lookout.
- Grip the handles of the kettlebell with two hands.
- Bend your knees slightly, then start to drive your hips forward to swing the kettlebell between your legs. Don’t forget to keep your back flat.
- Use the momentum you get from your hips to get the kettlebell at chest height.
4) Kettlebell Thrusters
One of the best full-body exercises you can do is the kettlebell thrusters. You have to use your whole body to push kettlebells over your head. Also, this makes this exercise amazing at functional training.
Kettlebell Thrusters – Step by Step:
- Two kettlebells should be resting on your shoulders as you hold the handles.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down.
- Stand up explosively using your leg strength as you push the kettlebells over your head.
5) Turkish Get Up
At first glance, this exercise might seem complicated. In fact, it’s not that complicated to do, but it will challenge your core a lot.
Turkish Get Up – Step by Step:
- Lie on your back withholding a kettlebell in your right hand above your shoulder.
- Keep this arm straight.
- Bend your right leg and put your foot down.
- Turn your right shoulder up, push with your left forearm to sit up.
- Raise your hips off the ground using your left arm and take your left leg underneath you to place it on the ground.
- After that, stand up and go back to your first position by reversing your steps.
Kettlebell Exercises Vs Dumbbell
You can replace dumbbell exercises with kettlebells to focus more on stability and use your body as a whole. After you’ve started to use kettlebells, you’ll realize almost immediately how different they are compared to dumbbells.
Alright, first the pros of dumbbells:
- If you are a beginner, you can find exercising with dumbbells easier than kettlebells. One of the reasons for that is; there is a smaller learning curve because most people know how to use a dumbbell. You can start to improve your physical capabilities right away.
- You can exercise with two dumbbells easier than two kettlebells, that’s because kettlebells require you to have more stability.
- Compared to most kettlebells, dumbbells are more accessible and cheaper.
Everyone wants to have exercise equipment that doesn’t take a lot of space. Check our guide to see if adjustable dumbbells are good for you.
“Are Adjustable Dumbbells Good for You? Find Out! 2021 – Ultimate Guide”
Now the pros of kettlebells:
- You can have a better cardio workout with kettlebells because the exercises you do are more explosives compared to dumbbell workouts.
- Functional strength gains are made easier compared to dumbbell exercises.
- Kettlebell swings are effective in back pain treatment as this study shows. (1)
- Kettlebells are much more effective for strengthening your grip and improving your stability.
These are the common pros of both exercise equipment. Don’t let this comparison lead you to think you have to choose one instead of others. In fact, for one of your exercise days, you can replace your dumbbell exercises with kettlebells to see how it feels. If it feels challenging in a good way, keep that until you master it.
Best Kettlebells We Recommend
Before we list our best picks, let’s talk about some of the factors that affect which kettlebell you should get. If you are pretty new at training with a kettlebell, you should get a lighter one because handling the weight is important to nail the form. Still, we recommend you to get several with different weights; therefore, you’ll be able to work your big muscle groups as well as the smaller ones.
Our List of Kettlebells
If you want to make a safe choice, you can’t go wrong with choosing this iron kettlebell.
It’s enough for you to do lots of exercise variations and you only have to pick the weight that’s appropriate for you.
We prefer to recommend kettlebell sets if exercising with kettlebells is going to be a stable in your exercise programs. You may choose to get a singular kettlebell, but as you progress, you’ll realize that it’s no longer enough for you.
For this set weights are 5,10 and 15 pounds. The kettlebells are made of HDPE and filled with cement. Besides the kettlebells, this set also includes a base rack that you can use to store your kettlebells conveniently.
There are six weights you can choose from in this adjustable kettlebell. The weight selections are; 3,5, 5,5, 9, 11, 16 and 18 kg. Thanks to this adjustable kettlebell, you’ll be able to do various exercises without turning your house into a gym.
If you want to keep your kettlebells separated and have enough space in your home:
Check this Kettlebell set for women from Onnit.
To make gains, you have to go through challenges, and exercising with kettlebells is quite challenging.
We hope you’ve found our guide helpful and comprehensive. Also, besides our favorite exercises, you can do with kettlebells, there are actually so many more you can find on YouTube. Please, keep doing your research to find what is doable for you. Don’t forget that to make changes with your body and life; you must start somewhere.
If you had to choose one kettlebell exercise over the others, what would it be? Let us know in the comments.
Thank you for reading.
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