Kettlebells are a versatile tool that can really take your workouts to the next level. They allow for the performance of many dynamic and explosive movements that are unlike any exercises you may find or do in a traditional resistance training workout.
This workout incorporates conditioning and strength training through six challenging, functional movements! Try it as a circuit with minimal rest between rounds and watch the gains roll in.
1. Kettlebell Swings
This is the most powerful kettlebell movement that will help you tremendously in perfecting the hip hinge. It’s a full-body power and conditioning exercise that is the foundational movement for many other advanced kettlebell techniques.
Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell on the ground about one foot out in front of you. Grab the kettlebell with your palms facing you and your torso parallel to the ground. Lift the kettlebell from the ground and let it begin to swing between your legs. Drive your hips with force to propel the kettlebell into the air, not letting it exceed shoulder height. Brace your core throughout the movement to help control the descent. Remember that the goal is for the movement to come from your hips and glutes, not swinging your arms.
Perform 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps
2. Paused Goblet Squats
Goblet squats are a great squat variation for novice weightlifters and those looking to focus on good form. This squat variation is a good teaching tool for moving safely and effectively, as well as learning to move from the bottom of your squat. The pauses add more time under tension and help enhance your mobility of the hips and ankles when performed correctly.
Hold the kettlebell by the horns at chest height. Make sure your feet are at least hip-width apart. Descend into your squat, driving your knees out, and trying to achieve depth low enough that your hamstrings are resting on your calves at the bottom of your squat. Drive through your heels to return to the upright, starting position.
Aim for 3-4 sets of 10 reps, with a 5-10 second pause at the bottom of your squat
3. Kettlebell Rows from floor
This row variation erases momentum from the equation as you are rowing each time from a dead stop at your full range of motion.
Start in a split stance, knees slightly bent and both toes pointing straight ahead, with the kettlebell on the floor and in one palm on the same side as your leg that’s the furthest back. Place your opposite hand or elbow on your front leg on a bent knee. Keep your shoulders squared towards the floor and row up with a neutral palm towards the right outside of your chest. Exhale as you row and then slowly return to your start position.
Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps per side
4. Double Kettlebell Overhead Presses
The kettlebell presents a much more challenging press variation that the barbell or dumbbell because the bell is resting on the back of your arm throughout the movement and the weight is considered offset. Your shoulder stability and strength are going to be challenged with this exercise.
Hold the kettlebells in a rack position – both resting at chest height, palms facing with the bells on the backside of your forearms. Make sure your feet are hip-width apart, and your glutes and core are engaged. Exhale, slowly opening your arms so that your palms are now facing forward as you press overhead, arms outside of your ears. Do not hold the lockout position overhead for more than a second or two and then return to your starting position.
Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps
5. Single-leg Deadlifts
This movement when performed correctly is a killer exercise for your hamstrings, glutes, and hips. It’ll challenge your stability, too!
Grab the kettlebell by the handle/horns and stand on one leg – the same side as the one in which you are holding the kettlebell. On the leg that you are standing and stabilizing on, slightly bend your knee and begin hinging forward from the hips. Reach the kettlebell with a straight arm towards the floor, right outside of your toes. Your opposite leg should extend backward in hopes of aiding you in maintaining your balance. Return to the starting, upright position and repeat.
Perform 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps per side
6. Pushup, Plank and Pass
Finish off the workout with this combination movement.
Grab a kettlebell and place a kettlebell lying down so that when you go up into a pushup position, it is right outside of your left arm just below the elbow. Perform a pushup. Then reach across your body with your right arm, and pull/pass the kettlebell across until it is now right outside of your right arm. Then do the same with your left side. Once you’ve pulled the kettlebell across each way, perform another pushup and repeat until you’ve completed your repetition goal.
Aim for 12-15 pushups (24-30 kettlebell passes)