Kettlebells are one of the more overlooked pieces of exercise equipment, primarily because many of us simply don’t know how to use them. However, the bell-shaped weights can add a quick, powerful, and efficient element to your workout routine, targeting the total body and offering those after-burn effects we all adore.
“Kettlebell workouts are so effective because they allow you to increase your strength, muscular endurance, and power all in one!” Tone It Up trainer Stef Corgel tells Byrdie. “You’ll also find that they naturally challenge core strength and stability; each twisting, swinging, or pushing movement is done while trying to absorb the momentum of the kettlebell ... a total abs workout in disguise.”
Corgel explains that kettlebell workouts can also be considered a form of functional training, as every movement we do in our daily lives can be imitated by the exercises. “Aside from the strength and cardiorespiratory benefits, kettlebells teach your body new and efficient movement patterns that will shift with your center of gravity,” she explains. “Personally, I believe the best kinds of workouts are the ones we can apply to our daily lives to make us feel confident, supported, and less prone to injury.”
Corgel has created a quick and efficient kettlebell workout that can be done anywhere from the gym to your home—all you need is a set of kettlebells.
- 10 body-weight squats
- 10 “good mornings” (hands laced behind head)
- 5 x walk-out, push-up, downward dog
- 30 seconds jump rope (imaginary totally works!)
Repeat the following seven-exercise circuit three times. Do each exercise for 45 seconds, resting 15 seconds between moves.
Squat to Upright Row
How to: Holding the kettlebell by the handle, sit back into a squat. As you stand, keep the kettlebell close to your body as you raise the elbows high. The base of the kettlebell should end near your sternum.
Goblet Drop Squat
How to: Holding the kettlebell by the horns with both hands, jump your feet out evenly into a squat, then feet back together as you stand. The kettlebell should not move from its positioning at your chest.
How to: With the kettlebell in one hand, lower the resistance down your shin at the same time you kick your leg back; right arm lowers as your right leg kicks back. Maintain a flat back and squeeze your core for stability. The burn should be felt in the standing leg. Repeat on the other side.
Hang Clean to Overhead Press
How to: This is a great total body combo move! First, hold the kettlebell by the handle with both hands. Lower down slightly, then shrug your shoulders up, lean back slightly, and power the weight up with your legs to catch it by the horns in a squat position. Last but not least, drive up through your heels and press the weight overhead.
How to: With a shoulder-width athletic stance, knees slightly bent, flat back, and tight core, grip the kettlebell by the handle with two hands. From here, slowly and evenly draw the weight back between your legs and engage your hamstrings and glutes to fire the kettlebell forward up to shoulder level. Use your core to control the weight, even when momentum starts to take over.
Alternating Single-Arm Swing
How to: This type of swing challenges your balance and provides an extra burn in your abs. Hinging over with a flat back, pick the kettlebell up by the handle with one hand. With your legs, drive the kettlebell forward and allow your hand to release the weight to be caught with the other hand. This happens very quickly! Make sure you have mastered the two-handed swing before progressing to single-arm.
How to: Find your “boat pose” position. With the kettlebell at your chest, rotate your torso to the right while keeping your legs as still as possible. Come back through the center and rotate to the left. Continue alternating sides. To modify, place your heels on the ground.
Stay for 20–30 seconds in each static stretch. Remember to hit both sides evenly.
- Overhead triceps stretch
- Crossbody shoulder stretch
- Lunge half moon + reach
- Runners lunge
- Half splits
- Figure 4 stretch forward fold