8 Amazing Kettlebell Exercises You Need to Try Right Now
Looking for a kettlebell workout?
I love doing a kettlebell workout! I really enjoy the way that one move can just flow into another. If you have 1 or 2 kettlebells at home, it’s an excellent time to give these exercises a go.
Watch the exercise demo video here
A break down of this Kettlebell Workout
Here’s a list of all 8 exercises, plus some tips and cues on executing them!
1. Suitcase Romanian Deadlifts
If you’re not used to Romanian Deadlifts, I’d start there! If you are used to them, try this out. Hold the kettlebell at one side and perform a hinge movement, focus on pushing the hips back and feeling tension in the hamstrings. Keep the shoulders level as if you’ve got a weight on both sides!
2. Russian Kettlebell Swings
I’ve specifically stated ‘Russian’ swings here because I’m not a massive fan of the American high pass version (where you take it overhead). I don’t believe it provides the stimulus to be beneficial, there are better exercises for stability, the core and for the posterior chain (such as Russian swings) so I actually avoid American Kettlebell Swings entirely.
Anyway…Russian Kettlebell Swings! This is an excellent exercise for the posterior chain, make sure you hinge forward at the hips to start the movement, this will ensure that you’re back is in the best position for the exercise. Thrust the hips forward and let that momentum launch the kettlebell to around shoulder level and don’t use your arms and shoulders to get it there! Don’t overarch the back either, be sure to hold tension in the glutes and hamstrings to avoid hyperextension.
3. Death Marches
Not as bad as they sound! Death Marches are an excellent travelling exercise that focus on the posterior chain. It’s bascially a series of staggered Romanian Deadlifts in succession. Take a small step forwards, tilt your body forwards and push the hips back, rinse and repeat. You can use one kettlebell at your side and then swap it over or use two of equal weight.
Top Tip: If you feel like doing tonnes of single leg work, why not do walking lunges followed by death marches? You’re welcome.
4. Clean and Press
The clean is the MOST important part in this movement and it’s one of the most commonly misunderstood kettlebell exercises. When you clean a kettlebell you don’t want to swing it out in front of you, you want to bring it up the body as if you were drawing a straight line. Then, when it’s around chest level, swivel the kettlebell (think thumb to sternum) so that the kettlebell turns and lands in place on your arm. You DON’T want the kettlebell to fly over your hand and hit your forearm, unless you want to give yourself a bruised arm. Remember to twist the wrist!
5. Kettlebell Snatches
Snatches aren’t that difficult once you get used to them. If they’re really not feeling good with a kettlebell, use a dumbbell for now. The trick with this one is to again bring it up the body, as close as possible and keep the elbow high. Make sure you loosen the grip at the top and don’t keep tight hold of the bar. What a lot of people do is hold onto it for dear life and when it’s at the top and upside down, it suddenly falls right way up and smacks them in the arm. Your hand will still be supporting the kettlebell, so don’t worry, it won’t be going anywhere.
This one can be tricky so if you’re not used to it, hold the kettlebell in the lower hand rather than the top hand. The trick with this one is that you want to keep one hand towards the floor and the other towards the ceiling (or sky) at all times. Your body does the movement, not your arms. Take yourself down to one side, keeping your gaze focused on the upper hand, push the hips to the side as you come down. If your back hurts, don’t go as low and make sure you’re maintaing a neutral spine and not bending the back.
7. Bottoms Up Press
This is a great one if your kettlebell is a little too light for shoulder presses. Hold it upside down, keeping your elbow pointed forwards with your upper arm at shoulder level and push up. Always bring it back to that same position so you’re keeping tension the whole time. Rotate slightly as you come up so your palm is facing forward at the top and inward when it’s down at shoulder level.
8. Lateral Split Squats
Clean the kettlebell to you shoulder and take a split stance, wider than you think. You want to sink down to one side, it’s best to go down to the opposite side to the one which the kettlebell is one. I prefer to have people go back to the split stance for every rep rather than bringing their feet in to neutral. This is so you’re keeping that single leg squat as focused as possible and not pushing back up with the ball of the foot and so you’re starting each rep with the leg straight.
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