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Closeup of someone lifting a kettlebell surrounded by other kettlebells of various sizes in a gym

Workout Inspiration: Kettlebell Exercises

Cardio is great for your overall health, but strengthening exercises can fast track your muscle gains. So, our exercise physiologists recommend incorporating kettlebell exercises into your routine to build muscle and become a healthier you.

But, first, what is a kettlebell? A kettlebell is a cast iron/steel ball with a handle attached to the top used for weight lifting and weight training. Because of its design, the kettlebell offers the ability to perform many different types of exercises targeting various muscle groups. And – as the kettlebell comes in many sizes, these can be used no matter your fitness level!

Here are some kettlebell exercises to get you started:

Bulgarian Split Squat

Primary muscle groups – quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes

  • Place one foot on an elevated surface behind you.
  • Lower yourself down until the top of your front thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • This move requires a lot of knee and hip flexibility as well as leg strength. To protect your front knee, be sure to keep your body weight balanced back in your foot, not forward on the toes.
  • A large kettlebell can be held against your chest, or if that bothers your wrists, you can hold two smaller kettlebells at sides.


Renegade Row

  • Placing one kettlebell on the floor, start at the top of a push-up position with one hand on the kettlebell, the other hand shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  • Row the kettlebell up, keeping your elbow close to the side of your body while balancing on your other hand and feet.
  • Hold for one second at the top and return the kettlebell back to the start position.
  • Repeat on the other side.


Single-Leg Deadlift

  • Hold a kettlebell in one hand, hanging to the side.
  • Stand on one leg, on the same side that you hold the kettlebell.
  • Keeping that knee slightly bent, perform a stiff-legged deadlift by bending at the hip, extending your free leg behind you for balance.
  • Continue lowering the kettlebell until you are parallel to the ground, and then return to the upright position.
  • Repeat with your opposite leg and arm.
  • Do equal reps on both sides.


Chest Press

  • Grab the handles of the kettlebells and extend the arms straight and press the kettlebells up over your shoulders.
  • Lower your arms toward the ground with the elbows in the range of 45 to 90 degrees of the shoulders. Your upper arms and forearms should be at a 90-degree angle with each other.
  • Extend your arms straight and press the kettlebells back over the shoulders.


Goblet Squat/Sit-to-Stands 

Primary muscle groups – quadriceps, glutes and deltoids

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width.  To protect your knees, be sure to pull down and back with your hips.  Your weight should be balanced from ball to heel, not all in your toes.
  • Hold a kettlebell to your chest.
  • Drive up from the hips – like you are pushing your heels through the ground.
  • Once standing, continue to drive up until kettlebell is overhead.
  • Adjust gripping position on kettlebell until you find one that is comfortable for your wrists and hands.


Wall Sits with Rotation​​​

  • Start in a squat position, with your thighs parallel to the floor, and your back against a wall.
  • Holding a kettlebell with both hands, twist your torso to the right and reach the kettlebell toward the wall.
  • Reverse the motion, twisting your torso to the left.

Looking for more exercises? We have you covered!

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