If you want to pack on more muscle and get ripped faster, start using kettlebells. Not only will you generate more power, build more lean muscle, and spike your metabolism, but you’ll also improve your balance and stability.
Because of its shape, you can push, pull, and swing the kettlebell like nothing else and unlock a new branch of exercises that are impossible with the tools you have now.
Follow these six best kettlebell exercises to add more muscle, melt more fat, boost your endurance, and move better. You’ll improve your body quickly and build the foundation for every other kettlebell exercise.
1) KETTLEBELL DEADLIFT
The deadlift adds muscle to your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and back. It also ingrains a good hip-hinge—the process of bending forward at your hips while keeping your lower-back flat and bending your knees slightly—necessary in almost every kettlebell move.
HOW TO DO IT:
Stand shoulder-width apart with the kettlebell between your legs and the handle inline with the bony part of your ankles. Bend from hips and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Before you lift, your shins should be vertical, your back should be almost parallel with the ground, and your lower back should be flat.
Squeeze the handle hard, pull your shoulders backward, and crush your armpits. Lift the kettlebell by pushing through the ground, not by pulling up. Stand tall and squeeze your glutes at the top. On the way down, place the kettlebell at the same exact spot you lifted it from.
2) KETTLEBELL SWING
The kettlebell swing is a fantastic exercise to strengthen your body and burn a ton of fat. It develops tremendous power in your hamstrings, glutes, and core, which will improve your other lifts like the squat and deadlift. It also crushes your lungs and blasts your metabolism because it repeats so quickly.
Adding the swing to your workout will absolutely improve your athleticism. It is, however, one of the most butchered exercises on Earth. Start with the kettlebell deadlift first—it will build a great foundation and teach good technique.
HOW TO DO IT:
Start in a deadlift position with the kettlebell a few feet in front of you. Then, hike the kettlebell back between your legs like a center in football and explosively drive your hips forward. Imagine propelling the kettlebell to a target in front of you.
Here are the two most common problems you’ll encounter:
1. “Squatting” the kettlebell swing. At the bottom of the swing, your torso is too upright and your knees are too far forward: it looks like a squat. This happens because you haven’t mastered the deadlift yet.
Work on your kettlebell deadlift and then retry the swing. Only bend your knees slightly.
2. Too much arms. Your arms should feel like noodles because it’s the hips that propel the movement. Instead, use a towel swing: wrap a towel around the kettlebell handle and grab the ends of the towel. Then, swing the kettlebell.
With a correct swing, the kettlebell should reach around the height of your belly button or chest, no higher.
3) KETTLEBELL PUSH PRESS
The push press is a phenomenal, explosive move that sculpts big shoulders, huge traps, and ripped triceps. It also builds tremendous core stability and forces you to generate power from your lower-body, transfer it up the kinetic chain, and out through your arms, which is integral in every sport.
HOW TO DO IT:
Start with the kettlebells in the “rack position”—hold a kettlebells at your chest with the kettlebell on the outside of your arms and your hands underneath your chin. Keep your chest up, pull shoulders back, and crush your armpits. Keep your wrists straight.
Lower yourself into a very partial squat and explode upward with your legs while driving your arms overhead. At the top, make sure your biceps are next to your ears and your wrists are flat, not bent backward. Carefully lower the kettlebells back to the rack position and repeat.
4) KETTLEBELL CLEAN
The kettlebell clean is a power exercise that swings the kettlebell to the rack position. You build both explosive strength and coordination. It’s also a safe and efficient way to bring the kettlebell to the rack position for your overhead exercises.
HOW TO DO IT:
Start in a deadlift position with the kettlebell a few feet in front of you. Then, hike the kettlebell back between your legs like a center in football and explosively drive your hips forward. Swing the kettlebell up to the rack position. Then repeat.
The most common problem is when the kettlebell slams on your arm rather than rolling there. This happens when you use your arm to yank the kettlebell—the kettlebell then flies away from your body and flips onto your arm. Instead, as you swing up, keep your elbow jammed to your ribcage, keep it there, and spin your hand.
Another trick is to start with the kettlebell in the rack position. Memorize the feeling, and then swing it between your legs and return to the rack position.
5) KETTLEBELL SNATCH
The kettlebell snatch is a power exercise that swings the kettlebell to an overhead position, like at the top of the push press. Because it travels more distance, the snatch builds more power than the swing or clean.
HOW TO DO IT:
Start in a deadlift position with the kettlebell a few feet in front of you. Then, hike the kettlebell back between your legs like a center in football and explosively drive your hips forward. Swing the kettlebell up to an overhead position like with the push press—imagine zipping up your jacket as you pull the kettlebell overhead. Drop the kettlebell back between your legs and repeat.
The most common problem with the snatch is when the kettlebell slams on your forearm at the top. Don’t whip the kettlebell around your hand; whip your hand around the kettlebell.
6) KETTLEBELL WINDMILLS
This is a phenomenal dynamic exercise that blasts your obliques, strengthens your shoulder, and activates your hips too.
HOW TO DO IT:
Hold one kettlebell overhead and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed away from the kettlebell. Bend at your hip and lower your torso to the side. Keep the kettlebell over your shoulder and your lower-back flat. Use the back of your bottom hand to trace your forward leg. Keep the back leg straight and watch the kettlebell throughout.
FOR THE ULTIMATE FAT-BURN
Put it all together for one big complex:
KB Swing x 8
KB Snatch x 8
KB Clean x 8
KB Push Press x 8
KB Windmill x 8
KB Goblet Squat x 8
Finish all your reps for each exercise and go straight into the next exercise without resting or resting the kettlebell. This will hurt.