What is a Kettlebell Workout

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Adding a kettlebell workout to your exercise routine is a great way to increase strength and improve coordination, among many other surprising benefits.

What is a Kettlebell Workout?

A kettlebell workout is a type of exercise using a cast-iron ball, rather than traditional dumbbells. These kettlebells have a strong handle attached, making it easy to grip and maneuver with them. Kettlebells are considered a great tool for working out because they promote a more dynamic, fast-moving type of weight training. More specifically, working out with a kettlebell gets your heart rate up in a way that traditional weightlifting fails to do. When done properly, a kettlebell workout can be a cardio part of your workout, as well as a strength training portion. Due to the comprehensive nature of this tool, it has remained popular for decades.

Kettlebell Exercises

There are many different exercises to do with a kettlebell, such as goblet squats, snatches, strict presses, and swings, among others.

Goblet Squat

With your arms in front of you, grip the sides of the kettlebell handle, keeping your shoulder blades back and your forearms perpendicular to the ground, but parallel to one another. With your feet spread, bend your knees to about a 110-degree angle and then return to a standing position. Repeat this in sets of ten.

The Clean

With the kettlebell in front of you, bend your hips as you grasp the handle and then simultaneously pull up on the weight and move your hips back. Don’t jerk, as this can hurt your shoulder. As you are moving the weight up, it will rotate over the top of your hand, leaving your elbow tucked into your side and the weight pulling outwards on your arm, resting on your forearm.

Strict Press

Starting with a Clean, the above exercise, press the kettlebell straight up until your elbow locks into place. Gently return to the Clean position.

The Snatch

Beginning with the kettlebell in front of you, you will grip it with one hand, then swing it back between your legs. When the arc returns forward, add more momentum and lift the kettlebell over the shoulder of the arm holding the weight, straightening your arm as you rise up. Reverse the momentum and swing (controlled) back down between your legs. Repeat in cycles, in sets of 12.

The Swing

Gripping the kettlebell with both hands, begin with the weight between your legs. Then, as the name implies, swing the weight back between your legs, then back up to chest height, where your arms are perpendicular to the ground. Then, allow the weight to swing back between your legs. Do this exercise in sets of 10.

Kettlebell Exercise Benefits

The main benefits of a kettlebell workout include its convenience, ability to strengthen muscles and boost flexibility throughout the body, among others.

Fat Loss

Since these exercises do help to get the heart rate up, it can increase fat-burning and boost the metabolism, which can improve your lipid profile.

Easy for Beginners

Unlike some other exercises, this is a very easy exercise approach for beginners to adopt. Furthermore, by varying the reps and weights of the kettlebell, it can also be challenging for accomplished athletes.


Since you are swinging a large weight around, this exercise does increase coordination and helps you understand the limitations of your muscles.

Mental Focus

Unlike traditional weight-lifting, these exercises force you to pay attention and be engaged in every muscle group in use, leading to a more productive and self-aware workout.


A kettlebell workout makes you very aware of your posture, and good posture is essential for an effective and safe workout – a good habit to develop.

Muscle Growth

Aside from being a cardio workout, a kettlebell workout is also great for developing muscles rapidly.


Only one kettlebell is needed for a wide variety of exercises, unlike other equipment and traditional weights.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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