Updated: Jan 11
I love training with kettle bells and I love using them with clients. There is so much you can do with such a small range of weight. You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a few different sizes and weights of kettle bells and you’re good to go.
Kettle bells are just another form or resistance training just like a dumbbell or barbell. There are very few specific kettle bell exercise so a lot of exercises that you can do with a dumbbell for example, you can also do with a kettle bell.
Although the kettle bell allows you do some movements easier than if you were to do it with a dumbbell or barbell.
One thing I will say is that a good few kettle bell exercise/movements are quite difficult. There is a focus on compound exercise.
Movements such as swings, squats, cleans and snatches use a lot of muscle groups. This is what makes them such good exercise. However making sure they are done correctly, is very important.
Like a lot of exercises there are different ways to progress and regress these exercises so I will also touch on how you can adapt them to make sure that you know the one that will suit you best.
I’m not going to go too deep into technique. But I will give you a quick run through of how to do the exercises and the muscles that you will work doing them.
1. Kettle Bell Swings
I couldn’t not start with what, is probably the king of kettle bell exercises, the kettle bell swing.
The kettle bell swing is definitely a whole body exercise. You are working your entire lower body, training your core and working your lats too.
In fact, it has been proven that you can increase the amount of pull ups you can do without training pull ups but by doing kettle bell swings.
It is a hip hinge movement like a deadlift and has a lot of similar qualities. You are keeping the weight back more on your heels. You hinge at the hips and keep your back straight.
I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping your core braced and you back straight when doing not just this exercise but all of these exercises.
In the words of Chubbs from Happy Gilmore, it’s all in the hips.
You drive your hips through into full hip extension. All while keeping your core engaged and your lats engaged.
It is also important to sync up your breathing. You want to exhale hard when you are swinging up and standing up all and breathing in as the kettle bell comes down.