Top 5 Kettlebell Exercises for Beginners

You’ve got your kettlebell, your music on, your gym gear on- you’re ready to go! But you look at your kettlebell and wonder “what I am I supposed to  do with this thing?”.  Admittedly, the kettlebell is an oddly shaped piece of exercise equipment (probably why many kettlebell strength feats fall into the “odd lifts” category).  It is a wonderful tool, if you know how to use it right, but where should you start? Of course, you want to use the kettlebell well, so you don’t like a complete newbie at the gym; and more importantly, learning the right exercises, with proper progression leads to better overall safety and progress in the long run.  So again, where should you start? Many people start with the kettlebell swing, which is great, but typically that movement brings better results (safely!) when the proper foundation is built.  So, if you want to reap the benefits of kettlebell exercises, but are a complete beginner- look no further, because we’ve got you covered! These versatile and effective exercises provide an excellent foundation for building muscle, improving stamina, and boosting overall fitness levels. In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 kettlebell exercises specifically tailored to beginners. Each exercise is carefully selected to empower you on your fitness journey, and we’ll provide easy-to-follow instructions to ensure you get off to a great start.

Whether you’re aiming to shed a few pounds, gain strength, or simply boost your energy levels, these kettlebell exercises are going to serve you well. We’ll also include a sample circuit workout that combines these exercises into a seamless routine. Remember, the key to results are a good foundation, consistency and gradual progression. So, let’s dive in and discover 5 excellent kettlebell exercises for beginners!

1. Kettlebell Goblet Squats

Why it’s great for beginners

  • Goblet squats build trunk stability, as well as obvious strength in your leg muscles.
  • The goblet grip encourages proper posture.
  • Ideal for learning the foundational squat movement because the positioning of the kettlebell promotes proper squatting mechanics.

How to Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell close to your chest.
  2. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and core engaged.
  3. Lower your body by bending your knees, as if sitting back into a chair.
  4. Go as low as your flexibility allows, then push through your heels to stand back up.
  5. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

2. Kettlebell Lunges

Why it’s great for beginners

  • Builds on the foundation of the Goblet squat through unilateral movement, while generally targeting the same muscle groups.
  • Kettlebell lunges improve lower body strength and coordination.
  • Enhances balance and stability.
  • A fantastic exercise to work on your leg muscles.

How to Do It

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell in one hand.
  2. Take a step forward with one leg and lower your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Ensure your front knee is directly above your ankle.
  4. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position.
  5. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps per leg.

3. Kettlebell Bent-Over Rows

Why it’s great for beginners

  • Strengthens the upper back and core.
  • Promotes proper form in the row movement because of the weight distribution of the kettlebell.
  • Enhances posture and stability.
  • Provides a smooth introduction to the traditional barbell row.

How to Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell in one hand.
  2. Hinge at your hips, keeping your back flat and core engaged.
  3. Pull the kettlebell towards your hip, keeping your elbow close to your body.
  4. Lower the kettlebell back down with control.
  5. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps per arm.

4. Kettlebell Deadlifts

Why it’s great for beginners:

  • Develops lower back, glute, and hamstring strength.
  • Teaches proper lifting mechanics.
  • Builds a solid foundation for more advanced exercises.
  • Greater safety than the conventional deadlift, since the kettlebell is directly above your center of gravity (between your feet), rather than slightly forward, as in the barbell deadlift.

How to Do It

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, the kettlebell on the floor between your feet.
  2. Bend at your hips and knees to reach down and grab the kettlebell with both hands.
  3. Keep your back flat, chest up, and core engaged.
  4. Push through your heels to stand up, extending your hips and knees.
  5. Lower the kettlebell back down with control.
  6. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

5. Kettlebell Swings 

Why it’s great for beginners

  • Consider this your transition to the next step of kettlebell exercises- dynamic/ballistic movements.  Once you’ve built up the strength from the first 4 beginner exercises, you’ll be ready to reap the benefits from the kettlebell swing!
  • Kettlebell swings are excellent for full-body conditioning and calorie burn.
  • Excellent way to train the posterior chain.
  • excellent full-body workout stand alone.
  • However, they are more complex and require proper form.
  • Building strength with the first 4 exercises will equip you to perform kettlebell swings safely and effectively.

How to Do It (after building strength with the first 4 exercises):

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, gripping the kettlebell with both hands.
  2. Remember the hinge movement pattern you learned from Russian swings.
  3. Swing the kettlebell between your legs, then explosively drive your hips forward to swing it to chest height.
  4. Maintain control as you let gravity bring the kettlebell back down.
  5. Start with 3 sets of 10-12 reps and gradually increase as you become more comfortable.

The Workout

You can follow the set and rep recommendations at the end of each exercise, of if you’re wanting a fun and intense workout combine them into a circuit the following way:

 3 rounds (20 seconds rest between exercises. 60 seconds rest between each circuit)

  1. Kettlebell Lunges
  2. Kettlebell bent-Over Rows
  3. Kettlebell Goblet Squats
  4. Kettlebell Deadlifts

Finisher: 3-5 sets of Kettlebell Swings (10-15 reps per set)

A Strong Start For The Road Ahead

If you’re ready to jump into kettlebell training, you’ve made a great choice! These top 5 kettlebell exercises are tailored to empower you with foundational skills and build your confidence. Begin with the first four exercises to build strength, and then, when you’re ready, give some kettlebell swings a try, focusing on proper form. By incorporating these 5 beginner friendly exercises, you’ll be ready to continue making gains for years to come!

If you have any questions or need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can also explore our website for more workouts, tips, and inspiration to keep you motivated on your kettlebell journey. The more you train with the kettlebell, the more you’ll love it and these beginner exercises are the best way to start.  Till next time…

Happy Kettlebelling,


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