This kettlebell abs workout is a weight-swinging route to a flatter stomach

You can strengthen and sculpt your abs in fast forward with only a kettlebell

Woman stretching next to a kettlebell and medicine ball
(Image credit: Nathan Cowley from Pexels)

Adding kettlebell ab exercises to your core routine is one of the best ways to intensify your workout and start burning fat faster. Kettlebells add additional resistance to each exercise – as including any weight would – but there are also some exercises specifically designed to be done with kettlebells. Please note: this was written by me, and I'm a woman, but obviously this abs workout is entirely suitable for men as well – as are all our best workouts for women, if truth be told. So arguably the headline is a bit misleading.

This kettlebell routine is a 15 minute ab blast. You'll workout for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds and repeat three times for each exercise, with a 30 second rather than 15 second rest after your third set. We recommend using a kettlebell weighing between 4 and 8kg, depending on your existing strength and familiarity with ab exercises.

It's not easy, but it's fast. And we think that's the best way to tackle abs. Plus, adding a kettlebell to these exercises makes them harder anyway, so we think you'll be ready for the finish line after 15 minutes. 

If, however, it's not quite enough for you, why not follow this routine with a kettlebell arm workout or go hardcore with a full-body kettlebell exercise routine?

20kg kettlebells

(Image credit: dorianrochowski from Pixabay)

Do these kettlebell ab exercises consistently and you'll start to say goodbye to excess fat around your middle surprisingly quickly.

Don't forget though that exercise alone won't burn your belly fat and get you a six pack. For that you need to approach diet and nutrition sensibly too. 

For the complete picture read our guide on how to lose weight fast to better understand how diet and exercise work in conjunction, and then you'll be ready to try the best ab exercises to help you get a six pack.

Woman with toned abs in workout gear

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: 'Around the world'

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold your kettlebell in one hand, in front of your body by the handle. 

Swing the weight gently around your hips, passing it from one hand to the other. The challenge here is to stabilise your core. Other than your arms, you should move your body as little as possible. 

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Side crunches

Time: 30 seconds (15 seconds per side) 

Sets: 3

Once again stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold your kettlebell in one hand. 

Keeping your arms by your sides – not in front of you – reach towards your knee with the hand holding your kettlebell, bending at your waist. The movement is small, and the key is that the bend comes from the waist rather than your shoulders and back.

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: V sits

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Sit on the floor with your knees tucked into your chest, and hold your kettlebell close to your chest with both hands. You can either hold it by the ball, or have it upside down and hold it by the handles, whichever is more comfortable. 

Lean back slightly until you can feel that your core is keeping your upper body stable, rather than simply being sat upright. Next, fully extend your legs out in front of you, before pulling them back into your chest. This is one V sit. 

The difficulty of this exercise is set by how quickly you work, and of course how heavy your kettlebell is. 

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Sit up to press

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Stay seated, but this time start with your back flat on the floor. Do a regular sit up but once you are fully sat press your kettlebell from your chest to the ceiling. Hold the kettlebell in both hands for stability, either by the bell or the handle. 

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Russian twists 

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Sit back in your V sit position, again holding the kettlebell in both hands. Lift your feet off the ground and extend them as much as you can. Advanced exercisers should be able to fully extend their legs and hold them a couple of inches off the ground. 

Lean back slightly, making sure your back does not touch the ground, and twist your waist so that your upper body turns from side to side. As with the standing side crunches, the movement is in your oblique muscles and not your shoulders. 

Depending on the weight you're using you can either move the kettlebell from side to side as you twist, or keep it in the middle of your chest.  

Woman in high plank position

(Image credit: Taco Fleur from Pixabay)

Exercise: Plank

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Our final exercise is the classic plank, with a kettlebell twist. Before planking, place your kettlebell on the ground, handles up. 

Get into a high plank position, where your hands are directly under your shoulders and your back is straight but sloping (i.e. not curving at your lower back, but your head is higher than your feet). You should align yourself so your kettlebell is just in front of your face. Make sure that if you drop out of your plank you're not going to land on your kettlebell! 

Engage your core so that you are completely stable. Ask yourself: if someone sat on your back right now, would you collapse? The answer should be "no".  

Now you're set, you're going to hold this position for 30 seconds, tapping the kettlebell with alternate hands as quickly as you can. The key is remain stable, so move at a pace that fits in as many taps as possible, but you don't want to get seasick by too much swaying. If you can't hold your body firm, slow down.

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Esther Docherty
Esther is a new addition to the team, covering Fitness and Outdoor content.