The best kettlebell exercises, such as the kettlebell swing and kettlebell overhead press, can build muscle efficiently as well as making you strong. Truth to be told, you can do either of the best kettlebell exercises alone and get strong: the 10,000 swings kettlebell workout uses one exercise only yet it build muscles and improves grip strength in four weeks.
But doing one kettlebell exercise only over and over again can get pretty boring and repetitive. If you want to build muscle fast and naturally, you want to mix up your workout routine and include some more out-of-the-box kettlebell exercises every now and then to get you out of that rut you're stuck in.
We collected the best kettlebell exercises you aren't doing and should do to improve mobility, increase strength and – of course – build muscle. Doing resistance training regularly can also help you lose belly fat and boost metabolism naturally too, among other things.
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Why should you try kettlebell training?
Unlike more traditional bodybuilding methods, kettlebell workout classifies as 'functional' training and is considered to build functional muscle mass as opposed to mainly the aesthetically pleasing variety the former does. The best kettlebell exercises are usually compound exercises too, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at the same time, making them more efficient in burning calories.
Another benefit of kettlebell training is that it doesn't require you to have the best home gym equipment at your disposal: all you need is one kettlebell, or a pair of kettlebells, and you are ready to go. If you have a modular kettlebell, such as Bowflex SelectTech 840 kettlebell, all the better as these home weights replace a range of individual weights and take up less space in your home.
One of the 'hidden' benefits of kettlebell training could actually help you live longer: by having to grab the handle firmly in order to prevent the kettlebell flying off, you can improve grip strength and strengthen the forearms too.
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The best kettlebell exercises you are NOT doing
1. Kettlebell halo
The kettlebell halo is an amazing warm up exercise and one that fires up the delts like no other move. Since you are moving your arm around your head, kettlebell halo also improves shoulder mobility, something not many people pay attention to.
When performing kettlebell halos, make sure you keep your core tight and focus on rotating the shoulders as opposed to your hips and upper body. By keeping your core tight, you can reduce swaying and isolate the upper back and shoulder more efficiently.
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2. Kettlebell swing into pull (kettlebell high pull)
The kettlebell swing is hands down the best full body kettlebell move, period. Much like how the deadlift is the King of Lifts, the kettlebell swing is the king of all kettlebell moves and the kettlebell swing-into-pull is a natural progression from the standard swing.
Sometimes also called the kettlebell high pull, this exercise works the same muscles as the standard kettlebell swing but by adding the horizontal pull movement, it also adds a bit more resistance to the movement and works the core, the shoulders and the upper back a bit more.
3. Turkish get up
Probably the second best kettlebell exercise after the kettlebell swing, the Turkish get up requires muscle coordination and improves overall strength significantly. Don't let the simple concept fool you: the Turkish get up requires a lot of strength and stamina but builds muscle strength very efficiently.
Turkish get ups are great full body exercises that work the core, the glutes, hips and shoulders the most. Depending how you pick the weight up, you can also squeeze in a bicep curl at the beginning and compliment the movement with a triceps overhead extension halfway through the movement (when you are standing upright).
4. Kettlebell thruster
It's a real mystery why thrusters are not super popular: they combine two awesome exercises, the squat and the overhead press, into one perfectly smooth flow and work both the lower and the upper part of the body, not to mention the core which works twice as hard to stabilize the body.
Kettlebell thrusters, much like every other kettlebell exercise, can be performed unilaterally, using one arm at the time, or as a double kettlebell exercise which in this case adds a lot more extra weight to your squat, working it more efficiently.