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Kettlebell workout routines for weight loss – The 13 Best Kettlebells Exercises

This article will try to look at the primary and most popular exercises with a kettlebell. We will answer questions such as:

  • Why do I use a kettlebell?
  • Which size to choose?
  • What are the advantages of kettlebell?
  • How to perform exercises with a kettlebell.?

What is a kettlebell?

overhead squat, cossack squat, kettlebell training

The kettlebell is a cast iron or cast steel ball with a handle attached to the top (resembling a cannonball with a handle). It is used to perform many types of exercises, including ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility training.

Kettlebell is a weight shaped like a ball and handle for easy use. They can weigh from 5 to 100 pounds.

Kettlebell as a sport is organized in Russia but is gaining popularity in the United States. This is because kettlebell offers a different way of training, using dynamic movements, and targeting almost every fitness aspect. It can improve balance, strength, endurance, and agility. Another advantage is that only one type of equipment is used – an iron ball with a handle.

The kettlebell exercises’ idea is to perform different activities by holding the dumbbell with one or two hands. Some of them allow you to change the grip from one hand to the other while swinging the weight, which requires you to stabilize and balance your body.

Other exercises require strength from the legs and hips to move the weight, which loads the entire body, which is missing in different training types.

Why use a kettlebell for weight loss, and what are the physical benefits of kettlebell exercises?

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In addition to helping you lose weight by burning calories during exercise, kettlebells have other benefits:

improves anaerobic power, strength, and overall physical shape

  • improved posture and balance
  • lowers blood sugar levels
  • prevents heart disease
  • helps lower blood pressure and reduces LCD levels (bad cholesterol)

Is a kettlebell workout good for weight loss? Yes, it is. Depending on how intense your workout is, you can burn up to 400 calories in just 20 minutes 

Weight loss exercises usually include long cardio workouts, such as running or cycling. They undoubtedly help to get rid of extra pounds. But although they are effective, they also lead to loss of muscle mass. This is because aerobic exercise increases levels of cortisol (a stress hormone). And cortisol has a catabolic affect on muscles.

Therefore, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is very effective for burning fat. These short, intense bursts of power, repeated several times with little or no rest between sets, have a more anabolic or muscular building quality with little or no of the catabolic effects found in long-term aerobic exercise. Kettlebell exercises can be performed in different ways and with different intensity depending on your goals.

Most people can burn 20 calories a minute, which is 600 calories per half hour, you can see that kettlebells are the best option for fat loss

13 Best Kettlebells Exercises that help to lose weight.

In the following lines, I will show you some exercises with a kettlebell, which will help you get an idea of what kind of system you can make. With experience, you will become more confident in creating your own training program.

You should warm up your body before each workout. Every workout should start with a warm-up to prepare your body for the loads.

1. Kettlebell around the body pass

This exercise is a great way to warm up your body. Improves grip and helps you adjust to future loads.

Method of implementation:

Grasp the dumbbell with one hand and pass it to the other behind your back. Then continue and return the dumbbell to the first arm, forming a circle around your body. You can increase or decrease the pace of the dumbbell. After a few laps, change the direction of movement and repeat the exercise.

2. Kettlebell swing

This is one of the best exercises for the whole body. It requires a little more technique in execution. Kettlebell swing for weight loss uses most of the body’s muscles, but there is also an emphasis on the back. The hamstrings, buttocks, lower, middle, and upper back work hard during Kettlebell swing for weight loss.

Method of implementation:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a dumbbell between your legs.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles and relax your shoulders back.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees and grab the weight with both hands.
  • Exhale as you make an explosive upward movement to rotate the dumbbell in front of you.
  • Your hands should end parallel to the floor.
  • Lower the body by lowering the weight between the calves.

At the top of the rocking motion, tighten the abdomen to activate the muscles. The hands play the role of only hooks that hold the dumbbell. You should not feel tension when intensifying the swing. All the strength and reinforcement comes from the pelvis’s movement, squatting, and the weight itself.

The Kettlebell swing’s advantage is that it is unnecessary to bend the knee deeply (as in squats), which is suitable for those suffering from knee pain. The knees bend slightly during exercise, and thus the front of the thigh is activated.

Minimal space is required to perform a kettlebell swing.

Progressions:

  • Kettlebell Two Handed Swing
  • Kettlebell One-Handed Swing
  • Kettlebell Alternating Swing

3. Kettlebell Front Squat

Method of implementation:

  • Lift two dumbbells at shoulder level.
  • Rotate your palms so that your thumbs are inward.
  • Looking straight ahead, squat as low as possible, pushing your knees forward.
  • Pause at the bottom of the movement, keeping your chest and torso straight.
  • Stand up

4. Kettlebell squat (Goblet Squat)

The goblet squat is an excellent example of a compound exercise. This is because it engages several muscles at once, namely, the core, quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.

Method of implementation:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and your toes point somewhat outwards
  • Hold the dumbbell with both hands around the side of the handle, where it joins the base, and hold it close to your chest.
  • Slowly bend both knees so that your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Keep your elbows locked and your back straight.
  • Using the muscles of the legs, with a fixed upper body, stand up to the starting position.

The kettlebell squat also acts as a pumping mechanism driving blood around the body and lubricating our joints with healthy nutrients.

Stand with your legs wider than your shoulders and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell against your chest. Place one foot on top of a box or bench and, keeping stable, squat down with your front leg. Pause for a count at the bottom and drive back up. 

It’s also excellent for opening up the lower back and preventing lower back pain.

The depth of the kettlebell squat is critical. The thighs must drop down to parallel with the floor to properly activate the buttock muscles.
The buttock muscles are huge fat burners.

5. Kettlebell deadlift

Essentially, the kettlebell deadlift is a fantastic lower body and upper body strengthening tool.
Kettlebell deadlift is crucial to improving posture and balance. It also makes everyday activities easier. Training proper form ensures we can perform this action easily and safely.

It offers tons of variations if you have a limited range of motion or don’t have access to a barbell.

Whether it’s your first time or you’re an advanced lifter, kettlebell deadlifts can help you build muscle in your quads, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, and increase your power output when running, jumping, and lifting.

Method of implementation:

  • The kettlebell should be placed between your feet to begin.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart with the dumbbell handle in line with the middle of your legs.
  • Get in a squat position by bending your knees, and then take the kettlebell in both hands. Your spine should remain in a neutral position.
  • Tighten your glutes and get your core in action as you raise your body with your arms extended. Attain power by pushing through your feet, allowing the kettlebell to increase naturally instead of being lifted by your arms as you move to a standing position.
  • Bend your knees as you lower the kettlebell back to the ground, keeping your arms extended through the full motion.

6. Kettlebell Press

Method of implementation:

  • Put the dumbbell on your shoulder. Be sure to rotate your hand so that your palms are facing inward.
  • From this position, looking at the dumbbell, you begin to lift it until you lock your hand over your head.
  • Then start a controlled lowering of the dumbbell to the initial position.
    Make sure your glutes, abs, and lats are engaged for added stability.

7. Kettlebell Squat and Press

The kettlebell squat and press or thruster is my first choice of kettlebell exercise for weight loss.

Almost every muscle in the body is activated during this kettlebell exercise, plus it is very cardiovascular, so it will quickly raise the heart rate.

Method of implementation:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and your toes point slightly outwards
  • Hold the dumbbell with both hands around the side of the handle where it joins the base, and hold it close to your chest.
  • Slowly bend both knees so that your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Keep your elbows locked and your back straight.
  • Using the muscles of the legs, with a fixed upper body, stand up to the starting position.
  • Stretch your arms over your head

Progressions:

  • Kettlebell Two Handed Squat and Press
  • Kettlebell Thruster (one-handed)

8. Kettlebell Clean

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Grab a kettlebell with a loose grip; your thumb should be pointing behind you and through your legs. – To clean the kettlebell, inhale, then drive through your hips and pull the bell up, swiveling the handle around your fingers into the locked position. Be careful not to curl the kettlebell or flip it so it crashes on your forearm (you shouldn’t have bruises from doing this exercise). The kettlebell should take a vertical path, not an arc, and it should be pulled up to shoulder-height. At the top of the movement, your shoulder should be pressed down (squeeze your armpit), triceps against your ribcage, and the kettlebell resting between your forearm and biceps (nearly in the crook of your elbow).
  • Exhale, then swivel or roll the kettlebell back down to the starting position.
    Keep your abs and glutes engaged during the entire exercise.

9. Тhe Kettlebell Clean and Press

Тhe Kettlebell Clean and Press combines 2 exercises – the Kettlebell Clean and the Overhead Press.

Combining these 2 kettlebell exercises into one fluid movement will work over 600 muscles in the body and put great demands on your cardiovascular system.

Once the kettlebell has been cleaned up to the racked position, there should be a moment’s pause before pressing the kettlebell overhead. Failure to pause between the two movements can result in incorrect breathing patterns and a lack of concentration during the top part of the exercise.
The kettlebell clean and press can also be performed with 2 kettlebells to add to the body’s real overload.

10. Kettlebell Lunges

Kettlebell Lunges are an extremely powerful exercise for developing strong legs and buttocks (glutes).
The kettlebell lunge is also a great exercise to improve single-leg strength and develop mobility in the hips, which is excellent for sports and general movement skills.

The kettlebell lunge is also a great exercise to improve single-leg strength and develop mobility in the hips, which is excellent for sports and general movement skills.

Plus, get ready for a huge cardio workout too when you start using the kettlebell lunge. Before progressing onto any kettlebell lunge variations, it is essential to have developed lunge strength by practicing without any weight.

In other words, master the movement first before loading it with a kettlebell. A poor lunge technique will only be magnified when adding extra load and result in faulty movement patterns that are harder to rectify later.

11. Kettlebell lunge and press

When you feel ready, you can add a press to the standard lunge variation to create a full-body movement and increase the cardiovascular output.
The static variation is excellent because it focuses the movement into a simple up and down and anchors its feet. This enables more repetitions in less time, increasing the cardio.

You can remove the press part of the movement for complete beginners and hold a kettlebell in both hands or one kettlebell in each hand by your sides.

12. Kettlebell clean, squat, and press

This is the most complex exercise for weight loss. Here the advantages of the dwarfs, the press, and the wedge are combined. This exercise is not for beginners because it requires a perfect movement technique to combine different exercises. Again, the legs do not move during the whole exercise, so only a small space is needed and minimal impact on the joints.

The movement should run from one exercise to the next. No activity should be interrupted due to this exercise’s complexity, make sure you are completely clean, then squatting, and finally the press.

Progressions:

  • Kettlebell Squat and Press
  • Kettlebell Clean and Press
  • Kettlebell Clean, Squat, and Press

13. Kettlebell high pull

This is a very technical exercise that requires the perfect technique to perform. You need to feel comfortable performing a swing to move on to completing a High pull.

Like the kettlebell swing, the kettlebell high pull exercise works practically every muscle in the body but emphasizes the body’s back. It is vital to keep a nice straight wrist, a good grip, and a high elbow to correctly complete the movement.

Start out with a light kettlebell before using the same weight you use for the one-handed kettlebell swing.

Progressions:

  • Kettlebell Two-Handed Swing
  • Kettlebell One-Handed Swing
  • Kettlebell High Pull

What size weights to use?

Kettlebell Sizes for Men

Many men start with a dumbbell that is too heavy for them and fail to cope, preventing further exercise. If you haven’t used a dumbbell before, this can be very different from anything you’ve done before.

Kettlebell lifting is technical and requires attention to detail, so choose a kettlebell size that is reasonable to start out with. For ballistic movements like kettlebell swings, cleansing, and snatches, an average, active man should start out with either a 16 kg- 35 lb or a 20 kg – 44 lb kettlebell.

It is suitable for the other movements to start with a weight with which you can do 8-10 repetitions.

An average, active man should begin with a kettlebell between 8 kg – 18 lb and 12 kg – 26 lb. Athletic men should start with a kettlebell between 12 kg – 26 lb and 20 kg – 44 lb. Out of shape, inactive men should try an 8 kg – 18 lb kettlebell.

Of course, if you are 250 lbs and have been lifting weights all your life, feel free to buy whatever size bell you want to! If you are not active and do not consider yourself to be “in shape,” you might want to start with a 12 kg – 26 lb kettlebell.

Kettlebell Sizes

Kettlebell Sizes for Women

Unlike men, women tend to start with a dumbbell that is too light for them, sometimes too light! Lifting dumbbells will not make you big and bulky. On the contrary, it will give you the body you have always wanted with proper training and dedication.

So don’t be afraid of “heavy” dumbbells; once you learn how to unlock the strength of your thighs and core, you will swing dumbbells with weights you never thought possible.

For ballistic movements like kettlebell swings, cleansing, and snatches, average, active women should start with a kettlebell between 8 kg – 18 lb and 12 kg – 26 lb.

An athletic woman should begin with a kettlebell between 12 kg – 26 lb and 16 kg – 35 lb. Out of shape, inactive women should try a bell between 6 kg – 13 lb and 8 kg – 18 lb.

It is suitable for other movements to start with a weight with which you can do 8-10 repetitions.


Average, active women should start with a kettlebell between 6 kg – 13 lb and 8 kg – 18 lb. An athletic woman should start with a kettlebell between 8 kg – 18 lb and 12 kg – 26 lb and out of shape, inactive women should try a bell between 4 kg – 9 lb and 6 kg – 13 lb.

An adjustable kettlebell set

Adjustable Kettlebell Set

This is where the new features that offer an adjustable kettlebell come from. An adjustable kettlebell set lets you choose the weight you want, depending on the type of exercise you’re doing. So if you’re going to lighten up for presses, you can.

Then, when it’s time for swings or lunges, just dial the weight back on. An adjustable kettlebell not only takes up less space in your home, but it takes up less time for a workout.

FAQ

Are kettlebell workouts good for weight loss?

As you already know, kettlebell exercises help burn fat and impact the overall development of the body – it improves anaerobic strength, strength, and overall physical shape, affects blood sugar, blood pressure, and bad cholesterol.


How do kettlebells help lose belly fat?

With a kettlebell, you not only train with weights, but you also have an anaerobic load, which allows you to burn fat while maintaining muscle mass and tightening the whole body. The entire body is loaded with kettlebell exercises in a complex way.


Can I train with kettlebells every day?

Yes. You can make your own program that will allow you to load different muscle groups in different ways and train daily. In fact, it is the kettlebell exercise routine that will help you get your dream body. When your weight becomes light, just switch to a heavier weight or increase repetitions

Are 20 minutes of kettlebells enough?

It depends on your workload. If you train with heavier weights and without resting between exercises, 20 minutes will allow you to have a good workout. But I do not advise it to be daily. As you increase your strength, you will need to either increase the weight or the repetitions to develop your body.