Exercises with kettlebells

Exercises with kettlebells

Kettlebells are ideal for strength training. Yes, in many strength training, over time, they have been completely replaced by dumbbells or other weights. But for weights, especially those that require explosive movements, kettlebells are undeniably the best option. However, if done incorrectly, kettlebell exercises can lead to injuries such as sprains and even fractures.

The tool has a unique shape that allows you to “blow up” the body in a way that dumbbells cannot. You can pull, push, twist, rock them to become slimmer, stronger and more powerful. In addition, they work more easily on the wrists than dumbbells and reduce the risk of injury if used correctly.


Features of kettlebell training

  • Learn the technique. If you’re new to resistance training, work with a trainer or other fitness professional to learn the correct technique.
  • Warming up. Unheated muscles are more prone to injury. Before lifting weights, try brisk walking or other aerobic activity for 5-10 minutes.
  • Do one set of reps. There are many theories about how to best approach weight training, including countless hours of repetitions in the gym. But research shows that one set of such exercises, tiring after 12-15 repetitions, may be less effective than some 3 sets of another exercise.
  • Start slowly. Do not be surprised that in the initial stages you will only be able to lift a few kilograms. Everything is good. As your muscles, tendons and ligaments become accustomed to the heaviness, you can gradually increase the weight.
  • Take time to relax. To give your muscles time to recover, take one day between workouts and rest. It is quite possible to work out the main muscle groups in two sessions a week. It is best to schedule daily activities for specific muscle groups in advance. For example, on Monday, work on the arms and shoulders, on Tuesday, on the legs.
  • When it comes to writing your workout plan, stick to one key rule: keep it simple!

What working weight to choose

The choice of the size or weight of the kettlebell depends on several factors. The movements of the kettlebell during exercise can basically be divided into two groups:

  • Ballistic (explosive) lifts: swings, jerks, tossing or juggling.
  • Grind: Turkish dumbbells, overhead presses, windmills or bent presses.

Ballistic lifts use heavier weights than slow, twisting movements (lifts and windmills, the correctness and safety of which must be carefully controlled over the entire range). Therefore, both for training and for subsequent workouts, you will need at least two different sizes of kettlebells.

Many men have a rather strange and silly habit of starting with weights that are too great for them. Do not forget that if you previously used only dumbbells and barbells for strength training, grabbing the weights for the first time will be a shock to your body and ego as a whole! Don’t buy heavy weights if you don’t already know if you can handle them. This is a technical challenge that requires attention to every detail.

For beginners, weights of 16-20kg are suitable for ballistic movements. Professionals use weights of 20-24kg and above.

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How to select the right number of repetitions?

In its simplest form, you can divide the number of repetitions into 3 groups.

1-6 reps = strength

To develop overall strength, you need to lift heavier weights, but a few reps will be enough to achieve the result. There is an increased risk of injury during strength training.

The classic exercise format is 5 repetitions of 5 sets. Rest between sets is long, up to 3 minutes each.

8-12 reps = muscle development

It takes more time under tension to build muscle mass than standard strength training. Exercises last about 45 seconds, which leads to a congestion of blood to the muscles and a feeling of some kind of swelling.

The classic exercise format is 10 repetitions of 3-5 sets. Rest between sets is about 60-90 seconds each.

15+ reps = endurance

When you perform more than 15 repetitions, the body begins to move into the endurance phase, at this stage a strong burning sensation is felt in the muscles. The more repetitions, the higher your ability to withstand stress.

The classic exercise format is 20+ reps before changing exercises. Rest between exercises is minimal.

Kettlebell exercises for all muscle groups

Kettlebell swing

You may need to use a lighter weight at first to get used to the movement and technique. Later you can switch to heavy weights after perfecting the technique.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand, place your feet shoulder-width apart, place a kettlebell between your feet;
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles, pull your shoulders back;
  • Move your hips and bend your knees;
  • Grasp the weight with both hands;
  • Exhale in an explosive upward motion to bring the kettlebell out in front of you;
  • The arms should be parallel to the floor;
  • Lower your body, stop the weight between your calves.

Repeat for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat for another 20 seconds. As you build up strength, do 6 to 7 sets of 20 seconds each.

Shoulder Press

The shoulder press is aimed not only at pumping your shoulders, but also at your triceps. Be sure to use only a weight that you can safely handle for this exercise.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart;
  • Take the weight by the handle so that it rests on the outside of your shoulder. The palm should be facing the chin;
  • On a lunge, push the kettlebell up so that the arm is nearly straight;
  • Slowly lower the kettlebell to the starting position, keeping the wrist and forearm in a neutral position, pressing the elbows to the body.

Do 6 to 8 reps with one arm, then switch arms. To begin with, it is enough to complete 1 approach. As you develop strength, do up to 3-4 sets on each side.

Squat and jerk kettlebell with one hand

This is a strength exercise that works on almost every muscle in your body.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart;
  • Holding a kettlebell in one hand between your legs, sit down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle;
  • Stand up, lift the kettlebell to shoulder level. “Catch” the weight in a half squat, then return to a standing position;
  • Put the weight back on your shoulder, stop the kettlebell between your legs.

Repeat 6 to 8 times. Beginners should perform 1-2 approaches, as the strength increases, increase the load to 3-4 approaches.

Deadlift with kettlebells

Most beginners believe that it is this position that helps to “master” the form, prepares for the transition to more complex options.

To do this exercise:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place a weight between your legs;
  • Take a deep breath, rest on your hips, bending your knees slightly. Grab the kettlebell with both hands;
  • Keeping the spine in a neutral position, push your hips forward, straighten your knees to lift the kettlebell off the floor and lift it up at a 90-degree angle;
  • Pivot slowly in the opposite direction, keeping your back straight to return to the starting position.

Do three sets of 8-10 reps.

Kettlebell squats

To do this exercise:

  • Stand with your legs wide apart, point your toes forward, hold the kettlebell with your palms facing you;
  • Keeping your chest raised, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Pause, then stand up and repeat.

Do 20-25 reps.

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It will depend on the goals you set which exercises with kettlebells are right for you. Kettlebell swings, turkish lifts, goblet squats, clean and press are some of the most popular. One movement during such a workout can activate hundreds of muscles and strengthen the entire body without much involvement of the legs. These exercises often involve multiple muscle groups at once, making them a very effective way to train your arms, legs, and abs in a short amount of time.

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