Torch fat and build full-body fitness by grabbing life by the horns.
The kettlebell is one of the most versatile and functional pieces of fitness equipment around.
Bridging the gap between strength and cardio, virtually every kettlebell moves requires core stability and a good level of cardiovascular fitness, as your muscles are forced to compensate for the bell’s low centre of mass.
Here are some challenging kettlebell moves to add to your workout armoury…
Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up
Muscles worked: entire body
- Lie on the floor on your right side, with arms and legs bent, holding a kettlebell by the horns with your right hand.
- Roll onto your back while bringing your left arm and left leg down flat and out to the side slightly. At the same time, punch your right arm up to the ceiling (locked out), keeping your right leg bent, with your knee pointing up to the ceiling, and your foot flat on the floor.
- Using your core, roll onto your left forearm, pause, then shift your weight onto your left hand, while keeping the right arm locked out and vertical above your shoulder.
- Press through your left palm to a tall, seated position, with both arms now straight.
- Press through your right heel to extend your hips up so your torso forms a straight line from right knee to right shoulder.
- Move your left leg under your hips and behind you until your left knee is in line with your left hand.
- Shift your weight until you’re in a half-kneeling position, with your torso vertical and left hand off the floor.
- Push through the back foot to a standing position, right arm still locked out with the kettlebell above your right shoulder.
- Pause for a few seconds, then slowly reverse the movement to eventually return the kettlebell back to the floor in the position you started.
- Keeping the kettlebell in contact with the floor, drag it with both hands from your right side, up around your head and to the left.
- Grab the handle with the left hand and repeat the whole process on the left-hand side – that, believe it or not, is just one rep.
Muscles worked: triceps, delts, quads, glutes, hamstrings, abs
- Hold the kettlebell by the horns in the goblet position.
- Complete a deep squat, then explosively stand up and immediately press the kettlebell overhead.
- Return to the starting position. That’s one rep. (This should be performed in one swift movement rather than standing first and pressing second.)
Kettlebell Plank Drag-Through
Muscles worked: triceps, delts, pecs, traps, rhomboids, abs
- Get yourself into the full plank position with the kettlebell positioned in line with your chest and to your right side.
- With your left hand, reach underneath your torso, while keeping your knees and hips off the floor, and grab the kettlebell by the horns.
- Stabilise yourself, then drag the kettlebell across the floor and under yourself, to the other side of your body.
- Let go when it’s on the left side of your torso (again about chest level) and put your left hand down so you’re once again in the full plank position.
- Repeat the process with the right arm, by dragging the kettlebell from left to right. That’s one rep.
Muscles worked: traps, biceps, triceps, forearms
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold the kettlebell by the horns at chest height.
- Drive your feet into the floor and lift your chest.
- Begin moving the kettlebell around your head (keeping it low around the back of your head), being careful to maintain your posture and a rigid torso.
- Make full circles and alternate directions on each rep. (Go slowly to avoid cracking yourself in the head.)
Muscles worked: biceps, delts, traps, lats, glutes, quads, hamstrings, abs
- Squat down and grab the kettlebell with your right hand. Your forearm should be twisted inward with your thumb facing between your legs. Make a tight fist with your left arm and keep it straight out to the side of your body.
- Keeping your chest up, engage your core, drive through your heels and use your hips to power the kettlebell up to your shoulder, rotating the right wrist outwards on the way up to turn the kettlebell to the other side of your hand.
- At this point aim to have the kettlebell pulled into you and resting between your forearm, upper arm and chest. It should feel stable and secure.
- Pause for a moment, then reverse the movement and return the kettlebell to the starting position (in a deep squat with your thumb facing through your legs). That’s one rep.
- Complete all the reps on one side before changing arms and completing the set.
Kettlebell Side Press
Muscles worked: obliques, biceps, triceps, traps, delts, forearms, pecs, abs
- Kneel on your left knee, with your right knee bent and your right foot flat on the floor.
- Hold a light kettlebell in your right hand, pulled firmly into your chest and shoulder.
- Press the kettlebell overhead while simultaneously leaning to the left side, bringing your left palm to the floor.
- Pause, then slowly return to the start. That’s one rep.
- Complete the set by matching the same amount of reps on both sides.
Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quads, abs
- Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out at 45 degrees.
- Place a kettlebell about one foot in front of you, hinge at the hips to send your backside back, with knees just slightly bent and shins vertical.
- Keeping a flat back and your core braced, grip the horns with both hands, palms facing you.
- With the kettlebell still on the floor, lift your chest and squeeze your upper back, so the top of the kettlebell tilts toward you.
- Hike the kettlebell back between your legs and as it begins to swing back, explosively ‘snap’ your hips forward while squeezing your glutes to stand upright.
- Your hips should drive the kettlebell forward and up, while your arms are merely there for guidance. Think of your arms as two bits of string with hooks on the end – you’re not lifting the kettlebell with your arms at all. All of the power should come from your hips and glutes.
- With your hands still firmly around the horns, allow the kettlebell to swing back down between your legs, before moving into another drive.
Kettlebell Single-Arm Row
Muscles worked: lats, rhomboids, biceps, posterior delt, forearms
- Place the kettlebell on the floor and take a staggered stance with your right foot in front.
- Dig the ball of your left foot into the floor behind you (with the heel up) and bend your hips so your torso is angled at about 45 degrees to the floor.
- Rest your right elbow on your right thigh for support and reach for the kettlebell with your left hand.
- Keeping your shoulders square, squeeze the kettlebell as hard as you can and row the weight up until your hand is by your side with the elbow fully flexed.
- Return the kettlebell to the starting position (just off the floor) and perform another rep.
- Complete all your reps on one side before repeating on the other side.
Photography: Eddie Macdonald | Model: Lawrence Price (W Model Management)