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Kettlebell Workout For Women | Best Womens’ Kettlebell Exercises

This year has been a difficult one for many people, and with the closing of the gyms again for the second time it’s hard for many to keep up with their gym routine but do not worry  – We’ve got you! Kettlebells are the perfect piece of versatile equipment for everyone and anyone, no matter where you’re working out kettlebells are certain to put your entire body through its paces plus they are easy to transport.

Kettlebells work the entire body from your grip strength to your entire back chain and core. The variety of movements and workouts available with a kettlebell is second to none – So what are you waiting for, grab yourself a kettlebell now and try out the below exercises! 

Top Kettlebell Exercises for Women, Which You Can Add to Any Workout

Kettlebells have a whole variety of benefits from build strength to push your heart rate and cardiovascular fitness. They require your entire core to help improve core strength and stability as well as improving coordination and balance, but the best thing about kettlebells is their versatility, which means no matter what area of your body you’re training you’ll be able to add kettlebells into your training. 

No matter if you’ve never used a kettlebell before or you’re looking for some new moves we’ve got some moves below for you to add to your workout

Kettlebell Foundation Moves 

These two moves are fundamental to kettlebell complexes and also getting to grip with learning how to move the kettlebell effectively. You can always add these two movements to the end of any workouts to push your heart rate and work your entire body. 

1. Kettlebell Swing 

Recommended Reps and Sets: 15 – 20 reps 

 Muscles Worked: Full body – abs, shoulders, pecs, glutes, quads, hips, hamstrings

Benefits: This is the basic movements of all kettlebell workouts, it allows you to learn the technique before progressing. The full-body movement builds strength, stability, and balance as well as raising your heart-rate. 

How To: 

  1. Start with feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart and point your toes out slightly.
  2. Grab a single kettlebell in both hands so that it hangs between your legs with your arms extended.
  3. Keeping your knees soft starts the movement by pushing your hips back in a hinging movement.
  4. Keep your arms slightly loose, and as you hinge at the hip drive the kettlebell backwards through your legs, at the top of this movement drive your hips forward and allow the kettlebell to swing forwards and up.
  5. Keeping your arms straight until it is eye level and then allow it to drop and swing back between your legs, repeat this for the desired reps.

Tips: Remember that the movement is a swing and not a squat, generate the movement from hinging at the hip and not bending at the knee, also remember your kettlebell should be too heavy for you to lift with your arms alone! A Lot of people use their arms and not the power generated through the hip swing, this will also help you with form.

 

2. Kettlebell Single-Arm Swing 

Recommended Reps and Sets: 10 – 15 reps on each arm

 Muscles Worked: Full body – abs, shoulders, pecs, glutes, quads, hips, hamstrings

Benefits: This is another fundamental move of all kettlebell workouts, it allows you to learn technique before progressing. The full-body movement builds strength, stability, and balance as well as raising your heart-rate. 

How To: 

  1. Start with feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart and point your toes out slightly.
  2. Grab the kettlebell in one hand so that it hangs between your legs with your arms extended.
  3. Keeping your knees soft starts the movement by pushing your hips back in a hinging movement.
  4. Keep your arms slightly loose, and as you hinge at hip drive the kettlebell backwards through your legs, at the top of this movement drive your hips forward and allow the kettlebell to swing forwards and up keeping your arm straight until it is eye level and then allow it to drop and swing back between your legs, repeat this for the desired reps.
  5. Switch arms and repeat on the other side, once you have mastered this, you can link them together.
  6. Instead of stopping the movement after the desired reps on one side, at the top of the movement on the last reps switch your hands and continue with the other arm. 

 

Tips: Remember that the movement is a swing and not a squat, generate the movement from hinging at the hip and not bending at the knee, also remember your kettlebell should be too heavy for you to lift with your arms alone! A Lot of people use their arms and not the power generated through the hip swing, this will also help you with form.

 

Beginner Kettlebell Exercises 

There is more you can do with a kettlebell than just swinging, so why not try some of these exercises to add variety and new challenges into your workouts… 

1. Kettlebell Goblet Squat 

Recommended Reps and Sets: 15 – 20 reps 

Muscles Worked: Legs and core

Benefits: The front rack of the Kettlebell means your core is having to work harder to stabilise your upper body and the added weight means your training your legs to be stronger. 

How To: 

  1. Start with feet hip-distance apart and point your toes out slightly.
  2. Rack the kettlebell in front of your chest in both hands holding it like a goblet.
  3. Start the squat movement by driving the hips back and bending the knees, keeping your chest lifted, shoulders back and down and core engaged.
  4. Once your knees are bent and you are at a 90-degree angle to the floor, press through your feet and drive back to standing, repeat for the desired amount of reps.

Tips: Remember to keep your core engaged and chest lifted to ensure you don’t let the weight of the kettlebell pull your forward.

 

2. Kettlebell Shoulder Press 

Recommended Reps and Sets: 15 – 20 reps each side

Muscles Worked: Shoulders and Core

Benefits: Isolating one shoulder at a time means you are offsetting the weight which means your core will have to stabilise you to keep your hips centred while driving into the press which will help grow strength in the shoulder. 

How To: 

  1. Start with feet hip-distance apart and point your toes out slightly.
  2. Rack the kettlebell on your shoulder with your elbow high to help support.
  3. Keep your hips centred and your core engaged, chest lifted and proud.
  4. Start the movement by driving the kettlebell up above your head until your arm is straight, hold for a second and then slowly lower the kettlebell back to your shoulder with control, repeat for the desired amount of reps and then change sides and repeat. 

 

Tips: Remember to keep your core engaged and chest lifted, try not to bend your knees or use your lower body to push the kettlebell up to isolate the shoulders. Control the movement both on the drive and return to the racked position.

3. Kettlebell Row 

Recommended Reps and Sets: 15 – 20 reps each side

Muscles Worked: Back, Arms and Core

Benefits: Isolating one side at a time means you are offsetting the weight which means your core will have to stabilise you to keep your hips centred while driving up into the row which will help grow a strong back and arms. 

How To: 

  1. Start with feet hip-distance apart and point your toes out slightly.
  2. Bend over slightly from the hip, keeping your back straight and your knees soft.
  3. Hold the kettlebell in one hand and let your arms hang straight down in front of you, the other can be resting on your hip or out to the side for balance.
  4. Keep your hips centred and your core engaged, chest and back engaged.
  5. Start the movement by pulling the kettlebell up towards your chest, bending at the elbow and pulling your shoulder blade back, hold at the top of the movement for a second and then slowly lower the kettlebell back down with control, repeat for the desired amount of reps and then change sides and repeat. 

 

Tips: Remember to keep your core engaged and your back engaged by pulling your shoulder blades back and down, keep your knees soft but don’t bounce to help pull the kettlebell try and keep as still as possible. Control the movement both on the pull and return to the racked position.

Intermediate Kettlebell Exercises 

There is more you can do with a kettlebell than just swinging, so why not try some of these exercises to add variety and new challenges into your workouts… 

1. Kettlebell Clean 

Recommended Reps and Sets: 10 -15 reps each side

Muscles Worked: Legs, Hips, Core and Back 

Benefits: The kettlebell clean is an explosive move to take the bell from the floor to shoulder so requires your entire body, coordination, and controlled speed.

How To: 

  1. Start with feet wider than hip-distance apart and point your toes out slightly.
  2. Place the kettlebell in the centre of your legs just in front of your body.
  3. Start the movement by bending down into a deadlift stance with one hand on the bell the other on your hip or out to the side for balance.
  4. In one explosive and fluid movement drive your hips forward while pulling the kettlebell from the floor pulling your elbow high as you reach the top of your movement, rotate your elbow around then under the weight, ensuring it lands just behind the shoulder, wrist facing upwards.
  5. Hold here for a second and then with a small shrug of the shoulder knock the kettlebell off and control back to the floor, repeat for the desired amount of reps. Then switch arms.

 

Tips: Remember to keep your core and upper body engaged and use the memento of your hip drive to lift the kettlebell.

2. Kettlebell Racked Lunge  

Recommended Reps and Sets: 10 – 15 reps each side

Muscles Worked: Legs and Core

Benefits: Isolating one shoulder at a time means you are offsetting the weight which means your core will have to stabilise you as you lower into the lunge as well as building strength in your leg. 

How To: 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your hands on your hips or your arms out in front of you, rack the kettlebell on the right shoulder with your elbow high to help support.
  2. Keep your hips centred and your core engaged, chest lifted and proud.
  3. Step the left leg backwards and bend at the knee driving it towards the floor at the bottom of the movement push through both of your feet to the starting position and then repeat on the same leg and continue to repeat for the desired amount of reps and then change legs and rack the kettlebell on the other side and repeat.  

Tips: Remember to keep your core engaged and chest lifted, try not to let the chest lean forward or over to the side of the kettlebell and keep your elbow high. Control the movement both on the drive and return to standing.

3. Kettlebell Turkish Get-up 

Recommended Reps and Sets: 5-10 reps each side

Muscles Worked: Full body 

Benefits: This movement requires stabilising all the muscles of the body making it excellent for injury prevention as well as mobility and working deep into the core muscles.

How To: 

  1. Start by laying on the floor on your back and hold the kettlebell into one of your hands with your arm straight up in the air.
  2. Always keep your eyes on the kettlebell.
  3. Palms should face forward and the bell should sit on your forearm.  Start the movement by bending the leg on the same side as the kettlebell and place the opposite arm out at 45 degrees. Ensure the sole of your foot is flat on the floor.
  4. Hold the handle tight and drive the kettlebell upwards keeping your arm straight so that you start to sit up, keeping your eyes on the bell the other arm also rising and rest your hand on the floor for support at the top of the movement so you are now sitting.
  5. Now push up from the heel of the bent leg and drive your hips in the air and into full hip extension, keeping both your arms straight and the kettlebell steady.
  6. Sweep the straight leg back and through to a half-kneeling position.
  7. Try to bring the leg straight through rather than in a semi-circle. 
  8. Slowly Take your hand off the floor and straighten your body so your hips and torso are centred.
  9. Now you can take your eyes off the kettlebell and look forward.
  10. To stand drive from the front heel, with a controlled movement at the top hold and then reverse the movement, step by step. Repeat for the reps and then switch sides. 

 

Tips: Remember to keep your entire body engaged and be slow and steady, take your time to move through the exercise. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell and it will help you balance.

Advanced Kettlebell Exercises 

There is more you can do with a kettlebell than just swinging, so why not try some of these exercises to add variety and new challenges into your workouts… 

1. Kettlebell Bottom-up Shoulder Press 

Recommended Reps and Sets: 15 – 20 reps 

Muscles Worked: Shoulders and core

Benefits: Isolating one shoulder at a time means you are offsetting the weight which means your core will have to stabilise you to keep your hips centred while driving into the press which will help grow strength in the shoulder. 

How To: 

  1. Start with feet hip-distance apart and point your toes out slightly.
  2. Hold the kettlebell so that the handle is face down and the bottom of the bell is facing towards the sky at your shoulder.
  3. Keeping a firm grip on the bell and making sure to keep strong and stable through the core and shoulder joint, start the movement by driving the kettlebell up above your head until your arm is straight, hold for a second and then slowly lower the kettlebell back to your shoulder with control, repeat for the desired amount of reps and then change sides and repeat. 

 

Tips: Keep your eyes on the bell and remember to keep your core engaged and chest lifted, try not to bend your knees or use your lower body to push the kettlebell up to isolate the shoulders. Control the movement both on the drive and return to the racked position.

2. Kettlebell Overhead Squat

Recommended Reps and Sets: 10 – 15 reps each side

Muscles Worked: Legs, Arms, and Core

Benefits: Extending the levers on your body by extending the arm requires more legs, arm, and core strength to stay stable throughout the movement and builds better stability and strength throughout the entire body. 

 

  1. Start with feet hip-distance apart and point your toes out slightly.
  2. Rack the kettlebell onto your shoulder and then drive it above your head until your arm is straight, keeping it steady at the top.
  3. Start the squat movement by driving the hips back and bending the knees, keeping your chest lifted, shoulders back and down and core engaged.
  4. Once your knees are bent and you are at a 90-degree angle to the floor, press through your feet and drive back to standing, repeat for the desired amount of reps.
  5. Bring the kettlebell back down, switch arms, and repeat. 

 

Tips: Remember your arm extending at the top and the kettlebell steady the entire time, make sure to keep your hips centred and not to lean over to one side.

 

3. Kettlebell Renegade Row

Recommended Reps and Sets: 10-15 reps each side

Muscles Worked: Back, Glutes, Arms, and Core

Benefits: As with the plank this hold pulls on all your core strength as well as your back to stay stable throughout the hold but also during the movement.  

 

How To: 

  1. Start in the plank position with a box or raised flat surface under one hand on the floor and one on the handle of the kettlebell.
  2. Keep your hips centre, your back straight, and your core and glutes engaged.
  3. Start the movement by pulling the kettlebell up towards your chest, bending at the elbow, and pulling your shoulder blade back, hold at the top of the movement for a second.
  4. Slowly lower the kettlebell back down with control, repeat for the desired amount of reps, and then change sides and repeat.
  5. Once you get better you can balance on two kettlebells and alternate the rows. 

Tips: Remember to keep your core engaged and your back and glutes engaged. Try not to rock at the hip when rowing and control the movement throughout.

 

How to Make the Most of Your Kettlebell Workout 

Kettlebells are the best bit of equipment for full-body, fat burning, and HIIT workouts because they are versatile and can be introduced to any workouts but to make the most of these you need to make sure that you follow the below tips to get the most out of your bell.

 

Make Sure Your Kettlebells are the Right Weight

Kettlebells just as with dumbbells come in a variety of different weights and you have to make sure you have the right one for you. For swings you want to make sure you are using a kettlebell that you would struggle to lift with just your arms or you won’t be using the posterior chain as effectively as you should, however with isolated movement you want to make sure you are working within a reasonable weight range, using lighter bells for presses and arm work and heavier ones for the lower body. 

 

Use space wisely

Before you go swinging your bell around or practising your Turkish get up, make sure you have enough clear space around you. Kettlebells are designed to put you off balance and you don’t want to risk hurting yourself or someone else. 

 

Warm-up

Kettlebells use your entire core and the majority of your muscle in every movement with them so the Importance of stretching to warm up and avoid injury is more pressing than ever with kettlebells, make sure to get all your joints and muscles warm before starting your workout. You can use a light kettlebell to do this. 

Remember to rest

 

A Lot of people neglect rest but this is the time when a lot more muscle is built as your muscles use recovery time to mend and grow. When we train we put a lot of stress on our bodies and proper recovery and rest period has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, and lower blood pressure and cortisol levels (caused through stress). Recovery also reduces the risk of injury or overuse of muscles which can, in the long run, lead to even more time off training then just 1-2 days a week. 

What are the benefits of kettlebell workouts?

Kettlebells are a one-stop shop for workouts, they are versatile and can be implemented in a variety of different types of training from strength to HiiT. They can be used to keep your body guessing, push cardiovascular training, as well as be layered into upper, lower, and full body days when training.

They require your entire core and majority of your muscles and joints in most of the movements which improve core strength and stability as well as coordination and balance, while also aiding in good joint mobility and control. 

Using kettlebell workouts for muscle mass

Kettlebells are great for making sure that a muscle is activated and isolated which means when building muscle and mass you can ensure you are targeting the right muscles for optimal training. The exercises can be progressed in a variety of different ways which means it’s easier to continually challenge and grow muscles.

 

How kettlebell workouts aid weight loss

Kettlebells are a great aid when working towards weight loss as it’s the perfect blend of strength, power, endurance, flexibility, and mobility. Which can raise your heart rate and help burn fat but also be used to build tone and muscle. 

 

Kettlebell exercises for improved fitness

Kettlebells are one of the only strength based equipment which can also be used to push your heart rate and cardiovascular fitness without the need to move from the spot. Kettlebell swings are one of the most simple yet effective moves to push yourself into cardio and improved fitness without even needing to go for a run. Once you master the swing adding in complexes will have you fitter and stronger than ever before. 

Take-Home Message

So no matter if you’ve never used a kettlebell before or you’re a master there is no reason why you shouldn’t be adding them into your weekly workouts to push yourself and your body to reach your goals. From strength to cardio these versatile bells help you work hard and can be used at home, at the park, or even at the gym (once they open again). So take your training to the next level and start swinging yourself into shape. 

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Amy Golby

Amy Golby

Personal Trainer & Exercise Nutritionist

Amy has been a sportswoman for over 18 years playing rugby and netball up to a national level, she has been a qualified personal trainer for 5 years and further her nutritional knowledge with a diploma in sports and exercise nutrition as well a psychology degree. She has been training in a gym and weightlifting for over 10 years and continues to learn and improve her training in order to reach her goals. She believes in both the physical and mental advantages of sport and fitness as well as a balanced diet and lifestyle. Amy has created programs around sport and fitness for Red Bull, Look magazine, Spartan UK, as well as Mental Movement UK around how fitness can help improve your mental health. In her spare time, Amy enjoys playing sport, socialising with friends, and fuelling her shopping addiction to gym wear. She can be found here - https://www.instagram.com/dreams_and_dumbbells/?hl=en


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