Kettlebells have become more popular in the last couple of years, but a kettlebell isn’t going to do much good without following effective kettlebell workout routines. Fitness enthusiasts who want to give kettlebells a try will find an overload of information and knowing where to start could prove difficult. As a former member of the “kettlebell beginners club,” I thought I would share some simple but effective kettlebell workout routines for beginners.
First, it’s important to realize that most of the more challenging kettlebell exercises are difficult because they involve a high amount of speed and a certain level of technique. If proper technique is not in place, the speed will make it blatantly obvious, and it’s quite possible that pain or injury could result. For that reason, the simplest and safest kettlebell workout for a beginner will not include any high-velocity movements.
- Goblet squats
- Overhead press
- Bent-over row
The goblet squat is a great staple for a beginner since it’s a simple, but very effective way to hit all the big muscles in the legs. The overhead press is a highly underrated exercise, and paired with the bent-over row will hit all the big muscles in the upper body with the exception of the chest. To be completely honest though, most people work the chest too much, leading to the hunched over, shoulders forward posture that is seen in the elderly, desk workers, and men who bench press too often.
- Romanian Deadlift (aka. Straight/stiff leg deadlift)
- Floor press
The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) is a great exercise for strengthening and lengthening the hamstrings, as well as a great way to tighten up the glutes. Admittedly, I mentioned above that working the chest is generally overemphasized; however, it’s also important to showcase at least one kettlebell exercise that can be used to hit the chest, and that’s why the floor press is included above. It does a good job of developing pressing strength while limiting many of the disadvantages of benching. Since the elbows stay tucked in and can’t go past the shoulders, this pressing variation is much better on the shoulder girdle. Lastly, the L-sit is a surprisingly difficult core exercise. No need to go to failure on this: just get in some quality isometric holds.
- Clean and press
- Offset walking lunge
- Incline push-up
Workout #3 is slightly more difficult in that it requires a bit of velocity to effectively “clean” the kettlebell up to shoulder height (aka. the racked position). This can be done by simply swinging the weight up from the side, but it should be done by pushing the hips back and throwing the bell between the legs, then using the resulting upward momentum to get the kettlebell up to the racked position. One clean + one press = one full repetition. The offset walking lunge is a good locomotive exercise and also requires a significant use of the hip musculature to avoid tipping over. Lastly, the incline push-up will hit the chest and act as an effective core exercise.
It’s not necessary to have a whole list of exercises in one workout: three exercises can be plenty and will allow for more practice and reps per exercise. Give these kettlebell workout routines a try and see how effective kettlebells can be for fat loss and strength gains.