Kettlebell training dates all the way back to 18th century Russia, however it still feels like yesterday that you’d be fortunate enough to find a decent set of bells at your neighborhood fitness club. That’s starting to change as kettlebells continue to increase in popularity among mainstream fitness athletes. When used properly, kettlebells can be fantastic tools for developing power and strength.

Still, incorporating kettlebell training into your routine can be confusing at first trying it out for the first time. However, with a little insight and practice—such as the following five kettlebell exercises you should be familiar with—anyone at any age and experience level can reap the full-body gains kettlebells provide—while adding a bit of fun to their training.

Kettlebell training offers a comprehensive approach to training. A single workout can target strength, cardiovascular health, flexibility.  Take time to develop the technique and become comfortable and confident with the tool and movements. After the fundamentals are mastered it opens up endless movement possibilities.

Workout class with men and women doing kettlebell goblet squats
Cecilie_Arcurs / Getty

Benefits of Kettlebell Training

Functional Strength

Kettlebell exercises involve dynamic movements that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously. This promotes functional strength, which translates into improved performance in everyday activities and sports.

Improved Cardiovascular System

By their nature, many kettlebell exercises are low impact but high-intensity. This combo helps elevates heart rate and improves cardiovascular endurance over time.

Enhanced Core Stability

Kettlebell movements require core engagement to maintain proper form and balance. This helps strengthen the muscles of the core—including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back, leading to improved stability and posture.

Increased Flexibility and Mobility

Kettlebell exercises involve a wide range of motion, which can help improve flexibility and mobility in the joints and muscles. This can reduce the risk of injury and improve overall movement efficiency.

Fat Loss and Muscle Growth

Kettlebell workouts can be highly effective for burning calories and building lean muscle mass. The combination of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning in kettlebell exercises can help promote fat loss and muscle gain.


Kettlebells come in various sizes and shapes, allowing for a wide variety of exercises targeting different muscle groups and movement patterns.  You can do an entire workout, working your entire body using one weight.  This versatility makes kettlebell training suitable for people of all fitness levels and goals.

Time Efficiency

Kettlebell workouts are efficient, combining strength and cardiovascular training into one session. This makes them ideal for people who want to maximize their workout time.

Mental Focus and Coordination

Performing kettlebell exercises requires focus, coordination, and proper technique. This can help improve mental focus and concentration while also enhancing coordination and body awareness.

5 Kettlebell Training Exercises to Include In Your Workouts

Here are core kettlebell movements that should be part of your kettlebell training routine.

1. Kettlebell Swing

This explosive hip hinge movement is the kettlebell epitome of strength and power. The swing is a fundamental kettlebell movement that has many benefits.

Benefits of Kettlebell Swings

  • Improve cardiovascular health
  • Develops core strength
  • Develop and builds strength in posterior chain
  • High intensity and low impact

How to do Kettlebell Swings

  1. Start feet hip width apart with the kettlebell about a foot in front 
  2. Send hips back and down, maintain a flat back and stiff torso 
  3. Grab the bell with both hands; tilt the bell towards you. 
  4. In this position make sure feet are flat and weight in the heels. 
  5. Hike the bell between legs like a football, keeping hands close to inner thighs. 
  6. Stand up quickly, by driving heels into the floor, engaging your glutes, ending in a standing plank position.  
  7. The bell should feel weightless at the top of the swing—which is chest height. 
  8. Allow the bell to come back down toward your hips, it will want to move in a pendulum direction.  Standing upright and being patient, send your hips back only when you feel the weight of the bell. 

Perform 3 sets of 10 reps, resting as you need to. 
Pro Tip: Always keep the bell close to the hips on the back swing.

2. Deadstop Clean

Another explosive total body movement, the deadstop clean helps develop the hinge and builds strength in the hips and glutes 

Benefits of Deadstop Cleans

  • Improves hip extension and leg drive
  • Develops strength and power in the glutes
  • Improves body control

How to do a Deadstop Clean

  1. Start with feet shoulder width apart and bell on the floor between ankles 
  2. Send hips back and down, while maintaining a flat back and stiff core. Bend knees slightly
  3. Hands start on top of the handles with a loose grip.
  4. Keep eyes looking forward and a proud open chest. 
  5. Standing up quickly, driving power and focus through the legs. While standing up,  pull the bell simultaneously upright as if you are zipping up a coat. 
  6. When it is chest height, the bell will feel weightless, slide hands down the handles to catch the bell in a goblet hold with elbows pulled in tightly by your side. 
  7. To recover, send the bell back down the torso as if you are unzipping a coat, send the hips back and down. The bell should end up back at your ankles. 

Perform 3 sets of 8 reps. Rest as needed.  

3. Sumo Deadlift High Pull


A total body compound movement recruiting a wide range of primary muscles.  It is a dynamic power exercise working the upper and lower body.

Benefits of Sumo Deadlift High Pull

  • Develops the posterior chain building strength in the hamstrings, glutes, and traps.
  • Develops grip strength

How to Do the Sumo Deadlift High Pull

  1. Start with feet shoulder-width apart and bell on the floor between ankles. 
  2. Send hips back and down, while maintaining a flat back and stiff torso. Bend knees slightly.
  3. Hands start on top of the handle, keeping eyes looking forward. 
  4. Simultaneously, stand and pull the bell up to the sternum as if you are zipping up a coat. The moment you reach the top of the pull, release the bell and control it back down to the floor.  

Perform 3 sets of 12 reps. Rest as needed. 

4. Single-Arm Deadstop Clean

Benefits of Single Arm Deadstop Clean

  • Single-arm cleans are an excellent unilateral movement which improves stability, balance, and unilateral strength.

Pro Tip: When working unilateral movements such as single-arm cleans, always start with your non-dominant side.

How to do Single-Arm Deadstop Clean

  1. Start feet hip width apart with the kettlebell in between ankles. 
  2. Weight should be in heels and knees slightly bent. 
  3. Send hip back and down while maintaining a flat back and stiff torso
  4. Holding the bell with a loose grip, stand and pull simultaneously.
  5. The kettlebell should move vertically staying close to the body. 
  6. Finishing the clean in the rack position with thumb at the collarbone and elbow tucked closely by the rib cage. Palm pressing into the handle to avoid breaking at the wrist
  7. Uncoil the bell and slide it back down the floor, the same path as your cleaned 

Perform 3 sets of 5 reps (each side). Rest as needed. 

Pro Tip: The power comes from legs first.  Make sure the glutes and hips are doing the work.  Upper body is secondary. 

5. ¼ Getup

The getup is a cognitive movement that requires strength, mobility, and stability. However, when many people refer to the getup, they think Turkish getup, and think that the entire full movement is the only way to perform these. However, there are many pieces—and many benefits—into splitting the getup into individual pieces.

Benefits of ¼ Get Up

  • Improve core and glute strength
  • Improve shoulder stability
  • Improve hip mobility

How to do ¼ Get Up 

    1. Begin by lying on your back.
    2. Press knuckles and weight up toward the ceiling. Have the same foot flat on the floor (that will be your power/working side) the opposite leg should be straight outside of hip width. 
    3. Pressing the flat foot into the floor, roll over unto the opposite forearm. 
    4. Press up onto your palm. Focus on keeping joints stacked and aligned.  The weighted side must keep driving up towards the ceiling in a straight line. 
    5. Slightly lift hips off the floo, then roll back down to starting position.

Perform 3 sets of 3-5 reps (each side). Rest as needed.

About Sarah Gawron

Sarah Gawron (aka Coach Sarah) teaches healthy habits to create a balanced lifestyle in and out of the gym.  Sarah will guide you to tap into your fullest potential.  She encourages those to trust their strength and ability in order to progress.

 Coach Sarah focuses on building strength from the ground up by creating a strong foundation of movement quality before adding load. She has developed her own system of strength training that combines conventional and unconventional training. Sarah has been a strength coach for the past 15years—her credentials include certifications in CrossFit (L1 and L2), USA Weightlifting, Onnit Academy Foundations, Durability, Kettlebell & Steel Mace Specialist—and has helped a wide range of individuals domestically and internationally.  She is the founder of The LAB, a functional strength and performance facility focused on longevity located in Delray, FL. Sarah believes everyone has the ability to move well with strength, power, and grace.

 For more information check out Coach Sarah’s website here and for helpful fitness tips follow her on Instagram.