Full Body Workouts Kettlebell Cardio and Strength Total Body Exercises By Paige Waehner, CPT Paige Waehner, CPT Facebook LinkedIn Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer"; and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness." Learn about our editorial process Updated on May 28, 2019 Print Kettlebells can provide a great cardio and strength training workout. The movements involve the entire body and work on areas such as balance, coordination, and power development in ways you won't get with dumbbells or a barbell. Have fun with these dynamic exercises. Getting Started With Kettlebell Training 1 Turkish Get Up Verywell / Ben Goldstein The Turkish get-up is one of the more unusual kettlebell exercises, but excellent for the entire body. By holding the weight over the head throughout the movement, you engage almost every muscle of the body—the legs, core, and arms - while building strength, endurance, and coordination. This is also a great functional exercise, taking you from lying to standing and integrating every part of your body. Lie down holding a medium kettlebell in the right hand, arm extended straight over the shoulder with the elbow locked.Keeping the arm extended and looking up at the weight, raise up onto the left elbow as you bend the right knee.Continue pushing up onto the left hand while crossing the left foot under the right leg.Push up until you're resting on the left knee and right foot, arm still extended straight up over the shoulder.Continue until you're in a standing position, with the arm overhead.Lower back down the same way, arm extended, until you're lying all the way on the floor and repeat 8-10 times before switching sides. This move requires some concentration as well as coordination, so take your time moving through each step of the move and try it with no weight until you're comfortable. At that point, add more speed until the movement is fluid. 2 Kettlebell Figure 8 Verywell / Ben Goldstein The kettlebell figure 8 is a great exercise for working the core, particularly the obliques, along with balance and coordination. The idea is to move the weight in a figure 8 motion around both legs, exchanging the weight from hand to hand. Begin holding a medium-heavy kettlebell in the right hand with feet hip-width apart.Lower into a squat and bring the weight between the legs, grabbing onto the handle with the left hand behind the left leg.Circle the weight around, again bringing it between the legs and grabbing onto it with the right hand behind the right leg.Continue moving the weight in a figure 8, exchanging it from hand to hand, for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps. Take your time with this move and practice slowly to avoid dropping the weight. Concentrate on firing the obliques as you rotate from side to side. 3 Russian Twist The Russian twist is a great way to work the core with a dynamic rotation, working the obliques and the small muscles in the core and upper body involved in rotation. You can also do this move on an exercise ball. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a medium kettlebell with both hands. You can hold either side of the weight (or the 'horns'), which is easier, or the handle, which adds more momentum.Keeping the elbows bent and into the body, contract the abs and rotate the torso to the right, only rotating as far as you comfortably can and focusing on the abs. Keep the lower body stable and the hips square.Rotate the torso to the left, again focusing on the obliques. If you're comfortable and want more intensity, try swinging the weight as you rotate, continuing to focus on keeping the hips square and the abs braced. Swinging adds quite a bit of momentum, so use a lighter weight and only try this version if you're very fit and have control of the weight. Take care with this movement and keep the rotation small and controlled when you first start out. If you have any back problems, you may want to skip this exercise. 4 Two Arm Swing Kettlebell swings are an excellent exercise for the entire body, particularly the core and the lower body. The power in your swing actually comes from your hips (in a hip-thrust motion), making this a powerful movement that forces your body to find stability as the weight swings out and up. Hold a medium-heavy kettlebell in both hands with legs hip-width apart.Begin with some warm up swings to get a feel for the weight and the movement. Start by squatting and taking the weight between the legs (arms should touch the inner thighs). Keep the torso upright and the abs braced.At the bottom of the movement shift your weight back and thrust up through the hips to bring the weight up to about hip level.After practicing a few swings, continue swinging the weight up higher until you get to shoulder level, squatting down and powering through the hips up each time you swing the weight up.At the top of the movement, the kettlebell should feel weightless. Use your hips and legs to move the weight, rather than your arms.Continue swinging for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps.For added intensity, and if you feel comfortable, you can take the weight all the way up over the head. If you're new to kettlebell training, use a lighter weight for this exercise to get your form down (for example, 10-15 lbs for women or 20-25 lbs for men). You'll find that, the heavier the weight, the more you'll engage the hip-thrust to get the weight up—but don't go too heavy until you feel comfortable and secure in the movement. 5 Alternating Swing The alternating swing adds a new dimension to the two arm swing, testing your balance and coordination as you exchange the weight from one hand to the other. The most important point to remember is to exchange the weight at the top of the swing when the kettlebell feels weightless. Trying to change hands at the bottom of the swing is awkward and you'll likely end up dropping the weight. Hold a medium kettlebell in the right hand, feet hip-width apart.Squat down and swing the weight down and back between the knees, keeping the torso upright and the abs braced.Thrust the hips up as you swing the kettlebell up to shoulder level. The kettlebell should feel weightless.Grab the kettlebell with the left hand and, when your grip is secure, let go with the right hand and continue the swing with the left hand.Continue swinging and exchanging the weight from one hand to the other for 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps. Practice this move with a lighter weight to get the motion down before going heavier. It's easy to lose your grip on this one. 6 One Arm Swings Kettlebell one-arm swings work the same way as two arm swings but are much more demanding on your entire body. Like the two arm swing, you'll work the core, lower body and arms using the power of your hips, but you'll also need a strong grip to hold the weight securely. Begin holding a light-medium kettlebell in the right hand, feet about hip-distance apart.Begin a warm up swing to get used to the movement, squatting as you take the weight down and back between the legs and thrusting the hips up as you lightly swing the weight to about hip level. Take the left arm out to the side for balance.Once you get comfortable with the movement, swing the weight to shoulder level, always using the hip-thrust movement to get the weight up.To work the shoulders and add variation, rotate the thumb down as you bring the weight back and rotate the thumb up as you swing the weight to shoulder level.At the top of the movement, the kettlebell should feel weightless. Use your hips and legs to move the weight, rather than your arms.Continue swinging for 8-16 reps before switching sides. You'll want to practice this move with a light weight to get your form down and avoid injury (or accidentally tossing the weight across the room, which does happen). Start with a weight you can easily handle and gradually work your way up from there. 7 One Arm Pull The one arm pull is a lot like a one-arm upright row with some added power. The idea is the use your hips and legs to generate power so that you can pull the weight up. As with all kettlebell exercises, practice with a lighter weight to get the move down and gradually go to a heavier weight as you feel comfortable. Hold a medium kettlebell in the right hand, left arm out for balance and feet hip-width apart.Squat down, keeping the torso upright and thrust the hips up as you come up.On the way up, bend the elbow and pull it up to shoulder level (or just above shoulder level), drawing the weight up towards the chest.Lower back down and repeat for 8-16 reps before switching sides. If you have any shoulder problems, you may want to skip this exercise. 8 High Pull The high pull is another high-intensity kettlebell exercise that works the entire body, including the hips, core, shoulders, and arms. Mastering this exercise will help you progress to other kettlebell exercises, such as the clean and snatch. This move involves swinging the weight and thrusting the hips up to get the weight up. At the top of the movement, you bend the elbow and take the arm slightly up and back. Hold a light-medium kettlebell in the right hand, feet hip-width apart.Bend the knees and squat as you swing the weight down between the knees.Thrust the hips up as you swing the weight up to shoulder level, bending the elbow and taking the weight up at a slight angle.At the top of the swing, the kettlebell should feel weightless.Swing the weight back down and repeat for 8-16 reps before switching sides. This really works the shoulder and, because you're only using one arm at a time, start with a lighter weight until you master the exercise. 9 Two Arm Pull This exercise is a lot like an upright row, but with the added power of the hips to add a dynamic element to this exercise. The idea is to thrust the hips up as you draw the kettlebell up, keeping it close to your body, using that power to help you lift the weight. Hold a medium kettlebell in both hands, feet hip-width apart.Squat down, keeping the arms straight, the torso upright and the abs braced.Thrust the hips up as stand while drawing the kettlebell up and bringing the elbows up and above the shoulders.Keep the weight close to the body and use the power of your hips to pull the weight up, rather than your arms.Lower back down and repeat 1-3 sets of 8-16 reps. If you have shoulder problems, you may want to skip this exercise. 10 Clean The kettlebell clean is a traditional exercise that allows you to get a heavy weight up to shoulder level without hurting yourself. Mastering this exercise will allow you to do other kettlebell exercises such as the clean, push and press or the overhead press. The key to this move is to use the hips and legs to help drive the weight up, rotating the shoulder so that the weight rests at shoulder level. Hold a medium-heavy kettlebell in the right hand, feet hip-width apart, with the arm straight.Lower into a squat with the torso upright and the abs braced.Thrust the hips up as you come up, pulling the kettlebell straight up.Rotate the elbow down as you pull the kettlebell up, catching it at shoulder height.Absorb the weight of the kettlebell and the movement by squatting slightly, keeping the wrist neutral.Lower the weight and repeat for 8-16 reps before switching sides. Take care with this move and try not to let the weight flop against your wrist. When done smoothly, the weight shouldn't cause bruising or pain in the wrists or forearms, so start with a lighter weight to get your form down. By Paige Waehner, CPT Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness." See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! 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