Kindal holding a kettlebell inverted. A great way to hold a kettlebell.

10 Ways to Hold a Kettlebell with Combinations

It's easy to fall into a rhythm when working out.

Once you find what you're good at... you tend to stick with it because it makes you feel good.

But fitness is one of the few areas in life where it pays to work on your weaknesses.

When you improve your weaknesses... your strengths (most likely) improve too.

(I say most likely because let's say your weakness is pushups... and while you focus on upper body strength you neglect your legs... then your legs will temporarily become weaker.)

In this short post I want to show you fun ways to hold a kettlebell to add a new challenge to your kettlebell workouts.

  • Some of these might be new...
  • Some will be old...
  • Some will be a needed reminder...
  • One of these is very dangerous but also amazing to upper body control.

Are you ready?

10 Ways To Hold a Kettlebell

1. Goblet

It's classic.

Hold your kettlebell under the handles. This is "normal"... but it's necessary to... because it's used so much.

  • Squats...
  • Lunges and lunge walks....
  • Core rotations...
  • Heavy goblet holds...
  • Bicep curls...

It's used every where in kettlebell training.

Kindal smiling as she sits on a box after a tough workout
A Big Idea

I've training a lot of women in kettlebell training... and one bad habit that sneaks into different exercises is this style of holding the kettlebell.

Palm the kettlebell with thumbs through the handle.

It's a secure way to hold the kettlebell... but notice this....

It sticks the handle of the bell out towards your head.

So if you're doing squat to presses or quarter presses... it become very possible to hit yourself in the jaw with the handle.

I've seen it happen and it can be bad. You can bite your tongue or rattle your teeth... try not to hold it like this expect when you're doing floor presses.

2. Cannonball

It can be tough to get the kettlebell into this position... especially when you're going heavy.

But cannonball is so much safer for doing over head presses.

It tucks the handle out of the way and it's easy on the wrists compared to holding a dumbbell.

I love this hold for:

  • Squats...
  • Squat to press...
  • Quarter presses...
  • Lunges...
  • Lunge to press...

It's a great way to mix up holds and it should be used when you're pressing the kettlebell over your head with two hands on one kettlebell.

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Kindal doing squats during a live workout

3. Suitcase

Pretty normal right?

This is how you would carry anything with a... HANDLE!

Haha... but seriously... this can come in handy for many exercises.

It's prime use case is when you are going very heavy because you just need to pick the kettlebell up off the floor.

You don't need to rack it... cannonball it... pop it up in goblet... just pick it up.

I love it for exercises like:

  • Farmers carry...
  • Narrow suitcase squats... double and single...
  • Suitcase lunges... double and single...
  • Deadlifts...

And obviously you'll use this for swings and cleaning and snatches... but that's not really why I bring up the suitcase style here.

4. Rack

Another classic must use style.

But keep in mind rack in itself can be a tough exercise.

  • Heavy rack holds...
  • Rack walks...
  • Heavy cleans to rack...
  • Rack in squats and lunges...

Go double for a heavy challenge... light double for endurance challenge.

Go single and work your body's ability to balance and keep posture when things are not even.

Plus single suitcase is great for your abs and obliques.

I always find racking the kettlebell to be a challenge and one of the reasons why I love kettlebell training to begin with.

5. Inverted

Okay... now we're getting to a hold you may not have used before.

Inverting the kettlebell is amazing for arm... shoulder strength... and grip strength.

I love using inversion holds for:

  • Overhead presses... great way to get stronger...
  • Squats...
  • Lunges...
  • Walking around...
  • Floor presses....
  • Cleans to inversion...
  • Get ups...

Almost anything you can do with a kettlebell, you can do inverted. So use it more and if you use it enough... you will see your upper body strength explode!

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Kindal doing squats during a live workout

6. Palmed

This is the dangerous one. So promise you will be very careful.

Put a kettlebell in your palm with the handle facing up.

This is so dangerous because you are taking grip out of the equation... and now it's about arm stability.

Just holding it like this is tough and it's too bad... but it's when you start doing swing to palm catches where things get dicey.

I would do these outside on grass... so if you mess up you can run and let the kettlebell drop.

But palm holds are great for:

  • Squats...
  • Lunges...
  • Clean to palm...
  • Presses...
  • Get ups if you're brave (and slightly crazy)...
  • Kettlebell throws... yes this is a thing...

Play but be super careful.

7. Punched

This really is more of an exercise but I bring it up because I use it in certain situations.

You need a lighter kettlebell for this one.

The KB lays on the top of your forearm with your hand below. And usually you will punch into this position and then go back into a swing.

Yet... try punching and holding.

It's hard.

And if you punch... hold... bend your arm to 90... and then squat or lunge... Whoa!

Play with this... I don't use it much... but that does mean it's not amazing.

8. Lantern

Technically this is a suitcase hold... but I bring it up because when you use a light kettlebell it can be really hard.

Think about doing:

  • Lateral or front holds...
  • Lateral or front raises...
  • Bicep curls...
  • Reverse flys...

I do these exercise a lot and I love doing them with a kettlebell... so much tougher than using a dumbbell.

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Kindal holding her Kitchenaid Mixer

9. Overhead

Again not really a way to hold the kettlebell... but do you hold your kettlebell overhead for a pro-longed amount of time?

You should.

  • Overhead squats... very tough...
  • Overhead lunges...
  • Overhead prisoner squats...
  • Overhead walks...
  • Overhead holds...

Holding a kettlebell overhead is amazing for your strength.

And it's needed for the kettlebell snatch .

Do it more and everything else in your kettlebell game will get better.

10. Combinations

Finally... combine these holds as much as you can.

For example... I love weak side training.

Weak side training is when you focus more on your weak arm... leg... or some position... so make it stronger.

(Most women try to train evenly... but you should train your weak side more. This is how you actually produce a body that is"even".)

  • Grab a heavier kettlebell and rack it in your strong arm.
  • A lighter kettlebell and invert it in your weak arm.
  • Go heavier with an overhead hold

Are You Kettlebell Ready?

Kettlebells are amazing.

I say they're built for women.

  • Pure strength mixed with insane cardio...
  • Sweat dripping...
  • Heart pounding...
  • Air sucking.... cardio.

Kettlebells are the ultimate fat burning workout style .

So if you want to learn kettlebell training... come learn about FWW LIVE .

If you want to get started right now... read these Posts.

Learn how to deadlift a kettlebell .

Learn the kettlebell swing .

Learn how to clean the kettlebell .

These three moves will change your workouts forever.

Ask me questions on social. I'm here to help you get fit and love your body and yourself.

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And to get the word out... I'm hosting a FREE workout this Saturday the 27th.

  • A 30 minute bodyweight interval workout
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