Return to the fundamentals.
It’s a saying... an idea... a way to reset and regain control.
Whenever you’re struggling to get results (in anything you do)... always...
Return to the fundamentals
That’s why when I have to choose the 5 best kettlebell exercises... I immediately think of the fundamentals.
And remember... I am giving you the BEST kettlebell exercises... not the 5 coolest kettlebell exercises.
So let’s get right to it.
Also remember... if you want to master these kettlebell fundamentals... you should join Strong or FWW Monthly so you can do Strong.
In Strong, there is the Kettlebell Clinic where I break down all of the kettlebell fundamentals so you can master them... and enjoy kettlebell training... and transform your body.
The BEST 5 Kettlebell Exercises
1. The Squat
It’s a fundamental of any strength exercise... the squat.
The best thing about doing squats with kettlebells is the variety. Here I am showing you a double kettlebell squat... one of the tougher variations.
But you can do:
Uneven racked squat
And that’s just different ways of holding the kettlebell. When you mix in the different ways of doing squats...
The options are incredible. Your body will never stop trying to adapt and that means results.
It’s about balance... find good balance over your whole foot and your squat will immediately improve.
The kettlebell will naturally force your torso tall... so help yourself and keep your core about 55% tight to protect your lower back.
Twist your feet into the ground so your leg muscles are fully engaged. This is key and I will have another blog post detailing these squat tips.
2. The Deadlift
One of the best exercises in all of the exercise world.
But the reason I love the kettlebell deadlift... because it teaches and ingrains the proper hip hinge. And the hip hinge is VITAL when you’re doing kettlebells. I mean vital.
Plus if you have access to the right kettlebells, you can go pretty heavy.
In this case I am showing you the basic single kettlebell deadlift. In this picture I am using only a 50lb kettlebell... but that’s okay because it’s about ingraining the hip hinge.
When you have a weight that is not crazy heavy and challenging... start doing negatives.
Go slow (about 4 to 6 seconds) down to the floor.
From here you can go slow up... you can fire up faster.
Also to get the most make sure you squeeze really hard at the top of the deadlift.
Okay this is important.
First, my hip hinge is great. But in the second picture where I am standing up... can you see my shoulders are slumping forward?
This is BAD. You want to have your shoulders pulled back. You want to be standing tall.
When you're deadlifting, you want to be standing tall.
That means you want your shoulders pulled back as if you're showcasing perfect posture.
It's called packing your shoulders. And this will also give you the added benefit of straighting your spine.
And of course... make sure you’re squeezing your butt and flexing your quads at the top.
A great version you can do when you don’t have a super heavy kettlebells are double kettlebell deadlifts.
Same kettlebell deadlift principals apply:
- Keep your spine straight
- HINGE at your hips
- Drive your feet into the ground and squeeze your butt to straighten up
- Lock out on top and squeeze
- Shoulders back and perfect posture at the top
3. The Swing
The kettlebell swing never disappoints.
And science keeps showing it’s effectiveness in the body as well.
The swing is a total body exercise but it focuses on your hamstrings, glute muscles, back and core.
There are many different variations of kettlebell swings.
Here I am showing you a double kettlebell swing. It’s very intense but you may not always have two kettlebells.
BTW.... the kettlebells don’t need to be the same size. You can train the weak side of your body with a heavier weight.
Single kettlebell swings
HEAVY kettlebell swings
ISO leg swings
Start stop swings
There are more and this would be a great blog topic on it’s own.
Kettlebell Swing Form Tips:
It’s about balance and keeping your feet glued to the ground.
Keep that kettlebell close to your crotch... that is where you center of gravity is.
Use the power of your hips as you stand up to power the kettlebell... it’s not your arms.
Delay your arms... this ensures you’re not pulling with your arms.
Don’t worry about kettlebell height... keep it low to begin and focus on the hip hinge.
Fire your hips HARD and FAST... it’s a very dynamic exercise.
4. The Snatch
Now we are getting into the technical kettlebell exercises.
I highly recommend you join FWW Monthly or purchase Strong because we go into depth on the snatch in the Kettlebell Clinic.
But let me just say... WOW... this exercise is cardio and endurance strength to the max.
As you can see... you start similar to the swing.
Hips are hinged and the kettlebell is loaded between your legs.
Then you fire your hips and as the kettlebell comes through your legs, you pull up on the kettlebell to make it float upwards.
As it’s floating upwards, you punch around it and extend your arm all the way over your head.
Haha... easy as that.
Only it’s not easy. Seriously... go checkout Strong to learn kettlebells the right way.
I’m not going to write too many tips because the list can get very long.
But once you learn and perfect your snatch, you can use this to get insane shape. Just make sure you protect your hands.
5. The Get Up
This is a famous kettlebell exercise. And for good reason... it’s very hard.
The get up requires...
And mental focus
It’s one of the few kettlebell exercises that are slow on purpose. Each part of the movement is deliberate.
Think about it... as your standing up with a kettlebell extended from your arm... there is a high probability you can accidentally drop it on yourself.
That would not be pretty.
Just like the snatch, this is a very technical exercise. Join Strong were we break everything down in detail so you can learn and practice this.
My one tip... the tip...
Never take your eyes off the kettlebell.
I have coached so many women to do this exercise. And in the beginning, everybody stops looking at the kettlebell for some reason.
When you look at the kettlebell, you can see where it is in space and you can let your body adjust it’s balance.
If you look away, you will not know where the kettlebell is... as in... you’ll lose balance.
And this is how many people have injured their shoulders.
WATCH THE KETTLEBELL!!!
Pause for 5 to 10 seconds at every single position in the getup.
There are size major positions.
When you pause you are going to test your shoulder strength and core strength like never before.
Be smart about it and listen to your body.
This Is a Full Gym
With just these 5 exercises, you have a full gym...
Well I would probably add in some rows, but you can transform your entire body with only these 5 kettlebell exercises.
The best part is these are fundamentals.
So when you learn then correctly, you can start doing all sorts of different kettlebell flows and exercise connections.
You know... the cool stuff that looks good on Instagram.
One last time, join Strong if you want to learn and master kettlebell training.
You can purchase it or join FWW Monthly to get access. Not only do you get the Kettlebell Clinic to learn these exercises and more...
But you get 34 intense kettlebell workouts to practice with.
It’s an amazing workout program.