Kindal doing a double kettlebell plank.

Core Exercises With A Kettlebell

Let's go over core exercises with a kettlebell.

I'll show you some really cool... unique... exercises.

We'll cover some more standard core exercises... where the kettlebell just helps to make things a little tougher.

And then we'll cover some exercises that will push you to the limit... ones you've probably never tried before.

For many of these you don't need a kettlebell... you can use a dumbbell as well. But not all.

Are you ready to build a strong... firm core?

If you're new to kettlebell training... here's how to get started with kettlebell training .

11 Core Exercises With A Kettlebell

1. Hollow Hold With Kettlebell (Single Sided)

I think the hollow hold is one of the best core exercises.

So let's make it more challenging.

Step 1:

Press a kettlebell over your chest while you're in a hollow hold.

Step 2:

Make sure the kettlebell is not too heavy... pressing your upperbody down... you should still be able to get your shoulders off the ground.

Step 3:

Crunch hard and hold.

You can even move the kettlebell around above your chest and you'll feel your abs working harder.

  • Use a light kettlebell and work on core endurance.
  • Use a heavier kettlebell and work more on a harder crunch with sheering fore.

Sheering force?

With the kettlebell on one side... you'll have a slight rotational (sheering) force applied over your abs.

Especially if you slightly move the kettlebell around above your chest.

It's brutal... it's fun... and it works.

Kindal pushing really hard in a pushup
Intensity Tip

Rather than just hold the kettlebell over your chest in the hollow hold...

Start pressing it. Rep it out!

I call these... hollow presses and they are so tough.

You're getting a great upper body workout while keeping your abs engaged. It's an awesome variation I use in a lot of my workouts.

2. Kettlebell Situps

These are so tough... and it's the challenge that makes these so much fun.

You can do this with one or two kettlebells.

Step 1:

Lay on the ground with the kettlebell pressed over your chest.

Step 2:

Legs are flat on the ground and spread out in a V so you can get more leverage.

Step 3:

Pre-crunch your abs and sit all they way up until your spine in vertical and the kettlebell is pressed over your head.

Try to press your legs into the ground as you sit up. It's hard.

Step 4:

Come back down with control... and repeat.

You can do these with two kettlebells... or one kettlebell in a arm for some off balance training.

I love doing off balance training and forcing my weak arm to carry the weight.

This is a great exercise for your:

  • Core
  • Hip flexors
  • Shoulders
  • And mobility in your hips and thighs

(We are huge fans of compound exercises at Fit Women's Weekly.)

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Farmers Carry - Single Sided

Farmers carries are amazing for your entire body.

If you take a heavy kettlebell and only hold it on one side... whoa... your obliques are going to burn like crazy.

Your core is having to hold tight to maintain balance. Both you and I should be doing these a lot more often.

  • Start with 30 seconds
  • Go to 45 seconds
  • 60 seconds

You don't have to sit still either... walk around and get more muscle contraction going.

See how high you can get.

You'll be surprised at how many other exercises improve when you get good at farmers carry.

Plus you get beneifts in your:

  • Shoulders
  • Grip strength... super important
  • Arms
  • Legs

Like I said... pretty much you're entire body.

Kindal pushing really hard in a pushup
Intensity Tip

Grip the kettlebell so your thumb is wrapped around the handle.

This will let your grip the handle and squeeze... which will help your grip strength a lot more.

It's templting to just hook grip the handle in your fingers... but this is not going to benefit you as much.

Kettlebell Hollow Rocks

This is a brutal kettlebell ab exercise.

Get a lighter kettlebell. If you go to heavy you'll end up either weighing yourself down or using too much momentum.

Step 1:

Get in a holld hold position and press the kettlebell over your chest... two hands on one kettlebell.

Step 2:

Lift your legs slightly higher and throw them down to start the hollow rock movement.

Step 3:

Bring out our inner rocking chair and keep your core harcore tight. As you rock back and forth while holding the kettlebell over your chest.

As you rock with your feet going down...

The added weight from the kettlebell will force your abs to crunch insanely hard.

Kettlebell hollow rocks are an amazing core endurance exercise... just imagine how tough this gets when you press the kettlebell on only one side of your body.

Heavy Plank Pull Throughs

Go grab the heavy kettlebell you used for your single sided farmers carry.

You need a heavy weight because only a heavy weight will engage your core enough to make this a real ab exercise.

Step 1:

Get in a top of pushup plank with your kettlebell just outside one of your hands.

The further away from your hand... the harder this will be.

Step 2:

Keep your feet as close together as you can. The closer your feet are the more your abs will have to work.

Step 3:

Take the arm opposite your kettlebell... reach under your body... grab the handle and drag the kettlebell all the way through to the other side.

Step 4:

Keep repeating. (Toss in a pushup if you want to work on more than one thing at a time.)

The minute you start pulling on your kettlebell... you'll feel your abs engage and hold tight.

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

This is a anit-rotation kettlebell core exercise.

Your core is not just a crunching machine. It's stabilizes... braces... and helps the two halves or your body work together.

Any time your abs help with fighting a rotation on the transverse plan... you're helping to improve your stability.

You can attach a band to a rig and do this exact exercise for some insane ani-rotation work. We'll cover banded core exercises in another post.

Plank With Feet On Kettlebells

To really get the most from this exercise... you need two kettlebells.

And it helps if you have kettlebells where one side is rounded. I wrote this post on getting started with kettlebell training... I am a fan of Rogue kettlebells.

Just incase your wondering where I get my kettlebells from.

Here's how to get setup for this exercise:

Step 1:

Place the two kettlebells on the ground... round side down.

The handles of the kettlebells are currently on the ground as well... but not for long.

Step 2:

Place your feet on the kettlebells and get into a top of pushup plank.

Step 3:

Roll the handles of the kettelbell handles off the ground and only balance on the round side of the kettlebells.

Then hold tight.

You'll immediately notice how difficult it is to hold this plank.

  • Your legs need to be fully engaged.
  • Your core will be engaged more than you've ever felt during a plank
  • And even your arms and shoulders will be holding very tight.

This is a great variation and only one type of kettlebell plank... there are others.

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Kettlebell Rotations

This is an anti-rotation exercise. Your core... rather than crunching... will be holding tight to stop a rotational force.

It's a great exercise and you'll not only feel this in your core... this will get your out of breath too.

Step 1:

Hold a kettlebell by the handles... like a goblet hold.

Your elbows are pinned at your sides and your forearms are parallel to the ground.

Step 2:

Take a good wide stance and slightly bend your knees.

Step 3:

Start twisting at your waist and you'll notice your core immediately turns on. Go as fast as you can and make sure you don't twist too far.

Your core will really work the most when you're chaning directions.

You need to stop the momentum and make it go the other way. This is where your core will turn on like no other.

Plus this exercise will get your out of breath fast.

Good Mornings

Good mornings are a back exercise... but remember... your back is part of your core as well.

This is also great for your booty and hamstrings too. Just a little FYI.

Step 1:

Hold your kettlebell by the handles... but upside down this time.

Step 2:

Halo the kettlebell behind your head... and then let it fall down your back a few more inches.

Step 3:

Hinge at your waist... with slightly bent knees... until your torso is just above parallel.

Make sure your core is pulled in tight and thrust your hips forward to come back to standing.

When you're in the hinged position... this is a great static back exercise.

Toe Touches

This is going to be more traditional... just with a kettlebell.

Toe touches are a wonderful ab crunch because you're able to push your core into the ground hard.

And when you add in a kettlebell... you get that little extra toughness which always helps.

Don't go too heavy... you won't want to limit your range of motion.

Step 1:

Lay on the ground with your legs bent at 45 degrees up in the air.

Step 2:

Grab your kettlebell with two hands... remember to keep it light... and crunch up trying to touch the kettlebell to your feet.

Toe touches are a great way to burn our your abs fast.

Oblique Crunches

I added these in because I felt like I needed to.

I don't really do a direct oblique crunch... except when I'm stretching and working on mobility.

I would prefer to do heavy farmers carry than this exercise. But it's still an option.

Step 1:

Hold a light kettlebell at your site.

Step 2:

Side bend the opposite direction and get a good oblique crunch.

It's pretty simple exercise.

Kettlebell Windmills

Windmills are amazing for your core... more specifically your obliques. (But your entire core still gets hit perfectly.)

In FWW LIVE we do windmills almost every Kettlebell Friday. You should come join our workout group and get fit!

Kneeling Kettlebell Windmills

This is an easier variation... but I'll show you a way to make it tougher for mobility.

Step 1:

Start in a kneeling position... kettlebell pressed over your head.

Whichever knee is off the ground... this is the arm that will be holding the kettlebell.

Step 2:

Hinge at your hips... hips going backwards at 45 degrees.

Keep hinging until your can reach the ground with your hand.

You should be able to easily tell how tough this can be on your core.

Let's go a step further.

Step 3:

Rather than just stop on your hand... let's get deeper. Be careful and know your mobility limitations.

Go all the way down your forearm.

Then return back up to kneeling. Keep repping these out.

Full Windmills

The full windmill is a lot more intense on your core and it tests your hip and low back mobility as well.

Step 1:

Stand with the kettlebell pressed over your head. Watch the kettlebell.

Step 2:

Let's say your pressing the kettlebell over your head with your left arm.

Your feet should be pointed to the right at a slight angle. This will help with the hip hinge we are about to do.

Step 3:

Hinge at your hips... pushing your hips back. Your back leg should remain straight.

Keep going until your torso is parallel with the ground.

Remember to watch the kettlebell this entire time. This helps you balance the kettlebell overhead so you don't injure your shoulder.

Step 4:

Return to standing with control. Then repeat!

Keep doing reps and you'll feel this in your core big time. I love windmills.

Wow We Just Covered A Lot Of Kettlebell Core Exercises

Remember... this is not a workout. These are tools to add to your workouts so you can fill in gaps.

Here's a quick training tip.

Let's say you want to work on your windmills.

Do your normal workout. And if you need workout help... come join FWW LIVE .

At the end... make a little finisher that lasts only 4 to 5 minutes.


  • 6 windmills per side
  • 20 seconds of KB hollow rocks
  • 5 kneeling windmills
  • 20 secs of KB hollow rocks
  • 4 standing windmills
  • 20 seconds of KB hollow rocks
  • 3 kneeling windmils
  • 20 seconds of KB hollow rocks
  • 2 standing windmills

Super simple but this let's you work on the areas where you know you need to improve.

Get some kettlebell leg exercise ideas and you can add these to your finisher as well.

Let me know if you try any of these exercises. You can also DM on social and ask any further questions you might have.

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One of the biggest events of the year is coming on July 10th.

The 8 Week Summer Shred Challange.

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

  • A 30 minute bodyweight interval workout
  • No equipment needed
  • I'll count every rep out loud
  • I'll constantly motivate you

Register for the workout and get my Summer Shred Recipe guide FREE.

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