The Definitive Kettlebell Workout for Beginners

kettlebell class

Ah, the Mighty Kettlebell – elegantly simple, endlessly versatile, and the shining centerpiece of the no-frills-pure-fitness movement. The reason for the kettlebell’s meteoric rise in popularity is clear: it’s a simple tool that works on every major muscle group in your body. And, you can use it from home, no less. From intense kettlebell ab workouts to the full body powerhouse clean and press, there doesn’t seem to be anything this cast-iron amulet can’t do.

But if you’re new to the kettlebell, have no fear. We’ll be taking you through 6 of the best home kettlebell exercises for beginners to get you sweatin’ your way to fitness.

  1. The Swing
kettlebell swing

Long considered one of the most powerful kettlebell exercises, the Swing combines elements of strength training as well as cardiovascular conditioning in one fell swoop, so to speak. The Swing also happens to be one of the foundations of kettlebell training, so make sure you get this one right before you move on to other exercises. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Begin with feet shoulder-width apart, standing directly over the kettlebell
  • Reach down, with hips set back, and grip kettlebell with both hands
  • Stand tall, being sure to keep your arms straight
  • Slightly bend the knees and tip at the hips so the bottom of the kettlebell is between your knees (like a mini squat – do NOT do a full squat)
  • Then using your hips to drive forward, while keeping your arms straight, swing the kettlebell to shoulder height as your legs straighten, but don’t lock
  • Continue the swinging motion for 20 reps

Muscle groups worked: abs, glutes, hamstrings

  1. The Snatch
One arm kettlebell snatch

The Snatch is one of the most fun and most rigorous exercises in your kettlebell workout. We’re talking a full body explosion combined with great core work—and as you get used to the motion, you’ll find that you start to feel truly powerful with this one. And your body will thank you, too. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the kettlebell directly underneath you
  • In one fluid motion, grasp the kettlebell with one hand, and swing up
  • You will want the ball portion of the kettlebell to flip over and land on the back of your wrist
  • Continue the swing until the kettlebell is directly above your head, with your arm locked
  • Reverse the motion, dropping the kettlebell down between your legs
  • Do 10 reps with each arm

Muscle groups worked: quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, upper back, triceps

  1. Squat and Curl
kettlebell squat curl

This handy exercise is the perfect addition to your home kettlebell workout—you don’t need much space, and it really packs a punch. Not only do you get a complete squat in, but you get your biceps burning at the same time. Here’s how:

  • Begin with feet shoulder-width apart, feet at a 45° angle
  • Grip the kettlebell at the sides, and hold at chest level
  • Squat until thighs are parallel with the floor, pushing your glutes back and driving your weight through your heels
  • As you return to standing , do a simple bicep curl with both hands
  • Repeat for 10 reps

Muscle groups worked: biceps, upper back, abs, quadriceps, hamstrings

  1. The Lunge Up
kettlebell lunge

Anybody who’s spent time in a beginner kettlebell class, or any weightlifting class for that matter, knows the dreaded lunge. The difference with the kettlebell version is that you add a potent shoulder workout to the mix. To get started:

  • Begin by holding the kettlebell in your left hand above your head, arm straight
  • Extend your right arm for balance
  • Step back with your right leg
  • Drop into a lunge, dipping your right knee as close to the ground as possible
  • Return to start position
  • Do this for 10 reps then switch to the opposite arm/leg

Muscle groups worked: shoulders, abs, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

  1. The Kettlebell Clean and Press
kettlebell clean

Diehard kettlebell fanatics are obsessed with this total body workout. The kettlebell clean and press gets so many muscle groups in—we guarantee you will feel this workout in the morning. Here’s how you do this one:

  • Hold the kettlebell handle with one hand, letting the kettlebell hang between your legs
  • Haul the kettlebell up and hold it close to your chest
  • From the chest, push the kettlebell up directly over your head
  • Return the kettlebell to chest position, then swing between your legs and repeat
  • Keep the kettlebell positioned right-side-up the entire time
  • Make sure to do all movements in a smooth, fluid motion
  • Do ten reps on one side, then switch

Muscle groups worked: hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, abs, traps, lats, chest, triceps (and a heck of a lot more)

  1. The Halo
kettlebell halo

As you become more accustomed to working out with the kettlebell, you’ll be ready to move on to some more challenging exercises. The Halo is definitely one of them. This wonderful kettlebell core exercise also blasts the shoulders, back, and arms. Although it does certainly take a bit of concentration on your part, we can assure you the results are worth it. Here’s how it works:

  • Stand and hold the kettlebell in a bottom’s up position.
  • Pulling your shoulder blades down and back, bring the kettlebell up and around your head, bringing it back to the starting position.
  • The kettlebell should travel close to your head without touching it.
  • Extra Safety Tip: Perform this movement slowly to avoid hitting your head. Make sure you’re not compensating for limited range of motion by moving your head to make the exercise easier. Keep the head still, and don’t lean back, but rather keep a tight core throughout the movement.

Muscle groups worked: shoulders, abs, biceps, triceps, back, and chest


The kettlebell can take a little getting used to, so you are going to want to begin slowly. A great way to get started with your home kettlebell workout is to sign up for a 7-Day Free Trial with Studio SWEAT onDemand. SSoD gives you everything you need to build the perfect workout routine right from the comfort of your living room. Click here to see some of my favorite online kettlebell workouts! With hundreds of online classes, world-class trainers, and a worldwide community of members to back you up, Studio SWEAT onDemand will get you on the road to a fitter, healthier you.

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