My favourite exercises involve the Kettlebell, and I am going to share with you those exercises that I feel are the best Kettlebell exercises for beginners.
It may seem quite daunting picking up a Kettlebell for the first time – but it will be so worth it.
These may seem easy to start but take it slowly, Focus on keeping your core muscles tight during all of them – A loose core can lead to a higher risk of injury.
How to tighten your core
Your core muscles are those of the abs and focus on many a “6 pack” workout. We are not currently interested in how they look but can engage them to stay safe.
The abs should be engaged by pulling in your belly button as you deeply inhale.
Your breath should be pushed into the pit of your stomach, and you should feel a tensing of your abs and your back as the kind of pull together.
Press your shoulders back to engage the back and abs further
Beginner weights should be in the range of 8kg (17lb) – 12kg (26lb) for women or 12kg (26lb) – 16kg (35lb) for men – These are approximate weights – You can start lower or higher, but I would always advise starting at a weight toward the lower end of the above suggestions if you are unsure.
The Top 5 Best kettlebell exercises for beginners
Are you looking for a great way to get started with kettlebell exercises? If so, you’re in luck! Here are five of the best exercises for beginners. Best of all, they’re easy to learn and pretty challenging. Ready to give them a try? Let’s go!
#1 – Farmer walks
The first Kettlebell exercise I believe Beginners should master when being introduced to Kettlebells is the Farmers’ walk.
This exercise will allow you to practice core tightening, particularly with a single Kettlebell, and will help develop the grip strength required for more complex moves.
This will also safely allow you to get used to the weight of your new Kettlebell.
- Place a Kettlebell upon the floor
- Stand with it beside an ankle
- Tighten your core and bend your knees until your hand can reach the Kettlebell handle
- Grasp the handle as if it was a shopping bag and stand straight up
- Ensure your core is engaged
- Walk for 10 – 20 meters (30 – 60 feet) and turn around and walk back to the start.
- The turn will be at the point when your core will work the hardest
- Once you return to the starting point, place the Kettlebell on the floor slowly while bending your knees
- Repeat for your other side
Complete the above workout for a set duration or a number of lengths – repeat the workout three times a week and aim to either work for a greater length of time with each hand or perform more lengths.
The exercise will tax your grip and make carrying bags from the shops seem like child’s play.
#2 – Deadlifts
The Deadlift is a key exercise for building overall strength and is the second Best kettlebell exercises for beginners- It utilizes every muscle of the body and will have cross overs to every other exercise you perform.
It may seem easy to start, but take it slowly and focus on keeping your core tight. You may not feel the exercise is a struggle during the workout but boy, you will in the morning. This feeling will soon pass as you get stronger.
- Place the Kettlebell on the floor.
- Stand over the bell with it resting at the line of your ankles – Feet at shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forwards.
- Squat down with a straight back and tight core -you should be aiming to push your butt back as if trying to sit on an invisible chair.
- Remember the bell should move in a straight line up and down – If you start to swing the bell, you will make the weight feel heavier.
- While in the squat position, grasp the bell by the handle
- Stand straight up – do not lean back at the top – ensure your shoulders are back, your chest out, and you are standing straight
- Repeat for a set duration or a number of reps
Start with three sets of 10 lifts with a 1-minute rest between each
I would suggest starting with three workouts a week and building on each workout – either add a lift or increase the number of sets
#3 – Single goblet squat
The single Kettlebell double-handed squat or “Goblet squat” may be the first time you will need to hold the Kettlebell differently.
I prefer to hold the Kettlebell upside down for this workout, but you can perform the exercise with the handles facing upwards if you wish.
Hold the Kettlebell as you wish but with both hands – Holding it by the horns and corners will allow you to control the weight close to your chest.
- Place the bell on the floor.
- Stand over the bell with your feet pointing slightly out
- Perform a full squat down with a straight back, tight core – The term “ass to grass” is widely used here – get your ass below parallel
- Once in the squat position grasp the Kettlebell ( either way around) and bring the bell to a position close to your chest
- Keep the elbows in and relax your arms
- Stand straight up – do not lean back at the top – ensure your shoulders are back and your chest out (the same as in the Deadlifts)
- Pause and breath before lowering back into the full squat
Start with three sets of 10 with a 1-minute rest between each as per the Deadlift, or you can alternate Deadlift and squat workouts until you are comfortable
As per the Deadlift, commence with three workouts a week and build on each workout – either add a lift or increase the number of sets.
#4- The double-handed swing
The double-handed swing is an excellent start toward getting used to swinging a moving Kettlebell.
Note: always remember to hold on to the bell and not push your grip boundaries while swinging in a confined space.
- Place the bell on the floor.
- Stand over the Kettlebell as per the Deadlift above but have your feet shoulder-width with toes pointing slighted outwards.
- Grasp the bell with two hands (position them both around the handle)
- Now let the bell drop between your legs – it will naturally drop behind you slightly
- Now you clench your buttocks and drive your hips forwards and swing the bell in an arch toward your chest height
- The power of this exercise comes from your hip drive, NOT the pulling power of your arms
- The bell will naturally pause at the top before dropping again between your legs
- Return to the starting point and smoothly start a second swing
- The movements should feel smooth, and the bell should move in an arch with your arms only guiding the weight and not lifting it
A great workout is ten swings every minute – rest the remainder of the minute and restart your next ten swings when the minute is over -repeat for 10 minutes.
#5 -The single-handed swing
The set-up of the single-handed swing is the same as the double swing; apart from that, you are only grasping the bell with one hand. Ensure the other hand does not support yourself with performing this routine – it should be swinging freely.
Perform five swings – place the bell on the ground and pick it up with the alternate hand – repeat five swings per hand as per the double swing method.
Once you have confidence, you can attempt to switch hands either at the bottom of the arch or for the truly brave at the top when you feel the bell slightly pause
Remember tight core, and don’t let go!
The above are 5 of the Best kettlebell exercises for beginners to get you used to using a Kettlebell. Once you are comfortable or the time being taken exceeds 10 minutes, I suggest moving to more intense routines.
If you need to start slow or are waiting for some kettlebells to arrive, head on over to some home exercises for beginners.
I will suggest these in other blog posts or point you towards several fantastic services I have used to learn and improve my Kettlebell routines.
If you require any specific pointers, please do not hesitate to add a comment below or drop me an email.
Enjoy your journey
Owner and author at shortandintense.com , 25 years as a quality and health and safety professional with an in-depth knowledge of functional and corrective exercises. IHoS registered,lead auditor, personal trainer and human movement specialist.
6 thoughts on “Best kettlebell exercises for beginners -The top 5”
Nice one… I can tell you this is one of the standout article I love to read about, especially when it comes to keeping the body fit. I had always love kettlebell exercises, I am just so lucky stumbling on this post as you have carefully reviewed different kinds of kettlebell exercises and steps in trying them out . kudos to you for this post, its a review well analyzed.
Thank you Michael for the kind words , Kettlebells rock and I hope you end up loving them as much as I do
This is a great and simple to follow guide on kettlebell exercises for beginners
You laid it all out clearly and showed examples that emphasize your various points. This guide will be very useful for people like me.
I have tried farmer work and deadlift exercises before now and I can say they are soul lifting. I hope other forms of exercise will surely get me back on track.
Thanks for sharing
Hi wealthfather – I agree farmers walks and deadlifts are excellent
I have been looking for a while for a routine to get me back on track since I have stopped doing any sort of exercise for a while. When I saw your post the phrase short and intense got my attention (everything to make it as short as possible lol) but seriously speaking I started to read the blog and the routine you are talking about seems to be exaclty what i was looking for. Thank you so much
Hi Barbara , thanks for taking the time to comment , hopefully this routines helps you start your own fitness journey