The kettlebell workout, once the hottest class in the most expensive gyms across America, is becoming a staple in the average dad’s living room. Fitness fads come and go, but every once in a while, an exercise that started out as a buzzy trend finds itself with legit staying power and an ever-growing number of disciples, usually due to an intangible mix of innovation, ease, enjoyment, and measurable results. Kettlebells check all the right boxes.
Kettlebells are, first of all, practical. In a home filled with kids and their toys, kettlebells occupy blessedly little space, and are inherently just fun. Designed to be used as an aid to motion, you’ll be swinging, circling, arcing them through the air. This combination of strength and cardio is harder to achieve with traditional weights. Kettlebell workouts also tend to be more effective than traditional strength workouts because, unlike traditional dumbbells, the bulk of their heft hangs several inches below their handle. This forces users to control that weight from a relative distance, engaging more muscles and making each move incrementally harder to perform.
In a word, kettlebells make you stronger, faster, and help you burn more calories along the way.
You can purchase quality kettlebells online, or at your local sporting goods store. Don’t worry about getting a whole rack—you only need one weight amount for the following exercises. We suggest that you choose a weight that you think you could perform 10-12 reps with. Do each of the exercises below with 10-12 reps, two sets total.
Start in a wide stance, feet slightly turned out. Hold the bell by its handle with both hands. Bend elbows and press hands to your chest. Squat until quads are parallel to floor, allowing knees to drift slightly outward for balance. Return to standing.
Follow the above instructions for the Broad Squat, holding the kettlebell handles right where they attach to the bell. From lowest point in your squat, push through your heels and drive the bell toward the ceiling until your arms are straight as you return to standing. Sink back into the squat, lowering the kettlebell to your chest, arms bent.
Single Arm Row
Bend knees and lean your torso toward the floor (almost a 90-degree angle). Hold the kettlebell in one hand as you extend arms toward floor. Bend elbow and hike bell toward chest. Release.
Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders. Grab bell by handle with both hands. Bend knees, drop arms between your legs. Return to straight legs, swinging the bell forward so it is parallel to your chest and your arms are parallel to the floor. Let it swing back between your legs as you bend your knees again.
Start with the kettlebell handle laced through one hand so that it rests in the V between your thumb and first finger. Bent that arm, elbow at your side, hand and bell at your shoulder, palm facing forward. Engage your core as your raise your arm overhead. Lower back down. Do 10 reps then repeat on other side.
Start down on one knee, other knee bent in front of you like you’re about to propose. Hold kettlebell with both hands, resting on your front knee. Engage your core as you rise and pivot in one motion, letting the kettlebell swing with your torso until you finish in a standing position, facing the opposite side, arms extended shoulder-height in front of you. Bend knees and twist back to starting position.
Lie on your back, grasping kettlebell against your chest with both hands on the handle. Perform a sit-up, raising your arms over your head, elbows straight, in the sitting position. Lower back to your chest as you lie back down.
From upright sit-up position, sink back so your upper body is at about 45 degrees to the floor. Hold kettlebell in front of you with both hands on handle. Twist your torso to the right, allowing your arms and kettlebell to swing to that side until it almost (but not quite) touches the floor. Twist and swing to the other side. Do 10 reps.
Stand with kettlebell in right hand, arm extended toward floor. In one move, raise your right leg behind you as you bend your torso forward and let you right arm and kettlebell drop to the floor. Try to create a straight line from your right foot to your head. Return to standing and switch sides.
Perform your traditional push-up, but rest one hand on top of the kettlebell. The uneven angle of your body, plus uneven surface for your hand, makes your body recruit other muscle groups for stabilization.