Looking for an effective at-home workout that requires minimal investment? Snag an inexpensive kettlebell and you can create a home gym with a single piece of equipment!
A kettlebell is ball-shaped weight with a flat bottom and handle on the top. They have an odd center of gravity that requires you to recruit stabilizing muscles to do traditional exercises.
This is why when using kettlebells, you’ll be working your core-stabilizing muscles during every movement. So whether it’s an upper body, lower body or cardio exercise, the bell will turn it into a full-body workout. Plus, studies have shown that kettlebell training can improve strength, power and endurance and is especially good for developing a solid core and strengthening the back.
There are a ton of exercises that you can do while holding a kettlebell. You can make core and ab exercises more challenging by holding a kettlebell, and you can also work your arms and upper body by holding the kettlebell in one hand and using it like a dumbbell. From kettlebell swings that work both the upper and lower body to marching in place with a kettlebell, you’ll be able to add difficulty to lower-body exercises by holding the kettlebell, too.
Grab a kettlebell and give these exercises a try:
Sit on the floor with your knees bent in front of you and your feet resting on the floor (lift your feet slightly off the mat for a more advanced move). Hold the kettlebell at chest height. Begin slowly rotating from side to side, keeping your lower body and core still. Reach the kettlebell toward the floor on each side. Repeat 10 times to each side.
March in place with single arm hold
Stand tall with your feet hips-width apart, Hold the kettlebell in one hand. Raise that hand straight above your head and slowly march in place trying to bring your knees up to a 90° angle (or lower if raising higher is difficult). Perform 10 marches on each side for 20 total repetitions.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell at your chest and with a slight bend in the knees. Hinge forward at the hips keeping the kettlebell hugged in against your body. Feel the stretch in the hamstrings and glutes, leaning forward until your body is parallel with the floor, then slowly raise back up. Be sure to keep your back flat and allow your head and neck to stay in a neutral position by setting your gaze a few feet in front of you. Repeat 10 for repetitions.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold onto the kettlebell at the top of the handle with both hands. Bend your knees slightly and let the kettlebell hang down between your legs. As you squeeze your glutes, swing the dumbbell up to chest height. Be sure to keep your back straight. Come back to the starting position, and repeat 10 times.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand with the elbow bent at shoulder height. Perform a simple half squat, bending your knees just a little bit. As you stand back up to the starting position, press the kettlebell over your head in a quick thrusting motion. Hold for a second, and then return your arm to the original position. Complete 10 reps and then perform on the other side.
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand at shoulder height, and then extend the weight overhead until your arm is fully extended. Turn your left foot out and angle your hips slightly to the right. Engage your core and hinge at the hip to reach your weight-free left hand toward your left foot. Think of using your free hand to trace a path from your left thigh to the knee, then the calf, and finally the ankle. Keep your kettlebell as steady as possible over your head and your gaze fixed on it (it helps!) before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps on each side.
Staggered stance row
Hold your kettlebell in your right hand with your arm at your side. Step forward with your left foot. Bend both knees to rest your left forearm on top of your left thigh. (Rest lightly, though, not with your full body weight.) Engage your core and make sure your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Pull the kettlebell up to rib height in a rowing motion, keeping your elbow close to your side and your core engaged. Hold for a moment and then return to the starting position. Repeat for 5 to 10 reps and then switch sides.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Add a slight bend to your knees. Grab the top of the kettlebell with both hands, allowing it to hang in front of you. Tuck your pelvis in to engage your core and be sure to keep your back straight as you drive your hips back and allow your torso to fall forward. Keep the kettlebell close to your legs, almost touching, as you lower down slowly. When your hips can’t push back any further, pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Grab both sides of the kettlebell handle. Extend your arms overhead. Keeping your upper arms as still as possible, bend at your elbows to lower the kettlebell behind your head. Then straighten your arms again to return to starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Step your feet wider than hips distance and turn your toes out slightly. Grab each side of the kettlebell handle, holding it at your chest with the core engaged and elbows tucked in. Tuck your pelvis to engage your core further. Slowly lower down into a squat, pausing at the bottom. Return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Start with feet hip-distance apart. Grab each side of the kettlebell handle and hold it at your chest with core engaged and elbows tucked in. Take a large step backward with your right foot. Next, drive your left hip back as you lower your right knee to the floor without touching it. Then, drive off the right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat the movement on the opposite leg. Continue alternating, completing 10 repetitions per leg.
Sit up to press
Lie down flat on your back. Grab each side of the kettlebell handle and hold the kettlebell above your chest. Engage your core, using your abs to sit up. Once you reach the top of the situp, press the kettlebell up overhead. Lower the kettlebell back to your chest, then lower down to lie flat on the ground. That is one repetition. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Start standing with feet hips-width apart. Hold both sides of the kettlebell handle with the bell portion facing up rather than down. Lift the kettlebell to eye level and carefully circle it around your head. You should feel the shoulder muscles engage. Maintain a tight core as you slowly move the kettlebell around your head back to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions, then perform 10 repetitions in the opposite direction.
Lie down on your back. Position your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Hold the kettlebell handle with both hands and rest it gently on your pelvis. Engage your core, driving your hips up to create a flat line from your knees to your neck, making sure to engage your core. Do not hyperextend your back by excessively driving your hips up. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Position your feet hip-distance apart. Grab both sides of the kettlebell handles, allowing it to hang in front of you naturally. Engage your core to maintain stability as you bend at the elbows to curl the kettlebell up toward your chest and slowly lower back down to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent. Grab the kettlebell in one hand by the handle. Extend your arm straight up to the ceiling with your palm facing away. Slowly lower the bell down until the back of your arm touches the floor. That is one repetition. Repeat for 10 repetitions and then switch sides.