7 Beginner Kettlebell Exercises To Work Your Entire Body

Beginner kettlebell exercises are an excellent way to add variety to your workout routine, whether you’re new to strength training or you’re just faithful to your trusty 15-pound dumbbells. Using different equipment offers up new ways to work your muscles, which is key to seeing results, and there are endless ways to burn out your entire body with ultra-versatile kettlebells (and raise your heart rate for a cardio boost, too)..

To help you get to know this excellent training tool, Andy Speer, co-owner of SoHo Strength Lab in New York City, hand-picked these seven beginner kettlebell exercises and designed a workout incorporating them exclusively for SELF. To get started, you’ll need a 10- to 15-pound kettlebell (or 4 to 6 kilograms). If you have experience with kettlebells but you’re just looking to add new moves to your repertoire, go for 15 to 20 pounds. Let’s lay down some terminology, too, since different exercises have you holding different parts of the kettlebell: The “ball” refers to the heavy sphere at the bottom, and the handle is the part attached to it. The handle (AKA the horns) can be gripped at the top, on the sides, or near the base where it meets the ball on both sides.

You can incorporate these moves into your typical training routine. Or combine them all for a full kettlebell circuit. To do this, do moves 1-3 and repeat 3x. These improve stability. Then, focus on challenging your muscles with moves 4 and 5 (repeat 3x). Finish off with moves 6 and 7 (repeat 3x) to drive your heart rate up for a cardio bonus.  Ready to get on a first-name basis with kettlebells? Get started here.  If you need some motivation to get started, check out this site-www.myelementfitness.com.


  • Grip the sides of the kettlebell handle with the ball on top and hold it at chest height.
  • Take a big step forward with your right leg so your feet are staggered, and bend your knees.
  • Lift the ball to eye level and slowly circle it around your head to the left. Let the ball fall below the handle as you go, returning it to upright when you finish one revolution.
  • Return to the starting position and circle the kettlebell to the right.
  • That’s 1 rep. Do 5. Then, repeat with the other leg forward.

Works: shoulders, legs

Lunge Up

  • Hold the kettlebell handle in your left hand with your arm extended above your shoulder, the ball resting on the back of your wrist.
  • Step your left foot back into a reverse lunge (as shown).
  • Step forward to return to the starting position.
  • That’s 1 rep. Do 10. Repeat on the other side.

Works: shoulders, abs, legs


  • Hold the kettlebell handle in your right hand with your arms hanging straight at your sides. Step your left foot a few feet in front of your right foot.
  • Bend at your waist so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to floor, keeping your spine long.
  • Lift the kettlebell to your rib cage (as shown). Pause and lower it back down.
  • That’s 1 rep. Do 15. Repeat on the other side.

Works: upper back, shoulders, biceps, abs

Push Press

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the kettlebell handle in your right hand at shoulder height, resting the ball on the back of your wrist.
  • Squat, then stand as you press the kettlebell overhead (as shown).
  • Return to the starting position.
  • That’s 1 rep. Do 10. Repeat on the other side.

Works: shoulders, triceps, abs, legs

Squat And Curl

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out 45 degrees, gripping the sides of the kettlebell handle with both hands at chest height.
  • Squat until your thighs are parallel to floor, then do a biceps curl (as shown).
  • Drive through your heels to return to standing.
  • For the next round do 2 squats, with 2 curls at the bottom of the second squat. Continue adding 1 rep each time, doing the curls at the bottom of the last squat, until you do 5 squats and 5 curls.

Works: biceps, upper back, abs, legs


  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, gripping the top of the kettlebell handle with both hands.
  • Bend your knees slightly, then hinge at the hips to swing the kettlebell between your legs.
  • Stand back up as you swing it to chest height (as shown).
  • That’s 1 rep. Do 20.

Works: abs, glutes, hamstrings

Triceps Press

  • Grip the kettlebell at the base of the handle with both hands. Step your right leg forward so your feet are staggered, and bend your knees slightly.
  • Raise the kettlebell directly overhead.
  • Keeping your elbows close to your ears, lower the kettlebell behind your head to neck level (as shown). Pause, then straighten your arms to raise the kettlebell overhead.
  • That’s 1 rep. Do 10.

Works: triceps, shoulders, abs

It’s also important to note that there is no “best time to workout“. Research has shown that our internal body clocks (known as circadian rhythms) adapt to the time of day we consistently train at. So go ahead and fit this routine around your schedule!

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