Today’s article, 7 advanced kettlebell exercises, is the 3rd in my series on kettlebell exercises for your kettlebell skill level.
These 7 advanced kettlebell exercises are a natural progression on from the beginners and intermediate ones and use similar movement patterns but with greater demands on the body.
OK, let’s get started…
1. Kettlebell Bottoms Up Press
First we start with the kettlebell bottoms up press, a tricky exercise that involves holding the kettlebell upside down and pressing it overhead.
The bottoms up press develops excellent body alignment in order to prevent the kettlebell from flopping over.
You should begin with the bottoms up clean first to get used to having the kettlebell upside down before attempting the press.
When you start practicing this exercise you may think that a good grip is important but as you start to master the movement you realise that good alignment is more important.
With great technique the kettlebell can be held with a light grip without the kettlebell flopping over.
As a word of warning, be careful when you first start practicing this exercise that the kettlebell doesn’t flop over and hit you.
Use your other hand to protect your face and always be ready to get out of the way and drop the kettlebell.
Watch a video of the kettlebell bottoms up clean below:
Watch a video of the kettlebell bottoms up press below:
Practice: begin by practicing the bottoms up clean, get comfortable with 5 good reps on each side. Next, move from the bottoms up clean straight into the press. Goal is 5 steady reps on each side.
2. Kettlebell Overhead Squat
You should have practiced a lot of kettlebell squats up to this point.
The overhead kettlebell squat takes the kettlebell squat to the next level.
Keeping the arm straight overhead makes the heart work harder to pump blood to the top of the arm and creates extra demands on your upper body mobility.
If you struggle with upper back or shoulder mobility you are going to find this exercise very difficult.
It is a great assessment tool, like the bottoms up press, to ensure you have excellent body alignment during the exercise.
The kettlebell turkish get up should have helped you improve your mobility up to this point.
If you still find this exercise difficult then I suggest you work on your upper back mobility as well as your squat technique.
Facing a wall and practicing the movement without a kettlebell can help shape the movement pattern.
Watch a video of the kettlebell overhead squat below:
Practice: work up to 10 perfect repetitions on each side.
3. Kettlebell High Pulls
Next we increase the pace with the kettlebell high pull exercise.
The high pull is an important exercise because not only does it work into the upper back but also helps open up and mobilise the chest.
When in full flow the kettlebell high pull exercise is very cardiovascular, even more so than the kettlebell swing.
You need to keep a nice tight wrist along with good arm alignment in order for the exercise to flow.
Try to maintain a beautiful straight line from the kettlebell to the wrist and then to the elbow with every repetition.
Mastering the high pull will also give you good control of the kettlebell ready for the kettlebell snatch.
Watch a video of the kettlebell high pull below:
Practice: start with 5 repetitions before returning the kettlebell to the floor. Work up to 60 seconds on each side changing hands after 60 seconds without putting the kettlebell down.
4. Kettlebell Snatch
For many people the kettlebell snatch is the ultimate exercise goal.
The kettlebell snatch activates most muscles in the body and is highly cardiovascular.
You will need to have mastered the one handed kettlebell swing as well as the kettlebell high pull before attempting this exercise.
Good timing is very important at the top of the snatch to prevent banging of the wrist.
Watch a video of the kettlebell snatch below:
Practice: work up to 10 repetitions on each side. Try the 10 minute snatch challenge; as many snatches as possible changing hands as many times as necessary. Goal 200 reps.
5. Kettlebell Plank Row or Renegade Row
The kettlebell plank row or kettlebell renegade row is a very demanding core exercise.
You will need to be able to hold a standard push up position for 60 seconds before attempting this exercise.
Keep your buttocks and core nice and tight preventing your hips from dropping towards the floor.
I suggest that you start with just one kettlebell by placing one hand on a box or bench and holding a kettlebell in the other hand.
As you become stronger at the movement you can transfer down to balancing on two kettlebells.
Be careful as some kettlebells can have a very unstable base meaning that they can roll over and crush your fingers against the floor.
Check the stability of your kettlebells first before applying all your weight onto them.
Watch a video of the kettlebell plank row or renegade row below:
Practice: progress up to 8 reps on each side. Next, alternate repetitions with a goal of 20 total reps.
6. Kettlebell Pistol Squats
The most challenging of all the kettlebell leg exercises is the kettlebell pistol squat.
The kettlebell pistol squat will work heavily into the glutes, quads, hamstrings, core and back.
You will need good hip mobility and stability in order for you to perform this exercise.
I recommend practicing this exercise by holding a resistance band or TRX attached in front of you before later using a kettlebell.
Adding a kettlebell to this exercise will help to create a counter balance making the movement slightly easier even if the strength demands are greater.
Watch a video of the kettlebell pistol squat below:
Practice: use a strength ladder to slowly increase your reps, start with 1 on each leg, then 2, then 3, 4 and 5.
7. Kettlebell Straight Arm Sit
The kettlebell straight arm sit is a tough exercise both for the shoulders and core muscles.
Keep the arm completely locked out throughout the movement to avoid fatiguing the shoulder muscles too early.
You will also need good flexibility in the hips and hamstrings in order to keep the leg straight throughout the movement.
There is a slight knack to this exercise. Just slightly leaning the kettlebell forwards helps to create a bit of momentum to help you up into the top position.
Watch a video of the kettlebell straight arm sit below:
Practice: work up to 12 repetitions on each side.
Conclusion of 7 Advanced Kettlebell Exercises
As you develop strength and movement skills with the beginners and intermediate kettlebell exercises your body will require more stimulus in order to continue developing.
The 7 advanced kettlebell exercises listed above are a good way to progress your kettlebell training to the next level.
There are lots more advanced kettlebell exercises available but I’ve chosen the 7 above because they offer a nice diverse collection of movement patterns, mobility, stability and skill acquisition.
Enjoy your kettlebell training.
Mastered these 7 exercises? See 25 kettlebell Workouts to practice here