Home / 7 Kettlebell Benefits and the 5 Must-Know Exercises

7 Kettlebell Benefits and the 5 Must-Know Exercises

By Greg Brookes

7 kettlebell benefits

Kettlebells seems to be everywhere, at the gym, the crossfit games, on tv, and online but what are the benefits of kettlebell training?

If you are new to kettlebell training then below I’d like to outline the 7 kettlebell benefits along with 5 kettlebell exercises that you need to know.

Let’s get started:

7 Kettlebell Exercise Benefits

There are not many pieces of training equipment that can offer as many benefits as the kettlebell. In fact, once I discovered the kettlebell it quickly become my number one tool for training my personal training clients.

Here are 7 kettlebell advantages that you can achieve:

  1. Quick workouts: One of the great beauties of kettlebell training is how you can flow from one exercise to the next without the need to put the kettlebell down. The ability to move from exercise to the next and not need change the kettlebell weight results in much quicker workouts, often in 20 minutes or less.
  2. Full body exercises: Most of the kettlebell exercises use hundreds of muscles at a time, no more specific bicep exercises or tricep exercises instead kettlebell training does the lot in one go. Training the full body is excellent for fat loss because the more muscles you activate the more calories you burn and the quicker your metabolic rate.
  3. Cardio included: Kettlebell training is very dynamic raising your heart rate quickly so as well as developing muscle and strength you also receive a full cardio workout too. Kettlebell training takes away the need to perform weights on one day and cardio on another, you can do everything in just one workout.
  4. Only one kettlebell needed: You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment, just one kettlebell is all it takes to change the way you look and feel. Kettlebell training is so flexible that you can alter the exercises for your skill level and make them easier or more challenging using just one kettlebell.
  5. Do anywhere with little space: If you want to exercise in the privacy of your own home then kettlebells are the perfect choice. All exercises can be performed in a space that is large enough to swing your arms, for many exercises you don’t even need to more your feet.
  6. Better for daily life: Many regular forms of exercise don’t improve activities in your daily life but kettlebells are different. Kettlebell training is based on functional movement patterns meaning that the exercises you perform help improve your day to day life, as well as sports performance or leisure activities.
  7. Improves posture: With so many of use spending time sitting or in front of computers bad posture is on the rise. Kettlebell training helps to counteract all our sitting by working into the postural muscles at the back of the body, strengthening and straightening up the spine.

Let’s not forget that on top of all the kettlebell training benefits listed above you also achieve the regular benefits from exercise like: improved sleep, better mobility, increases in energy, sense of wellbeing, increases in bone density and more.

5 Kettlebell Must-Know Exercises

There are lots of kettlebell exercises that you can choose from but ultimately there are 5 exercises that work particularly well with the kettlebell.

The exercises listed below are by no means for everyone, some are for beginners and others for the more advanced. However, these kettlebell exercises are worth knowing about and certainly worth practicing or working towards.

Here are the 5 must-know kettlebell exercises:

1 Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Exercise
Goblet Squat produces many kettlebell benefits

Benefits of kettlebell goblet squats

The kettlebell goblet squat is an excellent full body beginners exercise.

Holding a kettlebell with both hands at chest height not only overloads the muscles but also creates a counterbalance to stop beginners from toppling over backwards.

The legs, hips, buttocks, back and core muscles all get activated during this one exercise. The goblet squat will also open up the lower vertebra of the spine to help nourish and prevent lower back issues.

Most will find the goblet squat also challenges their cardio so it’s an excellent exercise for the heart and lungs without the need to move your feet.

Learn more: Quick guide to the kettlebell goblet squat

Variations and progressions

The goblet squat can be made more challenging by increasing the kettlebell weight or advancing the movement.

The next movement progression is to add a two handed overhead press to the squat. Those more advanced can try the single handed racked squat and finally the kettlebell thruster.

Watch the Kettlebell goblet squat below:

2 Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

Kettlebell Turkish Get Up
You get many kettlebell benefits from the Turkish Get Up

Benefits of the kettlebell Turkish get up

For those a little more advanced the kettlebell Turkish get up is the ultimate full body mobility, stability and strengthening exercise.

The kettlebell is taken from a lying down position all the way to standing and back down to the floor again progressing through a series of challenging movements.

The core muscles are used heavily during this exercise and many find that they get stuck which identifies potential mobility and stability issues.

Further conditioning through areas that cause problems will have huge carry-over into daily life and help improve potential movement issues.

Learn more: Ultimate guide to the Turkish get up

Variations and progressions

Beginners should first practice the half get up which involves taking the kettlebell from the lying down position to sitting and then back down again. Those more advanced can progress to the reverse Turkish get up that starts and finishes from the standing position.

Watch the Kettlebell Turkish get up below:

3 Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell Swing Has Many Benefits
The kettlebell swing is excellent for cardio, strength, fat loss, posture and the core

Benefits of the kettlebell swing

The kettlebell swing is a full body exercise that works over 600 muscles in the body and is excellent for both cardio and fat loss.

As the kettlebell is swung between the legs you activate all the muscles at the back of the body from heel to neck resulting in an improvement in your posture.

The kettlebell swing is also excellent for developing explosive power through the hips which is paramount for most sports and martial arts.

Surprisingly to some the kettlebell swing is also a great core exercise as the abs are used heavily at the top of the swing to prevent the hips from overextending, similar to a plank exercise performed on the floor.

Learn more: 4 steps to master the kettlebell swing for beginners

Variations and progressions

Beginners first need to master the hip hinge before attempting this exercise. Once the hip hinge feels comfortable then the two handed swing is the best place to begin. Those more advanced can later progress to the one handed swing which adds further rotation to the core muscles and challenges shoulder stability.

Watch the Kettlebell swing below:

4 Kettlebell Clean and Press

Kettlebell Clean and Press
The Full Body Kettlebell Clean and Press Exercise

Benefits of the kettlebell clean and press

The kettlebell clean and press is a great way to build full body strength and muscle from head to toe.

When performed correctly and with a challenging kettlebell weight the clean and press is very cardiovascular too.

The first half of the exercise involves cleaning the kettlebell up onto the chest using the legs, hips and buttocks. The second half involves using the shoulders and arms to press the kettlebell overhead and then lower again with control.

Learn more: How to stop banging your wrists and clean

Variations and progressions

Beginners should start with the basic clean exercise which again uses the hip hinge movement used with the kettlebell swing. Once the clean part of the exercise has been mastered then the overhead press can be added.

Those more advanced can really challenge themselves by using two kettlebells for this exercise, one in each hand.

Watch the Kettlebell clean and press below:

5 Kettlebell Snatch

Kettlebell Snatch Exercise
Lots of Full Body Benefits from the Kettlebell Snatch

Benefits of the kettlebell snatch

The kettlebell snatch belongs in the more advanced kettlebell exercise list.

Similar to the kettlebell swing the snatch develops explosive hips as well as full body strength from head to toe.

Unlike the kettlebell swing the snatch involves more of a pulling movement as the kettlebell is kept close to the body before finishing in the overhead position.

Pulling the kettlebell up to the top position and controlling the kettlebell on its descent requires good shoulder stability as well as grip strength.

Longer snatch sessions are equally demanding on the cardiovascular system and a good full body workout can be achieved without the need to even move your feet.

Learn more: Ultimate guide to the kettlebell snatch

Variations and progressions

As the snatch is already an advanced exercise the main progression is to add a second kettlebell for double kettlebell snatches. One favourite kettlebell snatch workout is to perform as many as possible in 10 minutes trying to achieve a minimum of 200 total repetitions.

Watch the Kettlebell snatch below:

Conclusion to Kettlebell Training Benefits

There are an overriding amount of benefits to kettlebell training. Using just one kettlebell you can accomplish what many people use an expensive gym membership to achieve.

The kettlebell is a portable piece of equipment that you can use at home, in very little space, for conditioning your total body.

Beginners should start off with the very simple foundational exercises and those more advanced can challenge there strength endurance with more challenging workouts.

There has never been a better time to embrace kettlebell training, best of luck and take care.

To see more posts about basics kettlebells workouts, go here.

Have you experienced any of these kettlebell benefits? Let me know below….

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