Home / 7 Best Kettlebell Weight Loss Exercises with Workout Ideas

7 Best Kettlebell Weight Loss Exercises with Workout Ideas

By Greg Brookes
7 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Fat Loss

I was recently asked about the best kettlebell exercise for fat loss including a kettlebell workout for weight loss and although I don’t like to single out any one particular exercise it got me thinking.

I started thinking about all the kettlebell exercises for weight loss and which would get the job done the quickest.

There is no doubt in my mind that the chosen kettlebell weight loss exercise would have to use as many muscles as possible.

The more muscles you use the more calories you burn.

Plus, using lots of muscles also means conditioning lots of muscles resulting in an increase in metabolic rate, or burning more fat when at rest.

So, rather than single out just one kettlebell exercise for weight loss I decided to list 7 starting from the easiest and progressing to the more technical.


1. Kettlebell Squat and Press or Thruster

Kettlebell Two Handed Squat and Press Exercise

The kettlebell squat and press or thruster is my first choice of kettlebell exercise for weight loss.

Almost every muscle in the body is activated during this kettlebell exercise, plus it is very cardiovascular so will raise the heart rate quickly.

The kettlebell squat is one of our fundamental movement patterns, one of the first few that we develop as toddlers.

We use the squat whenever we sit down, stand up, and even when getting into the car.

The kettlebell squat also acts as a pumping mechanism driving blood around the body and lubricating our joints with healthy nutrients.

It’s also excellent for opening up the lower back and preventing lower back pain.

The depth of the kettlebell squat is very important. The thighs must drop down to parallel with the floor in order to properly activate the buttock muscles.

The buttock muscles are huge fat burners.

Beginners can get huge benefits from just performing the kettlebell goblet squat but for those more comfortable with the exercise the press can be added to the top of the movement.

Progressions:

  1. Kettlebell Goblet Squat
  2. Kettlebell Two Handed Squat and Press
  3. Kettlebell Thruster (one handed)

Watch a video of the squat and press kettlebell exercise for fat loss below:


Related: How to Master the Kettlebell Thruster


2. Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Swing Two Hands

The kettlebell swing would have been my first choice as best kettlebell exercise for fat loss but it’s quite technical for complete beginners.

Kettlebell swings for fat loss, like the squat and press, work most muscles in the body but has more of an emphasis on the back.

The hamstrings, buttocks, lower, mid and upper back all work hard during the kettlebell swing for weight loss.

It has the advantage of not using such a deep knee bend as the squat so is good for those suffering from bad knees.

However, the lack of knee bend does mean less activation from the front of the legs.

The kettlebell swing is also very cardiovascular, swinging and absorbing the kettlebell weight in between the legs takes a lot of energy.

As with the squat and press the feet do not need to move so impact is very low and minimal space is required.

The top part of the swing is also very powerful at developing the abs when performed correctly as it simulates a standing dynamic plank position.

Progressions:

  1. Kettlebell Two Handed Swing
  2. Kettlebell One Handed Swing
  3. Kettlebell Alternating Swing

Watch a video of the swing kettlebell exercise for fat loss below:


Related: Ultimate Guide to the Kettlebell Swing


3. Kettlebell Clean and Press

Kettlebell Clean and Press

The kettlebell clean and press is a slightly more technical kettlebell exercise for fat loss.

Just like the swing and thruster above it uses most of the muscles in the body.

The kettlebell clean and press is based off the deadlift movement pattern which simulates how you should pick anything heavy up from the floor.

The legs, hips, buttocks, core and back are heavily involved in the kettlebell clean movement.

Beginners should start with just the kettlebell clean and when mastered add the press to the movement.

10 best kettlebell workouts

Once flowing beautifully the weight used for the kettlebell clean should be increased substantially.

The deadlift pattern is our strongest movement so can handle much heavier loads.

Again the feet do not need to move so it’s an excellent kettlebell fat loss exercise for small spaces and for those trying to avoid impact.

When in full flow the clean and press is also very cardiovascular because the heart has to work hard to move the kettlebell from the floor to the top position and back down again.

Progressions:

  1. Kettlebell Clean
  2. Kettlebell Clean and Press
  3. Kettlebell Clean and Jerk

Watch a video of the clean and press kettlebell exercise for fat loss below:


Related: Stop Banging Your Wrists and Clean Like a Pro


4. Kettlebell Lunge and Press

Kettlebell Lunge and Press Exercise

The kettlebell lunge and press is one of my favourite kettlebell exercises for weight loss but does require good leg strength.

Everyone should master the kettlebell squat before attempting the kettlebell lunge or they may feel it in their knees due to a lack of strength.

If you want beautiful shaped buttocks and functional hips then the kettlebell lunge is for you.

You also get a huge amount of cardiovascular output from the kettlebell lunge which often surprises many people.

The kettlebell lunge has lots of cross over for sports and improves hip mobility for daily life.

The kettlebell lunge must be mastered first before attempting to add the overhead press to the movement.

As with the squat the depth of the movement is very important in order to fully activate the fat burning buttocks.

Ensure that the rear knee kisses or gets very close to the floor with every repetition.

Progressions:

  1. Kettlebell Reverse Lunge
  2. Kettlebell Forward Lunge
  3. Kettlebell Reverse Lunge and Press

Watch a video of the lunge and press kettlebell exercise for fat loss below:


Related: 16 Kettlebell Lunge Variations from Beginner to Pro


5. Kettlebell Clean, Squat and Press

Kettlebell Clean, Squat and Press

You can class the clean, squat and press exercise as a kettlebell complex exercise for fat loss.

With this kettlebell exercise we combine two of the fat loss exercises from above into one big complex movement.

You know the full body benefits of the kettlebell clean and also of the squat and press so here you get two for one.

The kettlebell clean, squat and press is certainly not for beginners and seriously challenges your technique throughout the movement.

Again the feet are not moved during the whole exercise so only a small space is required along with minimal joint impact.

The movement should flow from one exercise to the next making it a pleasure to perform if not very challenging on the heart and lungs.

No exercise should be cut short due to the complexity of this exercise, ensure that you fully complete the clean, then the squat and finally the press.

Progressions:

  1. Kettlebell Squat and Press
  2. Kettlebell Clean and Press
  3. Kettlebell Clean, Squat and Press

Watch a video of the clean, squat and press kettlebell exercise for fat loss below:


Related: 4 Kettlebell Complex Workouts for Those Short On Time


6. Kettlebell High Pull

Kettlebell High Pulls Exercise

The kettlebell high pull is a much more technical and advanced kettlebell exercise for fat loss.

You must first be very comfortable with the kettlebell swing before attempting this exercise.

Like the kettlebell swing the kettlebell high pull exercise works practically every muscle in the body but with a particular emphasis on the back of the body.

I like the fact that the high pull works deep into the upper back area which is great for those who work a desk job or suffer from back posture.

The first thing you will notice about the high pull is how cardiovascular it is.

You will be breathing heavy fast!

It is important to keep a nice straight wrist, a good grip, and a high elbow in order to complete the movement correctly.

Start out with a light kettlebell before using the same weight you use for the one handed kettlebell swing.

Progressions:

  1. Kettlebell Two Handed Swing
  2. Kettlebell One Handed Swing
  3. Kettlebell High Pull

Watch a video of the high pull kettlebell exercise for fat loss below:


Related: 7 Advanced Kettlebell Exercises That Every Kettlebell Superstar Ought to Use


7. Kettlebell Snatch

Kettlebell Snatch Exercise

The final kettlebell exercise for fat loss is the kettlebell snatch.

Again this is not for the beginner and you will need to have mastered the swing and high pull before attempting this kettlebell exercise.

The kettlebell snatch is quite possibly the best full body kettlebell exercise.

Not many muscles avoid being activated with the kettlebell snatch.

It’s a great kettlebell exercise for improving posture because just like the swing it works deep into the back of the body and the postural muscles.

The feet stay planted so not much space is required and the impact on the leg joints is very low.

It’s a super cardio exercise as the kettlebell is practically pulled from just above the floor to straight overhead.

Progressions:

  1. Kettlebell One Handed Swing
  2. Kettlebell High Pull
  3. Kettlebell Snatch

Watch a video of the snatch kettlebell exercise for fat loss below:


Related: Ultimate Guide to the Kettlebell Snatch


Fat Burning Kettlebell Workout for Weight Loss

Now I’ve listed my 7 best kettlebell exercises for weight loss you may be wondering how you can put all these together into a weight loss workout.

Here’s how I suggest you use these kettlebell exercises:

Step 1:

Start at the beginning and practice the exercise.

I’ve included progressions for each exercise, do not advance onto the next progression until you can complete 20 repetitions.

For example from the Squat and Press:

1. Kettlebell Goblet Squat

When you can perform 20 repetitions move on to the next progression.

2. Kettlebell Two Handed Squat and Press

When you can perform 20 repetitions move on to the next progression.

3. Kettlebell Thruster (one handed)

10 best kettlebell workouts

Step 2:

Put together the exercises into a kettlebell fat loss workout like this:

  1. Kettlebell Squat and Press x 30 seconds each side
  2. Kettlebell Clean  x 30 seconds each side
  3. Kettlebell One Arm Swing x 30 seconds each side
  4. Kettlebell Lunge and Press x 30 seconds each side
  5. Rest 30 – 60 seconds and repeat 2-4 times

Depending on your skill level you can interchange the different kettlebell exercises.

Just be careful not to add too many overhead press exercises next to each other or your shoulders will fatigue too quickly.

Step 3:

Increase the time for each exercise.

So you have started with 30 seconds, look to increase them all to 45 seconds and finally 60 seconds.

Always keep an eye on your technique and keep practicing the movements.

How Often to Perform the Fat Loss Exercises

Try to stick to a routine of 3-5 times per week.

Listen to your body if you need more rest then take it.

Try to create an exercise habit, rather than pushing too hard each day just practice the exercises above.

Little and often will reap better rewards than a few hard sessions and then giving up.


What Size Kettlebell for Fat Loss

best kettlebell starting weights

As a general rule I’ve found these to be the best starting weights for men and women:

Kettlebell weight for Men

Start with a 12kg (26lbs) or 16kg (35lbs)

Kettlebell weight for Women

Start with a 8kg (18lbs) or 12kg (26lbs)

Related: Complete Guide to Buying Kettlebells and 7 Types to Avoid


Conclusion

A good fat loss exercise is a full body movement that uses hundreds of muscles while raising your heart rate at the same time.

All 7 of the kettlebell exercises listed above will generate some amazing results for fat loss.

It’s important to start at the beginning and work through the exercises as your skills improve.

I’ve also shown you how to use these kettlebell exercises by putting them together into weight loss workouts of your own.

Take it steady and practice 3-5 times per week.

The best fat loss workout is always the one that gets completed regularly so build an exercises habit.

Enjoy the exercises and more importantly the results.

Related: 9 Most Effective Fat Loss Nutrition Tips

Have you tried these kettlebell exercises for weight loss? Let me know more below:

10 best kettlebell workouts

FAQ

Are kettlebells good for fat loss

Yes kettlebell workouts, when programmed correctly, provide a full body mix that will increase your metabolism and generate fat burning hours after your workout has finished unlike conventional cardio methods.

Which kettlebell exercise burns the most calories?

The kettlebell swing is one of the best exercises to burn calories. During high intensity you burn up 600kcal in half an hour.

Is a 10 minute kettlebell workout effective?

If you use the correct exercises and train at good intensity then a 10 minute workout can be more than enough.

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    1. Carol Avatar
      Carol

      Hello,
      I am a bit confused. This workout is different than the one listed in the “How many Workouts Per Week” mail. My goal is fat burning & tone. I am a bit over 50 years old & noticed my body has changed drastically though my weight has remained fairly constant. I clearly need to pull my body together. 😉

      I find your mails great but way too much in a short amount of time. I need to set up routine but am getting confused. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. I need a set plan I can concentrate on for a while before, moving on.

      Thank you.
      Carol

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        The easiest way to start Carol is with these 5 exercises and follow along workouts. Keep me updated on all your results.

    2. Hasan Avatar

      Hi Greg. What happened to the kettlebell apps in Android. No longer available in Google Play. Realise this when the existing app I bought before is no longer updated by the system

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        New kettlebell apps are coming in 2019 Hasan 🙂

    3. Asti Avatar
      Asti

      Great list! I have one question. What do you mean with “x30 seconds per side”? Do I keep the kettlebell over my head for 30 seconds on presses, or..?
      Greetings from Finland!

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Thanks Asti, for x30 seconds per side just keep performing the repetitions for 30 seconds before changing sides, this way you can go at your own pace. Good luck.

    4. Neuber Souza Avatar

      I live in Brazil and I have a terrible difficulty for weight loss, I’m starting my workout tomorrow and I’m currently 109kg. in the coming weeks I’ll be back to talk about the results.

    5. Xena Avatar
      Xena

      Wow, every good insights on how to use the KB. I am starting tomorrow, I will share results as I go. I had a baby 7 months ago, by C-section.

    6. ELAINE BEESLEY Avatar
      ELAINE BEESLEY

      Fantastic progression explanations, takes the worry out of the exercise which means I can enjoy the experience. I’m off to my gym now to try these out!

    7. Keb Avatar
      Keb

      I just purchased a 10 lb and 15 lb kettlebell. I’ve never used anything other than a 5lb set of dumbbells. I’m 49 and afraid of injury but I want to get my body toned and stronger. Do I still begin with a 15lb kettlebell?

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Start with these 5 kettlebell exercises Keb and see whether the weight is challenging for you. Enjoy!

    8. Victoria Avatar
      Victoria

      I have a 6kg kettlebell. Is that okay to start with.

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        An 8kg is what most women start with Victoria, I’ve got more on why and what size kettlebells to use here