Home / 21 Kettlebell Exercises for Men that Build Muscle and Burn Fat

21 Kettlebell Exercises for Men that Build Muscle and Burn Fat

By Greg Brookes
kettlebell exercises for men

Kettlebell exercises for men will build muscle, burn fat and create a lean muscular appearance.

Using the correct kettlebell exercises will activate 100’s of muscles which will reduce workout time and increase fat burning potential.

Kettlebell training is very dynamic which means your cardio will be challenged at the same time as you are adding muscle so the need for a separate cardio workout is not necessary.

The kettlebell exercises for men below are split out into 4 categories: upper body, lower body, full body and double kettlebells.

I have also added a section on kettlebell workouts for men in order to know how to use these kettlebell exercises most effectively.

Here are the 21 kettlebell exercises for men:


Kettlebell Exercises for Men | Upper Body

It is very hard to separate kettlebell exercises for just the upper body because ultimately when you perform any exercise standing up most muscles of the body are involved to some extent.

However, the kettlebell exercises that I have included below have a much deeper focus on the upper body than any others so if your goals are to add muscle to this area then these are for you.

Men should feel comfortable using a 12kg (25lbs), 16kg (35lbs) or 24kg kettlebell. For the push press you could use even more weight.

Here are 5 kettlebell exercises for men and the upper body:

1 Kettlebell Halo

kettlebell halo exercise
kettlebell halo exercise

The kettlebell halo is an important exercise because it opens up and mobilises the shoulders and upper back.

Although this exercise will not add on slabs of muscle it will help maintain healthy joints and acts as a great warm up exercise.

You may be surprised at how difficult this exercise can be especially if you suffer from a tight back and shoulders.

Keep your chest and ribcage lifted throughout the entire exercise.

You should focus your eyes straight ahead of you as you roll the kettlebell around your neck.

Keep the kettlebell as close to the neck as possible to get the most from this exercise.

I recommend that you master and open up the joints with a lighter kettlebell before increasing the weight.

Using a heavy kettlebell incorrectly will only add to neck and shoulder issues rather than correcting them.

Practice 10 rotations in one direction and 10 in the other.

Want more? How to Use Kettlebell Warm Up Exercises

Watch the Kettlebell Halo video below:


2 Kettlebell Regular Row

Kettlebell Regular Row Exercise
Kettlebell Regular Row Exercise

The kettlebell regular row will add muscle to the mid back, lats, core musculature and biceps.

It is important to keep the back flat throughout this exercise and the core braced nice and tight.

A common mistake is to hunch the shoulders towards the neck, keep them down.

Row the kettlebell straight up as if your elbow is being pulled back and towards the ceiling.

Don’t rush through the exercise, the lowering part of the movement is just as important as the row.

Keep your weight back on your heels throughout the exercise and load the hamstrings.

Practice 8 – 12 repetitions on each side.

Want more? 10 Kettlebell Exercises for the Back

Watch the Kettlebell Regular Row video below:


3 Kettlebell Half Turkish Get Up

Kettlebell Half Turkish Get Up Exercise
Kettlebell Half Turkish Get Up Exercise

The kettlebell half turkish get up will develop strong stabilisation in the shoulders as well as excellent core strength.

Overhead pressing, as mentioned later, is important for building big, strong shoulders but without good stabilisation strength there can be a potential for injury.

Practicing and working through the half turkish get up will build the foundation you require for future lifts.

Use your core muscles to sit up towards your opposite hip.

Keep your kettlebell arm straight and heels in contact with the floor throughout the entire exercise.

At the top of the movement sit up tall and lift the ribcage.

Return slowly to the floor by using your core muscles, 5 seconds down is a good guideline.

Once you have mastered the half turkish get up then I highly recommend you progress to the full turkish get up.

Practice 3 – 5 slow reps without putting the kettlebell down before changing sides.

Want more? Ultimate Guide to the Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

Watch the Kettlebell Half Turkish Get Up video below:


4 Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press

Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press
Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press

The kettlebell half kneeling press will build on the stabilisation strength you gained during the half turkish get ups.

From a half kneeling position with the back knee on the floor press the kettlebell overhead.

Keep your buttocks pinched tight and core muscles braced as you press.

Working from a half kneeling position will focus the press directly into the shoulders and leave no room for cheating.

It is common for the hips to start to fall backwards as you start to fatigue so constantly think about staying tall.

Remember to get tight as you press and control the kettlebell on the way back down.

Perform 8 – 12 repetitions on one side before changing legs and arms.

Watch the Kettlebell Half Kneeling Press video below:


5 Kettlebell Push Press

Kettlebell Push Press Exercise
Kettlebell Push Press Exercise

The kettlebell push press is an excellent exercise for building strength and size in the shoulders and upper body.

As you press the kettlebell overhead use your legs slightly just to add a little momentum to the lift.

The bottom part of the lift is always the most challenging so adding a slight knee bend before driving the kettlebell overhead will give you a mechanical advantage.

The kettlebell push press is great for lifting heavier weights that get stuck in the bottom position or when you start to fatigue and you want to complete a few final repetitions.

Care should be taken when using this exercise that you are not using weights that you cannot comfortably stabilise.

Practice 8 – 12 reps on each side

Want more? Complete Guide to the Kettlebell Overhead Press

Watch the Kettlebell Push Press video below:


10 best kettlebell workouts

Kettlebell Exercises for Men | Lower Body

For some reason men tend to neglect the lower body more than the upper body but this is a big mistake.

Research has shown that lower body exercises have a better transfer over to the upper body than upper body exercises to the lower body.

Lower body exercises also promote growth hormone throughout the body which in turn makes upper body exercises more effective.

As with the upper body exercises most lower body exercises also active many muscles in the upper body especially as you are holding a kettlebell with your arms which are attached to your shoulders etc.

Men should feel comfortable using a 12kg (25lbs), 16kg (35lbs) or 24kg kettlebell. For the single arm deadlift I would expect even more weight.

Below are 6 kettlebell exercises for men and the upper body:


6 Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Exercise
Kettlebell Goblet Squat Exercise

The kettlebell goblet squat is one of the most important kettlebell exercises for men and developing the legs, hips, buttocks and core muscles.

Keep your weight back on your heels and try to prevent the knees from caving in towards the centreline as you squat.

Make sure that you squat so your thighs reach parallel with the floor to engage your buttocks correctly. Shallow squats will only develop the legs and can produce muscle imbalances.

Ensure the chest and ribcage is lifted throughout the exercise.

Those comfortable with the goblet squat can practice holding two kettlebells, one in each hand against the chest in the racked position.

Work up to a total of 20 slow and controlled squats.

Want more? 7 Kettlebell Squat Variations

Watch the Kettlebell Goblet Squat video below:


7 Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift

Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift
Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift

The kettlebell single arm deadlift will develop strength, and size in the legs, hips, glutes, back and core muscles.

The deadlift is our strongest movement pattern so in order to gain muscle from this movement you will need to increase the kettlebell weight to as much as you can handle.

Make sure you have great technique before lifting heavy, you should always have a nice flat back and use a hinge at the hips to lift the weight rather than the lower back.

Keep your weight back on your heels and feel the hamstrings and buttocks engage as you lift.

The chest and ribcage should remain lifted throughout the movement.

Work up to 8 – 10 good quality repetitions using a 3 second lower.

Want more? See 7 Kettlebell Deadlift Variations

Watch the Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift video below:


8 Kettlebell Racked Reverse Lunge

Kettlebell Racked Reverse Lunge Exercise
Kettlebell Racked Reverse Lunge Exercise

The kettlebell racked reverse lunge is the ultimate leg and buttock developer.

When squats and deadlifts start to get too easy with the weights that you have available then switching to the kettlebell lunge is a great progression.

The depth of the lunge is important to fully active the buttocks, the back knee should drop down as close to the floor as possible.

Keep the chest up and eyes forwards throughout the entire exercise.

Again keeping your weight back on your heels will fully activate the muscles in the back of your body including the hamstrings and glutes.

If you find you start to wobble during this exercise then bracing your core muscles should help to stabilise the movement.

The kettlebell lunge can be performed, backwards, forwards, holding 1 kettlebell, or 2 up on the chest or down by your sides.

If you want to overload the movement then perform all the reps on one side before changing to the other, rather than alternating legs each rep.

Want more? See 16 Kettlebell Lunge Variations

Watch the Kettlebell Racked Reverse Lunge video below:


9 Kettlebell Pistol Squat

Kettlebell Pistol Squat Exercise
Kettlebell Pistol Squat Exercise

The kettlebell pistol squat is a very challenging movement that will develop strong legs, buttocks, core muscles, mobility and cardio.

For those new to the pistol squat then practice without a kettlebell first and using a band or TRX attached in front of you for support.

Descend down into the bottom of the pistol squat slowly before pausing for a few seconds and then driving back up to the top position.

Your heel should remain on the floor throughout the entire movement.

Adding a kettlebell to the exercise will help with counterbalance but also load the shoulders and back muscles.

Practice alternating sides of 1 rep each time

Want more? Master the kettlebell pistol squat with 5 progressions for beginners

Watch the Kettlebell Pistol Squat video below:


10 Kettlebell Side Lunge

Kettlebell Side Lunge Exercise
Kettlebell Side Lunge Exercise

The kettlebell side lunge will target the muscles of the hips, legs and buttocks in a completely different way than the other leg exercises.

If you are an athlete or practice sports then the side lunge transfers very well into many activities. Most sports require side to side movement as well as forwards and backwards.

Again the depth of movement is very important to properly active the buttock muscles.

You will need good hip mobility and inner thigh flexibility in order to perform this exercise well.

I strongly recommend that you start off with shallow side lunges, just to warm up, before dropping deeper and deeper into the movement.

Keep your chest up and ribcage lifted throughout the exercise.

Work up to 8 – 10 reps on each side, getting deeper each time.

Watch the Kettlebell Side Lunge video below:


11 Kettlebell Double Lunge

Kettlebell Double Lunge Exercise
Kettlebell Double Lunge Exercise

The kettlebell double lunge is a tough exercise that will overload the legs, hips, buttocks and core muscles while working your cardio at the same time.

The same principles apply for the double lunge as the regular lunge except you move from the reverse lunge to the forward lunge without putting your foot down between exercises.

Forwards and backwards counts as just 1 repetition.

Be sure to drop down as deep as possible with both lunges and keep your chest and head up.

8 repetitions on each side is usually enough to get the most from this demanding exercise.

Watch the Kettlebell Double Lunge video below:


10 best kettlebell workouts

Full Body Kettlebell Exercises for Men

The kettlebell exercises for men listed below will activate most of the muscles in your body.

There is a huge amount of muscle activation with these full body exercises so you can expect a quick increase in your heart rate as it challenges your cardio.

These kettlebell exercises for men are complex so care should be taken to master the prerequisites of each movement before loading up the exercise.

Men should feel comfortable using a 12kg (25lbs), 16kg (35lbs) or 24kg kettlebell.

Here are 6 full body kettlebell exercises for men:

12 Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Single Handed Swing Exercise
Kettlebell Single Handed Swing Exercise

The kettlebell swing will activate most of the muscles in your body, test your cardio and improve your posture.

Beginners should start with the two handed swing and progress to the one handed swing once they can swing for a full 60 seconds.

As with all deadlift based movement patterns the swing requires a hinging at the hips and a nice straight back position.

The movement of the kettlebell is generated by the aggressive thrust of the hips forwards with a tightening of the buttocks.

With the kettlebell at the top of the swing the body should be fully upright with the glutes tight and abs braced.

You can practice a quick workout of 10 reps, rest and repeat for 10 circuits.

Want more? 4 steps to master the kettlebell swing

Watch the Kettlebell One Arm Swing video below:


13 Kettlebell Thruster

Kettlebell Thruster Exercise
Kettlebell Thruster Exercise

The kettlebell thruster will strengthen most of the muscles in the body while at the same time challenging your cardio.

Start with a regular racked squat before driving the floor away from you with your feet and using the momentum to press the kettlebell overhead.

Note that this exercise should be performed in a fluid movement with a pause between the squat and the overhead press.

Again squat depth is very important to ensure the buttocks are activated fully and you should be aware of the possibility of cheating as you start to fatigue.

If your shoulder starts to ache then you can use your opposite hand to help hold the kettlebell in the racked position during the bottom portion of the squat.

Practice 10 reps on each side for a great full body workout.

Want more? How to Master the Kettlebell Thruster

Watch the Kettlebell Thruster video below:


14 Kettlebell Clean and Press

Kettlebell Clean and Press
Kettlebell Clean and Press

The kettlebell clean and press uses most muscles of the body but has more of an influence on the back of the body than the thruster.

You begin the exercise with a kettlebell clean which is an explosive movement that activates the legs, hips, buttocks and back.

With the kettlebell up and in the racked position you use your shoulders and upper back to drive the kettlebell up and overhead.

Be sure to take the kettlebell down all the way to the floor slowly and under control.

You will find that you can lift heavier weights with the clean part of the exercise than the press. So in order to use a heavier weight for the full exercise you can use a push press as mentioned in exercise no. 5.

Take your time to master both the clean and the press before combining the two exercises together.

Progress to 5 – 10 reps each side before switching arms.

Want more? How to Clean without Banging Your Wrists

Watch the Kettlebell Clean and Press video below:


15 Kettlebell High Pull

Kettlebell High Pulls Exercise
Kettlebell High Pulls Exercise

The kettlebell high pull exercise is a full body cardio exercise that also works into the upper back.

This kettlebell exercise for men is fast and dynamic and requires good coordination and timing.

It is important to keep a nice straight wrist during the pulling part of the movement as well as keeping the elbow and forearm in line with the direction of pull.

Care should be taken when practicing the high pull because beginners often collapse at the wrist and the kettlebell can travel towards the face.

As with many of these kettlebell exercises for men be sure to stand tall at the top of the movement and squeeze the buttocks tight.

Make sure you have mastered the one arm kettlebell swing before progressing on to this exercise.

Practice 10 – 20 repetitions on each side.

Want more? How to Master the Kettlebell High Pull

Watch the Kettlebell High Pull video below:


16 Kettlebell Snatch

Kettlebell Snatch Exercise
Kettlebell Snatch Exercise

The kettlebell snatch activates the muscles throughout the entire body in a very explosive way.

The snatch is an advanced exercise that needs good explosive hips and timing.

Make sure you have mastered the one arm swing and high pull exercises before moving on to this challenging exercise.

The most common problem beginners have with the snatch is the kettlebell flopping over at the top of the movement and banging the wrist.

To avoid banging the wrist punch your hand through at the top of the movement and keep your wrist nice and straight.

The kettlebell should also travel close to the body on the way up rather than looping around as if a continuation on from the swing.

Work up to 10 – 15 reps on one side before changing hands.

Want more? Ultimate Guide to the Kettlebell Snatch

Watch the Kettlebell Snatch video below:


17 Kettlebell Deck Squat

Kettlebell Deck Squat Exercise
Kettlebell Deck Squat Exercise

The kettlebell deck squat is a fun exercise that will work most of the muscles in the body along with improving your full body mobility.

This kettlebell exercise for men begins with a nice deep squat before rolling backwards and extending the hips and kettlebell overhead, this is the easy part.

The challenging part of the exercise is getting back up again.

Throw your hands forwards to gain momentum and allow you to get your hips underneath you before standing back up again.

Practice with a light kettlebell to begin with.

Work up to 10 controlled repetitions.

Want more? Top 7 floor based kettlebell core exercises

Watch the Kettlebell Deck Squat video below:


10 best kettlebell workouts

Double Kettlebell Exercises for Men

Double kettlebell exercises for men use two kettlebells, one in each hand.

Using two kettlebells enables you to really overload the movement in a symmetrical way.

Many kettlebell exercises can be performed with 2 kettlebells but these lend themselves particularly well.

Below are 4 kettlebell exercises for men that use 2 kettlebells:

18 Double Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift

Single Leg Deadlift with 2 Kettlebells for Strength
Single Leg Deadlift with 2 Kettlebells for Strength

The single leg deadlift using 2 kettlebells is a great way to overload the hamstrings, glutes core and back without the need for very heavy weights.

This kettlebell exercise for men is slightly easier than the one kettlebell version because two provides equal balance so you can really focus on the strength building element of the exercise.

Again keeping your back flat and hinging through the hips is of paramount importance.

Keep the reps low (5) and descend slowly to a count of 3 to benefit from the eccentric loading part of the movement.

Want more? How to Master the Single Leg Deadlift



19 Double Kettlebell Clean, Squat and Press

Double Kettlebell Clean, Squat and Press Exercise
Double Kettlebell Clean, Squat and Press Exercise

The kettlebell clean, squat and press with 2 kettlebells is a huge full body exercise that will challenge everything from your strength to your cardio.

It goes without saying that you should have first mastered all the individual parts of this exercise, the clean, squat, and overhead press.

You should also practice each element of this exercise separately with 2 kettlebells before putting them together into this complex exercise.

When performing the exercise think: clean, squat, press and down.

You can rest momentarily after each rep by returning the kettlebells to the ground or use your stretch reflex at the bottom of the movement to go straight into a second repetition.

Your ultimate goal is 10 non stop repetitions.


20 Double Renegade Row

Kettlebell Renegade Row Exercise
Kettlebell Renegade Row Exercise

The kettlebell renegade row is a challenging exercise that will develop excellent core muscles as well as work into the back muscles.

This kettlebell exercise for men first requires you to hold a good solid front plank both on two hands and one.

With both hands on the kettlebell handles row the one arm backwards pulling through the elbow towards the ceiling.

The hips should stay perfectly inline with the body while preforming the exercise and the buttocks should be squeezed tight.

Care should be taken to use the correct type of kettlebell to prevent them from rolling to the side and crushing your fingers on the floor.

Beginners can practice this exercise by using just one kettlebell and having the other hand on a box, parallette or bench.

Work up to 10 slow and controlled repetitions per side.

Learn more: Master the kettlebell renegade row with 5 progressions

Watch the Double Kettlebell Renegade Row video below:


21 Double Kettlebell Alternating Clean

Alternating Kettlebell Cleans
Alternating Kettlebell Cleans

The kettlebell alternating clean with 2 kettlebell is a challenging, fast paced full body exercise that requires excellent coordination.

Simply put you will be performing fast alternating kettlebell cleans, one up one down.

There will be a slight knee bend as with a regular clean during each movement.

The back must be kept nice and flat, core engaged and chest up.

This is not an exercise for beginners!

Your first challenge is to keep the movement going for 30 seconds, 60 seconds and you’ll know you’re working out!


Kettlebell Workouts for Men

Now you have a comprehensive list of kettlebell exercises you can put them together into a full body kettlebell workout for Men.

Select 1 exercise from each of the first three categories like this:

  1. Upper Body Exercise (eg. Half get up)
  2. Lower Body Exercise (eg. goblet squat)
  3. Full Body Exercise (eg. clean and press)

Now perform each of the exercises one after the other in a circuit format or a tri-set. Depending on your goals you may perform less reps with a heavy kettlebell or more with a lighter kettlebell.

For those men who are more advanced you can add a 4th exercise to the list from the Double kettlebells category.

Learn more: 12 kettlebell workout formats you can use


Conclusion to Kettlebell Exercises for Men

Above I’ve listed 21 kettlebell exercises for men along with a full body kettlebell workout for men that will help build muscle and burn fat.

There are of course many other kettlebell exercises available but these are the ones that will activate 100’s of muscles per movement therefore increasing your metabolism, growth hormone and challenge your cardio.

You don’t need to use all of these exercises, in fact I recommend that you just select a few and master them first.

Unlike other forms of exercise you should be careful not to overdo it, just a short workout 3-5 times per week is enough for most people.

Best of luck and take care.

For more general articles on kettlebell training go here.

Have you tried any of these kettlebell exercises or workout for men? Let me know below….

10 best kettlebell workouts

FAQ

What are the best kettlebell exercises?

All depends on your goals. Many kettlebell exercises train the full body in one movement including the swing, snatch, clean and press, Turkish get up and more.

Can you build muscle with only kettlebells?

Yes but you will have to choose your kettlebell and the exercises carefully. Grind based movements including the clean and press are best.

What weight kettlebell should men use?

Generally men will begin with either a 12kg or 16kg and later progress to a working weight of 24kg. As some exercises are performed with 2 hands even heavier weights can be used.

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    1. Mr David Sansom Avatar
      Mr David Sansom

      Hi Greg

      Now I’m in my 70’s I’m finding weight training with dumbbells a bit of a grind. My son suggested I try kettlebells. I found your website and found the information very informative and the videos excellent. I’m excited about the the delivery of my 12kg kettlebell. Thank you very much for sharing your expertise. David S.

    2. Jun Seng Wou Avatar
      Jun Seng Wou

      I’ve been working out with a 12 kg kettlebell for close to a month now, as 12 kg seems to be the weight that provides a challenge for me without being overwhelming.

      For warm-ups and transitioning from one exercise to another I primarily do halos, slingshots and good mornings. For upper body conditioning my current regimen consists of regular rows and push presses.

      For lower body workouts I do goblet squats and single-arm deadlifts, but I’m also looking to eventually add single-leg deadlifts and double lunges into my regimen.

      For my full-body workout regimen, my mainstay is the kettlebell swing (two-handed, in the process of transitioning to one-handed), thrusters, and clean and press, and also experimenting with the high pull.

      Currently my goals would be to progress to using 16 kg kettlebells for my workouts, and to be able to perform the kettlebell snatch and half Turkish get up so I can add them into my daily regimen too.

    3. Darryl Avatar
      Darryl

      Cheers I’m going to try these exercises and get back to you