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19 Most Effective Kettlebell Exercises for Women to Change your Shape

By Greg Brookes
kettlebell exercises for women

Kettlebell training produces fit, slender and athletic female body’s that look good without the additional bulk that other types of weight training can generate.

Below I’ve categorised the 19 best kettlebell exercises into the: backside, legs, belly, arms and full body.

All of these kettlebell exercises can be performed with just 1 or 2 kettlebells. For females I recommend an 8kg (17lbs) and/or a 12kg (25lbs).

I’ve also included videos and images of the kettlebell exercises so you can see how the kettlebell exercise should be performed safely and correctly.

Here are the 19 kettlebell exercises for ladies:


Kettlebell Exercises for Women | The Backside

The backside, buttocks or glutes are the largest muscles in the body and due to child bearing reasons women tend to have larger backsides than men.

If the buttocks are not exercised or conditioned correctly then over time gravity will take its toll and they will flatten and travel south.

Conditioning the backside is a must for ladies because not only does it lift and firm up the muscles but it also generates huge fat burning potential for the rest of the body.

Finally, good functioning gluteal muscles also takes faulty muscle activation away from the legs allowing them to strengthen and slim down correctly.

Here are 3 kettlebell exercises for females that focus on the backside:

1 Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift

Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift

The single arm deadlift is a great introduction to kettlebell training and brilliant for shaping and conditioning the backside.

The kettlebell is lifted and lowered by pushing the hips backwards and forwards and squeezing the buttocks tight at the top of the movement.

It is very important to keep the back flat and to only hinge at the hips to prevent any lower back issues.

Try to avoid hunching the shoulders as you lift the kettlebell and let the legs and buttocks do all the work.

As this is a large movement pattern you will be able to lift heavier weights than you might expect so don’t be afraid to increase the weight once you have mastered the exercise.

Practice 8 – 12 repetitions on each side.

Want more? See 7 Kettlebell Deadlift Variations

Watch the Kettlebell Single Arm Deadlift video below:



2 Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift

Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift

The kettlebell single leg deadlift is a more challenging movement that will strengthen the hamstrings as well as the buttocks.

Again this kettlebell exercise involves hinging at the hips and not the lower back.

Try to keep your weight on the heel rather than the toes as you tilt forwards and lower the kettlebell to the floor.

You will also generate a degree of core activation as the movement pulls you into a slight rotation as you lower and raise the kettlebell.

Don’t allow the back leg to rotate outwards during this exercise, focus on keeping the rear toes pointing towards the floor.

Practice 5 slow and controlled repetitions on each leg.

Want more? How to Master the Single Leg Deadlift

Watch the Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift below:



3 Kettlebell Swing Two Hands

Kettlebell Swing Two Hands

The two handed kettlebell swing is the ultimate kettlebell exercise for ladies.

Not only will the kettlebell swing activate most of the muscles in the body but it will also improve your cardio and straighten up your posture.

As with the two previous deadlift exercises, hinging at the hips is very important to protect the lower back.

Keep the chest and ribcage lifted throughout the movement and aggressively snap the hips forwards and squeeze the glutes tight.

Work up to 20 non stop repetitions before taking a rest and repeating.

Want more? Ultimate Guide to the Kettlebell Swing

Watch the Kettlebell Two Handed Swing video below:



Kettlebell Exercises for Women | The Legs

Most women want slender long legs that are toned but not too muscular.

Kettlebell training can totally reshape the legs and although it cannot physically lengthen legs it can give the appearance of a longer leg.

In order for women to achieve better looking legs they need to ensure that they activate them correctly while at the same time using the correct exercises and repetitions.

Below are 5 kettlebell exercises for women and better looking legs:

4 Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebell Goblet Squat Exercise

The kettlebell goblet squat activates all the muscles of the legs, both front and back, as well as the buttocks.

The biggest mistake that women make when practicing the goblet squat is failing to squat down deep enough.

Take a look at the image above and see how the thighs are at least parallel with the floor.

Failure to squat down deep enough overloads the legs disproportionately compared to the buttocks.

Shallow squatting can lead to larger thighs and a flat backside, both of which are avoidable if you squat down to the correct depth.

If you have problems with the goblet squat then practice without a kettlebell first before loading the movement.

Work up to 20 total repetitions without taking a rest.

Want more? Quick guide to the goblet squat

Watch the Kettlebell Goblet Squat video below:



5 Kettlebell Racked Squat

Kettlebell Racked Squat Exercise

The racked kettlebell squat is a slightly more challenging variation of the kettlebell goblet squat.

Holding the kettlebell in one hand overloads the one side of the body and challenges the core muscles.

Again squatting depth is vital here, make sure that your thighs get down to at least parallel with the floor.

Keep the elbow tucked in nice and tight to prevent the shoulder from prematurely fatiguing.

The racked kettlebell squat is an important exercise to learn because it segues nicely into so many other kettlebell exercises that I’ll be discussing later.

Practice 8 – 12 repetitions on each side.

Want more? 7 kettlebell squat variations

Watch the Kettlebell Racked Squat video below:



6 Kettlebell Racked Reverse Lunge

Kettlebell Racked Reverse Lunge Exercise

The kettlebell reverse lunge is the ultimate leg and buttock exercise for women.

Just as with the squat the lunge also needs to be performed as deep as possible so the back knee kisses or just misses the floor.

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

Focus on keeping the elbow tucked in nice and tight and try to relax the shoulder.

Keeping the core tight and actived will help stabilise the hips during the movement and prevent you from wobbling around as you lunge.

Practice 8 – 12 controlled repetitions on each side.

Want more? See 16 Kettlebell Lunge Variations

Watch the Kettlebell Racked Lunge video below:



7 Kettlebell Bob and Weave

Kettlebell Bob and Weave Exercise

The kettlebell bob and weave exercise is a great shaper of the buttocks and legs.

Your ultimate goal is to dip down as low as possible between each sideways movement.

Start off shallow and get deeper with each repetition as your muscles warm and lengthen.

Keep your chest up and back flat to avoid straining the back during the movement.

Work up to 20 total repetitions moving fluidly from side to side.

Watch the Kettlebell Bob and Weave video below



8 Kettlebell Side Lunge

Kettlebell Side Lunge Exercise

The kettlebell side lunge will shape beautiful legs and buttocks while improving your hip mobility at the same time.

The side lunge is not an easy exercise to perform well because it requires good leg strength as well as hip mobility.

As with the bob and weave exercise, start off performing shallow lunges and get deeper and deeper as your flexibility improves.

Keep your chest up and weight back on your heels for maximum muscle activation.

Practice without a kettlebell to master the movement before adding a kettlebell to the exercise.

Work up to 10 repetitions on each side.

Watch the Kettlebell Side Lunge video below:



Kettlebell Exercises for Women | The Belly

The belly is the body’s natural dumping ground for fat and no amount of exercise will reduce belly fat if you have a terrible diet.

You can however tighten, draw in and condition the belly by using certain kettlebell exercises that challenge the core muscles.

I don’t like conventional sit ups or crunches, not only have they been proven to be bad for the spine but the benefits are limited to only a few muscles.

When it comes to kettlebell exercises for the belly you want to strengthen the core muscles in a practical way as well as using as many muscles as possible to stimulate more fat loss.

Here are 4 kettlebell exercises for women that condition the belly:

9 Kettlebell Half Turkish Get Up

Kettlebell Half Turkish Get Up Exercise

The kettlebell half turkish get up is a fantastic core exercise that also conditions the upper body and improves your posture.

The objective of the exercise is to sit up with the use of one arm while holding a kettlebell overhead.

Keep the kettlebell arm straight at all times and focus on the kettlebell.

Try to keep your heel on the floor and sit up slowly towards your opposite hip.

Once you reach the top position lift your chest up and sit tall.

Slowly return to your original lying position by reversing the movement. Take your time and try to resist gravity on the way down.

Practice without the kettlebell first before working up to 5 repetitions on each side without putting the kettlebell down.

Learn more: 7 floor based core exercises


10 Kettlebell Full Turkish Get Up

Kettlebell Turkish Get Up Exercise

Once you have mastered the half turkish get up you can progress to the kettlebell full turkish get up.

The full turkish get up strengthens and conditions the full body including the core muscles.

Again the kettlebell arm must remain straight and locked out at all times to prevent fatiguing the shoulder muscles.

Practice the movement without a kettlebell before progressing on to the loaded version.

Start by performing 1 repetition on each side then progress to 2 reps without putting the kettlebell down before changing sides.

Want more? Ultimate Guide to the Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

Watch the Kettlebell Full Turkish Get Up video below:



11 Kettlebell Windmill

Kettlebell Windmill Exercise

The kettlebell windmill works deep into the core muscles especially the obliques.

You will also increase your hip mobility and hamstring flexibility by practicing this kettlebell exercise.

Try to keep the back knee straight and weight shifted over the rear leg for this exercise.

Keep your eyes focused on the kettlebell as you slowly descend towards the floor.

You can bend the front leg a little if it helps.

Practice the movement without a kettlebell before working up to 5 repetitions on each side.

Want more? 4 Logical Progressions to the Kettlebell Windmill

Watch the Kettlebell Windmill video below:



12 Kettlebell Reverse Lunge with Rotation

Kettlebell Lunge with Rotation Exercise

The kettlebell reverse lunge with rotation is an excellent core exercise but also great for the buttocks, legs and hips.

The exercise begins like a regular reverse lunge but as the knee gets close to the floor rotate the kettlebell slowly over the front knee and back again.

Change legs and sides for each repetition.

A common mistake is to rush the movement or rotate over the knee too soon.

Take your time and move slow and controlled.

Keep your chest and ribcage lifted throughout the movement.

Work up to 20 total repetitions changing sides every rep.

Watch the Kettlebell Reverse Lunge with Rotation video below:



Kettlebell Exercises for Women | The Arms

Most kettlebell exercises work the arms to some extent, including the front (biceps) and the back (triceps).

Just holding on to a kettlebell during some of these kettlebell exercises for women can be hard work.

However, certain exercises do have more of an emphasis on the arms than others.

Below are 4 kettlebell exercises for women that work into the arms:

13 Kettlebell Regular Row

Kettlebell Regular Row Exercise

The kettlebell row activates the back, core, hamstrings and the arm muscles.

It is great exercise for improving your posture by pulling the shoulders backwards and ultimately opening and improving the appearance of the chest.

Keep your back flat and row the kettlebell upwards as if your elbow is being pulled towards the ceiling.

Be sure to avoid hunching your shoulders, keep them down and towards your hips.

Sit back onto your heels loading your hamstrings as you perform the exercise.

Row slowly both up and down working towards 8 – 12 repetitions each side.

Want more? 10 Kettlebell Exercises for the Back

Watch the Kettlebell Regular Row video below:



14 Kettlebell Overhead Press

Kettlebell Overhead Press Exercise

The kettlebell overhead press will strengthen the backs of the arms as well as the shoulders and core muscles.

As you press overhead keep your shoulder away from your ear and your wrist straight.

Squeeze the kettlebell handle nice and tight along with your buttocks as you press.

Make sure you lower the kettlebell back down slowly under control.

Practice 8 – 12 repetitions on each side.

Want more? Complete Guide to the Kettlebell Overhead Press

Watch the Kettlebell Overhead Press video below:



15 Kettlebell Slingshot

kettlebell slingshot exercise

The kettlebell slingshot is a great exercise to strengthen the arms, improve shoulder health and as a terrific warm up.

Keep your hips still and core tight as you pass the kettlebell around the body.

The chest should be lifted and focus should be placed straight ahead of you.

Start the exercise by performing 40 repetitions, changing direction every 10 reps.

Want more? Why I Love the Kettlebell Slingshot

Watch the Kettlebell Slingshot video below:



16 Kettlebell Sit and Press

Kettlebell Sit and Press Exercise

The kettlebell sit and press exercise will strengthen the arms, open up the chest and improve your hip mobility.

Holding the kettlebell in both hands with the legs straight sit up while at the same time pressing the kettlebell overhead.

At the top of the movement your ribcage should be lifted and focus is directly forwards.

Returning to the lying position should be performed slowly and with control using your core muscles to resist gravity.

Try to keep your heels on the floor throughout the movement.

Work up to 15 slow and controlled repetitions.

Want more? See 7 Best Kettlebell Ab Exercises

Watch the Kettlebell Sit and Press video below:



Kettlebell Exercises for Women | Full Body Fat Burners

Full body kettlebell exercises are hard to beat for fat loss.

The more muscles you use, the more calories you burn and the more effect the routine has on your metabolic system.

Full body kettlebell exercises for women will also rapidly increase your cardio and save you a lot of time.

Many of the exercises that you have seen so far do use 100’s of muscles at a time but the following exercises are the ultimate champions for fat loss.

Below are 3 kettlebell exercises for women that are great for full body fat loss:

17 Kettlebell Thruster

Kettlebell Thruster Exercise

The kettlebell thruster takes the kettlebell squat and the kettlebell overhead press and combines them into one full body exercise.

As mentioned earlier nice deep squats are important to activate the buttock muscles correctly.

From the bottom of the squat drive up by pushing the floor away from you and using the momentum to press the kettlebell overhead.

This exercise is hard work and you will feel your heart rate rise very quickly.

Be sure to practice and master both the squat and the overhead press before moving on to this more complicated movement.

Work up to 10 brisk repetitions on each side.

Want more? How to Master the Kettlebell Thruster

Watch the Kettlebell Thruster video below:



18 Kettlebell Single Arm Swing

Kettlebell Single Handed Swing Exercise

The kettlebell single arm swing has all the great benefits of the two handed swing but it also works more into the shoulder and core muscles.

As with the two handed kettlebell swing the hips should do all the work as they are snapped dynamically forwards.

Squeeze the buttocks and core muscles tight at the top of the swing.

Keep the back flat and chest lifted throughout the whole duration of the exercise.

Be sure to master the two handed swing first before moving on to this single handed variation.

Work up to 20 repetitions on each arm.

Want more? Are you Ready for the One Arm Kettlebell Swing

Watch the Kettlebell Single Arm Swing video below:



19 Kettlebell Reverse Lunge and Press

Kettlebell Lunge and Press Exercise

The kettlebell reverse lunge and press is a challenging cardiovascular exercise that is excellent for full body conditioning.

You will need both good lunge technique as well as overhead pressing strength for this exercise.

The lunging part of the exercise will condition your buttocks, legs and core muscles.

While the overhead press strengthens the shoulders, arms and back.

Be sure to perform a nice deep lunge before using your momentum to drive the kettlebell overhead.

Practice 8 – 12 controlled repetitions on each side.

Watch the Kettlebell Reverse Lunge and Press video below:



Conclusion to Kettlebell Exercises for Women

Kettlebells are an excellent training tool for women.

With these kettlebell exercises for women you can develop a strong and lean body while improving your cardio at the same time.

Very little space is required for these exercises so you can use them both at home or at the gym.

Select a few exercises and take your time to master the movements. You don’t need to use them all.

Most importantly enjoy the exercises and progress carefully.

To see specific kettlebell workouts for women go here

Have you tried any of these kettlebell exercises for women?

10 best kettlebell workouts

FAQ

What weight kettlebell should a woman use?

Most women will begin their kettlebell journey with an 8kg (17lbs) or a 12kg (25lbs) depending upon the exercise.

Is a kettlebell workout effective?

Kettlebell training is a very effective way to exercise because you can combine full body exercises along with cardio in one workout.

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    1. leighan Avatar
      leighan

      Hi !! I’m new to this! But I’ve got this women’s one from you 🙂 if I pick 1 from each group and master them & do them daily with an 8 & 12(I love the 12!) how long in reality till I see any changes?im a bit flabby n overweight from baby weight.. (he’s two 😆😅) thanks! Xx

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Hello Leighan, results will really depend on your background, nutrition and lifestyle too. Usually within 30 days of regular exercise combined with good nutrition you will see results.

    2. Amrita Avatar
      Amrita

      Excellent content. So simple, well explained, great diagrams. Do you have PDF for the 19 exercises?

    3. Deborrah Avatar

      Hey Greg! Thanks for this guide and the videos. I’m back in the gym after 9 months of recovery from an auto accident and zooming back into shape using kettlebells. Got a great compliment from one of the muscleheads who watched me throwing my kb around doing cleans and swings and goblet squats yesterday. He walked up and told me I was a “badass!” LOL Thanks Greg.

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Excellent, well done Deborrah, I’m sure you are a “badass” 🙂