Top 4 Beginner Kettlebell Exercises

I was making a few tweaks / updates to my Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training course (BTW – if you don’t have a copy yet – you can get it FREE for the next few days, here), and I ran across the article below.

I originally published this on in October of 2008 … almost 9 years ago!

MAN how time flies.

This particular article was viewed over 15,000 times in the first few months, and was really the first piece I did that got significant traction.

From this article came my kettlebell blog, then kettlebell email newsletter, then my current suite of online kettlebell courses and coaching programs …

You could say that this article was the start of it all!

I wanted to share it with you though because I think it’s great info for folks getting started with kettlebells.

And if you’ve never seen it – it’s new to you! 🙂

Hope it helps.

And don’t forget to pick up your copy of my Beginner’s Guide to KB Training while it’s up for free the next few days!

=> Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training


Top 4 Beginner Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebells are an awesome training tool for strength, flexibility, and endurance. They are incredibly versatile and the amount of different exercises we can do with them is vast – but which exercises are best for beginners trying to learn the basics? Here is an outline of my top 4 kettlebell exercises for beginners.

Note that all of these exercises can be done with one kettlebell – that’s all you need to get started!

1.) The Sumo Deadlift

A great exercise for the legs, hips, core, and back. It’s also key to learn this one before moving on to the swing.

With the kettlebell between your feet, start the movement by pulling the hips back. Imagine there is a wall behind you and you’re tapping it with your hips.

You should feel a nice stretch in the back of the legs at the bottom of the movement. Grab the KB with both hands and stand up with it. That’s one rep.

2.) The Swing

The beginning of this movement should be nearly identical to the Sumo Deadlift. Now, instead of simply picking the weight up, snap the hips (like you’re jumping) and let the kettlebell swing up to about chest level.

This is a totally lower body – driven movement. If you’re doing it right, you should feel the hams ‘load up’ at the bottom of the move, and the weight should float for second at the top.

Keep the arms relaxed and the shoulders down and back!

3.) The 1/2 Get Up

Start lying on the floor with the KB at shoulder level. Pull it into the body, roll over to your back, and press the weight in front of your chest, kind of like you’re doing a dumbell bench press.

‘Punch’ the weight up towards the ceiling while pivoting on the opposite elbow. The same leg as arm is up and should be bent at this point with the heel planted on the ground. Come up until the arm on the ground is straight, and then simply reverse the movement. That’s one rep.

The 1/2 Get Up is another great beginner kettlebell exercise. Next comes the Front Squat.

4.) The Front Squat

Holding the KB by the horns with both hands, perform a squat. Keep the chest up and shoulders down and back! And remember to sit back – and keep the knees behind the toes.

Learn these basic four beginner kettlebell exercises before you move on to more advanced ones. They can be done by themselves in sequence, for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps each, for a great total body workout, or ‘vertically loaded’ – done one after another with minimal rest – for a killer circuit.

These are just a few basic kettlebell drills to get you going; if you’d like to learn in more detail about how to perform these exercises, get some sample workouts, check out some great kettlebell training videos, and a whole lot more, check out my Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training here:

=> Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training

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