8 Other Cool Things You Can Do With Kettlebells (Besides Kettlebell Swings)


It’s no secret that I love the kettlebell swing.

After all, kettlebell swings not only work your entire body with just a single move, they also help increase endurance, power, and both aerobic and anaerobic capacity. And because kettlebell swings have the ability to burn a crapload of calories and have a special ability to burn fat, there’s no question about their awesomeness.

But what if you decide to buy a kettlebell of your own (I like these CAP kettlebells because they’re good sturdy kettlebells with a nice grip, plus Amazon sells them—meaning you can get free shipping!), or find out that your gym has a few available for use… and you want to do more with it than just swing it all day long?

Not to worry. Kettlebells are an absolutely amazing tool to add to your fitness equipment arsenal, and they can be added to pretty much any exercise for a really awesome challenge.

Plus, because of the nature of kettlebells, you’ll never need more than one or two different weights in order to get in a good workout (unlike regular dumbbells, which you should always increase weight with your strength ability).

Here are 8 exercises (videos included!) you can do with a kettlebell at home or at a gym:

One arm kettlebell swings

With the one handed kettlebell swing, you’ll get all the benefits of the two handed kettlebell swing, but with increased demand on your core and stabilizing muscles. These are an awesome way to add variety to your workouts.

Good for: Lower body and core strength, cardio, endurance, two sided body stability

How to do it:

_Stand with your legs hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell between them with one hand.
_Allow the kettlebell to swing slightly behind your legs.
_Propel your hips forward, bringing the kettlebell about eye level. Let your non-working arm swing naturally by your side.
_Keep your eyes on the kettlebell at all times.
_Pull the kettlebell down and repeat.
_Switch arms.

Note: You can also switch back and forth from arm to arm to make this exercise even more fun and challenging.

Watch the video:

Turkish get ups

They may look strange, but Turkish get ups are a highly functional exercise that require all the muscles of your body to work together to accomplish the movement. If using a kettlebell or a dumbbell is too hard for you to start, just do the exercise using your own bodyweight—you’ll still build major core strength.

Good for: Shoulder strength and stability, core strength, overall functional strength

How to do it:

_Lay flat on the ground while holding a kettlebell straight above your right shoulder.
_Pull your right shoulder up slightly and sit up with the assistance of your left arm on the floor.
_Bend your right leg so your foot is placed close to your hip while leaning on extended left arm.
_Pull left leg back between right leg and left arm position and put your knee on the floor behind your right foot and left hand.
_Position your torso upright.
_Stand up with your arm extended above you while keeping your eyes on the kettlebell the entire time.
_Return to the starting position.
_Repeat movement on other side.

Watch the video:

Kettlebell front squats

Like the classic barbell front squat, kettlebell front squats are a killer lower body exercise. And since you’re forced to hold the kettlebell in place while squatting down, you’ll also work your arms and back, and your abs will get a good workout as well.

Good for: Core strength, lower body strength

How to do it:

_Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a kettlebell or heavy object in front of your chest.
_Pull your shoulders back and engage your abs.
_Push your butt & hips back as if you were sitting in a chair.
_Keep your weight on your heels.
_Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
_Return to the starting position and repeat.

Watch the video:

Kettlebell high pull

Nothing will work your entire lower and upper body and get you breathing like crazy like kettlebell high pulls. Just be careful to do these over a thick mat or in some grass, or you may end up leaving a hole in your floor!

Good for: Cardio, endurance, lower body strength

How to do it:

_Pull your shoulders back and engage your abs.
_Squat down and lower the kettlebell so it’s just above the floor.
_Use your hips to stand up quickly while simultaneously bending your elbows and bringing the kettlebell to your chest.
_Return to the starting position and repeat.

Watch the video:

Kettlebell windmills

Another funny looking kettlebell exercise, kettlebell windmills are a killer core exercise. Plus, they’ll help you work on stability, balance and flexibility—always a plus.

Good for: Balance, core strength, lower body/shoulder strength

How to do it:

_Raise a kettlebell (or a dumbbell) overhead with one arm.
_Keeping your arm locked out at all times, push your butt out in the direction of the kettlebell while keeping your eyes on the kettlebell at all times. Keep your non-working arm behind your back and turn your feet out at a 45 degree angle from the arm with the kettlebell.
_Lower yourself as far as possible.
_Pause for a second and reverse the motion back to the starting position.

Watch the video:

Figure eights

Remember the old figure eight basketball drill? Well here it is again, only using a kettlebell instead. These are not only great for your core (this seems to be a theme in kettlebell training…), they also build grip strength and boost your coordination skills.

Good for: Core strength, athletic coordination, grip strength

How to do it:

_Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place a kettlebell between your legs.
_Bend over by pushing your butt out and keeping your back flat.
_Pick up the kettlebell and pass it to your other hand between your legs (the receiving hand should reach from behind your legs).
_Repeat on the opposite side, going back and forth and picking up speed as you go.

Watch the video:

Kettlebell one arm press

Build total shoulder strength and full body stability with this awesome fundamental kettlebell exercise. And sure, you can use a dumbbell here too, but a kettlebell feels way more badass.

Good for: Shoulder strength and stability

How to do it:

_Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a kettlebell by the handle against your right shoulder, palm facing out. Tighten your butt and core muscles.
_Raise the kettlebell above your head to lockout, making sure to keep your arm straight.
_Lower the kettlebell back to the starting position.
_Repeat on the other side.

Note: You can lift more weight by turning this into a kettlebell push press and using your legs to help you push the weight up.

Watch the video:

Kettlebell deadlift

Kettlebell deadlifts will not only help you prepare for the kettlebell swing by giving you a feel for the movement, they’ll also build back, core and lower body strength.

Good for: Back and leg strength, grip strength, kettlebell swing preperation

How to do it:

_Stand with your feet hip-width apart, straddling a kettlebell between your legs.
_Squat down with your arms extended and grab the kettlebell handle with both hands.
_Squeeze your butt and core muscles and stand up straight while pulling your shoulders back and keeping your chest high.
_Squat back down while lowering the kettlebell to the ground. Repeat.

Note: You can also do this exercise with two kettlebells to add a weight challenge.

Watch the video:

Side note: This is not an exhaustive list of kettlebell exercises, but just some of my favorites. You may notice I left out a couple fundamental kettlebell exercises, namely the kettlebell clean and the snatch. They’re both awesome exercises but I felt they were too complicated to explain in a single post, so look for articles on those in the near future.

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7 thoughts on “8 Other Cool Things You Can Do With Kettlebells (Besides Kettlebell Swings)”

  1. My favorite kettlebell move has got to be the TGU, or the release-and-catch with the other hand swing, or the release-flip-and-catch swing. Watch your toes on those last two.

    • Good question! If you’re just starting out I’d recommend 12-16 lbs. My go-to weight is 35 lbs for swings, but since I have some shoulder issues I tend to stick with 16 lbs for shoulder heavy exercises. Hope that helps!

  2. Hi Krista. I like kettlebell exercises because they require relatively little space to do. Is there any particular exercises with kettlebells that you would recommend for losing weight off belly, buttocks and thighs?

  3. I just have a homemade kettlebell (Tim Ferriss’ design) but I’ve been trying to do 500 swings per day. I have added the high pulls and they make such a difference. I miss some days and do other workouts some days (stair running, burpees, etc), but I’m wondering if it’s safe to do 500 most days. I’m not that young anymore but I’m in pretty good shape due to regular workouts.

    If you have any tips for two handed swings that I can do with my homemade kettlebell, they would be much appreciated. I am thinking about changing the handle so I can do one handed swings though, but that will require a trip to the Home Depot, which is not close to me.

    Thank you for posting the high pull video – I never would have thought to do that move!


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