These 6 kettlebell exercises will strengthen the legs, butt and abs.
The kettlebell is one of my favorite pieces of equipment in my home gym; especially for leg day.
If you’re used to dumbbell workouts, kettlebell training is a great way to mix up your home workouts and challenge your muscles in a different way.
Kettlebell workouts are low impact and a great way to build strength, power and endurance.
No kettlebell? No worries, you can do this entire workout with a single dumbbell.
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Kettlebell Leg Workout FAQs
What Are The Best Kettlebell Leg Exercises?
Complex movement patterns that engage multiple leg muscles at once. Like hip hinges/deadlifts, kettlebell squats, lunges, cleans and kettlebell swings. The best kettlebell leg workouts include these kettlebell leg exercises.
What Are The Benefits Of Kettlebell Leg Workouts?
Kettlebell workouts provide strength, cardio conditioning, balance, stability, flexibility and mobility all in one workout. They’re a great way to get a high-intensity workout in a low impact way.
Are Kettlebell Leg Workouts Good For Runners?
Kettlebell workouts target your power generating muscles: the hips, glutes and hamstrings. These are the same muscles that allow you to power through your running stride! This kettlebell leg workout has the added bonus of lots of unilateral exercises, or single-sided exercises. Single-sided exercises are effective for engaging the deep core and ab muscles, making this especially good for runners.
30-Minute Kettlebell Leg Workout With Abs
Six of the best kettlebell leg exercises to build strength in the legs and butt while also toning the abs and core.
From kettlebell swings to squats and deadlifts, this 30-minute kettlebell leg workout is an intense lower body burnout.
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, shoulders and core.
How To Do An Uneven Squat and Kettlebell Thruster
Start standing feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand at your right shoulder (front racked position).
Sit your hips back, aiming to get both thighs parallel to the mat as you perform a squat, keeping the kettlebell at your right shoulder.
Press through your heels to stand tall as you press the kettlebell weight overhead directly above your right shoulder.
Modification: If your kettlebell is too heavy for this exercise, or if holding a kettlebell in the front rack position is uncomfortable for your wrist; substitute one heavy dumbbell. Or perform kettlebell or dumbbell goblet squats.
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, core, and all the stabilizing muscles in your back and shoulders.
How To Do A Kettlebell Swing
Start standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart; engage your core.
Hinge forward at the hips to reach for the kettlebell handle with both hands. Place your hands on the horns of the bell, palms facing your body.
Then with a slight bend in your knees and weight in your heels, ‘hike’ the kettlebell back between your legs to start the swing movement.
Drive through your heels to stand tall, pushing your hips forward as you squeeze your glutes to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Aim for shoulder height, with arms extended out away from the body. Think long, loose arms (your arms are just a vehicle for moving the bell, your hips and glutes generate the power to move the bell).
As the kettlebell begins to descend, think of catching the weight with your hip hinge, loading the glutes and hamstrings.
Kettlebell Step Up and Knee Drive
Targets: Legs, butt, quads, lower abs and core. This unilateral exercise requires deep core engagement to drive the knee of the opposing leg up while balancing on the standing leg.
How To Do A Kettlebell Step Up and Knee Drive
Begin in a neutral standing position, holding a kettlebell in your right hand, front racked at your right shoulder.
Step your right leg onto a chair or bench, driving through your right glute to stand tall. Right knee should track over right foot and shoulders and upper body should be stacked over hips throughout the step up.
As you reach standing position on the chair/bench, drive the left leg up to your chest, performing a knee drive.
Slowly lower your left leg down, followed by your right leg as you lower back down to the starting position with control. Keep the dumbbell front racked at your shoulder the entire time.
Modification: If you don’t have a chair or bench, or don’t want to add a level-change, perform a reverse lunge, stand, reverse lunge, knee drive. Be sure to keep your toes behind your front knee.
Kettlebell Deadlift and Front/Back Hop
Targets: Legs, hamstrings, glutes, quads, and calves. This is an explosive movement that will also raise your heart rate.
How To Do A Kettlebell Deadlift and Front/Back Hop
Start standing feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold the horn of the kettlebell with both hands between your legs.
Hinge forward at the hips, pushing your hips back as you lower the kettlebell down along the front of your body. You should feel a stretch in the back of your legs (hamstrings). Focus on keeping your back in neutral alignment with your neck and shoulders throughout the entire movement (straight line from head to tailbone). Keep a slight bend in your knees to avoid ‘locking out’ the joint.
With control, set the kettlebell down on the ground between your feet. Then, hop up to the front of your space, landing with control in a loaded squat position.
Immediately hop back so your feet are in line with where you set the kettlebell. Again, land softly in a loaded squat position. Reach down to grab the horn of the kettlebell.
Then, drive through your heels, squeezing your glutes as you drive your hips forward to return to standing.
Modification: Make this a low impact exercise by taking out the front/back hop and just performing kettlebell deadlifts.
Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift and Lateral Lunge
Targets: Legs, hamstrings, glutes, outer glutes and hip abductors (used for side-to-side movements), hip flexors, abs and core.
How To Do A Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift and Lateral Lunge
Start standing with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one kettlebell in your left hand, palm facing your body.
Transfer your weight into your left foot and kickstand your right foot (b-stance). Think about keeping 80% of your weight in your left foot, 20% of your weight in your right toe.
With your left knee bent, hinge at your hips as you lower the kettlebell down towards the ground, balancing on your left leg. Keep your hips square to the mat. You should feel a good stretch in your left hamstring (back of your left leg) at the bottom of this movement. Range of motion looks different for everyone.
Then drive through your front left heel, squeezing your glutes and hamstrings to push your hips forward and return to the starting position.
Then with your right foot, step out wide and to the right, shifting your weight into your right heel as you push your hips back, bending your right knee while leaving your left leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat with your left leg.
Then, drive through your right foot to reverse the movement, pushing you back up to center.
Eccentric Leg Lowers
Targets: Lower abs and core. This is your ‘core burnout’ exercise; you’ll feel every muscle in your abs fire up to support you.
How To Do Eccentric Leg Lowers
Lay flat on your back with your legs straight. Option to support yourself by sending the arms overhead, gripping a chair, bench or something stable. Lift your heels so they hover a few inches above the floor.
Bend your knees as you slowly bring your legs towards your chest.
Once your knees and hips are at 90 degrees, straighten your legs toward the ceiling. Then slowly lower your legs toward the floor, keeping the low back pressed firmly into the mat.
Stop when your heels hover a few inches above the mat. That’s one rep.
Modification: Option to bend at the knees or drop one leg at a time.
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