Today’s workout includes seven of my favorite full body kettlebell exercises. And this workout is done in our fan-favorite pyramid format. Get ready to challenge your muscular endurance as you stack on moves to work your way up the pyramid.
No kettlebell? No problem. You can do this entire workout with a single dumbbell (follow Rachel on the left in the workout video).
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Kettlebell Exercises for Women FAQs
What Is The Most Effective Kettlebell Exercise?
The kettlebell swing is an effective exercise to challenge your strength and cardiovascular endurance. While your shoulders and arms are involved in the kettlebell swing, most of the effort should come from the legs and hips. It’s a compound movement that’s great for any fitness level.
Timed Intervals (30 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest; complete as many repetitions as you can in the timed interval)
Pyramid Format (we’ll add on moves as we work “up” the pyramid, and then drop off moves as we work our way back “down” the pyramid)
A Pyramid Format Looks Like This:
Set 1: Perform move 1 for 30 seconds (as many reps as you can), followed by 30 seconds of rest.
Set 2: Perform move 1 for 30 seconds and then move 2 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
Set 3: Perform move 1 for 30 seconds, and then move 2 for 30 seconds, and then move 3 for 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
Continue this stack-on, pyramid format until you complete moves 1 through 7. Then you have the option to go back down the pyramid in reverse order, dropping off move 1, then move 2, then move 3 and so on.
Trainer Tip: Pyramid workouts are challenging tests of endurance. Follow along with the workout modifier for options to scale each move, or decrease the weights as you start to fatigue.
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, core, and all the stabilizing muscles in your back and shoulders.
How To Do Kettlebell Swings
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.
Uneven Split Lunge
Targets: Legs, glutes, quads and core.
How To Do An Uneven Split Lunge
Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Left leg forward with left foot planted firmly on the ground, right leg back with right toes tucked under and right heel popped off the mat. Most of your weight should be in your front left foot.
Hold the kettlebell in your right hand in front of your right hip. Left arm can be out at your left side for counter-balance. Engage your core for balance support.
Hold this split lunge stance. Then drop your back right knee down towards the ground as you lower your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle, front thigh parallel to the floor.
Drive through your front left foot to stand tall, returning to the starting position.
Single Arm Back Row
Targets: Arms, specifically the lats (the largest muscle in the upper body and biggest back muscle) and core.
How To Do A Single Arm Back Row
Start standing, feet under hips, core engaged, soft bend in your knees. Option to take a staggered stance, stepping your right foot slightly behind your left.
Hold the kettlebell in your right hand, left hand extended out for balance.
Hinge at the hips so your torso forms a 45-degree angle, right arm extended long.
Squeeze your back to pull your right elbow up to meet your ribcage. Hold for a moment at the top.
With control, lower the kettlebell back down; right arm extended, to return to the starting position.
Modification: Place your left hand on a chair or bench for support.
Deadlift Clean Squat
Targets: Hamstrings, glutes, hips, quads, back, shoulders and core.
How To Do A Kettlebell Deadlift Clean Squat
Start standing feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand 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.
Then, drive through your heels, squeezing your glutes as you drive your hips forward to return to standing.
As you stand tall, pull the kettlebell up towards your chest (this is the ‘clean’ portion). Slide your hands down the horns of the kettlebell, catching the weight at your chest.
Then, sit your hips back, aiming to get both thighs parallel to the mat as you perform a front squat, keeping the kettlebell at your chest.
Press through your heels to stand tall as you lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position.
Kettlebell Squat Thruster
Targets: Glutes, quads, chest, shoulders, back, abs and core.
How To Do A Kettlebell Squat Thruster
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward. Hold a kettlebell with both hands by the horns at your chest; front rack position. Engage your core.
Sit your hips back as you lower into a squat, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the ground.
Press through your heels to stand tall, driving the kettlebell up overhead; arms straight overhead. Think about using the power from your lower body to press the kettlebell overhead rather than just your arms.
Lower the dumbbell back to your chest and repeat.
Push Up And Kettlebell Pass
Targets: Arms, chest, shoulders, triceps, abs and core.
How To Do A Push Up And Kettlebell Pass
Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core engaged. Place the kettlebell just outside of your body, behind your right hand.
Lower your chest to the ground, performing a push up. Elbows fall back towards the body. Press up to return to high plank.
With your left hand, reach across your body to grab the kettlebell and pull it to the left side of your body.
Perform another push up, then use your right hand to reach crossbody and grab the kettlebell.
Modification: Option to perform modified push ups from your knees.
Targets: The abs and core from every angle – upper abs, lower abs, obliques and deep transverse abdominals.
How To Do A Kneeling Halo
Start in a kneeling position, knees under hips, core engaged.
Hold the kettlebell by the horns in both hands at your right hip.
Engage your core as you pull the kettlebell in a smooth motion from your right hip to left shoulder and then behind and around your head, before bringing it down to your left hip.
Repeat in the opposite direction.
Modification: Perform the kettlebell halo from a standing position.
Pin this Workout: The 7 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Women
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