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7 BEST Kettlebell Exercises for Women (45-Minute HIIT PYRAMID)

The 7 best kettlebell exercises for women to build muscle and torch calories at home! Strengthen your legs, glutes, hips, hamstrings, arms, back, abs and core with these powerful kettlebell moves.

Challenge your full body strength and muscular endurance with my favorite kettlebell exercises for women.

Kettlebell training is one of my favorite ways to challenge strength, power and endurance. 

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).

woman performing a split lunge with a kettlebell as part of the best kettlebell HIIT exercises at home

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.

What Are The Benefits Of Kettlebell Exercises?

Kettlebell training is versatile, efficient and powerful. Kettlebell exercises improve aerobic capacity, core strength and balance (American Council on Exercise). The kettlebell lends itself well to compound exercises, which engage multiple muscle groups at the same time and are a great way to get a high-intensity workout done in a low impact way.

woman performing a single arm back row with a kettlebell as part of the best kettlebell exercises in a total body workout

Build total body strength and raise your heart rate with this 45-Minute Kettlebell HIIT Workout for Women.

This is high intensity interval training done in a low impact way. These kettlebell strength and HIIT exercises will build strength and raise your heart rate.

Add this kettlebell workout to your weekly workout routine 1-2 times a week to build muscle and improve endurance.

Workout Equipment:

Medium Kettlebell or Single Heavy Dumbbell. I’m using a 25 lb kettlebell in this workout and Rachel is using a single 15 lb dumbbell.

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I’m using a 25 lb kettlebell in this HIIT workout.
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two kettlebells, a sweat towel and a water bottle

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Kettlebell HIIT Workout on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer and certified fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 7 Exercises
  • 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.

Workout Outline

  1. Kettlebell Swings
  2. Uneven Split Lunges
  3. Single Arm Row
  4. Deadlift Clean Squat
  5. Kettlebell Squat Thruster
  6. Push Up and Kettlebell Pass
  7. Kneeling Halo Core
Woman performing a Lunge with Kettlebell | 7 BEST kettlebell exercises

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Kettlebell HIIT

7 Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebell Swings

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, core, and all the stabilizing muscles in your back and shoulders.

woman performing kettlebell swings as the most efficient kettlebell exercise

How To Do Kettlebell Swings

  1. Start standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart; engage your core.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.

woman performing an uneven split lunge with a kettlebell in a total body HIIT workout

How To Do An Uneven Split Lunge

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

woman performing a single arm back row with a kettlebell as part of the best kettlebell exercises for women

How To Do A Single Arm Back Row

  1. 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.
  2. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand, left hand extended out for balance.
  3. Hinge at the hips so your torso forms a 45-degree angle, right arm extended long.
  4. Squeeze your back to pull your right elbow up to meet your ribcage. Hold for a moment at the top.
  5. 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.

woman performing a deadlift clean squat with a kettlebell in a workout for women

How To Do A Kettlebell Deadlift Clean Squat

  1. Start standing feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Hold the kettlebell in your right hand between your legs.
  2. 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.
  3. Then, drive through your heels, squeezing your glutes as you drive your hips forward to return to standing.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

woman performing a kettlebell squat thruster as part of the best kettlebell exercises for women

How To Do A Kettlebell Squat Thruster

  1. 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.
  2. Sit your hips back as you lower into a squat, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the ground.
  3. 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.
  4. Lower the dumbbell back to your chest and repeat.

Push Up And Kettlebell Pass

Targets: Arms, chest, shoulders, triceps, abs and core.

woman performing a push up and kettlebell pass in a total body workout

How To Do A Push Up And Kettlebell Pass

  1. Start in a high plank position, shoulders over wrists, core engaged. Place the kettlebell just outside of your body, behind your right hand.
  2. Lower your chest to the ground, performing a push up. Elbows fall back towards the body. Press up to return to high plank.
  3. With your left hand, reach across your body to grab the kettlebell and pull it to the left side of your body.
  4. 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.

Kneeling Halo

Targets: The abs and core from every angle – upper abs, lower abs, obliques and deep transverse abdominals.

woman performing a kettlebell halo as a kettlebell ab exercise

How To Do A Kneeling Halo

  1. Start in a kneeling position, knees under hips, core engaged.
  2. Hold the kettlebell by the horns in both hands at your right hip.
  3. 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.
  4. Repeat in the opposite direction.

Modification: Perform the kettlebell halo from a standing position.

Pin this Workout: The 7 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Women

7 BEST Kettlebell exercises to build muscle pin for pinterest

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  1. Holy killer KB workout! Tried this workout today for the first time and it was intense! I loved it! Could only make it through 2 sets which may be related to my recent increase from a 15lb bell to a 20lb bell but it was some serious exhertion. I will definatly be keeping this workout in my rotation. Love my bell! Thanks for the great workout!

    • Right?! It’s a tough one, that’s why I love using it as a traveling workout if I have access to a heavy KB or DB because it’s quick and effective! And love the increase on the KB weight; got to keep challenging yourself! Nice work! So glad you loved the workout as much as I do, be sure to check out my other workouts and add them to your Pinterest boards too! xo-Lindsey

  2. I’m a big kettlebell fan, so I can’t wait to try this : )

    Also, I’m a closet HP fan too! Although I proudly proclaim it whenever I can, so maybe it’s not such a secret : )

    • Sam! Yes, I don’t use kettlebells all that often but love them when I’m in a time crunch and want a killer sweat session! And love that you’re an HP fan…I’m secretly pretty excited for Harry Potter World :)!

  3. Some of my favorite kettlebell moves here! KB’s are just so great for a quick, but effective workout. They are my favorite piece of equipment to bring on a vacation (if driving, of course!), next to my jump rope! Enjoy Florida!!!

    • Right! I rarely use Kettlebells, but lately I’ve been loving them especially when I’m in a time pinch and need a good sweat session! Off to soak up some sun! Have a great week! xoxo