Kettlebell Exercises 
for Total Body Toning

Kettlebells are adaptable free weights that can help you build strength, add tone, and meet your weight loss goals. Most kettlebell exercises have you using many different muscle groups for each routine, this helps to sculpt your muscles and blast the fat away.

Unlike dumbbells or barbells, kettlebells can be used for swinging exercises and ballistic (or explosive) movements so you can add a completely different aspect to your workouts.

And, since the heaviest part of the weight is hanging away from your hand, you will have to work harder and engage more muscles to perform exercises correctly. 

Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is one of the most powerful full body kettlebell exercises. With the nature of the swinging motion, you can combine strength training with a high level of cardio conditioning.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by holding the kettlebell in front of your hips at arm's length with your feet spread a little wider than shoulder width apart. 

  • Squat down to start the kettlebell moving, making sure to keep your head up. You need to keep your lower back arched and push your hips back to start the momentum.

  • Push your hips forward to swing the bell up. It is important that you focus on your hips making a back and forth motion to maintain the momentum of the kettlebell.

  • Swing the kettlebell up to eye level and try to get the momentum working so that you are not lifting the kettlebell with your arms but letting your hips do the work.

  • Allow the kettlebell to free fall back down between your legs, make sure to keep it on the same path as when you first started.

Demonstration of the Kettlebell Swing


  • Don't try and lift the kettlebell with your arms, swing it up by letting your hips do the work. Let your arms work like a pendulum.
  • Try not to swing too high. This exercise is designed for the work to be done with the kettlebell swinging forward not upward. Swinging it to high will possibly strain your back.
  • The hips go back and forth, not up and down. This will save your back from unnecessary aches and pains.

More on the Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Clean and Press

Like many of the kettlebell exercises, the clean and press is a full body exercise that works upper body, core, and lower body muscle groups. This a good exercise for using light weight and doing a cardio workout. If your goal is added muscle, this exercise will help to add impressive strength and additional muscle mass.

What is a Clean and Press?

The "Clean" is when you hoist the weight from the ground up to your shoulder area. The "Press" is when you raise it to its full height after letting it rest at your shoulder.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out by standing over the kettlebell so that it is centered between your legs and have your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder width apart. 

  • Squat down with your back straight, grabbing the weight with one hand and your knuckles facing out. 

  • Stand and hoist the weight up towards your shoulder letting the kettlebell roll over to the back side of your hand with the kettlebell resting at shoulder level. You can dip your knees a little as you are swinging the weight to the position behind your hand and leveling it at your shoulder.

  • Keeping your back firm and straight, dip a little again and push the weight up to it's full possible height, making sure to let your glute, hamstring and quad muscles do the work. 

  • With this exercise, you can lock your elbow at the top and hold the weight for 1 or 2 seconds before lowering it back down to the shoulder where you started the press from. Then continue to lower the kettlebell to your starting position and repeat your repetitions.

Kettlebell Clean and Press Demonstration

Kettlebell Windmill

The kettlebell windmill is a full body exercise that targets your core and other abdominal muscles. This exercise resembles a toe touch.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start by holding the kettlebell with your right hand above your head at it's highest point with your elbow locked and your palm facing forward. Let your left arm dangle down your left side.

  • By keeping your legs straight and not bending your knees, slowly bend over and slide your left arm down your left leg. Make sure to look up at the kettlebell as you move down.

  • Try and keep your back straight and your right arm fully extended as you move lower and touch your toe or the ground. Slowly reverse back up and complete your repetitions.

Demonstration of Kettlebell the Windmill

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

The kettlebell goblet squat is one of the most effective kettlebell exercises for working the midsection and legs. This squatting exercise will help to improve your balance and strengthen your core area (lower back, hips, and legs.) 

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start with your legs spread out a little wider than your shoulders and your toes pointed out slightly for better balance.

  • Hold the kettlebell with two hands with your knuckles facing out. Bend your knees and lower into a squat like you are going to sit in a chair. Stop when you are at a 90-degree angle. 

  • Slowly stand back up and make sure you don’t lock your knees at the top. Repeat the exercise for 10-12 reps.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat positionKim Demonstrating the Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Kettlebell Exercises for Weight Loss

Kettlebell Exercises are ideal for a time-saving calorie burn. Combining cardio and strength training together with these explosive exercises will provide you with a complete workout in 20-30 minutes, The number of calories you can burn using kettlebells can be amazing. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that a person can burn 400 calories in 20 minutes doing kettlebell exercises. 

Interval Training with Kettlebells

Interval Training with Kettlebells is a fantastic way to combine cardio and strength training. The explosive makeup of kettlebell exercises already has an element of high intensity built into most kettlebell workouts. Just the swinging alone will make the exercises more dynamic or powerful, and can completely change the workout experience.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.

» » Kettlebell Exercises

Join the Health and Fitness 
Conversation on Our Fitness House Facebook 


Ask Kim Mulligan Your Fitness Questions

Daily Tips for Staying Healthy and Fit

Printable Workouts and Diet/Food Lists and Charts

Recent Articles

  1. A Printable Workout Log Can Help Track Your Fitness Progress

    Feb 19, 20 12:25 PM

    See how a printable workout log can be one of your most valuable resources to successfully reach and maintain your fitness goals.

    Read More

  2. Tricep Extension Exercises for Beach Ready Arms

    Feb 09, 20 11:11 AM

    The tricep extension is one of the best exercises available to help you develop great looking arms.

    Read More

  3. Standing Dumbbell Fly for a Great Set of Shoulders

    Feb 04, 20 12:52 PM

    See how the dumbbell fly can make you stronger, more flexible, and improve your posture. Follow our illustrated instructions to achieve maximum results.

    Read More