Six Essential Kettlebell Moves to Build Strength

If your goals include building strength, improving balance and getting more explosive, the kettlebell is where it's at. Its cannonball-with-a-handle design makes it one of the most versatile tools in the gym. Nike Master Trainer Flor Beckmann proves it by taking you through six movements using just one kettlebell.

To do them, choose a weight that's heavy enough that you can just barely tally 10 reps of each exercise. (Feel like the kettlebell is slipping in your hands or you can't maintain good form? Use a lighter weight. If you're new to kettlebells, it's better to go too light than to use a weight that's too heavy and could open you up to injury).

For a total-body workout, try 2 or 3 rounds of 10 reps for all six moves, or add a couple of your favourites into your current strength workouts.

1. Russian Kettlebell Swing

Muscles worked: shoulders, lats, chest, abs, glutes, hips

Stand with your feet just wider than hip-width apart with the kettlebell on the floor about a foot in front of you. Hinge forwards to grab the kettlebell, swinging it back between your thighs, then squeeze your bottom and use the power of your hips to drive the bell forwards and up to between shoulder and eye height. That's 1 rep.

2. Hip Halo

Muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, lower back, abs, glutes, hips

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell by the handle with one hand. Keeping your core tight, hips square and body stable, pass the kettlebell behind your hips to the other hand. Then pass it in front of your hips to the other hand. That's one rep. Continue circling the kettlebell around your hips. Switch direction halfway through your reps.

3. Suitcase Carry

Muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, lats, arms, lower back, abs, obliques, glutes, hips, quads, hamstrings, calves

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell by the handle with one hand at your side. Walk forwards, staying upright and not tilting to one side or the other. Count each step as one rep. Switch arms and repeat.

4. Waiter Walk

Muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, lats, arms, lower back, abs, obliques, glutes, hips, quads, hamstrings, calves

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell by the handle with one hand at your side. Press the kettlebell overhead, allowing the bell to rest on the back of your wrist. Walk forwards, keeping your core engaged and your posture upright. Count each step as 1 rep. Switch arms and repeat.

5. Plank Drag

Muscles worked: shoulders, upper back, lats, lower back, abs, obliques, glutes

Start in a plank position with the kettlebell outside of one palm. With the opposite hand, reach across your body to grab the kettlebell handle and drag it across the floor to your other side. Switch sides and repeat. That's one rep.

6. Goblet Squat

Muscles worked: lower back, abs, glutes, hips, quads, hamstrings, calves

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell by the horns (where the handle meets each end of the bell) with both hands close to your chest. Keeping your back flat and chest lifted, squat until your hip creases are below parallel. Stand. That's 1 rep.

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