12 Kettlebell Exercises to Include in Your Workout Routine ASAP

We turned to the pros for how to easily — and correctly — use kettlebells for optimal strength training.

We turned to the pros for how to easily — and correctly — use kettlebells for optimal strength training.

Twelve kettlebell exercises that’ll up your strength training game, from the pros themselves. / Photograph by Gab Bonghi.

It’s a debate as old as time in the fitness world: dumbbells or kettlebells. Truly, there’s room in the metaphorical sandbox for both, but many gym-goers — especially those just starting to strength train — often shy away from kettlebells, likely because technique is everything when handling them.

The thing is, ‘bells are a great way to build full-body strength, improve mobility, train for speed, and boost your cardio endurance. Basically, training with kettlebells is like having an entire gym in your hands, says Jon Lyons, co-founder of Strength Haüs, WE/FIT director at City Fitness.

That’s why we asked Lyons, KG Strong founder Katie Gould, and BPM Fitness founder Shoshana Katz — all of whom are certified in kettlebell training and instruction — for their tips on incorporating the equipment into any workout routine. Below, find 12 exercises from these kettlebell whisperers that’ll get you swinging, squatting, deadlifting and more with kettlebells, no matter your fitness level.

Katz says this is the biggie you need to make sure you do really well before you ever swing a kettlebell. That’s because the deadlift is the “gateway for a lot of really cool kettlebell moves,” she says. Here’s her breakdown of the exercise:

This is another type of deadlift to do with a kettlebell, and a good starting point for single leg work, Gould says. Start with the kettlebell next to the arch of your working leg. Step your supporting leg back one or two feet and lift your heel off the floor. Pull your hips back until you are in your deepest hinge, stretching your butt and hamstrings. Grab the bell with the opposite hand, squeeze your armpit, and tighten your core. Drive your hips back up to stand. “This is an awesome exercise to strengthen your glutes, legs and back,” Gould says.