7 Impressive Kettlebell Exercises for Total Body Toning

It’s now possible to get a great fat-loss workout at home or the gym with one simple piece of equipment:

The Kettlebell

For most people, the idea of doing kettlebell exercises for total body toning is quite far-fetched. Some fitness enthusiasts really cannot picture using a kettlebell beyond doorstop. While this may look true, it is not the total truth.

What’s more, studies have shown that weight training keeps your metabolism elevated for hours after your workout.

In fact, research finds that people who do twenty minutes of kettlebell workout routine can get rid of about 300 calories. And that is just for starters. If you then add the overall muscle-sculpting impact, you may be in for a surprise.



For years now, kettlebell swings have been topping the trainers’ lists of must-do exercises. This is because traditional swings with the orb-shaped weights can increase your core strength by a huge 70 percent.

Also, according to a published study, when you change to single-arm moves, you challenge your balance and target your abs even more. Because kettlebells weight is not equally distributed, your stabilizer muscles have to work harder.

Fitness trainers all over testify to the strength and effectiveness of using kettlebell exercises for total body toning. For instance, Kelvin Gary, owner of New York’s Body Space Fitness affirms that:

When you move a kettlebell through various planes of motion, the weight feels like it’s changing because it’s displaced from its center — unlike other tools, like a dumbbell, which has a load symmetrical to its center of mass. So while you could do moves with either tool, they feel much more challenging with a kettlebell.

For impressive kettlebell exercises for total body toning session, you will need at least 30 minutes on two or three non-consecutive days per week. Each exercise move should be performed in order. Take about 30-60 seconds to rest in between moves.



What are Kettlebells?

  • A kettlebell is a large, cast-iron weight with a single handle.
  • A new addition to many gyms, kettlebells have actually been around since the 1700s.
  • It is arguably the most versatile piece of weight equipment out there.
  • There are hundreds of ways to lift, swing, squat, press, push, or pull a kettlebell.


Kettlebell Exercises vs Dumbbells and Barbells

Dumbbell and barbell exercises typically involve a controlled, mindful movement that attempts to eliminate momentum and swinging. Kettlebell exercises, on the other hand, involves a more ‘ballistic’ style of training.

Ballistic training is a form of strength training in which the athlete uses explosive power to rapidly accelerate the weight into free space.

Best of all, kettlebells tone and strengthen your core as their uneven center of gravity, force your stabilizer muscles to work overtime.


Benefits of Kettlebell Exercises

  • Kettlebell Exercises  involves doing an intense cardio session
  • It doesn’t get boring since it is based on one’s functional strength and consists of varying movements
  • All you need is a few kettlebells and none of the fancy exercises apparatus that you need with other workouts
  • Anybody can do them!
  • It blasts away fat unlike anything you may have tried before
  • It’s a combination of strength training and cardio
  • You’ll skyrocket your metabolism


Why Are Kettlebells So Effective?

Kettlebell exercises are renowned for burning an unprecedented amount of fat.


Because you’re not only working against your own bodyweight, but that of the kettlebell, whilst getting a great cardio burn. This helps to vastly increase your metabolism.

But that’s not all. A kettlebell workout also helps your body produce muscle. This means that you’ll burn more fat to keep those muscles in functioning order.

It also means that your resting metabolism will increase – so you’ll burn more fat, even at rest!


Advantages of Kettlebell Workouts

You can do these kettlebell exercises in the comfort of your own home. They will help boost your metabolism, tone your muscles and burn fat without going to the gym.

Best of all, it should only take 20 minutes or less. These kettlebell exercises are therefore the best solution for people who are too busy for extended workouts. 

All you’ll require for this workout is your kettlebells and a place where you won’t be disturbed.


How Much Weight Should I Use?

There’s no one size fits all answer to this question. Why? Because ‘weight’ is not only subjective but also depends on your existing fitness levels. However, my first rule of exercise is to avoid injury!

So, if you’re a beginner, never attempt to use a weight that causes you to struggle. Instead, choose a weight that allows you to complete your target rep range using proper form and one that matches your skill level.

Therefore, start with a light kettlebell, which you can then gradually increase as you become more proficient. However don’t go so light, that you lift using isolated muscle strength rather than precise ‘ballistic’ form.

In other words, if the kettlebell exercise demands a combination of major muscle groups and correct lifting technique, but you’re able to complete the lift with, say, your shoulder strength alone, then it’s too light!

Each kettlebell exercise will also play a factor in how much weight you can use.

For example, our first kettlebell exercise in this post, the Windmill, will involve a lighter kettlebell. However, exercises such as a kettlebell swing, goblet squat, and deadlift will call for heavier weights.

Start low, and remember to keep a training diary so you can record the weights you use for each exercise


7 Kettlebell Exercises for Total Body Toning

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1. Kettlebell Anchored Swing



How to:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  • Hold a kettlebell in your right hand with your arm extended down in front of your hips, and another in your left hand with arm stretched at your side
  • Hinge to the front at the hips and wave the kettlebell in your right hand between your legs
  • Then shove your hips forward, engage your glutes and swing your right arm up to chest height and straight out in front of you
  • Keep your left arm extended at your side during the entire action
  • Do 8 to 10 reps, then switch sides.


2. Kettlebell Alternating Single-Arm Clean and Press



How To:

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and grasp kettlebell with right hand in an overhand hold
  • Execute a single-arm swing, hinging hips and drawing kettlebell back between legs
  • Push hips forward, generating power from lower body to raise kettlebell up to shoulder height for a “clean,” bending right elbow in close to side and rotating palm in with thumb facing toward body and kettlebell rotating to back of forearm
  • Allow left arm to outstretch in front of the body at shoulder height
  • Extend right arm overhead in line with shoulder, turning palm away from the body as you perform a press with the kettlebell, keeping left arm outstretched at shoulder height.
  • Reverse the movement and go back to starting position and repeat, switching arms on the next rep by quickly transferring the kettlebell to the left hand when raised to shoulder height
  • Do 16 to 20 reps and alternate reps.


3. Windmills with Kettlebells



How To:

Here is how to do this great example of kettlebell exercises for total body toning.

  • Begin with your legs wider than hip-width apart and your right toes pointing forward with your left foot turned out
  • Take the kettlebell in your right hand, and extend straight above your head
  • Your right arm should be extended and holding the kettlebell straight above you for the duration of the exercise
  • Bend your left knee, and lean over to the left while keeping your chest open and facing forward
  • Reach for the floor in front of your left foot with your left hand until your arms are in a vertical line
  • Return to standing position, and lower your left arm by your side
  • Do 8-10 reps and then switch sides.


4. Cross-body Kettlebell Clean



How To:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Put a kettlebell between your feet
  • Pivot on your right foot and turn your body toward the kettlebell, bending down to grab it in your right hand
  • Clean the weight across your body by pushing it through your left leg and drawing the kettlebell cornerwise until it’s at chest height
  • Let the kettlebell slide over your hand to your wrist as you pull it to the front of your right shoulder
  • Do 8 to 10 reps, then repeat on the opposite side.


5. Kettlebell Deadlift


How To:

    • Stand with feet hip-width apart
    • Position kettlebell on the ground between feet
  • Hinge at hips while maintaining a neutral spine as hips push back and knees bend slightly to grab the handle of a kettlebell
  • Engage glutes and with control, rise up to a standing position while keeping core engaged and kettlebell close to the body
  • Reverse the movement and repeat 1-2 sets of 16-20 reps.


6. Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift and Row



How To:

  • Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding the kettlebell by your side with your right hand
  • Shift all your weight to your left leg while bending your knee slightly
  • Sweep your right leg back behind you until your foot is a couple of feet off the floor, and lean your chest forward
  • Hold this position, bend your arm, and pull the weight toward your chest
  • Lower your left arm back down and go back to starting position
  • Repeat this movement 10 times before switching legs.


7. Kettlebell Snatch To Forward Lunge



How To:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and Hold a kettlebell in your right hand
  • Swing the kettlebell between your legs
  • Then, thrust your hips forward and your swing the kettlebell to chest height
  • Let the kettlebell slide over your hand to your wrist as you push it overhead
  • Lunge forward with your left leg until right knee is hovering just off the ground
  • Stand back up and lower the kettlebell to the starting position to complete one rep
  • Do 4 to 6 reps, then repeat on the opposite side



How Often Should I Exercise?

For maximum results, attempt this workout on non-consecutive days, two or three times a week.


If you’re a raw beginner, it’s best to keep reps low and rest periods long. 

Perform each kettlebell exercise for 10 reps and rest for at least one minute between each exercise.

This should be attainable for most beginners, even if you consider yourself very unfit!

As you become more proficient, you can then begin to challenge yourself.  Only you will know when that time comes.

Listen to your body and work with it, not against it.


Use a rep range of approximately 15 reps and rest between each exercise for around 30 seconds.

Remember, these are guidelines and you may need to adjust these figures depending on your fitness levels.


Perform 20 reps and rest for just 10 seconds for maximum effectiveness.  If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you can do two rounds!


In Conclusion

Most people quit a new exercise regime because they’re over-zealous and push themselves past their bodies natural thresholds. This can lead to overtraining and a state of extreme muscle soreness the next day.

If you’ve never used kettlebells before, take it slowly at first.  If need be, you can even perform the above kettlebell routine on a two-day split.

A split routine is when you complete just half the exercises on day one and then finish the remainder the following day or even the day after.

Lastly, when you practice your kettlebell exercises, you will not just be banishing fat.  You will also be strengthening your entire body and this will all take just a fraction of the time of your usual gym workout ?

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