Kettlebells 101: The Best Workout for Beginners

Neghar Fonooni
by Neghar Fonooni
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Kettlebells 101: The Best Workout for Beginners

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If you read my post yesterday, you know I’m a big (BIG!) fan of kettlebells. And one of the things I love most is how easy it is to incorporate them into your fitness routine. Here’s a great workout for anyone new to kettlebells, using basic moves that are recognizable and simple to perform.

Don’t get the wrong idea, though—this isn’t an “easy” workout! By the end of this 15-minute sweat session, you’ll be ready to call it quits.

To get started, you’ll need a kettlebell that weighs between 18 and 26 pounds. Throughout the workout, keep in mind: Technique and quality always trump quantity. Make sure you can perform all of the exercises correctly during each set before challenging yourself to do more. Still, you should only rest as much as you need in order to complete the sets with proper form. In other words, no long breaks, guys!

Deadlift x 10-15 reps

myfitnesspal kettlebell deadlift

Push press x 5-8 reps (Right & Left)

myfitnesspal push press

Goblet squat x 10-15 reps

myfitnesspal goblet squat

Bent over row x 5-8 reps (Right & Left)

myfitnesspal bent over row

Try to perform each of these exercises back-to-back without resting in between if possible, and break only as long as necessary after completing a full round. Set a timer and perform as many rounds as possible in a 15-minute block.

Get moving and then let me know what you think! Too easy? Too challenging? Want to see more kettlebell workouts here?

About the Author

Neghar Fonooni
Neghar Fonooni

Fitness expert, writer, entrepreneur, and mom, Neghar Fonooni is passionate about helping people empower themselves to live a vibrant, fulfilling life. Her intention is to teach women how to find and cultivate their inner radiance, living a lifestyle of their own design. 

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51 responses to “Kettlebells 101: The Best Workout for Beginners”

  1. Debbie Preston says:

    Great blog! Thank you! Quite helpful!

  2. Melissa Miller says:

    Yes more workouts please!! Just ordered a 20lb Kettlebell. Can’t wait to start strength training!!

  3. Kate says:

    I think we all would love to see more kettlebell workouts!

  4. Sabrina Graves Lato says:

    Yes, more please. I love using the kettleball. Great info. Thanks.

  5. Carrie says:

    I have been doing Kettlebell for 3 yrs now…best workout ever…totally changed my core, bag the situps, this is FULL body!! LOVE!

  6. CMJ says:

    “We need more (kettle)bell!” 😀

  7. bleudragonfly says:

    Does it have to be 18-26 lbs? I have a 15 at home that I have yet to use because I wasn’t sure how.

    • scammah says:

      I usually do 15lb KB’s sometimes 25lb KB’s. I personally think 15 is a good starting point. I have been doing KB’s for around 6 months and I still will occasionally go back to a 15lb if I’m just not feeling like working out too hard that day.

    • Neghar Fonooni says:

      You can definitely use your 15 pounder :). And when it gets too light, you can move up.

  8. Sam says:

    I’m a kb fan and about to re-ignite my kb relationship following an enforced break due to surgery. I’d love to see more kb workouts please, and thanks for this one!

  9. Carl A. Bennett says:

    yum… forget the kettlebells… i see the potential for a lot better and healthier work out here..lmao

  10. Diego Rodriguez says:

    EXCELLENT!!

  11. Tammy Lynn Raddatz says:

    Love kettleball workouts…..need to know how to track calories on myfitnesspal too!!!

  12. Heather says:

    Been wanting to get started with Kettlebell’s, I think this is just what I needed!!

  13. LC says:

    I love using the kettle bell, but I don’t believe a beginner should start with such a heavy kettle bell. Nothing wrong with ‘building up’ to heavier weights … but to really get the moves and form down (which are very important) you probably should start lighter. I started with 9 pound KBs at the gym and now up to 15-20 pound KBs depending on the exercise. There is no way when I started that I’d be able to lift the 15-20 pound ones.

    • Neghar Fonooni says:

      Hi LC! I have trained women from all backgrounds of all ages and I would never start anyone with less than 18 pounds unless they had very extenuating circumstances. For the exercises listed here, 18 lbs is very reasonable. “Heavy” would be considered 35-45 pounds or more.

    • Guest says:

      Good to know! Thanks! – from a beginner…

    • Cas says:

      Thanks for saying this!! I was starting to think I was a wimp!

  14. sjokolademelk says:

    I’m having troubles finding kettlebell exercises in the workout database

  15. Remy says:

    I love the KB as well ,how is it classified though? Cardio or Strength, I tend to feel like Ive ran miles after I finish. I stated out with a 15lb bell and think I’m ready to move up.

  16. lindy says:

    how many calories do you burn doing this workout?

  17. Jill says:

    Judging by the comments, I think a lot of people would find it helpful to have an MFP exercise for “Kettlebells”. I know the calorie burn can vary widely, but maybe have levels like “light weight, low intensity”, “moderate weight/moderate intensity”, “heavy weight or high intensity”?

    I’ve been logging it as “circuit training”, but I don’t think that’s quite accurate, considering how high my heart rate goes during some of these workouts, especially the ones with very short, active-rest periods between sets.

    • Kevin Young says:

      You can manually enter the exercise in MFP. That’s what I do with my kettlebell/mace workout. I just feed in my Garmin calorie burn.

  18. ianthy says:

    reminds me of a great PT I worked with some years ago – we did 3-4 exercises kettlebells – and the results were amazing, I am going to order one today.

  19. Jamie says:

    How often a week would you do this workout?

  20. Vanessa Rainey Sellers says:

    I would love to see more kettlebell workouts

  21. Lori Ludeking says:

    More kettlebell workouts!!!

  22. spanked says:

    Lets not forget Kettebell swings..those are my fav!!

  23. David Falls says:

    To me the KB swing, farmers walk and KB lunges are boss and really easy to add to your routine. Just google KB exercise and you will find all you ever wanted to know just start light and build up. Get the form right first.
    You can also use KB’s in Tabata (or HIIT) routines.

    • Neghar Fonooni says:

      Yes they are! All great exercises that I will include in an intermediate KB workout for sure.

      • David Falls says:

        I think I saw someone else mention it already but the figure 8 is a great md level as well as the Russian twist. I have my sons soccer team do both. The half get-up, side press, and goblet squat are great but I think they are a little more advanced. Maybe you can tell I like the KB’s maybe a little too much. 😉

  24. Erin says:

    More Kettleball exercises! 🙂

  25. Gretchen Hill says:

    Does it really works? How many calories burn to this Kettlebells? I want to have this.

  26. Eeka Baby says:

    I just started a kettlebell class at my gym, for the exercises above I think 18lbs would work fine, however the class I take is very high impact moving from one exercise to the next very quickly… I’m not sure a kettlebell that heavy would work.

  27. EO says:

    I am a big believer in kettle bells. There is a great app called Kettlebell 360, with videos and work-outs at every level.

  28. Suzanne A says:

    yes, more

  29. Cathy Hoffman says:

    What is the difference between the Kettle Bell and My 5 lb Dumb Bell ? I do the same exercises?

    • Rob Gray says:

      With these exercises nothing. They just use a kettlebell instead of the dumbbell. If these were true kettlebell exercises they definitely would not be starting at 18 lbs. On average a beginning woman should use a 9lbs kettlebell and a man 18lbs. There are six basic moves for a kettlebell and they are not shown here, The closest is the goblet squat, but you dont use both hands.

  30. Prpekan says:

    Great information. I am go to start this on Monday. The gym I go to has kettle balls so I can’t wait to start it!! BTW more excersices with kettle ball!

  31. Amada says:

    I would like to see more kettle bell and medicine ball too

  32. metacyde says:

    Is there a way to add Kettlebell exercise to the cardio database for exercises? I think it’s odd that this popular of an exercise isn’t listed.
    **Edit
    I looked online, and it seems that (in general) 20 minutes of Kettlebell burns about 400 calories! I’m adding that to my own list of exercises, but I still think it would be great if it was listed as part of the proper database.

  33. mark gottlieb says:

    I’ve become a real kettle bell proponent. Wish I were a bit more consistent, but getting there.
    I tend to prefer gravitating to single kettle bell single hand swings and other movements. It seems to involve more muscle involvement (strengthening) to achieve stability, and you do twice as many reps, hence twice as long an aerobic work-out. Since I’m getting older (63.6 yrs) maintaining muscle strength is a big interest, and I think the demands of unsymmetric stabilization are more efficient toward that aim. Plus I can work with lower weight bells – possibly reducing injury risk (swinging a 35# KB 20 times vs. a 70# KB x 10!).
    Now I’m not a KB expert, just read and watched a lot (and swing-ing). But I think this all makes sense. But I’d like to get some feedback.

  34. CBen says:

    Definitely more kettle bell exercises. Especially for starting out!

  35. KP says:

    Love the work out, but more instruction as to form is suggested.

  36. Maitha says:

    Hi! I am from UAE .I enjoy with you and you give me a lot of fun.

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