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Kettlebell Training 101: 4 Moves for Beginners

Fitness • December 13, 2018

Whether you’re new to kettlebell work or just getting back on the mat after a break from the bells, there are a few movements you can practice to improve your strength and power.

Many people think you have to be at a certain level to train with kettlebells, but that’s a common misconception. Kettlebell work is versatile. As long as you are picking the appropriate weight for your level of comfort, you can safely incorporate kettlebell training into your workout program whether you’re a beginner or a pro. 

Below are four kettlebell training movements fit for any level: 

  1. Swing
    Swings are one of the most common kettlebell movements you’ll see in a strength training program, and for good reason. Swings increase your strength and overall power making them a highly effective move.
    How-to: Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward with the kettlebell resting directly in front of you. Grab the horns of the kettlebell, keeping your arms loose. Keeping a flat back, send your hips back and slightly bend your knees. Swing the bell slightly forward then push it back through your legs. Hinge at the hips and swing the bell up until it reaches eye-level. Repeat the movement as one continuous motion.
  2. Sumo Deadlift 
    When performed properly, the kettlebell sumo deadlift is a move that will help you improve strength and overall performance. When performed correctly, this movement can also help you prevent injury. 
    How-to: Start with the kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes slightly turned out. Hinge at the hips and reach for the bell, keeping a neutral spine. Press through the floor and stand up straight, pushing into your heels. Return the bell to the floor and repeat. Keeping your back straight, not rounded, is crucial to prevent injury.
  1. One-Arm Clean 
    The one-arm clean, when performed properly, works the hamstrings and back muscles. The move also requires you to engage your core throughout, making it a great full-body movement. 
    How-to: Begin with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell resting between your feet. The horns of the bell should run parallel to your feet. Keeping a flat back, hinge at the hips and grip the kettlebell with your thumb pointing forward. Drive through your legs and hips as you pull the bell up the midline of your body into a standing position. When the kettlebell reaches your chest, rotate your grip on the kettlebell so your thumb points towards your body. Return to bell to starting position, reversing the direction of your hand so your thumb points away from your body, and repeat.
  1. Goblet Squat 
    The kettlebell goblet squat is a movement that helps improve lower-body strength and power. To avoid injury, make sure to keep your back straight and your chest proud throughout the movement. 
    How-to: Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell by the horns against your body. Keeping your core tight, back straight and head up, lower into a squat, pushing your hips back. Return to standing position and repeat. The kettlebell should be held close to your chest throughout the movement.