Kettlebells are all bells, no whistles. Resembling mini bowling balls with handles, kettlebells are great for building aerobic capacity and strength. Manocchia P, et al. (2013). Transference of kettlebell training to strength, power and endurance. DOI:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825770fe

Start by picking the weight of your choice. Those new to kettlebells may feel comfortable with 15- to 30-pound weights, while seasoned kettlebellers may grab 70 pounds. The weights may vary depending on the exercise as well. (No shame in starting low and working your way up.)

Reps and sets will depend on intensity and your fitness level. For most of these moves, we recommend aiming for 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 30 reps with good form. We suggest starting with a trainer or kettlebell aficionado to make sure everything’s kosher.

Ready to rock? Let’s give these kettlebells a swing, snatch, or clean!

Targets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs

Level: Beginner

How to: To do the perfect kettlebell swing, stand up straight with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart. Grab the handle with both hands, keeping palms facedown and arms in front of your body.

Maintain a slight bend in your knees and drive your hips back. Lower your body, but not too low (this isn’t a squat!). Then, in a fluid motion, explosively drive your hips forward while swinging the kettlebell, keeping glutes and core engaged.

Remember: The motion should come from your hips, not your arms, as your body returns to standing. Lower the weight back down between your legs and keep this swinging motion going for 12–15 reps.

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Targets: Shoulders, back, hips, glutes, legs

Level: Beginner to intermediate

How to: This movement is just like the two-handed swing but uses one hand at a time. Swing the kettlebell up with one arm, but still swing the other arm to help drive momentum. Alternate hands when the kettlebell is behind your legs. Aim for 10–12 reps with each arm.

Targets: Back, arms, shoulders

Level: Beginner to intermediate

How to: Grab two kettlebells for this one. (Double the pleasure, double the fun, right?) Place them in front of your feet and bend your knees slightly.

Next, bend over to grab both kettlebells and pull them toward your stomach, keeping elbows close to body and back straight. Lower the weights. Repeat for 12–15 reps. Feel like a champ.

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Targets: Arms, back, abs

Level: Intermediate

How to: Looking to impress a certain someone at the gym? Then try this: Start with legs a bit wider than hip width. Lower yourself into a quarter-squat position. (Keep that back straight and chest up.)

Grab the kettlebell with your left hand. Swing it around the outside of your left leg, then back between your legs. Next, pass the kettlebell to your right hand and swing it around the outside of your right leg.

Keep this motion going, similar to the classic basketball drill. Can you do a minute straight? Be sure to switch directions halfway through!

Targets: Legs, glutes, back

Level: Intermediate

How to: What’s a squat without a kettlebell in hand? Stand up straight, holding the kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands, keeping elbows close to body.

Start squatting by driving heels into the floor and pushing hips back until thighs are parallel to the floor or just below. Return to standing. Repeat for 15–20 reps (or more!).

Just remember: Quality over quantity!

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Targets: Shoulders, arms, glutes, legs

Level: Intermediate

How to: Stand with feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart and turn toes out 45 degrees. Place the kettlebell on the floor between your legs. Keeping core engaged, begin to squat and grip the kettlebell handle with one hand.

Using force from your hips, push through heels to rise to standing, pulling the kettlebell upward while elbow drives up. Lower kettlebell and switch arms. Shoot for 10–12 reps with each arm.

Targets: Shoulders, back, arms, abs, glutes, legs

Level: Intermediate

How to: Here’s a new way to spice up those lunges. Stand up straight while holding the kettlebell in front of your chest with both hands, arms bent and palms facing each other.

Lunge forward with one leg while raising the kettlebell overhead — raise the roof! Return to standing while bringing the kettlebell to your chest. Go for 10–15 reps on each leg.

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Targets: Back, legs, shoulders, arms

Level: Intermediate

How to: We promise no wrestling is involved. Stand with feet a bit wider than hip-width apart, with the kettlebell between your feet. Grab the handle with both hands. Keep knees bent and hips back. Pull the kettlebell to your shoulders while knees straighten and elbows rise.

Remember: The force is coming mostly from your hips, plus your arms pulling at the very end. Keep core engaged the whole time, moving the kettlebell back down by the floor. Do 12–15 reps.

Targets: Abs, obliques

Level: Intermediate

How to: Forget crunches. Sit with legs bent and feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart. Hold the kettlebell with both hands at your chest, then lean back to a 45-degree angle.

Here’s the fun part: Rotate your torso from left to right by twisting at your waist and swinging the kettlebell across your body. See how many you can do — with perfect form, of course.

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Targets: Back, arms, abs, obliques

Level: Intermediate

How to: Despite its name, this move doesn’t require rocks or rubber bands. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in front of your body, arms extended at chest level.

Next, swing the kettlebell behind your back with one hand, then reach back with the opposite hand to grab it, swinging it to the front of your body. Continue round ’n’ round for 8–12 reps, then switch directions!

Targets: Chest, arms, core

Level: Intermediate

How to: Lie on the floor with your legs straight out (nope, it’s not time for savasana). Grab a kettlebell in one hand, palm facing in, and press the weight straight up while rotating your wrist so your palm faces your feet.

Bring the kettlebell back down to the starting position. Do 6–8 reps.

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Targets: Abs, arms, back

Level: Intermediate to advanced

How to: Think of this move as the fancy plank. Start in a plank position but with your hands grasping two kettlebell handles.

Lift one kettlebell up so it reaches your hip. Remember to keep your elbow in! Lower it back down and repeat with the opposite arm. Do 6–8 reps on each side, or repeat until you feel the burn.

Targets: Legs, glutes, back

Level: Intermediate to advanced

How to: This move is like a traveling kettlebell swing — now we’re going places! Grab a kettlebell and start with the basic two-handed swing (see move No. 1).

When the ’bell is down between your feet, step right foot to the right. Then, when the kettlebell is up, bring left foot to meet right foot (so legs come together).

Keep side-steppin’ your way to the right (10–15 steps), then head back the other way, leading with your left foot.

Targets: Legs, glutes, arms, back, abs

Level: Intermediate to advanced

How to: Who says you need a barbell to deadlift? Stand with the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Squat and grab the handle with both hands while keeping your back flat.

Engage core, tighten glutes, and keep arms extended as your body rises on up, kettlebell and all! Aim for 12–15 reps, maintaining proper form throughout.

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Targets: Abs, arms, back

Level: Intermediate to advanced

How to: It’s time to get low. Lie faceup with legs straight out. Extend right arm straight up, kettlebell in hand. Bend left knee and begin to rise, with left arm keeping your body propped up.

Feel the abs burn? You’re doing things right! Sit all the way up, then carefully return to the starting position. Knock out 8–10 reps per side if you’re up for the challenge.

Targets: Chest, arms, back

Level: Intermediate to advanced

How to: This move is simply a pushup with kettlebells included. Grab each handle in the usual pushup starting position, then lower your body before pushing back up. It’ll definitely feel challenging with those hands on the handles rather than the floor! Shoot for 10–15 reps.

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Targets: Shoulders, back, abs, obliques, hips

Level: Advanced

How to: Hold the kettlebell in your right hand and angle your feet 45 degrees away from your right arm. Raise the kettlebell overhead and lock your arm. Keep your eyes on the weight, which will help keep your shoulders aligned.

Shift your weight onto your right leg and begin bending forward at your waist.Keep right arm extended overhead as your body bends forward and your left arm is pointed toward the floor. (For all you yogis out there, this should feel similar to Triangle Pose.)

Lift back up slowly, staying in control. Do 6–8 reps on each side.

Targets: Legs, butt, back

Level: Advanced

How to: Start with the kettlebell between your feet. Begin to swing upward and shrug your shoulders, pulling your body and the ’bell up to your shoulder. The kettlebell should end in the “rack position,” which means resting on your forearm, tucked close to your body, fist at your chest.

Bring the weight back down to the floor and repeat for 10–15 reps.

Targets: Shoulders, arms, back

Level: Advanced

How to: Made it through the kettlebell clean without breaking a sweat? Grab two kettlebells and clean them to the rack position. Then, press the kettlebells up while leaning forward at your waist so the weights are positioned behind your head.

Bring them back down to your shoulders and continue pressing for 10–20 reps, depending on the weight you’re using.

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Targets: Shoulders, chest, back, legs

Level: Advanced

How to: Start by cleaning the kettlebell to your shoulder, finishing with palm facing front. Next, bend knees and press the kettlebell overhead while jumping into a split jerk position. Stay steady!

Return to standing while the kettlebell remains overhead, then lower it. Aaand repeat! Shoot for 4–6 reps on each side for starters.

Targets: Shoulders, chest, back

Level: Advanced

How to: Start with your knees bent and a kettlebell between your feet. Grasp the handle with one hand and explode up onto your toes, pulling the kettlebell until it reaches your chest, with your elbow tucked in.

Bring the weight overhead and hold on tight! Bring it back down close to the floor — that’s 1 rep. Try 6–8 reps total.

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Targets: Chest, arms, back

Level: Advanced

How to: Let’s take this classic move up a notch! Begin in a pushup position with your right arm holding the kettlebell. Perform a pushup.

At the top, lift your right elbow by squeezing your shoulder blades together, with the weight about 6 inches behind your body. Return to the starting pushup position. Do 5–8 reps with each arm.

Kettlebells are a great way to spice up the usual lifting routine. As with traditional strength training, two days a week is a great place to start.

Don’t hesitate to weave those kettlebells into your standard weightlifting routine, along with dumbbells, bodyweight exercises, and cardio. Just remember to give each muscle group a break (48 hours should usually do it).

Try these moves with a trainer before swingin’ solo. Using proper form is key for a workout that’s safe, effective, and fun!