Full Body Kettlebell Exercise for Beginners | onnit academy (2023)

UEit's easy to seeRussian weightsteachers likeSwoldier primigenioEric Leija and get inspired. A well-ordered flow of kettlebells can be as beautiful and sophisticated as ballet (or, if you prefer, a choreographed fight scene in a blockbuster action movie). But it's important to realize that no one starts there, not even Eric Leija. to be good atRussian weights, and building all the muscle, strength, and athleticism that comes with them, you have to master the basics.

Fortunately, it won't take long if you start with the training provided here by Onnit Chief.physical fitnessOfficer Joao Lobo. He only requires a kettlebell and works the whole body. He'll get all the key benefits of much flashier kettlebell routines, but in a workout that leaves less room for error (or injury), so he can improve quickly and go from beginner to the next level faster.

Full Body Kettlebell Workout for Beginners

Full Body Kettlebell Exercise for Beginners | onnit academy (1)

Benefits of training with kettlebells

If you're not sure what kettlebell training can do for you, here's a rundown of the selling points.

Good shape

Kettlebell training builds muscle and strength just like any other type of resistance training, but it is especially good for developing body awareness and good movement skills at the same time, and this will carry over to any other type of training or athletic activity in the one you are interested in. . .

The reason lies in the design of the kettlebell. The center of gravity (the bell itself) is shifted 6 to 8 inches from the handle it holds, making it more difficult to control than a dumbbell, barbell, and most other conventional training implements.So almost any exercise you do will require you to maintain stricter form in order to perform it correctly, and your body will have to activate more muscles overall.to do it.

Imagine an overhead press with kettlebells. Since the weight hangs some distance from the handle, it will try itsarmto rewind while pressing. You have to focus on controlling your shoulder as much as possible to push the weight up, and this not only builds bigger and stronger shoulders, it also makes you better at the shoulder press skill.

Most kettlebell exercises expose your weaknesses right away. If you feel your lower back hyperextend and ribcage flare as you press, you know you need to work on keeping your core contracted, and you may also need additional shoulder mobility and T-spine training.squatsand allow your chest to fall forward, your knees to drop, and your heels to lift off the floor. But when you make a cupsquatWith a kettlebell, it's easy to see and feel a good rep vs. a bad one.

core and grip strength

The offset weight of the kettlebell also ensures that virtually any exercise you do will be a core exercise, as your core prevents your entire body from slipping out of alignment. Meanwhile, the handle of the kettlebell is flatter and less flexible than that of a dumbbell, meaning your forearm/grip muscles will have to squeeze harder—therefore, kettlebells are great for developing an iron grip and the ability to hold yourself steady.

improved athletics

Full Body Kettlebell Exercise for Beginners | onnit academy (2)

There are virtually no isolation exercises you can perform with a kettlebell (such asbicepscurls, leg extensions, etc.). Most of the movements you will do train almost the entire body at once, and this teaches you to work as a unit, just like when playing a sport. Additionally, kettlebells lend themselves to explosive movements like swings and cleans, which build strength (especially in the hips, which are critical for jumping and running). Kettlebells also give you the opportunity to train in multiple planes of motion, sometimes all at once, preparing you for the exact mechanics and sudden changes of direction you use in all kinds of sports. You can chain exercises together, like in a kettlebell flow, to practice being explosive and strong in all directions, a characteristic you certainly don't get with barbells and dumbbells.

The research is starting to catch up with kettlebell trainers, confirming what they've known for years. TOanalysisof five studies inPhysiotherapy Reviewssuggests thatKettlebell training is safe and effective for increasing functional strength and power and can improve postural controlalso. Otherfor studyofStrength and Conditioning Research Journalshowed that a kettlebell workout burned more calories than a sprint cycling session, making it the most desirable and sustainable cardiovascular option for many people.

Finally, an American Council on Exercisefor studyputting a group of fit people with experience in strength training through an eight-week kettlebell program. Not only did they gain traction (including 70% ofhopin the central force), butthey also improved aerobic capacity -by 13.8%- and dynamic balance.Principal investigator John Porcari, PhD, summarized the findings this way: "You really don't do resistance training expecting an aerobic capacity benefit...."

Efficient Training

While you may need several pairs of dumbbells to get a full-body workout, you can get the job done with just one or two weight increments when using kettlebells, and the workout we offer here only requires one kettlebell. “There is a huge library of exercises that you can access with a barbell,” says John Wolf, director of fitness at Onnit. "I've always said that if you have a kettlebell in the corner of your room, you basically have a gym."

What muscles do kettlebells work?

One of the reasons kettlebell training is so effective is that it works on everything. You don't have to wonder if you've worked enough for one muscle or another, because in a well-balanced kettlebell workout, you're bound to cover them all. As discussed above, kettlebell training is particularly demanding on the core and grip, so you can be sure that your abdominal and forearm muscles will be stimulated no matter what exercises you perform.

Any full-body kettlebell workout should include some movements from squats, hip joints, presses, rows, and rotations.(you will find them all in the training that we offer you below). That means you'll be training all the major muscle groups in your body, but to be more specific, we'll break down what these movement patterns train one at a time.

Please note that the list below only covers the major contributing muscles. Understand that there is also a lot of overlap between the movements. For example, hinge exercises work many of the same muscles as squat exercises and even pressing movements, so to avoid repetition, we've listed the muscles that are primary targets for each movement pattern only.


– ATVs

– Inner thigh (adductors)


- Buttocks


– Lower back (erector spinae)

– Core (rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis)


– Shoulders (anterior and lateral deltoids)

Chest(particularly the upper chest or clavicular head)



– Shoulders (rear deltoids)

– Upper back (trapezius, rhomboids, lats, teres major)

- Biceps

– Forearms (brachioradialis, wrist flexors)


– Core (oblique)

How to Stretch Before a Full Body Kettlebell Workout

Many people believe that you need to stretch before a workout to do it safely, but this is only partially true. You will get a more effective warm up by doing some mobility exercises, a combination of stretching and more dynamic movements. Mobility work prepares your joints for the ranges of motion you'll use in your workouts, while raising your body temperature and directing blood to the muscles you'll be working. For any full-body kettlebell routine, you'll wantfocusspecifically in the preparation of shoulders, spine and hips, which go through the following movements.

Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing 3 to 5 repetitions of each in a row, repeating up to 3 rounds total.

1. Hip circle with straight leg


Paso 1.Hold on to a sturdy object for support and lift one leg into the air 90 degrees. Keep the knee as straight as possible.

paso 2.Keeping your shoulders forward, pull your leg out and to the side. When you feel like it's out of reach, start turning your foot toward the ground. Breathe out as you do it.

Stage 3.When you've made a full circle with your leg, return your foot to the floor and repeat in the opposite direction. This is a representative. Complete all your reps on that side, then switch legs.

2. Push and pull exercise


Paso 1.Stand up straight and inhale deeply as you pull your elbows as far back as possible with your palms facing up.

paso 2.Exhale fully as you spread your palms apart and rotate them so that your fingers point up. Spread your shoulder blades apart as you do this, rounding out your upper back. This is a representative.

3. Hip Opening Climber


Paso 1.Get into a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your legs extended behind you with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tuck your tailbone in and prepare your core – your head, spine and pelvis should form a straight line. Draw the shoulder blades together and down. Think: "proudchest”, and “long column”. Breathe deeply.

paso 2.Breathe out and, keeping your core contracted, lift your right leg off your right leg.arm, landing with the foot flat and the knee pointing forward. Try to keep your spine and pelvis aligned as you do this. It's okay if you can't do it perfectly right now, but keep in mind how you're moving so you can fix it. Once your leg is in position, pull it in while bringing your right arm out so it is firmly touching the outside of your arm.

Stage 3.Allow your hips to sag a bit and adjust to restore your proud chest and elongated spine. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds.

Stage 4.Return your right leg to the original push-up position and repeat with the opposite leg. That's a representative of each.

4. Sky Linereach al brazo


Paso 1.Get on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Prepare your core.

paso 2.Inhale as you raise your right arm and cross thechest, twisting the right shoulder towards the ceiling and reaching for the head. Take care to keep your hips facing the ground.

Stage 3.Exhale as you reverse the movement, extending your arm across your body and behind your supporting arm. Twist as far as you can, ideally until the back of your right shoulder touches the ground. This is a representative. Complete your reps on that side, then switch sides.

5. Arm screw


Paso 1.Get up and reach yourarmsoblique. Inhale as you lift your right shoulder toward your ear and roll the front of your right shoulder toward your ear.chestas you rotate the arm inward. This will cause your torso to turn to the left.

paso 2.Continue to rotate your right arm, turning it as if you were squeezing a sponge until your right palm is facing up (or as close as possible). Exhale. At the same time, extend your left arm, palm up. Allow your torso to bend to the left as you reach it.

Stage 3.Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. This is a representative.

Full Body Kettlebell Workout for Beginners


Becoming a master of the kettlebell starts with mastering five basic movement patterns. He must be able to press, row, bend at the hips, squat, and rotate his body, as well as resist unwanted rotation, while keeping his body in good alignment for his movements to be efficient, effective, and safe. The workout provided here, designed by Onnit Fitness Director John Wolf, includes the simplest examples of all of these movement patterns, but don't assume that means "easy." The strongest kettlebell lifters in the world, including Wolf himself, still do these same exercises, so treat them with respect.

You will do the following.

– Squat with cup

– Rowing with one arm

- One arm press

- Scale loaded on the chest

- Halo shoulders and hips

– Passage in the form of 8

Please note that we won't be asking you to do the full swing with a kettlebell, although we are aware that it is one of the most popular kettlebell exercises and often found in beginners' routines. Instead, we modified it to a more user-friendly version that remains challenging and will allow anyone of any experience level to train safely and optimally.The loaded chest swing gives you more control over the kettlebell while strengthening your upper back, preparing you to do the full swing with better technique.not near future.

Similarly, the halo and figure eight pass may not seem like serious strength training, but they serve a very important purpose. Both will help your body become familiar with rotational movements, so that when you try clean snatches, snatches, and other exercises that feature more twisting and turning, they won't feel totally foreign to you.While halos and passes may seem overly simplistic, they'll help you learn flashier techniques later on, we promise, so don't ignore them.

In short, our beginner workout is designed to improve your familiarity with kettlebells while building strength andendurance. It covers the prerequisites you need to perform more sophisticated movements like kettlebell swings, cleans, snatches, and the kind of rotational movement that ultimately leads to amazing exercise sequences like kettlebells.

Best of all, you only need one kettlebell to do the workout. An eight-pound bell is sufficient for most women and a 16-pound bell is fine for men.


Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set of each movement in sequence, with no rest in between. When you have completed the entire circuit, rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat the circuit for 3 total rounds.You can repeat the training up to three sessions per week, resting at least one day between sessions. For example, you can do the training Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Try to improve some aspect of your performance each time you repeat the training. This could mean beefing up your form, adding a rep or two to a set of one or more exercises, or shortening your rest periods.

DurationFrequencytype of exerciseIntensityrepetitionsRest
25 minutes3 times per weekstrength trainingmoderatevaries by exercise1-2 minutes

1. Goblet Squats with Kettlebells



Paso 1.Hold the kettlebell by the horns and move the shoulder blades together and down so thatchestis open (think "proud chest"). Bend your elbows so that your forearms are as vertical as possible. Stand with your feet a little more than hip-width apart and your toes slightly turned out. Take a deep breath into your belly and turn your feet towards the floor (imagine screwing them without changing position).

paso 2.Now squat down, keeping your spine long and your torso upright. Go as low as you can without letting your tailbone go under your butt.

Stage 3.Exhale as you extend your hips and knees to come back up.

2. One Sided Kettlebell Row


Representatives:8 (each side)

Paso 1.Place the kettlebell on the floor and assume a staggered stance with your left foot forward and planted off the weight. The toes of both feet should point forward. Plant the ball of your right foot into the ground behind you and bend at the hips so that your torso is at about a 45-degree angle to the ground. Rest your left elbow on your thigh for support and reach for the kettlebell with your right hand. Take a deep breath into your belly and strengthen your core.

paso 2.Exhale as you row the kettlebell toward your hips. Pull your shoulder blade back and down as you pull and avoid twisting your torso; keep your shoulders flat on the floor.

Stage 3.Lower the weight under control. Complete all reps on that side and repeat on the other side.

3. Kettlebell One-Arm Development


Representatives:5 (each side)

Paso 1.Stand up straight, holding the kettlebell in one hand at shoulder height. Root your feet into the ground as if you are preparing to be pushed off by someone. Pull your shoulder blades down and back, think "proud chest," pull your ribs down, and hold your core. Take a deep breath into your belly.

paso 2.Exhale as you press the weight overhead with your forearm vertical. Your elbow will naturally move away from your side and the press will feel like an "around the world" movement, that's okay. Keep in mind that your chin should be back so the weight doesn't have a problem clearing it.

Stage 3.To lower the kettlebell, pull it back as if you were doing a pushup. Complete all reps on that side and repeat on the other side.

4. Kettlebell Chest Swing



Paso 1.Stand with your feet hip-width apart and root your feet. Hold the kettlebell by the horns, pulling the bottom of the bell toward the bottom of the breastbone. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and down (“proud chest”) and look at a point on the floor about 15 feet in front of you. Take a deep breath into your belly and strengthen your core.

paso 2.Slightly tilt your tailbone up (so that your pelvis tilts forward a little). Keeping your spine long, lean your hips back as if you're trying to lean your butt against the wall behind you. Allow your knees to bend as needed.

Stage 3.When you feel a stretch in yourhamstrings, exhale and extend your hips and squeeze your glutes, tucking your tailbone down as you lock your hips.

5. Kettlebell Shoulder Halo


Representatives:8 (each direction)

Paso 1.Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell by the ends upside down; the bottom of the hood should face up. Press your feet into the ground, get into a proud chest position, lick your ribs, and prepare your core. Take a deep breath into your belly.

Paso 2:Exhale as you begin to swing the kettlebell around your head, being careful to maintain your posture and not to bend your torso in any direction. Move slowly to avoid hitting your head. Make a full circle and repeat in the opposite direction. Keep alternating directions on each rep.

6. Kettlebell Hip Pass


Representatives:8 (each direction)

Paso 1.Prepare as you did for the shoulder halo, but hold the kettlebell by the handle at arm's length in one hand and circle around your hips, transferring the weight to the other hand and then back again. Perform eight repetitions in one direction and repeat in the opposite direction.

7. Kettlebell Figura-8


Representatives:5 (each direction)

Paso 1.Place the kettlebell on the floor and stand behind it with your feet hip-width apart. Maintaining a long spine, bend your hips back, allowing your knees to bend as needed until you can hold the kettlebell with one hand. Have a proud chest and take a deep breath in your belly.

paso 2.Extend your hips far enough to lift the weight off the ground and shift it between your legs to the opposite hand. Move the bell around the leg towards the front of the body and back through the legs to pass it back into the other hand. Continue to swing the kettlebell back and forth in a figure eight. Be sure to keep your knees bent to stay close to the floor, and keep tension on your quads at all times.

8. Kettlebell Chest Swing



Repeat swings as described above.

The best alternative exercises with kettlebells

Beginners to kettlebell training, as well as those with shoulder mobility issues or shoulder injuries, may have difficulty performing the overhead one-arm press. If you find that you cannot fully lock your elbow without hyperextending your back and dilating your ribs, or simply cannot extend your elbow much beyond 90 degrees, consider yourself in this group. But that's okay, says Wolf. “Don't get hung up on getting a full airlock right away. Just going to where the elbow is bent 90 degrees and holding it isometrically is too much work for most people."

In other words, an alternative to the one-arm kettlebell press shown above is to simply press the weight down to 90-degree elbow flexion and hold for two to three seconds.This is a representative. Over time, you'll get stronger in this range of motion and be able to lock out your elbow while keeping the rest of your body in check (i.e. keep all the other form points described above).

Another option is to downgrade the movement to a floor bench press: Lie down on the floor and press the weight off your chest (think of this as a reduced range of motion bench press). The floor provides the stability your shoulders and core need, so you can focus on pressing. It's a safer bench press alternative that will strengthen your upper body muscles while working on shoulder mobility/stability and the core strength you need to get back to the classic bench press.

One-arm floor press for Kettlebell


Paso 1.Lie on your back on the floor with a kettlebell in one hand. Bend your knees and plant your feet; Flatten your lower back against the floor, strengthen your core, and squeeze your glutes. Position your working arm 45 degrees to your side, bend your elbow 90 degrees, and push your elbow into the floor to create stability. Use your free arm to help you lift the kettlebell overhead so that your set starts at the top of the movement.

paso 2.Lower your arm until your triceps touch the floor, but not your elbow (don't drop your elbow). Pause under tension, then press the kettlebell back.

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