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Kettlebell Exercises for Women

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

kettlebell exercises for women

Looking to spice up your workouts? Kettlebell exercises for women are excellent for both strength training and high-intensity workouts!

Not only can you improve muscle mass with kettlebells, but studies have found that these workouts can also improve health and aerobic endurance.

For example, a 2015 study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared kettlebell high-intensity interval training to sprint interval cycling.

The results indicated that kettlebell exercises improved aerobic capacity and even burned more calories than sprint interval cycling.

Plus, kettlebell workouts can give you similar strength gains to free-weight exercises while adding variety to your workouts.

On top of this, studies have found that kettlebell exercises can even help to reduce and prevent depression and anxiety symptoms in healthy women.

This makes kettlebell exercises for women a great way to take care of both your physical and mental well-being.

Keep reading to get started with some great kettlebell exercises for women!

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Kettlebell Basics

You may think that kettlebells are just an alternative to swap out for dumbbells.

But there are certain exercises where kettlebells are actually superior to other free weights due to their shape and configuration.

With their handle on top, kettlebells are much easier to swing around than other weights.

This allows you to change and even increase your range of motion during certain exercises.

You also have the option of holding the rounded bottom end to change up your workouts.

By changing the way the weight is distributed, kettlebells allow you to work different muscles even when doing the same movements.

Before you start kettlebell exercises for women, it helps to know the basics.

First of all, the ball refers to the heavy sphere at the bottom, and the handle is the part attached to it.

You may also hear the handle referred to as the “horns.”

You can hold the handles at the top, on the sides, or near the base where it meets the ball depending on the type of exercise and muscles you are looking to target.

Kettlebell Exercises for Women

If you are looking for a great full-body workout, you can do this one below using kettlebells as your sole piece of equipment.

Start with a light weight such as a 10- to 15-pound kettlebell. Once you start to feel comfortable with the moves, you can progress to something heavier.

Aim to do 3 sets of 8-10 reps for each move.

Alternatively, you can move from one move to the next in a circuit, and repeat three times through to create more of a HIIT-style workout.

Kettlebell Lunges

Just like dumbbell lunges, kettlebell lunges will strengthen your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and even calves.

If you don't have enough space to do walking lunges you can also do these in place and alternate legs.

Be sure not to swing the kettlebells during this exercise.

The momentum of the swinging weights will not only decrease the effectiveness of this move, but could also lead to injury.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a kettlebell in each hand with your arms by your side.
  • Take a big step forward with your right leg.
  • Lower your body down, bending both knees to 90 degrees.
  • Keep your back straight, shoulders back, and core engaged throughout.
  • Push through your heels to return to the starting position.
  • Then step forward with your left leg and repeat as you walk forward for 6 steps.
  • Then turn around and walk back for 6 steps.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are great for your glutes, legs, and core.

When doing kettlebell swings, you really want to focus on thrusting your hips and using your lower body to move the weight.

You don't want to swing the weight with your arms as this will defeat the purpose of the exercise.

Start with a light weight until you know that you have the correct form before moving to a higher weight.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding the top of the kettlebell handle with both hands.
  • Bend your knees slightly, then hinge forward at the hips to swing the kettlebell between your legs.
  • Stand back up by using the momentum from your hips to swing the weight to chest height.

Flutter Kicks

You can add a challenge to the traditional core building flutter kick by holding a kettlebell above your head.

  • Lie on your back and hold a kettlebell in both hands by the bell.
  • Hold the weight straight above your shoulders.
  • Lift your shoulders and upper torso off the ground.
  • Raise your legs a few inches off the ground and flutter kick your feet.
  • If your back comes off the ground, or you feel any strain, bring your legs up a couple more inches.

Kettlebell Around-The-Worlds

This is a fun new exercise that will strengthen your shoulders, chest, and core.

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and hold the kettlebell by the handles with the ball up.
  • Hold it at chest height.
  • Lift the ball to eye level and slowly circle it around your head to the left.
  • As the kettlebell goes behind your head, it should be handles-up.
  • Return to a ball-up position when you finish one circle.
  • Then repeat the movement but in the other direction.

Alternating Kettlebell Shoulder Press

Like a traditional shoulder press, this is a great upper body workout that will target different muscle groups due to the shape of the kettlebell.

Plus, by alternating the lifts you will isolate one side at a time, which will force you to engage your core.

When doing this exercise it is important to keep your core tight and hold your torso stable as you rotate your arms and the weight.

This ensures you're working your abs and not straining your lower back.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding two kettlebells at shoulder height.
  • Press one of the weights above your head until your arm is fully extended.
  • Lower and repeat with the other arm.

Here's why strength training for women over 40 is important to combat muscle loss and promote longevity!

Add Variety with Kettlebell Exercises

Let's face it, when you do the same exercises day in and day out, you start to lose motivation to workout.

By adding a new piece of equipment, however, you can re-energize your workouts and regain your fitness mojo once again.

Get started with these great kettlebell exercises for women today!

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on kettlebell exercises for women.

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