Kettlebells, a Russian import, is one of the most versatile and effective pieces of equipment for getting you in top-notch shape and giving you one doozy of a workout. Not only will your muscles be sore, but your heart will be racing as you swing this weighted iron ball over, under and through your body in every possible direction.

You might be wondering why a kettlebell is better or different than a regular dumbbell. The biggest difference is the distribution of the weight. A dumbbell has the weight evenly distributed on both sides of the handle whereas a kettlebell has all its weight in the center with just a handle above it to hold. And because all the weight is centrally located in one spot, it is more of a challenge to lift it. Unlike a dumbbell, it will not tilt to one side.

 

If you’ve seen kettlebells, but weren’t quite sure what to do with them, you’re in luck. Here are 14 great moves that will work your entire body while torching some major calories and fat. If you’re a beginner, pick a few of the exercises and complete them in a sequence workout doing 3 sets of 12-15 reps each. If you’ve been around the block or two, try to get through the whole sequence two times through doing 12-15 reps of each exercise.

Cleans: Funny name for an exercise until you start doing them. You can do this using both arms at the same time or one arm at a time. Hold a kettlebell in your hand at your side. Now bring it up to your shoulders with a bit of a rotation so the “ball” part is behind your hand as it reaches your shoulder. Slowly lower it back down to your side. This may seem like a simple exercise, but you will soon see how challenging it is, especially if you’re using two at a time.

brooke griffin doing a kettlebell clean

Two-Arm swings: The two-arm swing is the signature kettlebell move and once mastered, you will see what a great cardiovascular exercise it can be. Click here to be taken this move.

Figure Eights: When you perform this move, try not to twist your body too much, but focus on using your obliques on every pass. Click here for more information.

Clean and Presses: Taking the clean one step further, after bringing the kettlebell to your shoulder, press it all the way up. Slowly lower it back down to your shoulder and then all the way down to your side. Again, if you are using two kettlebells at once, this will be very challenging.

brooke griffin doing a kettlebell clean and press

One-Arm swings: This is done exactly the same way as a two-arm swing except that you will only use one arm at a time. You might find that you have to use a lower weight for the one-arm swing as these are a bit more challenging since you can’t rely on both arms to swing. Click here for more details on this move.

Goblet Squats: This squat isn’t so different than your average squat, but the kettlebell gives it an added challenge. Click here for more information.

Around the World: Here is one for your abs and obliques. Hold the kettlebell by the handle and then swing it completely around your body passing it to your opposite hand at two different points – when the kettlebell is behind you and when it is directly in front of you. Keep swinging a few times in one direction and then reverse it and go the other way. Be sure you’re standing straight and keep your arms straight as well to avoid hitting your body with the kettlebell. This will cause you to engage your core a lot more.

brooke griffin doing a kettlebell around the world exercise