The humble kettlebell, although simple, is one of the most versatile pieces of kit you can get. There’s a reason it’s a firm favourite with PT’s, conditioning coaches and CrossFitters across the globe.
What’s more, if you know how, kettlebell workouts for women can provide a seriously challenging session.
Whether you’re on the go or in the gym, a single kettlebell can offer a whole world of muscle growing, lung-bursting potential.
You can keep one at home, have it on hand in the back of your car when travelling for work, or simply pick one up at the gym.
Use one of our kettlebell workouts for women and you’ll be ready to pull in an amazing workout wherever and whenever. We’ll run through all the key exercises you need to know, before taking you through a truly amazing kettlebell session.
Grab your kettlebell and get ready to go.
Related article: The Best Weight Loss Workouts for Women
Read on for:
- The benefits of kettlebell workouts
- Kettlebell exercises
- Kettlebell workout formats
One of the main benefits or hitting kettlebell workouts is the versatility they offer.
The benefits of kettlebell workouts for women
If you’re struggling to fit a training session in, a kettlebell conditioning workout can be quick, challenging and leave you feeling satisfied with your efforts.
They lend themselves well to a huge number of movements that will raise your heartrate, get your lungs working and challenge your muscles too. With so many different kettlebell exercises to explore, no two workouts need to be the same.
What’s more, you don’t need to head to the gym to get the most out of this handy piece of kit. The humble kettlebell is the staple of every good home workout.
Simply purchase your own and you’ll have everything you need to pull in a truly challenging workout without stepping out of your own home. Just watch the ceiling when you’re doing your swings….
We know so many female fitness fanatics and those starting out on their health and wellbeing journey love the versatility, privacy and effectiveness of this type of training, that’s why we’ve got all the exercises you need for an amazing kettlebell workout for women right here.
This is the bread and butter of every good kettlebell workout for women. You’ll use power from your hips to swing the weight high up, either to shoulder level or overhead. Although a relatively simple movements, it’s a great way to get your heart rate up and your lungs working hard.
It’s often the staple of HIIT workout and a firm favourite of a CrossFit Wod.
1. Grip the handle with both hands
2. Stand with your feet just outside shoulder-width apart
3. Keeping your chest high and your back flat, move your hips back and bend your legs so the kettlebell falls between your thighs
4. Ensure your arms are loose and straight, before pushing up and forward with your hips until you stand tall with a full knee and hip extension
5. This should send the weight swinging forward and up
6. Once you’ve reached an appropriate height, let it swing back down, bending at the hips and knees as it falls
7. Begin the movement again by using your hips to push the kettlebell up and forward again
Tip: Don’t use your arms to lift the weight, the power comes from your hips in this movement and the momentum of the swings.
With this movement you can either use the Russian variation which brings the kettlebell to around shoulder height, or the American version where you swing it above your head.
Single-arm kettlebell swing
A step up from the two-handed kettlebell swing is the single arm swing. As you’re using just one arm, you’ll pull in more stabilizing muscles, creating a strong, powerful midline. With more load going through a single arm, you’ll also work your grip and shoulder more. This can help to develop steadfast muscle stability within the joint.
1. Stand with a kettlebell on the floor between your feet, with the handle flat to your body
2. Lean over and grip the handle with one hand
3. Bend at the knees, flatten the back, lower your butt slightly and raise your chest
4. Stand up, lifting the kettlebell off the floor, but keeping it between your legs
5. Keeping your back flat, bend again, before pushing forward with your hips until they’re fully extended, creating an upward motion with the kettlebell
6. Allow the weight to swing upwards, keeping it moving along a central line before bringing it back between your legs
7. When the kettlebell is at its furthest point back between your legs, fully extend your hips again to start the next rep
This is a great way to use kettlebells as a weight for your squats. Simply load them up front and you’ve got a front squat style movement that will put the load through your quads and up the ante on your bodyweight variation.
1. Take a kettlebell in each hand and bring them up so you’re holding them both up against your chest, with the weight of the bells resting on your forearms
2. Sit back into a squat, keeping your elbows high and the kettlebells close to your chest
3. Stop your squat when your hip joint is below your knee, then push up again until you’re standing
Related article: How to Squat
Single-arm overhead press
Bring your upper body into the kettlebell workout with a single-arm overhead press. This movement will work your shoulders, and since it’s a uni-lateral movement, you’ll also be drilling in to stabilizing muscles throughout your upper body.
1. Take a kettlebell in one hand and swing it up so you’re holding it up just in front of your shoulder, with the weight resting on the outside of your forearm
2. Keeping your core tight and your ribs down, press the kettlebell directly up, stabilizing as you go for a straight, strong push
3. Once your arm is completely locked out, bend at the elbow and return it to your shoulder
4. Complete your reps on one arm, before moving on to the next
Kettlebell sumo deadlift
This variation on your standard deadlift is a great way to add a full body movement to your kettlebell workout. Expect to feel the burn in your back, glutes, adductors and hamstrings when you use the sumo stance. This is perfect if you think the bar may be too much, or you want to work these areas in a fast-paced workout. Check it out.
1. Place a kettlebell on the ground between your legs and adopt a wide stance. How wide you go if up to you, but to start with, stand at shoulder-width and then take another half step to the side
2. Keeping your back flat and strong, bend over and grip the kettlebell handle with both hands
3. Bend your legs and and drop your butt so it’s slightly higher or just in line with your knee joint. Keep your chest high
4. From this position, straighten your legs then extend at the hips to lift the weight
5. Reverse this movement to return the kettlebell to the floor, maintaining a strong, flat back throughout
Work your legs, lower back and shoulders all in one movement with the kettlebell thruster. Not only will this help you break a sweat and get your lungs working hard, it’s also an amazing way to build muscle and tone your lower and upper body.
This is an excellent way to up the ante on a HIIT session. Add this to your kettlebell workouts for women and you’ll thank us later… maybe.
1. Take two kettlebells of equal weight and clean them up to your shoulders
2. Still holding the bells at the handles, bring your fists together and raise your elbows to the side so the weights are resting on your upper and forearms
3. Maintaining a straight, strong back and a high chest, drop down into a squat
4. Once your hips are below your knee crease, push up explosively until you’re standing, then push both kettlebells directly up until both arms are completely straight
5. Return the weights to shoulder height and begin to drop into the next squat
Kettlebell workout formats
With these basic exercises in your arsenal, you can create a whole host of challenging kettlebell workouts for women.
For example why not pick three movements and use a decreasing rep pattern. For example:
20-15-12-10-6 reps of
- Kettlebell swings
- Kettlebell thrusters
Do 20 reps of each exercise before moving on to the next round of 15 reps of each, then 12 reps of each until you’re done.
Similarly, you can use an AMRAP formula.
Once again, pick out four or five exercises to focus on then complete a four-minute AMRAP on each one. For example:
Eight rounds of 20 seconds work, followed by 10 seconds rest for:
- Goblet squats
- Single arm kettlebell swings
- Single arm overhead press
- Kettlebell thrusters
Leave a 60 second rests between each AMRAP to allow time to recover slightly.
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The final word – gymgirl hints and tips
There are obviously plenty more workout formats you can use with this bit of kit, however these give you an idea of how you can use them to create some truly challenging kettlebell workouts for women.
Remember to push yourself with these workouts. After a short time your body will adapt to the challenge of using the same kettlebell weight. If you’re finding you’re not getting as out of breath as your would’ve previously, or your muscles aren’t feeling challenged then it might be time to up the weight of your kettlebell.
Try these kettlebell workouts for women and let us know how you get on!