4 Kettlebell Workouts for Weight Loss

by | Oct 11, 2019 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

Ready to shake up your workout routine? The kettlebell might look goofy, but it has a good reason to. Unlike barbells, the center of gravity is a few inches away from the handle. It takes a lot more coordination than a dumbbell. The compound movements strengthen important support muscles that get left out of many workouts. Your mobility, posture, and core strength will rapidly improve once you add them to your routine.

But kettlebells are also a super-efficient way to burn calories, and you can incorporate them for strength training or cardio days. All you have to do is adjust the weight and the number of reps, and you can modify them for whatever routine you’re doing. 

As with any exercise, form is essential! You want to keep a natural curve to your back and start with a lower weight until you’re comfortable with the movements. The best practice is to consult a personal trainer to prevent injuries. Here are the best fat-burning maneuvers to try if you’re trying to shed pounds: 

1. Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell swing is one of the basics. It’s a ballistic maneuver that gets its power from the swing of your hips. On top of burning about 20 calories a minute, this exercise will engage the whole posterior chain and improve shoulder posture.

  • Start in a stance like you’re about to jump, with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Grip the kettlebell with both hands and hold it between your legs, just below your groin. You’ll need to bend forward, but keep your chest and head high, so your back will hold its natural curve.
  • To swing the bell, thrust your hips forward and keep your forearms at your side until you’re upright.
  • Let the bell swing to shoulder height. You’re not lifting with your arms – just controlling the momentum you set in motion with your hips. 
  • Let the ball down back to start position while maintaining posture by keeping your chest forward and your chin up.

With proper form, you shouldn’t have to bend your knees much to achieve the motion. You’ll want to keep your elbows relaxed throughout. You’re not relying on your arms for any of the power in the swing.

2. Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is a major upgrade to the traditional squat. When done correctly, it will tone your core and lift your glutes, as well as strengthen important support muscles in your spine. And of course, adding weight means you’re burning more calories and building muscle mass. People with lower back problems might think twice before adding weight to their squats. As always, it’s best to consult the experts. 

  • Start in a squat stance, with your feet hip-width apart. Grasp the kettlebell directly and hold it to your chest. You can have the handle pointed either up or down, whichever way is more comfortable. 
  • To begin, push your butt all the way back, then lower yourself into a squat. Keep your head and chest high, so your back isn’t bent. This is easier if you can face a mirror while you work.
  • As you lower yourself, keep your weight back on your heels and not on the balls of your feet.
  • Use your heels to push your butt back up, then return to starting position. Once you get the form down, this should be an explosive motion for the best results.  

Your feet should stay aligned with your knees throughout the motion. Push your butt out first! It should be all the way out before you lower your legs. If your knees creep in front of your toes, you’re putting too much pressure on them. Similarly, if you are lowering your chin or letting your chest face the floor, you’re putting too much stress on your spine. 

3. Kettlebell Lunge and Press

Once you’ve mastered the swing and the squat, you’re ready to level-up to the lunge. This exercise will supercharge your legs and burn a lot of fat in the process. It will also get your heart going quick, so you get the added cardiovascular benefit.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-length apart and hold the kettlebell with one hand to the side of your chest. 
  • Lunge forward using the leg opposite the arm holding the kettlebell. 
  • Push the kettlebell up over your head until your arm is extended fully. 
  • Lower the kettlebell back down to your chest while you stand back up. 
  • Switch sides between sets to get the full workout. 

Practice your lunge without the kettlebell if you’re having trouble with foot placement. If you’re stepping forward with your right leg, you’ll want to be able to lower your left knee close to the ground while staying on the ball of your left foot. Meanwhile, your right knee should not be pushing past your foot. Maintaining this stance is vital to spare your knee from any strain. It’s a tough exercise that requires strong legs, so don’t get overzealous with the weight you choose. 

4. Kettlebell Pushup

This is another instance where the kettlebell is adding a twist to an old standard. By using the kettlebell to position your hands, you’re demanding additional work from your abs, chest, and shoulders.

  • Put the kettlebell on the floor and center your body over it. Assume a plank position with both hands on the bell. 
  • Bend your arms to let yourself down smoothly.
  • Push back up and hold the position for a moment before doing another rep. 

It’s important to keep your back straight and your core tight to get the full benefit. You don’t want to spread your feet too wide or keep them too close together—whatever feels comfortable to you. Your elbows should not flare out—keep them slightly tucked to get more power from your triceps. The upward push should be explosive, and the let down should be slow and controlled.

The Bottom Line 

If you spend too much time exercising for cosmetic improvement, your results just won’t be as significant. By using the kettlebells in activities that engage muscle groups throughout your body, your workouts take more energy and use less time. Plus, your body will continue burning calories after the workout is over.

Because of the design, kettlebells are easier on your wrists and forearms than the standard barbell. And with exercises that focus on your abdomen and spinal support muscles, you’ll have better mobility, especially as you get older. 
Of course, there is no one workout that will be the key to success when you’re losing weight and getting into shape. And a workout without the proper diet backing it up can leave you feeling frustrated. See how Noom can help you find a holistic approach to a healthier lifestyle that’s tailored to you.