Five essential kettlebell moves everyone should master

Posted July 2, 2017

When it comes to getting the most out of just one piece of equipment, the kettlebell is one of the most versatile tools to boost anyone’s workout. They can be used to perform both strength-building exercises and explosive, calorie-crushing compound movements that engage multiple joints and muscle-groups, all while building core strength.

We’re big fans of kettlebells here at Rival Fitness and our training team loves incorporating them into their classes and sessions. And no one at Rival enjoys the benefits of the kettlebell quite as much as Rival trainer Ridge Carpenter, who trains our newly established Kettlebell FIT Squad.

Here, Ridge shows us five essential movements he first teaches to folks interested in benefiting from the versatility of the kettlebell.

With all of these movements, it’s better to start with a lighter kettlebell and perfect the motion until you feel comfortable moving onto a more challenging weight.

  1. Kettlebell Swing

To start the kettlebell swing, stand with your feet just outside shoulder-width apart with a kettlebell placed just in front of you between your feet. Grasp the bell by the horn with both hands, engage your core and drive your hips back, swinging the kettlebell. Then, explode upward by pushing your hips forward into a standing position and swing the kettlebell upwards, until your arm is fully extended. That’s one rep.

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  1. Goblet Squat

Hoist the bell up to your chest and grasp it by the horns with both hands. Engage your core and drop into a deep squat, being sure to keep your back straight and head up. Once you’re fully descended, straighten your legs and explode upwards.

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  1. Kettlebell Clean

Start by placing a kettlebell in front of you between your feet. Step into a position similar to the beginning of a swing, with your knees bent, butt back, and head facing forward. Now grab the bell by the horn with your right hand, extend your legs and drive your hips forward, swing the bell upwards to your right shoulder, and rotate your wrist to cradle the bell on your palm with your elbow bent to hold the kettlebell at your shoulder. That’s one rep, alternate sides.

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  1. Kettlebell Snatch

With the snatch you’ll also start in same position you would at the beginning of a swing. Grab the horn with your right hand, swing the bell backwards to gain momentum, extend your legs and swing the bell upwards. Swing the bell up past your shoulders until your arm is fully extended, rotating your wrist to catch the bell on the palm of your hand. That’s one rep, alternate sides.

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  1. Turkish Getup

The Turkish Getup is widely considered the holy grail of kettlebell movements. When done right, the Getup is a great way to establish mind-body connection, train your core and improve your balance.

  1. To start, place a kettlebell on the ground on your right side. Lay on your side in a “cradle” position, gripping the horn with your right hand on the underside of the horn, the left hand on top.
  2. Now, in one fluid motion, roll onto your back and extend your right arm to push the bell upwards, locking your elbow to hold the weight steady. Bend your right knee and leave your left leg fully extended on the ground. Place your left palm flat on the ground with your arm pointed outwards from your body at a 45-degree angle.
  3. Keeping your right arm fully extended and the bell balanced above you, roll up onto your left elbow. Take a deep breath, and drive your right foot into the ground to push yourself up balance on your left palm. Keep your head facing upwards, eyes focused on the weight above you.
  4. Now push your hips up off the ground and swing your left leg to catch your bodyweight, driving your left heel into the ground. At this point, you’re supporting yourself on your left palm – with your left arm fully extended, your left heel – with your left leg extended, and your right foot flat on the ground – knee still bent. Your right arm should still be extended, balancing the kettlebell above you.
  5. Sweep your left leg behind and under your body, bending it at the knee and placing it just behind your left palm on the floor.
  6. Pick up your left arm and twist your body forward into a lunge position, sweeping your left leg to line up directly behind your right foot, facing forward with the kettlebell above your head.
  7. Push up off your left foot and extend your legs into a standing position, kettlebell still above you.
  8. Now for the descent, kneel back down into the lunge position. Swing your left leg back, perpendicular from your right leg.
  9. Push your hips back and place your left palm back on the ground.
  10. Sweep your left leg under your body and lay it extended in front of your body, with your right knee bent.
  11. Staying nice and controlled, bend your left arm at the elbow, press your hips back into the floor, and then descend down to lay on your back – right knee still bent and right arm fully extended.
  12. Use your left hand to guide the kettlebell down as you rotate your body back into the cradle position.

Not sure where to start? Try a Half-Getup by working through steps two and three to get your body familiar with the movements before you master the Turkish Getup in its entirety.

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