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Welcome to 2022, and more importantly (in the world of fitness at least), welcome to January, a month full of resolutions to get back in shape, eat better, and start the new year off on a health-conscious foot. Most of us — looking to shed a few of those extra winter holiday pounds — flock to gyms, which have conveniently and heavily leaned into sign-up deals and promotions, looking to capitalize on everyone’s urgency to get fit in the new year.
Regardless of your primary fitness goal, it probably entails some combination of gaining muscle and burning fat. One of the most effective ways to do both at once is incorporating kettlebell workouts into your fitness routine. Think of the kettlebell as the cooler sibling of the classic dumbbell. Though they each represent handheld weight training tools, the kettlebell’s imbalanced shape forces you to utilize more grip strength to lift and control it. Many of the best kettlebell exercises — like the kettlebell swing, kettlebell snatch or kettlebell clean — rely on this principle, and incorporate high-intensity movements that are highly conducive to burning fat and building muscle.
That kind of intensity makes kettlebell workouts the perfect new year exercise, as we all look to ramp up our fitness goals in a big way. In this article, we’ll get you set up with the best kettlebells on the market, share our best kettlebell workouts for men in 2022, then recommend a few more products to fuel your kettlebell workouts.
1. Bowflex SelectTech 840 Adjustable Kettlebell
BEST ADJUSTABLE KETTLEBELL
If you’re an apartment dweller or home gym enthusiast, you know the power of space-saving fitness tactics. This adjustable kettlebell from Bowflex replaces six different kettlebells in one, allowing you to adjust from 8 to 40 pounds with the simple turn of the dial. That kind of versatility and spatial efficiency is hard to come by, making this adjustable kettlebell a must-have for your home gym kettlebell workouts.
2. Yes4All Vinyl Coated Kettlebell Weights
If you’re keen on getting a complete kettlebell set and not going the adjustable route, we recommend these coated kettlebells from Yes4All. The vinyl coating ensures that heavy cast iron construction won’t damage your floors, making these an excellent choice for apartment kettlebell workouts. They’re available from 5 pounds up to 50 pounds and have the endorsement of more than 12,000 Amazon reviews, with a 4.8-star average rating.
3. BalanceFrom Wide Grip Kettlebell Set
BEST KETTLEBELL SET
Want to get your kettlebell collection started in a hurry? Check out this three-piece set from BalanceFrom, which offers a few different weight interval options, from 5 to 20 pounds. Most classic kettlebells opt for a cast iron construction. Still, this set boasts a vinyl-coated exterior and cement-filled center, shooting for a longer-lasting option that will not rust as easily. These offer great value, but reviewers note that this kettlebell set is a bit larger and bulkier than a standard cast iron kettlebell, so keep that in mind while shopping.
1. Full-Body Kettlebell Workout
Kettlebells are incredibly conducive to heart-pounding, muscle-burning full-body workouts. As we mentioned earlier, the rounded handle and top-heavy construction make kettlebells perfect for high-intensity movements that engage your entire body. We’ve selected three of our favorite kettlebell exercises to do just that. Try performing these are a circuit, where you knock out reps of each exercise in a row, rest for 30-60 seconds, then repeat for a few more sets.
1. Kettlebell Swing
If there’s one kettlebell exercise you should do, let it be the kettlebell swing, which essentially incorporates all the great things about kettlebells into one brutal movement. It engages your arms, back and legs while simultaneously serving as an excellent cardio exercise as well. Want to learn how to do kettlebell swings? Take a look at the video below to help perfect your kettlebell swing form.
2. Kettlebell Deadlift
3. Kettlebell Snatch
Rounding out our list of full body kettlebell exercises is the kettlebell snatch, a more advanced movement and a favorite among CrossFit enthusiasts. Like the kettlebell swing, this exercise relies a little more on your upper body strength but incorporates many different muscle groups. The form is crucial here, as executing this exercise improperly can lead to some gnarly injuries. For that reason, we’ll leave the instructions to the experts. Check out the video from CrossFit below.
4. Kettlebell Clean
Like the kettlebell press, the kettlebell clean is another very advanced full-body kettlebell exercise that wields a high-intensity movement dependent on good, safe form. So once again, we recommend checking out the video below for a fantastic visual demonstration. This will really work your arms and grip strength, particularly if you pair it with the kettlebell press for the coveted, experts-only kettlebell clean and press.
2. Kettlebell Leg Workout
Though most of the full-body kettlebell workouts are pretty specific to the shape and nature of the kettlebell, the kettlebell leg workouts tend to be more traditional leg exercises, just adapted slightly for the kettlebell. Again, grip strength plays a role here, allowing you to get those wrists strong even while training legs. Here are our favorite exercises to incorporate during a kettlebell leg workout.
Lunges are pretty adaptable to any type of weight, from the barbell to the dumbbell, so the kettlebell offers a simple and effective iteration that will work your quads and glutes. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell in each hand. Take a big step forward with your left foot and drop so your right knee hits the ground. Your front knee should form a 90-degree angle. Drive up to return to the starting position. It’s key to keep your knees straight and strong throughout the movement.
There are a few ways you can adapt the classic squat to the kettlebell, such as the kettlebell sumo squat or the kettlebell goblet squat (which, frankly, are pretty similar). Any iteration will work your entire lower body while also benefiting your arms and grip strength. We like the classic goblet squat, which is somewhat specific to a handheld weight like the kettlebell. To perform it, hold a kettlebell by the handle with both hands in front of your chest. With your legs a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, hinge at the hips to send your butt backward and toward the ground. Drop to a comfortable depth (most experts recommend just past 90 degrees), then drive up from your glutes and heels to push back to the starting position. Of course, you need the proper squatting form for this to work, so take a look at the video below for some pointers.
3. Kettlebell Chest Workout
4. Kettlebell Back Workout
5. Kettlebell Ab Workout
Are you looking to tackle some kettlebell exercises for abs? Luckily, many of the best ab workouts require no weight at all, so the addition of the kettlebell presents more resistance on an already effective exercise, allowing you to really work your core. Standard ab exercises like sit-ups and Russian twists are easily adaptable to the kettlebell. We recommend checking out the video below, incorporating many of these into a great 15-minute kettlebell core workout.
6. Kettlebell Shoulder Workout
1. Nike Metcon 7
BEST WEIGHTLIFTING SHOE
Kettlebell workouts present a unique weightlifting circumstance that demands both power and agility. Luckily, Nike’s Metcon 7 cross-training shoe checks every box, making it one of our favorite weightlifting shoes on the market. This shoe has all the support you need to generate momentum for kettlebell swings and stay light enough to crank out some sprints or ab exercises in between sets. It consistently takes our top spot for a reason.
2. Gimme 10 Foam Roller
BEST FOAM ROLLER
Foam rolling is kind of like saving for retirement. If you aren’t doing it already, you should be. It’s a fantastic way to eliminate muscle tension before a workout and help prevent soreness for the days after you’ve gone hard in the gym. Kettlebell workouts torch your entire body, so if you want to make sure you can lift on back-to-back days, try using a foam roller before and after your session. We like this 2-in-1 foam roller from Gimme 10, which offers both a softer, more forgiving foam roller for sensitive areas and a tougher option to really work those trigger points. If you’re new to it, check out our article on how to use a foam roller.
3. Ten Thousand Interval Short
BEST WORKOUT SHORTS
Because of the full-body nature of kettlebell workouts, you need a good pair of shorts that will move with you during even the most intense movements. We recommend the Ten Thousand Interval Short, which features a no-pinch elastic waistband, vented construction and optional built-in liner. It comes in a whopping 13 different colors, giving you different options for every kettlebell workout of the week.