A Trainer Shares The Six Kettlebell Moves You Need To Develop Total-Body Fitness

Shirtless man performing kettlebell swing
(Image credit: markos86 / Getty Images)

If you’ve been walking past the kettlebell racks every time you visit the gym, it’s time to start including this type of weight in your routine.

Certified PT Adam Sinicki (aka The Bioneer) has shared six of his favorite kettlebell exercises for building full-body fitness, and it’s a great selection. 

The exercises—the kettlebell swing, front rack squat, Cossack squat, halo, floor press and single-arm bent-over row—can be combined into a total-body workout, too. 

Try using them as a circuit, performing 8-12 reps of each one in turn for three rounds (or 8-12 reps on each side, if it’s a unilateral movement like the single-arm row).

“[Kettlebells will] build your strength in ways other tools just can't,” Sinicki writes. “You'll be stronger at weird angles, for longer.”

This is because, unlike with a dumbbell or a barbell, you’re rarely holding a kettlebell in its center of mass. Particularly during dynamic exercises like the kettlebell swing, the momentum of the weight will pull you off balance, challenging your core and other supporting muscles to keep you stable. 

These dynamic exercises also allow you to rack up plenty of reps, to train your muscular endurance and raise your heart rate. You can even try variations of Olympic weightlifting moves like the snatch and clean and jerk with a kettlebell to develop explosive power too. 

I especially like that Sinicki’s selection works your body through all three planes of motion: sagittal, frontal and transverse. They incorporate up and down (sagittal plane) side-to-side (frontal plan) and rotational (transverse plane) movements to develop full-body functional strength and mobility. 

As Sinicki says, there are still some areas where dumbbells and barbells reign supreme. Performing floor presses with dumbbells rather than kettlebells will save your forearms, and if you want a heavy-loaded leg exercise you’ll struggle to beat the barbell back squat

But I agree that kettlebells should be a part of any workout plan, offering plenty of benefits and variations to upgrade your training. If you’ve never used kettlebells before, start with this beginner kettlebell workout

Get help deciding which kettlebell to buy with Coach’s guide to the best kettlebells.

Harry Bullmore
Staff writer

Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.