Progressing your workouts over time is essential if you want to keep getting fitter and stronger, and there are few more obvious ways to upgrade your kettlebell workouts than using two kettlebells where previously you have only used one.
Using two kettlebells does more than just increase the weight. “Using two kettlebells is more of a skill challenge because it increases the level of difficulty so it requires more stability, balance and control,” says Ashton Turner from London’s Evolve 353 gym, who created this workout. “The best thing is it’s a simple way of increasing the load because it’s easier to use two 16kg kettlebells than it is to use a single 32kg one.”
Doubling up means that you can only use one hand to wield each weight, which means that you want the kind of secure, smooth grip that is a feature of the best kettlebells. A scratchy plastic handle is not ideal when swinging or pressing two kettlebells at once.
How To Do This Double Kettlebell Workout
Work through three sets of 10 reps for each exercise. Take a 45-second break between sets, and rest for 90 seconds between exercises. Once you get comfortable with the workout, you can increase the difficulty by adding a rep to your sets until you hit 15 for each set. At that point it’s best to start using heavier kettlebells and go back to 10 reps.
1 Double kettlebell swing
Sets 3 Reps 10
Drive your hips through until you’re upright in a neutral position (this activates your glutes). Aim to keep your forearms tight to your hips until you reach neutral. As your arms come up, squeeze your glutes to prevent overextending your lower back.
Expert tip “Make sure your feet are a bit wider than they would be for a single-arm swing,” says Turner. “That will ensure that you have enough room for both weights and are able to effectively load your hips to work your glutes and hamstrings.”
2 Sots press
Sets 3 Reps 10 each side
Stand upright with the kettlebells in a racked position (by your shoulders, elbows tucked in), then sink into a deep squat. Press the kettlebells overhead alternately, looking at the moving weight throughout the exercise.
Expert tip “This is a great test of hip, thoracic spine and shoulder mobility and stability,” says Turner. “Start light and try to sit deep into the squat. Emphasise the twist in your spine as you press the weight overhead to open up your shoulders.”
3 Double snatch
Sets 3 Reps 10
Swing the bells between your legs, then drive forwards with your hips to swing them up in an arc. When the bells gets to just below chest height, bring your elbows back and slide your hand under and around the kettlebells while using their momentum to finish with them overhead.
Expert tip “Try to avoid moving your hands under the bell and then pressing up in a separate movement,” says Turner. “This should be one movement and as smooth as possible, using the momentum of the kettlebell. Using two kettlebells really increases the skill level because you need to make sure your shoulders are moving in the same direction to avoid putting too much stress on the joint.”
4 Double clean
Sets 3 Reps 10
Swing the kettlebell between your legs and drive your hips forwards. Once the bell passes stomach height, draw your elbow back and slide your hand under and around the bell to catch it in the “rack” position, then lower the bell in an arc.
Expert tip “Make sure the kettlebells don’t travel too far away from your body,” says Turner. “It’s really important that you drive with your hips to get the kettlebells moving, but don’t push your hips past neutral - that will stress your back.”
5 Double overhead press
Sets 3 Reps 10
Start in the rack position with the kettlebells at shoulder height and your elbows tucked in to your sides for support. Press the weights directly overhead, using the most efficient path possible to minimise the stress on your shoulder joints.
Expert tip “This will challenge your shoulder stability,” says Turner. “Make sure you press both kettlebells overhead with your elbows directly below the weights, and ensure that you finish with both weights directly above your shoulders.”
Ashton Turner is the co-founder of Evolve 353 gym in London. He has worked with clients across multiple training disciplines including kettlebells, Olympic lifting, strength and conditioning, and Pilates.
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Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.
- Nick Harris-FrySenior writer