You might see kettlebells flying around social media or on the rack at your local gym. And while you can perform a lot of dynamic, advanced movements with this bell-shaped piece of equipment, it’s also a beginner-friendly tool—as long as you know how to use it correctly.
While many cyclists may only know of one kettlebell exercise—the kettlebell swing, a smart move to master for power—you can add this weight to your strength routine in a ton of different ways. To get started, try this beginner kettlebell workout.
The Benefits of This Beginner Kettlebell Workout for Runners
You can choose from a variety of free weights to take a traditional exercise to the next level, but the kettlebell offers a unique advantage. This is because, “kettlebells are a highly versatile piece of equipment,” says Yusuf Jeffers, NASM-certified personal trainer, and USATF-certified running coach in New York City.
Due to the design, kettlebells challenge stability more than dumbbells or barbells, he says, plus they are highly functional. This is why cyclists should use kettlebells to further challenge their strength while practicing squats, lunges, and the other moves on this list, along with swings.
This low-impact workout is great for beginners to get familiar with the the benefits of kettlebell training. You get a combination of traditional exercises and because of the kettlebell, it doubles as a cardio and strength routine, Jeffers says.
As you practice each exercise, just keep in mind that form is key to avoiding potential injuries and making sure you get the most of each move.
How to use this list: Do the exercises in the order listed below for 8-12 reps each, and complete 2-3 sets. Rest for 1-2 minutes in between each set.
Each move is demonstrated by Jeffers in the video above so you can learn the proper form. You will need a kettlebell for this workout. Start with a lighter weight and work your way up to heavier loads as you get more comfortable with these movements. An exercise mat is optional.
1. Front Rack March
Why it works: This exercise targets the abs, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Jeffers says it’s a great move for glute activation and fine-tuning your cycling mechanics.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart and kettlebell in the front racked position on left side, meaning elbow bent and weight at shoulder. Lift left leg, bending knee 90 degrees. Hold for 3 seconds. Then step foot back down. Repeat on right side. Continue alternating.
2. Single-Leg Deadlift to Reach
Why it works: Practice this lower body unilateral exercise to improve hip stability and glute strength, Jeffers says.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding kettlebell in left hand. Shift weight to right foot, lifting left foot off the floor. Hinge at the hips by sending butt straight back, torso lowering toward floor and left leg lifting behind you. Keep kettlebell close to body, and core tight with back flat. Drive through right foot to stand up, extending hips. Repeat. Then switch sides.
3. Split-Stance Deadlift to Bent-Over Row
Why it works: “The staggered stance allows for more single-leg strength work,” Jeffers says. “Adding the row to the combo helps strengthen the lats, traps, and rear delts—all important for proper posture.”
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, take a step back with left foot, heel lifted and left toes in line with right heel. Hold kettlebell in left hand down by side. Hinge at hips by sending butt straight back. Maintaining a flat back and core engaged, pull kettlebell to hip, elbow staying close to side. Extend arm. Drive through right foot to stand up, extending hips. Repeat. Then switch sides.
4. Racked Forward to Lateral Lunge
Why it works: This exercise helps cyclists train in different planes of motion, therefore taking you out of your comfort zone and strengthening any weak spots you might have in your lower body.
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart and kettlebell in the front racked position on right side, elbow bent and weight at shoulder. Step forward into lunge with left foot, both knees bending 90 degrees. Drive through left foot to stand back up, left foot stepping back. Next, step to the left with left leg, bending left knee and sending hips back, weight in heel. Keep right leg straight, back flat and core engaged. Drive through left foot to stand back up, left foot stepping back to the right. Repeat. Then switch sides.
5. Dead Stop Swing
Why it works: This offers a great way to introduce runners to the kettlebell swing—a power move that works on hip extension and directly translates to cycling, as you need those hips (glutes in particular) for forward propulsion.
How to do it: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. With a kettlebell placed arm’s-length away, hinge at hips by sending butt straight back, and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Pack shoulders down and back and tip the kettlebell toward you. Swing the kettlebell back and up, behind hips and close to groin. Use glutes and hamstrings and drive feet into the floor to swing the kettlebell through legs and up to chest height, engaging core so you hit an upright plank-like position at the top. Let the kettlebell’s momentum bring you back into a hinge, kettlebell coming back between legs, swing the kettlebell forward and down to rest back down on floor. Repeat.
You Might Also Like