Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation for a moment. Someone has a gun to your head (as always seems to be the case in these scenarios) and they are telling you that you have to pick a single piece of workout equipment to buy. Whatever you choose is going to be the only item you have access to for the next year. This is a strange person but you have to go along with it.
What do you choose?
There are a few good options. You could be smart and try and pick some kind of multi-station using cables. Or maybe you go old-school and get a barbell.
But my choice would be a kettlebell. You could do a lot worse.
Why? Well, kettlebells are firstly fantastic for building functional strength. Their unusual shape means you will use a lot of stabilizing muscles while you’re swinging them around, not to mention building up grip strength.
At the same time though, they also lend themselves to a shockingly wide selection of different moves. Especially if you’re pressed for space, they can be fantastic for hitting the upper body and the legs, not to mention the core. And if you engage in a little bit of concurrent training, they can help you burn through a lot of fat too.
Not convinced? Then check out these top exercises you can do with a kettlebell…
Top Kettlebell Exercises
The Kettlebell Swing
This is the most popular kettlebell movement and especially recently thanks to high-profile advocates like Tim Ferriss.
The idea is that you hold a single kettlebell with two hands and then swing it upward from a squat position, before letting it fall back between your legs like a pendulum. You then stand up from squatting again, popping the hips as you do, and thrusting it up into the air once more.
This builds the entire posterior chain, is amazing for burning calories and can build a fantastic behind!
As functional moves go this is up there with the best. You simply lie on the floor next to the kettlebell and then grab it in one hand before standing upward. You’ll be using your core, you’ll be coordinating contralateral movement and generally it’s amazing for creating real, useable power.
Straight Legged Deadlift
The deadlift is often heralded as one of the best exercises in the world thanks to the sheer number of muscles it brings into play. Problem is that it requires a lot of floorspace and weight to use at home – which is why many of us don’t give it a shot.
But you can actually do a deadlift with the kettlebell, which lends itself particularly well to the straight-legged variety. This is excellent for building the erector spinae.
Countless More Kettlebell Exerciess
There are many more unusual functional movements like this, from halos to figure 8s. But on top of that, you can do practically anything you could do with a dumbbell. That includes curling, pressing, tricep kickbacks. You name it!