Kettlebell Workout for Beginners

Congratulations on your decision to start training with kettlebells, you will find training with kettlebells much more engaging than running on a treadmill or lifting weights, with the advantages of both. Yes! Kettlebell workouts can give you the cardio benefits of a runner as well as the strength and power of a weightlifter.

Clothing

To train using kettlebell you will need to wear loose clothing, preferably a pair of shorts that will give you full range of motion to moves your legs around, and a t-shirt.

Footwear

Many kettlebell enthusiasts like to train barefoot; others wear vibram fiverfingers which gives them all the benefit of barefoot without the discomfort of stubbing your feet on uncomfortable surfaces. If you decide to wear shoes, wear flat soled shoes like converse all stars. Shoes with uneven soles or cushiony/spongy soles should be avoided. The reason for this is with kettlebell workouts you need to have close contact with the ground for stability, and shoe which obstructs your feel of the ground is undesired.

Ideal kettlebell weight

Men: 16kg for kettlebell swing, 8kg for Turkish getup

Women 8kg for kettlebell swing, 4kg for Turkish getup

These weights may not seem like a lot, but with active recovery, it will be challenging for beginners to complete the work. Additionally it’s important to start off with a light weight in order to learn the technique. Use particularly light weights for the Turkish getup when starting out.

The workout

4 sets of kettlebell swings @ 15 reps
Learn the technique here

4 sets of Turkish getups @ 30 seconds each set, alternate hands between reps
Learn the technique here

This workout should take no more than 20 minutes to complete; you will need a 2 minute warm-up before exercise and follow 1 minute active recovery in-between sets, you will then do a brief cool down of 3-4 minutes at the end of the workout, all using a jump rope.

Your main focus is not to plough through the exercises at high speed; you should take your time to do the exercises after plenty of recovery, and with attention to your technique. This is particularly the case with the Turkish getups.

Active Recovery

It’s important to perform light intensity anaerobic activity like jogging, dynamic stretching, stationary bike or whichever you prefer and have access to. They help to increase blood flow which delivers oxygen to muscle cells and clears up lactic acid build-up. Its secondary goal is to aid the heart in pumping blood around the body, sitting still in-between sets makes it tougher on the heart to pump blood around the body.

17 comments to Kettlebell Workout for Beginners

  • Dennis Elley

    Please send more information

  • Bonnie

    Can you do a kettle bell workout every day or should you rest in between days?

    • Karim (admin)

      You should have a day off between workouts, if you are training more than 3 times a day then you will not have much choice in the matter as you need to workout out on two or more consecutive days. In this case do not put two intense workouts next to each other. Pair them up with heavy & light or medium & light next to each other, do not go heavy & heavy next to each other.

  • Lucy

    DO YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITHOUT GETTING MUSCULAR? BECAUSE I WAS TOLD THAT WITH THE KETTLEBELL WORKOUTS YOU WOULD JUST GET MUSCLES AND NOT LOSE WEIGHT.. I JUST HOPE THAT’S NOT TRUE.

  • Kevin

    I’ve heard a lot of good things about this course but I honestly haven’t tried it out yet. I agree, whoever said that you won’t lose weight doing these workouts is nuts though … there’s no way you’ll gain THAT much muscle. No doubt you will gain SOME, or at least tone it up, and that is a good thing — it will ad shape and structure to your body.

    -Kevin

  • kim

    is it safe to do kettlebell workouts even if i have a painful shoulder joint? i think i have arthritis, which started from my hand then up to my shoulder, just the left side … but i really wanna loose my fats … especially on my thighs and arms …

    • Karim

      It’s probably not a good idea to do kettlebell workouts if you have a bad arm and shoulder, because kettlebells require the use of the shoulders and arms a lot. But you should check with your doctor and physio beforehand, there may some weights that you can handle.

      Failing that barbell squats are very good for your legs, back and torso.

    • Di

      I have the same symptoms and have diagnosed carple tunnel syndrome. If the pain is waking you up at night and your arm feel useless, it could be that you have this too. Also ask about frozen shoulder

  • Annmarie

    I had a spinal fusion done in my neck several years ago on c6 & c7

    is the kettlebell workout safe for me to do?
    it looks like a fantastic workout?

    • Karim

      Spinal fusion hasn’t stopped professional mixed martial artist Tito Ortiz from competing professionally, and he has it in two places, his lower back and his neck. In most cases spinal fusion allows people to carry as normal, with slightly restricted turning mobility, which is fine. You may have trouble with the Turkish getup and Windmill which require neck mobility. But I should imagine that the swing, snatch, clean etc should be fine for you.

      But before starting any exercise please get clearance from your physio.

  • Stephanie

    I just started a kettlebell session last night and the fitness instructer said i would probably be sore for a few day after. is there anything i can do to prevent being sore, like walking or some kind of exercise to keep my muscles from aching?

    • Karim

      Hi Stephanie.

      Great to hear you’ve started kettlebell workouts. You will be sore at first, it’s unavoidable and a sure sign that it’s working. You can avoid soreness by warming down after your workout. By doing a light jog on the treadmill after you’ve finished and then doing static stretching. This will prevent soreness a little and improve recovery times

      Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water as well, water will flush out the toxins and speed up recovery as well.

  • Holliann

    I am starting kettlebell workouts. I had my acl replaced in my knee last November (2011). I have gained a few pounds while being on bed rest. I am back to work now and I was wondering if this will work for people with knee problems. I have almost full range of motion back but I can hop on a treadmill and run for miles.

    • Karim (admin)

      Holliann, kettlebells should pose no threats to your knee at all. In fact if you can run, kettlebells should be a breeze.

      The swings should be no problem at all. The Turkish getup does require some “pull” on the ACL though, If you read the Turkish getup page on the site or on your KB basics 101 manual you’ll see it illustrated. At one point your knee joint will be fully contracted, where your calf and your thigh are almost touching. You will also rest your bodyweight on your knee on another part of the exercise. Depending on your condition you may or may not be able to do the Turkish getup. If you can’t, you can substitute the getup with the press and windmill.

  • Bob

    I was advised that Kettlebell would help “clean-up” age related elbow and shoulder problems. True?

    • Karim (admin)

      I can’t possibly confirm or deny this. Kettebells are tools to exercise and stay in shape, but they cannot cure the blind, sick and infirm. Any exercise will help loosen joints and make age related pain go away, particularly those caused by living a sedentary life (backpain caused by sitting down all day, obesity, heart problems due to inactivity can all be helped by kettlebells). But without knowing your condition I can’t comment.

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