When we think about kettlebells, we tend to think goblet squat or kettlebell swings and then draw a blank.
What else are they good for?
The long and the short of it is kettlebells are useful for a plethora of both upper and lower body strength development.
Here are seven lower-body kettlebell movements, as well as execution tips and programming ideas, that might prove valuable to your training:
The Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift is useful for building posterior chain strength, as it biases the hamstrings over the quads. It’s also effective at building the glutes and the back.
Tip: Focus on keeping the spine neutral throughout this movement, and on squeezing your butt cheeks together at the top.
A1. Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift, @3131, 8-10 reps x 4 sets; rest 60 seconds
A2. Banded Glute Bridges, @3111, 20 reps x 4 sets; rest 2 minutes
Like the Romanian deadlift, the Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift is useful for building posterior chain strength—glutes, hamstrings, back—however, it will also utilize the quads and adductors. It tends to be less challenging than a conventional deadlift for the spinal erectors and back due to the more upright torso position. The sumo variation can be beneficial for teaching beginners.
Tip: Focus on establishing a strong core and bracing before prying the weight off the ground by pushing down with your legs.
A1. Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift, @3111, 8-10 reps x 4 sets; rest 60 seconds
A2. Goblet Hold Wall Sit, 45 seconds x 4 sets; rest 2 minutes
The same principles apply with the Kettlebell Single Leg, Single Arm Romanian Deadlift as any bend, only this time you're doing a single leg hinge with the kettlebell in the opposite hand. This variation challenges balance and can be a great way to build hip strength and stability.
Tip: Focus on keeping your hips level as you send your leg back. Often, you’ll need to correct this by internally rotating your back hip.
A1. Kettlebell Single Leg, Single Arm Romanian Deadlift, @3111, 8 reps per leg x 4 sets; rest 60 seconds
A2. Goblet Squat, @3311, 6-8 reps per leg x 4 sets; rest 2 minutes
For the Kettlebell Single Arm Front Rack Lunge set your feet shoulder-width apart and descend into a lunge until your knee hovers just above the floor. These are useful for building glute, as well as quad strength, as well as hamstring, and calf strength.
Tip: Focus on driving your front leg into the ground as you’re returning to the standing position. Then repeat on the opposite leg.
A1. Kettlebell Single Arm Front Rack Lunge, @3111, 8 reps per leg x 4 sets; rest 60 seconds
A2. Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift, @31X0, 8 reps x 4 sets; rest 90 seconds
Start the Farmer’s Hold Kettlebell Split Squat in a split squat position with your feet hip-width apart and a kettlebell in each hand by your sides in a farmer hold position. From here, lower yourself straight down until the knee is hovering just above the floor. These are useful for building hip flexor, quad, hamstring, and glute strength.
Tip: Focus on keeping that front shin perpendicular to the floor and driving your front leg into the ground as you're returning to the standing position. Don’t allow your shoulders to round forward.
A1. Farmer Hold Kettlebell Split Squat, @3111, 8 reps per leg x 4 sets; rest 60 seconds
A2. Kettlebell Single Leg, Single Arm Romanian Deadlift, @3111, 8 reps per leg x 4 sets; rest 90 seconds
The Dual Kettlebell Deadlift is performed with a hip-width stance. From there, hold one kettlebell in each hand. Then hinge your hips back, keeping the core engaged throughout the movement. Like all hinge movements, the dual kettlebell deadlift primarily targets your posterior chain.
Tip: Focus on squeezing your glutes together as you’re standing up. Keep your shoulder blades squeezed together throughout the movement.
A1. Dual Kettlebell Deadlift, @31X1, 8 reps x 4 sets; rest 90 seconds
A2. Goblet Squat, @31X1, 16 reps x 4 sets; rest 2 minutes
Contralateral Kettlebell Step-Up
Contralateral Kettlebell Step-Ups mean performing box or bench step-ups with one kettlebell in the front rack position and the other kettlebell held down by your side in the farmer hold position. These are useful for targeting the core, which has to engage to stay balanced under a contralateral, uneven load, as well as the glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
Tip: Focus on using the leg on top of the box or bench to drive through the floor to stand up on one leg on top of the box or bench until your knees and hips are locked out.
A1. Contralateral Kettlebell Step-Up, @3110, 6 reps per leg x 4 sets; rest 90 seconds
A2. Dual Kettlebell Deadlift, @30X0, 8 reps x 4 sets; rest 2 minutes
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