Saved By The KettleBELL

Saved By The KettleBELL!!! The rundown on kettlebells and how to add them into your gym routine.

Kettlebells are a common workout tool in almost any gym. They come in a variety of different sizes and the specific shape of the kettlebell adds an element of versatility that you just can’t get from a dumbbell. As healthcare professionals and people who are constantly looking to improve our physical capability, using kettlebells simply makes sense. The distribution of weight with the modification of a larger grip allows for more powerful and dynamic movements that challenge your entire body, including your core to a much greater extent. As with any exercise, learning proper form is absolutely essential to maximize the intensity of your workout as well as prevent injury. Below you will find a few of the TOPS Teams favorite kettlebell exercises as well as some instruction on form. Give these exercises a try next time you’re at the gym to revamp your normal routine.

Kettlebell Swing


  • This exercise will not only challenge full body strength and power, but also your cardiovascular system. It’s crucial to implement proper hip hinging technique when the kettlebell is lowered and then exploding into a standing position. Do not raise the kettlebell above shoulder height

Goblet Squat

  • As opposed to a traditional squat, the goblet squat with a kettlebell will allow you to squat through a larger range of motion. Controlling this larger range of motion is essential before you hit the squat rack with heavy weight. It also adds some arm and shoulder strengthening. Grip the kettlebell on either side of the handle and keep the weight close to your body.

Reverse Lunge in Rack Position

  • This is a traditional reverse lunge with the kettlebell in the rack position. This means that the weighted portion of the kettlebell is supported by the forearm and upper arm, just below your shoulder, while gripping the handle (as pictured).  Maintain an upright posture throughout the movement, not letting the kettlebell deviate your trunk.

Single Arm Press

  • TOPS has found that the use of a kettlebell when pressing overhead allows for a more fluid motion than with a dumbbell. The weight of the kettlebell will rest against the back of your forearm here. Performing this with a single arm (rather than both arms at once) with challenge your core to a greater capacity.  

Single Arm Row

  • Start in a lunge position with the same leg extended backward as the arm you are rowing with. Rotate the back leg out and place your opposite arm on your thigh for added stability with the exercise.  The rowing motion should be performed through full range of motion, with the kettlebell returning to ground height with each rep. Again, this single arm exercise is great for core strength as well.

Kettlebell Cleans

  • This exercise is a true total body, explosive exercise. Start with the kettlebell at ground level and your body in a squatted position. Similar to the kettlebell swing, explode into a standing position bringing the kettlebell to shoulder height, and ultimately into the rack position. This movement takes practice, as it is a more advanced exercise, so start with lower weight, perform in front of a mirror, or have someone with experience critique your form.