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Top 5 Beginner Kettlebell Exercises To Build Muscle And Endurance

 Written by 

Mauro Castillo

 Last updated on 

Kettlebells are one of the friendliest fitness tools on the market. They are easy to use, intuitive, affordable, and practical. Anyone can enjoy a kettlebell training session independent of their fitness level. These tools can build muscle and increase strength, endurance, and mobility with only a few movements. 

This article will cover the top 5 beginner kettlebell exercises to build muscle and endurance. Plus, we include a workout so you don’t waste time getting your hands dirty. Let’s go!

Two people doing beginner kettlebell exercises
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Technique And Form For Your Beginner Kettlebell Exercises

A woman doing beginner kettlebell exercises outside
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Getting the technique right from the get-go is one of the essential aspects anyone can do to ensure safety training with maximal results. A proper form should always precede intensity and volume, especially for beginners and sedentary individuals. The technique will vary from one movement to another, but a few key points should prevail amongst most exercises.


The starting position should have your feet slightly wider than the hip stance, with the toes pointing outwards. The kettlebell should be between your palms at chest height, with the elbows slightly pointing outwards (for most squat movements.)

Retract your shoulder blades and keep an upright position (think “chest tall”) with a neutral neck. No facing up or down; focus on eye level. If pressing overhead, activate your glutes and core muscles to stabilize the spine. The bottom of the kettlebell should be on the outside of your forearm for these movements. 

Remember that the power comes from the hips and glutes for the classic two-handed kettlebell swing. The arms are there to hold the kettlebell handle, nothing else. A neutral neck and spine are also essential to keep the fluidity of the movement.


Understanding the basics of the technique will get you further with your training, and soon you’ll be able to increase the volume and intensity needed to build muscle and endurance. Many people neglect technique and jump directly into intense workouts, increasing the risk of injury.

Use a lighter weight until you’re comfortable with the basics, then consider heavier weights. Be patient, take your time to do it right, and results will follow in due time!

Picking The Right Weight For Your Beginner Kettlebell Exercises

Someone trying beginner kettlebell exercises
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After getting comfortable with the proper form, choosing the right weight becomes the next one to conquer. Kettlebell weights have a wide range. They can go from 1-2 pounds to 100+ pounds a unit. An appropriate weight depends on more than just your fitness level. The exercise selection, the number of reps, and the workout duration are also essential elements to consider.

Overall, working within the 5-25 pound range should be manageable if you’re a beginner. Females can use 5-18 pounds, while men can start with 8-25 pounds.If you easily handle pressing overhead or doing kettlebell swings with 18-25 pounds, adjust accordingly and increase the weight progressively. 

As you improve, your body awareness will increase, thus allowing for more complex and explosive movements. Remember that safety is your top priority when starting your fitness journey. 

Top 5 Beginner Kettlebell Exercises

Beginner kettlebell exercises don’t have to be boring. You can do plenty of movements with a single kettlebell that will help you build strength and keep your weight under control. Next, we’re sharing the top 5 kettlebell exercises any beginner should master. From compound to dynamic movements, these classic moves should be a part of your strength training program from day 1. Let’s review them!

1. Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is one of the top beginner exercises. It’s safe and easy to learn, and you can quickly rack up the intensity. This movement is perfect for building lower body strength and hypertrophy, especially if you master the basics and can work out with heavier weights. Even if you use lighter weights, the goblet squat will be a fine addition to your workout routine.

Muscles Worked

The kettlebell goblet squat will target your lower body muscles, such as the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. However, the kettlebell’s placement at chest height will also work your upper body musculature like the trapezius (upper and medial) and front deltoids.

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting your fitness journey; these muscles will fire after a few minutes.

2. Swing

There are two swings: the Russian kettlebell swing (weight goes up to eye level) and the American kettlebell swing (kettlebell goes overhead). Both of these variations are terrific for teaching beginners how to hip hinge. Many people also consider it a core exercise since it will target your lower back from the get-go.

Regardless, this movement is a beginner-friendly option for the majority. However, they’re often included in sports and military training.

Muscles Worked

The kettlebell swing requires a hip hinge followed by an explosive extension of the hips to send the kettlebell up. This sequence will recruit lower body muscles like the glutes and hamstrings while also targeting the lower back, front deltoids, and trapezius (American version). It’s also part of the core exercises to teach core stability during movements.

3. Overhead Press

The kettlebell overhead press is a favorite for many, especially beginners. Something is empowering about taking a weight overhead that few can resist. This movement can be done with one or two kettlebells, unilaterally and bilaterally. We recommend starting unilaterally with one kettlebell until you master the proper form. 

In the starting position, place the bottom of the kettlebell on the outside of your forearms. Feet at hip width, contract glutes and core before pressing up.

Muscles Worked

The overhead press will focus on developing upper body strength and hypertrophy, particularly on the frontal and lateral deltoids. Besides them, it will also target the triceps, trapezius (upper and medial section), and neck extensors. Having the core tight is also essential to secure midline stability during the complete range of motion.

4. Halos

The Halo is one of the most performed kettlebell moves because of its many benefits to shoulder health and mobility. Although this is a basic kettlebell exercise, you’d feel your upper body burning in seconds, even with a lighter kettlebell.

To perform this movement, you can hold the kettlebell upside down or grab it by the horns at chest height.

Proceed to send one elbow back and follow it with the kettlebell taking it behind and around your head until it reaches the front again.

Muscles Worked

This movement is about the shoulders, arms, and core. Holding the kettlebell at chest height will constantly activate your biceps and forearms through the rep. 

Halos will recruit the front, lateral, and posterior delts along with the trapezius (upper and medial section) and bicep to help mobilize the scapula and allow the around-the-head movement. 

One muscle group that will also be heavily worked on is the core. Particularly the obliques, quadratus lumborum, and spinal erectors. These muscles will keep the body centered as the reps go by.

5. Bent-Over Row

If building strength is one of your goals as a beginner, then the kettlebell bent-over row should be at the top of your list. This exercise is easy to do and requires nothing but a single kettlebell. You can do it as a single-arm move or with two hands simultaneously.

For the starting position, place your feet shoulder width, and send your hips back until your torso is parallel with the floor while keeping a neutral neck. From there, bring the kettlebell towards your hip, hold it for a few seconds, then take it back up front and repeat.

Muscles Worked

The kettlebell bent-over row is a terrific exercise to develop back strength and hypertrophy. This exercise will target upper body muscles like the latissimus dorsi, posterior delts, and trong>trapezius (medial section). It will also focus on the biceps, forearms, and spinal erectors (to hold the hip-hinge position.)

Beginner Kettlebell Exercises For Muscle And Endurance

After learning all about the kettlebell technique, and the top exercises, it’s time to put everything into practice with this 20-minute beginner kettlebell workout.

We’ll focus on volume with light weights to double down on form and muscle endurance. Make sure to pick the right weight for your fitness level, so remember the key points.

It’ll be a 1-minute ON / 1-minute OFF work format repeated two times for the 20-minute work.

Without further to add, let’s jump right to it!

0:00 – 1:00Two-handed Russian Kettlebell SwingsMax reps
1:00 – 2:00Rest 
2:00 – 3:00Goblet SquatsMax reps
3:00 – 4:00Rest 
4:00 – 5:00Overhead Press30s with each arm
5:00 – 6:00Rest 
6:00 – 7:00Kettlebell Halos30s each direction
7:00 – 8:00Rest 
8:00 – 9:00Bent Over RowMax reps
9:00 – 10:00Rest 

After the 9:00 – 10:00 rest, go through the same sequence again, and this time try to do more reps than the first round.

You can repeat this workout up to 3 times per week with one day of rest in between to allow the body to recover correctly and minimize the risk of injury.


Are Kettlebell Exercises Good For Beginners?

Yes, they are. Kettlebells are one of the friendliest fitness tools for beginners. They come in multiple weights, are easy to handle, and are low-cost.

What Weight Kettlebell Should A Beginner Use?

Men are comfortable using a kettlebell between 10-24 pounds, while women typically work within the 8-15 pound range. Ultimately, it will depend not only on the fitness level but also on physical characteristics that may impede a proper technique.

Is A 10-Minute Kettlebell Workout Effective?

It’s very effective. A 10-minute workout means that intensity will dominate the session, so you should expect your high rate to skyrocket. This time domain is often seen in HIIT training, where intensity is valued over time.

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