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The 14 Best Kettlebell Exercises To Build Your Legs And Glutes

 Written by 

Jordyn Snyder

 Last updated on 

You might have seen someone at the gym using kettlebells or maybe you’re bored with your regular workout regime, either way, spicing up the routine with some beginner to advanced kettlebell exercises to build those legs and glutes might be exactly what you need.

Here Are The Best Kettlebell Exercises To Add To Your Lower Body Routine:

Goblet Good Morning

For this exercise, hold the kettlebell to your chest while pushing your hips back and lowering your chest toward the ground. When there’s a light stretch in your hamstrings return to starting position. Just make sure to maintain a neutral spine and pinch your shoulder blades back to get the full benefit.

Athletes doing kettlebell leg exercises at the gym
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Kettlebell Windmill

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and then point them thirty-five degrees in the direction you’re going to be bending towards. Lift your kettlebell overhead with the hand opposite of the direction your toes are facing. Lock that arm and the other should be hanging at your side. Looking up at your weight, fold until you touch your foot with your hanging arm or until you can’t bend any further. Before returning to the starting position, brace your glute muscles and check that your back is still straight.

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Start as you would with a kettlebell swing, with the kettlebell under you and feet shoulder-width apart. Chest up and looking straight ahead, grab the kettlebell by the handle and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down, keeping posture in check. Brace your core muscles, bend your knees, and then bring up the kettlebell weight until it’s hanging in front of you with extended arms. Do not use your arm muscles to make it go any higher, simply keep it there and lower with the same posture to repeat those actions 12-15 times per set.

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Sumo Deadlift

The set-up is the same as the regular kettlebell deadlift except now your feet are slightly wider than hip-width apart. To properly do this exercise, squat down and grab the kettlebell with both hands, remembering to keep your back in a neutral position and your core muscles engaged. Drive through your heels to stand, keeping the kettlebell close to your body the entire time. Set it back to the starting position with the same movements and then do it all again for the designated reps.

Romanian Deadlift

Or also known as the RDL, starts at a similar positioning as a standard deadlift except now your feet are close enough together the kettlebell should be the only thing able to fit between them. The exercise is not a squatting motion, but instead, you’ll use a slight bend in the knee to lower the kettlebell down in front of you. Most of the movement is done in the hips as you’ll slowly lower the weight down, keeping it hovering over the position where it was picked up between your feet. Just don’t set it down until you’ve finished a set.

Front Squat

For this exercise you’ll be doing a regular squat, though instead of your body weight, you’ll position a kettlebell at shoulder height, making sure to keep your elbow from sticking too far out. Sit back on your heels and decent until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stop at that position and hold for three seconds before pushing back up and then squeezing your glutes. It can be easy to lean backward, so make sure your posture is good and you’re not at an awkward angle.

Glute Bridge

This exercise will involve either a yoga mat or a soft surface because you’ll be laying on the floor on your back with your knees bent. Keep your feet flat on the floors, hip-width apart, and place a single kettlebell on your lower abs. Engage your abdominal muscles by drawing your belly button towards your spine and squeezing your glutes as you lift your hips to a full bridge. Pause at the top and then control your moments by lowering slowly to repeat the motion.

Split Stance Glute Bridge

The Split Stance Glute Bridge is a variation of the regular glute bridge where everything is the same besides one foot, which should be brought in to just six inches away from your body to create a split stance. Once the split stance is achieved you will perform the exercise as you did the regular Glute Bridge.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

Start with your kettlebell at chest level with the elbows under the wrists in a racked position. With the shoulder blades together and placed down in the back, set your feet hip-width apart with your toes slightly turned out. Sit the hips down over the heels at the same time as your knees bend, making sure to keep the kettlebell at your chest but not touching it to ensure you’re using every possible muscle. Pause at the bottom of the squat with your back as straight as possible and then lift the weight just a smidge higher than chest level so your hips don’t shoot backward. Once in the starting position do another rep and repeat until finished.

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Double Front Racked Reverse Lunge

Is certainly more of an advanced version, but using two kettlebells, hold each on in a racked position like you would for the Goblet Squat and step back into a reverse lunge position while simultaneously keeping your shoulders over your hips and hips over your knee. Let your knee tap the ground and inhale as you go down to assist in engaging your core. Keeping your weights where they are, bring your back leg to the front and then repeat because that’s only one rep.

One Arm Overhead Squat

With your feet shoulder-width apart, hold the single kettlebell extended above your head with one arm. Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat while keeping the kettlebell weight above you. When doing the exercise hold your other arm out to the side as balance and then do it again about 10-15 times before switching to the other side.

Kettlebell Tactical Lunge

With this one you’re going to stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell in your right hand resting comfortably by your side. Step back into a lunge with your right foot and land on the ball of your foot with the heel off the ground. Bend your knees in that lowered position and then pass the kettlebell under your front leg to hand it off to your left. Once the kettlebell is hanging by your leg, go to a standing position and then repeat, swapping the weight around until you’re done with your set.

Wall Sit

Hold the kettlebell at shoulder level and press your back against an empty wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and around two feet out from the wall. Engage your core and slowly slide down until your thighs are parallel with the floor and your shins are perpendicular to the floor, think a 90-degree angle. Keep your back flat against the wall with the weight in your hands for 20-60 seconds and then slowly raise back up before doing it again. We’ll admit, 30-second wall sits are our sweet spot.

Sumo Squat

For the sumo squat, hold the kettlebell at either chest height to in cupped hands hanging down between your legs with feet 8-12 inches wider than hip-width and toes pointing out at a forty-five-degree angle. Inhale and hinge your back hips back. Bend your knees all the way into a squat position with your core braced and your spine in a neutral position. Exhale and raise back up to the position you started in for the kettlebell squat.

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What are the benefits of using a kettlebell on leg day?

Using kettlebell leg workouts like the ones described above come with many benefits that include building your core muscles, getting better leg muscles, and overall muscle mass. With proper form during kettlebell leg exercises, it’s obviously going to build better grip strength, but it also assists in cardio conditioning while promoting a better posture which can benefit you outside the gym as well.

One of the biggest benefits is kettlebells use up less space and if you have a small at-home gym then incorporating some kettlebell training into your workout routine might just be what you need.

What is the best weight you should be using for kettlebell leg exercises?

Since most people have a stronger bottom half, lower-body kettlebell exercises can usually be done with higher weights like a 60-70 pound kettlebell. Though if you’re a beginner we highly recommend a lighter weight around 15-20 lbs. If you get too much of a weight load then you’ll likely risk a chance of injury and be susceptible to future injuries.

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What are some of the most common mistakes people make when using a kettlebell for leg exercises?

There are quite a few, but the main ones are adding a heavier weight load when they haven’t warmed up or aren’t used to that weight. The second would have to be that they don’t engage their core muscles, leaving them prone to injury and a rounded back which is very poor form. And lastly, it’s simply just not using the correct posture and form when doing their kettlebell workouts. If you’re not breathing with your diaphragm or care about where your knees are positioned then you’ll likely end up hurting yourself more than anything.

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