Kettlebells for Weight Loss

Kettlebell Workout for Weight Loss

Are you bored with your current cardio routine? Perhaps you’re looking for a way to build muscle while you burn those extra pounds? If this is you, then we’ve got the answer you’ve been looking for – kettlebells! While many trainers tend to gravitate towards dumbbells and free-weights, kettlebells are getting their turn to shine and are rising in popularity as a weight-loss solution.

Did you know?

Did you know that you can burn 400 calories in just 20 minutes with a kettlebell?[1]

Yup – it’s true! Kettlebells are more than just bell-shaped weights used for muscle-building. They serve multiple purposes, with effective weight loss being one of them. Let’s delve into “why”.

Why Are Kettlebells Good for Weight Loss?

According to a study conducted by the University of North Texas, kettlebell workouts enhance fat-burning by promoting positive hormonal responses. Their findings showed significant increases in growth-hormone and testosterone levels – both of which work to increase muscle mass and enhance fat loss.[2]

It’s a good thing that both men and women produce testosterone!

To add – kettlebells are also good for weight loss because they encourage different planes of movement, which means your body exerts more energy in less time. 

How Many Calories Can You Expect to Burn?

There’s no conclusive answer to this question and the number of calories you can expect to burn will vary considerably based on the following factors:

  • Your current weight. Heavier people tend to burn calories faster at the beginning.
  • Swings per minute. The more swings you’re capable of, the more calories you’ll burn.
  • Your form. The more correct your form is, the more you’ll be fully exerting the right muscles for maximum results.
  • Your age. Generally, the younger you are the more muscle mass you have – which allows one the capacity to burn more calories faster.
  • Your gender. Men tend to have more muscle mass and higher metabolism levels when compared to the fairer sex.
  • Your lean body mass. Again, the greater your muscle mass, the faster you’ll burn fat.
  • Your metabolic rate. A higher metabolic rate will encourage calories to be burnt faster.
  • Kettlebell weight. Generally, you need a good kettlebell weight to swing correctly as you need enough resistance to feel the swing. Kettlebell swings are probably the most popular Kettlebell exercise. Men should start with a 16KG kettlebell and women should begin with 12KG. You won’t burn anywhere near the calories if you swing at a lower weight.

Kettlebell Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to kettlebell exercises, then it’s important that you learn how to use the odd-shaped weights properly before you get started. This will help you to prevent the onset of injuries and it will also encourage you to utilise them in a way that will maximise your fat-burning efforts.

A list of dos:

  • Do select the proper kettlebell weight. If your kettlebell is too heavy, it may negatively affect your form. Form is very important with kettlebells as injury is common. We would recommend having some lessons to learn correct form by a qualified kettlebell instructor.
  • Do warm up properly. A gentle pre-workout will help to prevent injuries and it will lessen muscle fatigue, allowing you to increase your movements.
  • Do prepare to build up a sweat! Kettlebells are no joke! If you do the manoeuvres correctly, you’ll be increasing your cardiovascular fitness while building your strength and range of motion at the same time.

A list of don’ts:

  • Don’t slack on your form.  The key thing to remember with kettlebell training is correct form. It is best not to push past your comfort zone if it effects the form on just one kettlebell movement. Injury is very easy but with correct form you should be fine.
  • Don’t lift the kettlebell like a dumbbell. Dumbbells are generally lifted in a curling motion. Kettlebells, however, have been designed to be swung. The swinging movements are what activate multiple muscle groups at once. You engage your whole body in creating the movements and this gives the best bang for your buck. You will be using multiple muscle groups, engaging cardio functions, stretching ligaments and muscles all at once.
  • Don’t expect to see instant results. Just like with most workout techniques, don’t expect to lose weight overnight and consistency is key. That said, kettlebells are one of the fastest ways to lose weight. Better still a workout can be done in just 20 minutes but prepare to sweat like you have never done before. Kettlebells is like the old school training before the gym machines. It is tough as hell.

Kettlebell Workouts That Help with Weight Loss

There are many different kettlebell workouts that help with effective weight loss. However, we have chosen to share the following 5 routines with you because they are easy for beginners, yet they remain challenging enough for “workout veterans”.

1. The Kettlebell Slingshot

This is a great warm-up exercise.

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Hold your kettlebell in both hands
  • Extend your arms to waist level in front of you
  • Release your left hand and grip the handle with your right hand
  • Pass the weight around your body counterclockwise
  • Repeat for 45-90 seconds
  • Change sides and rotate clockwise
  • Repeat for 45-90 seconds

2. Kettlebell Swing

This routine works arms, shoulders, glutes, and quads.

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Place a kettlebell between your feet
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and roll your shoulders back
  • Engage your hips and bend your knees
  • Now, grab the kettlebell with both hands
  • Inhale, and then, as you exhale, swiftly lift the weight upwards, so that your arms are parallels to the ground
  • Then, quickly lower your body and swing the weight back downwards, between your calves
  • Repeat for 20 seconds. Repeat if you feel like you can.

3. Deadlifts

This routine works your glutes, core muscles and quadriceps.

  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Place a kettlebell on the outer side of each foot, on the ground
  • Tighten your core and drop your shoulders to squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Manoeuvre into a squat position and reach to grip a weight in each hand (keep your back and arms straight)
  • Slowly raise your body into a standing position while you keep your grip
  • Inhale and slowly lower your body
  • Repeat this action 10-12 times per set

4. The Walking Lunge

These kettlebell lunges are great for your hamstrings and glutes.

  • Place your feet together
  • Grip a kettlebell with both hands and hold it close to your chest, elbows pointing slightly downwards
  • Proceed as you would with regular lunges (stepping forward with one leg, keeping the other foot in place)
  • Continue alternating legs with each lunge
  • Repeat this 10 times on each side

5. The Russian Twist

This is an excellent workout for strengthening abs.

  • Sit with your back straight and your legs bent (feet flat on the floor)
  • Grip the weight with both hands, lean your back backwards to a 45-degree angle
  • Slightly raise your feet off the ground and rotate your torso from right to left, swinging the kettlebell side-to-side
  • Repeat rotations 10 -12 times

As an end note – if you’re new to the world of kettlebells, as mentioned previously don’t just grab a weight and start swinging. It’s important that you first work on your form so that you stay injury-free. Start with light kettlebells and ask a certified trainer or fitness expert for advice if you’re unsure about your current form.


[1] PR Newswire. Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time. 09 February, 2010

[2] PubMed. The acute hormonal response to the kettlebell swing exercise. 28 October, 2014

Author: Amie Harms


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