9 Best Kettlebell Exercises for a Powerful Lower Body

Try these 9 kettlebell exercises to gain muscle strength and size in your lower body.

Lower-Body Kettlebell Exercises

When you walk into the weight room to crush your legs, do you immediately feel a sense of dread at the sight of a barbell or dumbbell? If so, you may be suffering from a severe case of training boredom.

But, that's no excuse to ignore your lower body. After all, lower-body strength is a huge aspect of your athleticism.

It may be time to vary your routine by incorporating lower-body kettlebell exercises.

You can swing and move kettlebells in ways that are difficult, if not impossible, to replicate with dumbbells and barbells. Their unique properties open up a variety of new exercises that can provide the boost you need to increase your strength, size and power. Kettlebell exercises can make your workouts fun and exciting again.

Below are nine of our favorite lower-body kettlebell exercises for athletes.

RELATED: Why You Should Incorporate Kettlebell Workouts

Kettlebell Swing 

The fundamental kettlebell exercise, the Swing strengthens your glutes and alleviates back pain. It also teaches the hip hinge, a fundamental movement pattern that is essential for Deadlift and Squat technique.

How to:

  • Assume a quarter-squat stance holding a kettlebell with both hands between your legs.
  • Keeping arms your straight, forcefully extend your hips to swing the kettlebell forward and up, until it reaches about chin height.
  • Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
  • Lower and repeat.

Variations: Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing, Double Kettlebell Swing

WATCH: How to Perform a Perfect Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

The Goblet Squat simultaneously teaches perfect Squat form and increases lower-body strength.

How to:

  • Grab the kettlebell by the "horns" and hold it upside down at your chest. Tuck your elbows at your sides.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, pointing slightly out.
  • Keeping your chest up, bend your hips and knees to lower into a Squat until your elbows touch your thighs.
  • Drive through your heels to stand up.

Kettlebell Lateral Goblet Lunge

This exercise offers benefits similar to the Goblet Squat, but it works the muscles used when moving from side to side.

How to:

  • Grab the kettlebell by the "horns" and hold it upside down at your chest. Tuck your elbows at your sides.
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Keeping your chest up, take an exaggerated step out to the side.
  • Lower into a Side Lunge until your elbow touches your thigh.
  • Drive through your heel to stand up.

Kettlebell Front Squat

A more advanced Squat variation than the Goblet Squat, this exercise is used by athletes who lack wrist mobility as a substitute for the barbell Front Squat.

How to:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding the kettlebells at your shoulders so they sit on the outside of your wrists. Tuck your elbows to your sides.
  • Keeping your chest up, bend your hips and knees to lower into a Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Drive through your heels to stand up.

Variations: Single-Arm Kettlebell Front Squat

Kettlebell Reverse Lunge to Single-Arm Press

This exercise builds leg and hip strength, and the load on only one side of your body increases hip stability and core strength. Finally, the press overhead develops your shoulders.

How to:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a kettlebell at your right shoulder so it sits on the outside of your wrist. Tuck your elbow to your side.
  • Take an exaggerated step backward and lower into a lunge until your front thigh is parallel to the ground; keep your front knee behind your toes.
  • Press the kettlebell overhead.
  • Lower the kettlebell to your shoulder and drive through your front leg to stand up to the starting position.

Variations: Kettlebell Reverse Lunge, Kettlebell Reverse Lunge With Overhead Hold

Kettlebell Clean

Olympic lifts like the Power Clean are complex and difficult to learn. The Kettlebell Clean is a safe and effective alternative. 

How to:

  • Assume an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettlebell in one hand between your knees.
  • Hinge your hips and slightly bend your knees to swing the kettlebell between your legs.
  • Extend your hips and knees to drive the kettlebell up; allow momentum to carry it up, keeping it close to your body.
  • Catch the kettlebell at your shoulder so it sits on the outside of your wrist with your elbow tucked to your side.

Variations: Double Kettlebell Clean

RELATED: Harness the Benefits of Olympic Lifts With Kettlebells

Kettlebell Snatch

Similar to the Clean, the Kettlebell Snatch is a safer variation of the barbell Snatch. Yet it still teaches your lower body to generate power.

How to:

  • Assume an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettlebell in one hand between your knees.
  • Hinge your hips and slightly bend your knees to swing the kettlebell between your legs.
  • Extend your hips and knees to drive the kettlebell up; allow momentum to carry it up and over your shoulder, keeping it close to your body.
  • Punch your fist to the ceiling to flip the kettlebell over your hand as it travels overhead. Hold for one second.
  • Lower the kettlebell to your shoulder and then to the starting position.

Turkish Get-Up

You can't overlook the lower-body strengthening capability of the Get-Up. In one movement, you perform a Bridge, Forward Lunge and Reverse Lunge.

How to:

  • Lie on the ground holding a kettlebell with your right hand overhead, your right knee bent and your opposite arm extended to your side. Fix your eyes on the kettlebell.
  • Slowly sit up by shifting your weight to your left elbow and then your hand.
  • Drive through your left hand and right heel to extend your hips and raise your body into a bridge position.
  • Swing your left leg under your body and assume a kneeling position.
  • Drive though your right heel and stand up.
  • Return to start position through same movement pattern with control.

Variations: Half Get-Up, Reverse Get-Up

WATCH: Build Complete Core Strength With One Exercise

Single-Leg Kettlebell RDL to Clean and Press

This combines three exercises that help you develop glute strength, lower-body power and upper-body strength. And it's all done on one leg, which improves balance and stability.

  • Balance on your right leg and hold a kettlebell in your right hand.
  • With your balancing leg slightly bent and back flat, bend forward at your waist until the kettlebell is just above the floor.
  • Extend your hip to stand up and simultaneously clean the kettlebell to your shoulder.
  • Press the kettlebell overhead.
  • Lower in control to the starting position.

 


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CHEST | KETTLEBELL EXERCISES | POWER | EXERCISE | CLEAN | PRESS | BARBELL | SWING | KETTLEBELL | KETTLEBELL SWING