11 Best Kettlebell Ab Exercises of All Time

by: Yuri Elkaim

Want to know one the best tools you can use to reveal your abs and getting a ripped, strong, and stable core?

You probably already guessed it – the kettlebell.

But here’s why you should consider using one: the unique combination of uneven weight distribution and explosive movement involved in kettlebell exercises engages the core like no other.

Not to mention the fact the exercises use multiple muscle groups at the same time, which sends your body into fat-torching mode.

Research backs this up – in fact, kettlebell workouts can burn up to 300 calories in just 20 minutes, while also cranking up your aerobic capacity in as little as four weeks (1, 2).

That’s why I’ve compiled this list of killer core stabilizing and strengthening movements using kettlebells.

Getting Started With Kettlebell Ab Exercises

I recommend beginning with a lighter kettlebell (10 to 15 lbs.) until you can manage proper form throughout each exercise. Once you feel comfortable, don’t be afraid to increase the weight.

The Rack Position

Many exercises using the kettlebell involve what is called the “rack” or “racked” position.

This position is used to properly guide the movement of the kettlebell without straining the forearm and shoulders, especially during exercises like the snatch.

One mistake many beginners make with the racked position is “gripping” the handle from the top. This creates unnecessary pressure on the wrist and forearm.

Instead, what you want to do is place the handle at the base of your palm, with your fingers behind the handle.

The kettlebell will be rotated roughly 45 degrees, and will “sit” on your forearm. However, you shouldn’t feel any uncomfortable pressure if your form is correct.

Don’t Skip the Warm Up

Even though we’re focusing on our abs with these exercises, the swinging and lifting of our kettlebell involves a lot of shoulder mobility and strength.

Be sure to perform a thorough 5- to 10-minute dynamic warm up before doing these exercises. This should include light aerobic work followed by dynamic stretches, such as shoulder swings or even a vinyasa flow.

Now, without further ado, let’s get those abs working!

1. Standard Swing

The standard swing is a fundamental “gold standard” kettlebell exercise that should be done before all of your variations. Just this exercise alone will give your core a killer workout.

Performing the Standard Swing

  1. Begin with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  2. Maintaining a slight bend in your knee, with your core engaged and back flat, lean forward and grasp the kettlebell with both hands.
  3. In one fluid motion, explosively drive the hips forward while swinging the kettlebell.
  4. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.

Remember that the motion should come from the hips with all kettlebell swings. Avoid using your arms and shoulders to aggressively yank or lift the kettlebell up. Instead, concentrate on driving through your heels and hips to drive the kettlebell forward.

2. Single-Arm Swing

The single-arm swing is similar to the standard swing, but also requires more balance and stabilizer muscle engagement, as you’re working on one side of the body at a time.

Performing the Single-Arm Swing

  1. Begin in the same position as you would a standard swing.
  2. Grasp the kettlebell with one hand, keeping your other hand loose to swing behind you for momentum.
  3. Drive the kettlebell forward with your hips, keeping your glutes engaged.
  4. Alternate hands, performing 10 to 15 reps with each.

3. Snatch

The kettlebell snatch is one of the most challenging kettlebell exercises you can do. It works the entire body from head to toe, and also gets your heart rate up – excellent for burning through that last layer of fat covering your abs.

Tip: If you’re a beginner, be sure to master your standard and single-arm kettlebell swings before attempting the snatch. Also, begin with a lighter weight until your form is perfected.

Performing the Kettlebell Snatch

  1. Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, kettlebell on the ground in front of you.
  2. Bend at your hip with your back in a straight line and grasp the kettlebell.
  3. Lift the kettlebell so your arm is just resting on your inner thigh while your knees are still bent.
  4. Now explosively drive hips forward, pushing the kettlebell up and out into a swing.
  5. Once the kettlebell is above shoulder height, instead of letting it drop like in a regular swing, begin to rotate your hand into the racked position.
  6. As you’re doing this, the kettlebell is almost over your head. Push skyward in the racked position once it is directly over your extended arm.
  7. Now swing the kettlebell forward and down, bending at the hips again to prepare for another rep.
  8. Repeat for 5 to 6 reps on each side.

4. Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish get-up looks deceptively simple, but trust me: it’s a go-to full-body workout that engages the entire body – especially the core. Mastering the form takes practice and patience.

Performing the Turkish Get-Up

  1. Begin lying on the floor on your back, arm extended with your kettlebell in the racked position.
  2. Bend your right leg, keeping your left leg extended out on the floor in front of you. Your left arm should be slightly extended beside you for support.
  3. Pushing from your right heel, roll onto your left hip. Keep your arm taut.
  4. Push your hips up through your right leg, then slide your left leg behind you. This will bring you to a kneeling position.
  5. Lunge forward into a standing position.
  6. Reverse the processes to return to your starting position.
  7. Aim for an average of four reps on each side.

5. Kettlebell Renegade Row

The renegade row works the entire core, along with the arms and back. It is also excellent for targeting the obliques as your body works to remain in a plank position.

Tip: Try to avoid swaying side-to-side as you row.

Performing the Renegade Row

  1. Begin in a plank position, with one hand gripping your kettlebell. Take a wider stance with your feet, about shoulder-width apart. (Note: you can also elevate yourself on another kettlebell or low bench if you find this too challenging.)
  2. Keep your core engaged and body in a straight line from head to toe.
  3. Row your kettlebell up toward your chest, keeping your elbow tucked in.
  4. Lower and repeat for 8 reps on each side.

6. Lateral Swing

Lateral swings are an advanced variation of the traditional kettlebell swing – for these, we swing the kettlebell laterally across the body.

This really engages the stabilizer muscles of the core, as well as the obliques, due to the amount of control required to keep the kettlebell from straightening out.

With that being said, it’s best to build up your core strength and swing proficiency before attempting these, as there is a risk of hitting your opposite knee if you’re lacking control.

Performing the Lateral Swing

  1. Keeping your back straight and core engaged, feet hip-width apart, lean forward a grasp the kettlebell with one hand.
  2. Push your hips back, then thrust them forward, directly your arm laterally across your body.
  3. Keep your core tight as you swing back down past your opposing knee, then thrust forward again.
  4. Repeat for 10 to 15 reps on both sides.

7. Windmill

The windmill engages the entire core while you’re holding your kettlebell skyward in the racked position throughout the movement. This challenges the stabilizer muscles of both the abs and shoulders.

Performing the Windmill

  1. Begin standing with your kettlebell locked in the rack position above your head, arm extended fully.
  2. Position your feet wider than shoulder width, toes slightly turned out.
  3. Bend forward at the hips, keeping your kettlebell in place, as you rotate toward your left foot with your right hand.
  4. Touch your foot, then raise back up to the starting position, maintaining the balance of the kettlebell over your head.
  5. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps, then switch hands.

8. Plank Pull-Through

The plank pull-through is an intense plank variation that will zip up your core like a corset, while also working your arms, quads, glutes, and back.

Performing the Plank Pull-Through

  1. Begin in a plank position, hands beneath your shoulders, with your legs in a wide, should-width stance. Place your kettlebell just behind your right hand.
  2. Reach with your left hand and grab the kettlebell, keeping your abs tight.
  3. Pull the kettlebell under your body out to your left side.
  4. Release the kettlebell. Now, pull the kettlebell through again, using your right hand this time.
  5. Repeat, alternating sides, for 6 to 8 reps on each side.

9. Side Plank Row

The side plank row is a challenging exercise for your obliques, while also targeting the shoulders and back.

Performing the Side Plank Row

  1. Begin in a pushup position with your left hand holding your kettlebell, your feet placed slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  2. Row the kettlebell toward the side of your chest, while at the same time rotating your body into a side plank.
  3. Rotate toward the floor to return to your starting position.
  4. Perform 8 to 10 reps on each side.

10. Pull-Over

The pull-over is excellent for working the stabilizer muscles of the entire core.

Tip: Be sure to pull your abs in throughout the exercise and avoid arching your back by keeping your low back close to the floor. If you find the pull to be too difficult without arching, either lower your weight or focus on other core-stabilizing exercises like the renegade row until your core is strengthened.

Performing the Pull-Over

  1. Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Press your kettlebell above your chest, keeping your arms straight without bending your wrists.
  3. Inhale, pull your shoulders down and back, and slowly lower the weight behind you (as far as you feel comfortable).
  4. Exhale and pull the kettlebell back to your starting position.
  5. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps.

11. One-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Deadlifts are known for their core-sculpting power. For the exercise, we use a kettlebell in one hand, providing extra engagement for your obliques and stabilizer muscles as you work to balance.

Performing the One-Leg Romanian Deadlift

  1. Stand with your weight on your right leg, your left leg raised slightly behind you.
  2. With your kettlebell in your right hand, lower it toward your left leg, keeping your back straight and extending your left leg behind you.
  3. Engage your core and glutes to push back up to standing.
  4. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps on each side.

Try Them for Yourself

Integrating these kettlebell moves into your routine will have you dropping fat to reveal a toned, strong midline.

Try substituting out some of your regular exercises with these kettlebell options and notice the difference not only in how your muscles engage, but in your overall fitness.

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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.

Everyone wants 6-pack washboard abs! To achieve this you need to target each area of the abdominal muscles. That way you’re toning and strengthening the core muscles which will give you that sculpted look. With the right suited diet and exercise regime that is made for you, results can vary, so consulting with a fitness professional will get you set up for success!

We’re showing you 5 awesome kettlebell ab exercises that target each of these areas. They also are fantastic for helping you with other areas of fitness too.

Here are 5 kettlebell abs exercises to try:

  1. The Standard Kettlebell Swing
  2. Kettlebell Russian Twist
  3. Turkish Get-Up
  4. Kettlebell Sit-Up
  5. Kettlebell Oblique Standing Side Bend

For these ab burning exercises, our PT’s recommend trying 3 sets of 10-12 reps for the ultimate workout. However, this will depend on your own fitness level and experience, so if you’re not sure how many to do, ask one of our friendly personal trainers!

#1 – The Standard Kettlebell Swing

The classic kettlebell swing is probably one of the first exercises you will learn. It’s great for increased jumping power and training the important muscles of the posterior kinetic chain. For reference, this would be your butt, biceps, and your spinal muscles.

To start off, perform kettlebell swings for one full minute and rest. Complete this set for 10 minutes max if you’re beginning to learn how to perform this exercise.

Here’s how to do a standard kettlebell swing:

  1. Start by standing feet shoulder-width apart with the kettlebell being held off the ground.
  2. Bend at the waist, palms should be facing your body and torso should be nearly parallel to the ground.
  3. Pull your shoulder down and back. Engage your core. Lift the kettlebell off the ground. Knees should be bent, back flat and neck straight.
  4. Drive the movement from your hips and propel forward with the kettlebell swinging into the air. Control the movement with your arms. Make sure you don’t swing past your shoulders.
  5. Swing back down through your legs.
  6. Follow the same movement as you swing back up again into the next rep.

#2 – Kettlebell Russian Twist

This exercise is great to target your obliques and abdominal area. The best way to perform this exercise is to bring your legs close to your body. Also making sure your upper body is raised in a “v” shape will help you feel comfortable.

With this type of ab exercise, you don’t need to be doing it every single day to get abs, in fact, it’s not necessary to do abdominal training every day.

Watch how to do a kettlebell Russian twist:

  1. Lie on your back and keep your knees bent.
  2. Lift your upper body up so it creates an imaginary V-shape with your thighs.
  3. Grab your kettlebell and hold it between your hands.
  4. Engage your core and twist your torso to one side lifting the kettlebell in the same direction.
  5. Hold the position and move back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

#3 – Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-Up is maybe one of the more challenging kettlebell exercises that you can learn to do. It’s an exercise that essentially teaches you how to lift. It’s also a great way to teach your body awareness and control. Gripping the kettlebell properly, lifting your shoulders and prevent your elbow from bending will ensure that you are performing the Turkish get-up properly!

Here’s how to do the Turkish get up:

  1. Roll onto your back and hold the kettlebell up with your right arm.
  2. Position your legs so that they form a 45-degree angle with your body. Keep your right leg bent and your right foot flat to the floor. Then place your left arm out at a 45-degree angle for support when you push off from the ground.
  3. Push off to your left with your right foot, keep the kettlebell up and press your left elbow into the floor.
  4. Lift your left leg and pull it underneath yourself. Then lower yourself to your left ankle.
  5. Now stand up whilst pressing your right foot into the floor to stand. Keep your elbow locked and wrist straight (your kettlebell hand).

#4 – Kettlebell Sit-Up

This kettlebell exercise is not only great for your abs but also your back and hips. It’s a wonderful exercise to try to strengthen your muscles and focusing on your core. To perform this exercise correctly, it’s vital that you hold the kettlebell tightly and to not let the weight rest on the body. When lowering yourself, do it slowly and with control to get the maximum benefits of the exercise.

Learn how to do the kettlebell sit-up:

  1. Hold the kettlebell between both hands and lie down on your back.
  2. Place your feet firmly on the ground and bend your legs. This will help stablise your lower body.
  3. Curl your body up while lifting the kettlebell up to the ceiling. Exhale as you lift up. Keep your back straight.
  4. Slowly lower yourself down, whilst holding the kettlebells straight up.

#5 – Kettlebell Oblique Standing Side Bend

This exercise helps target and strengthen your obliques. It’s the best workout to lose your love handles! Make sure your back remains straight throughout the exercise. Also, the movement should be to the side only so that you prevent any strain on the back or spine.

This is how to do a kettlebell oblique standing side bend:

  1. Stand up straight while holding the kettlebell. Your feet should be placed at shoulder width.
  2. Breathe in and bend to one side. Hold for a second then come back to your starting position. The rest of your body should be stationary.
  3. Repeat the movement on the other side.

Strengthen your core & improve your fitness with our personal trainers

If you’re keen to learn more kettlebell exercises or looking to change up your fitness routine, our world-class trainers can help. They’re trained to teach you the right form and technique, along with supporting you on your fitness journey.

Get in touch with one of our friendly Crunch staff members now to book your session to get started.

We’re going to start off by telling you this: when it comes to getting your six-pack abs, you can do a million planks, Russian twists, and TRX knee tucks, but if you aren’t watching what you eat, you won’t see results. NASM-certified personal trainer Lacee Lazoff, who specializes in kettlebells, wanted to stress the fact that diet is the most important thing.

To see real tone, she explained, “adding muscle and reducing body fat is the only way to get there.” And, sticking to a well-balanced diet is key. Read more on that here.

So, Are Kettlebells Good For Abs?

Kettlebells are, though, one of the best strengthening tools for abs, Lacee said, because they’re often racked close to the body, which forces the core to work hard, especially as the weight gets heavy. “Big picture: your core will never stop working when using kettlebells, no matter what the movement,” she stated, since most exercises require core stability.

Vincent Metzo, LMT, CSCS, dean of advanced personal training at the Swedish Institute of Health Sciences and the director of education for Kettlebell Concepts in New York City, similarly said that the majority of kettlebell exercises are total-body moves, but are great for training the core. ” dynamic nature of kettlebell exercises makes them particularly effective for stabilizing the trunk during movements,” he said. Vincent, who also has a master’s in exercise physiology and fitness management, added that kettlebells create more inertia than using dumbbells or other weights, meaning they’re harder to get moving, so there’s more resistance. He and Lacee both agreed on three moves that work your abs:

  • Kettlebell swings
  • Kettlebell carries
  • Turkish get-up

Ahead, check out how to do these three moves, plus bonus exercises from each trainer and a kettlebell Class FitSugar video at the end. Note: the moves themselves are not a workout. Pick and choose which ones to add to your next sweat session to get that core burning. (We’ll have the fire extinguisher ready.)

There are many kettlebell ab exercises, some are designed specifically for the abs whereas others affect the abs indirectly.

When choosing kettlebell abdominal exercises it is important to ensure that you don’t leave your abs totally exhausted before performing a workout where you will need your abs to protect your spine.

So as a general rule ensure that you complete your specific kettlebell abs exercises at the end of your workout.

Here is my list of favourite kettlebell ab exercises:

1 – Kettlebell Turkish Get Up

Kettlebell Turkish Get Up Exercise

The Turkish Get Up is one of the most important kettlebell exercises that you can perform. Not only is it a full body exercise but it also helps to improve your mobility and stability of your joints as you perform the movement.

Getting good at the Turkish Get Up in the early stages of your kettlebell training will help you protect your body against future injury

The abs get targeted through various stages of the Turkish Get Up but in particular during the 1st few phases as you sit up from the lying down position. The kettlebell beginner can practice this 1st phase by just sitting up along the arm and then lying back down again.

Pay particular attention to the extended leg, you must keep the heel on the floor. Lifting the heel from the floor as you sit up means that you are using your hip flexors too much rather than your abs.

Also ensure that as you come back down from the seated position that you lie down slowly using your abs to resist the downward movement.

Here’s a video demonstrating the first half of the Turkish Get Up:

Related: Ultimate Guide to the Turkish Get Up

2 – Kettlebell Windmills

Kettlebell Windmill Exercise

Kettlebell Windmills are another good all over body exercise using the kettlebell. Just like the Turkish Get Up they primarily improve your mobility and stability of your shoulders, and hips.

Getting good at the Windmill will help improve your hip mobility by loosening off your hamstrings and will also help mobilise and strengthen your shoulders.

Again the abs get a great workout during the Windmill. The obliques in particular get targeted as you rotate your body during the downward movement as well as when you return to the upright position.

The Windmill is a slow exercise so take your time, 5 seconds or more is a standard tempo for the exercise. Work on getting deep into the movement as you progress and keep that core nice and tight throughout the movement.

Related: Master the Kettlebell Windmill with 4 Logical Progressions

3 – Kettlebell Sit and Press

Kettlebell Sit and Press Exercise

I’ve used this kettlebell ab exercise a lot during my kettlebell classes, and it is one of those great kettlebell ab exercises for beginners.

Not only will the abs get targeted throughout the movement but it also improves mobility through the hips and strengthens the shoulders. In fact most people really enjoy the shoulder workout that they get from this exercise.

The exercise starts with you lying flat on your back holding the kettlebell in both hands, you then sit up and press the kettlebell overhead. Try to combine the overhead press with the sitting movement.

Heels should stay firmly on the floor and legs are kept straight.

The 2nd half of the exercise on the way down is when you can really focus on those abs. Keep the abs tight and lower back to the floor slowly.

A good 5+ second descent is excellent.

Discover more: 7 floor based kettlebell core exercises

4 – Kettlebell Straight Arm Sit

Kettlebell Straight Arm Sit Exercise

The Kettlebell Straight Arm Sit is the natural progression on from the Sit and Press above.

The movement is very similar except the kettlebell is held in one hand only and the arm is kept straight throughout the kettlebell abs exercise.

Due to the extended arm the shoulder has to work hard to stabilise and the abs must work hard too due to the long lever.

Try to keep the arm vertical throughout the abdominal exercise.

Leaning the arm into the movement as you sit up will give you a mechanical advantage and you will notice yourself doing this as you get tired….this is the time to stop!

Learn more: 7 overhead static kettlebell exercises for injury-free shoulders

5 – Kettlebell Plank Row or Renegade Row

Kettlebell Renegade Row Exercise

You can get a lot done using just this one kettlebell exercise. One of the great advantages is the ability to perform a horizontal row and work the back muscles (rhomboids especially).

The horizontal row is one of the movements that often gets neglected with kettlebell training but it is important to counteract all the sitting that so many of us do these days.

Performed correctly the abs get a massive workout with this exercise.

It is important that you can perform a good ‘plank exercise’ before you progress onto this kettlebell ab exercise.

The main abdominal benefits come from preventing the hips from falling to the floor during the movement. If your hips fall too low then your back muscles will be over utilised so ensure you keep those hips up and core muscles tight.

As you row the kettlebell up and down your abs will also have to fight the rotation that is being caused by being supported by just one arm. This is tough on the shoulder just as much as it is on the core muscles.

Start with a very light kettlebell to begin and master the movement before increasing the weight.

Related: Master the renegade row with 5 progressions for beginners

6 – Kettlebell Deck Squat

Kettlebell Deck Squat Exercise

I really like this kettlebell exercise and it’s one that many people have never seen or tried before.

The deck squat involves a regular deep squat followed by a bridge and then a sit up and stand.

You will need very good hip mobility in order to stand up from the hip bridge but the momentum of the kettlebell will certainly help you.

There are so many muscles used during this movement but the abs are definitely used during the bridge and sit up part of the movement. Practice should start with a very light kettlebell or even a medicine ball to start with.

You will actually find that this kettlebell exercise is easier using a weight than trying it without due to the momentum that it gives during the standing part of the movement.

Related: 7 Kettlebell Squats You Need to Know

7 – Kettlebell Lateral Swings

Kettlebell Lateral Swings Exercise

This is an advanced kettlebell exercise that is based upon the regular swing but the movement goes sideways rather then forwards and backwards.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to become a real expert at the regular kettlebell swing before moving onto this exercise.

Without good technique and form you risk hitting your knee with the kettlebell as it comes across the body so be super careful.

If however, you do get to the stage when you can comfortably perform this exercise you will get some huge ab benefits from performing the movement.

The Lateral Swing takes the kettlebell across the body thus rotating the midsection this then requires good core strength to both brake the movement at the top of the swing and then once again at the bottom of the swing.

Like with all exercise start off light and then build up to a heavier resistance as you master the movement and the body is better able to cope with the exercise.

Related: 4 Steps to Master the Kettlebell Swing for Beginners

Related: 7 Kettlebell Swing Workouts in Under 10 Minutes

Other Kettlebell Ab Exercises

Although these are 7 of my favourite kettlebell ab exercises there are many more.

The Kettlebell Swing, Clean, Snatch and Pistol Squat are all core intensive.

Your core and abs fundamentally attach your pelvis to your ribcage so any exercise that involves bending or extending at the hips will require good core control.

With kettlebell training being mostly full body movements the abs are used in practically all exercises that is one of the great benefits of using kettlebells but can ultimately be your downfall if you core/abs are not strong enough and able to deal with the load.

It is for this reason that you should always build up your kettlebell training slowly and allow your core muscles to develop along with everything else.

Have you tried these kettlebell exercises for abs? Which one is your favourite?

Kettlebell Workout For Abs Of Steel

Bodyweight moves are great for developing a foundation of abdominal size and strength – but if you want to sculpt a rock-solid six-pack, you’ll need to start adding resistance. One of the most effective tools for the job is a kettlebell.

“I use kettlebells for abs moves because they’re versatile,” says strength and conditioning expert Aston Turner, from London’s Evolve 353 gym. “Single-sided moves make you unbalanced so your body has to work harder to keep you stable. Any overhead move, like a windmill, will also require good core strength to stabilise your spine.”

How to do it

Do three sets of ten reps for each exercise, resting for 45 seconds between sets and 90 seconds between exercises. For single-sided exercises such as the side press, do two sets on each side, alternating sides each set. To keep progressing, add a rep to every set each time you train, until you’re doing 15 reps in each set. After that, use a heavier kettlebell and go back to doing ten reps.

Why it works

The moves in this workout will help you develop your anti-rotation abilities, which enable you to resist being pulled out of position. “It’s one thing to train rotational strength but you need to control anti-rotation first,” Turner says. They will also give you a comprehensive abs and core workout, targeting your rectus abdominis (the sheet of muscle that makes up your six-pack), side abs and lower back.

1 Rolling Thunder

Lie on your back and hold a kettlebell in each hand by your chest. Straighten one arm and push upwards so your shoulder leaves the floor and you twist your torso. As you lower that kettlebell, extend the other arm to create a smooth rhythm.

Expert tip “Lying on the floor reduces the instability, and therefore the risk, of the exercise,” says Turner. “I get people to think about imprinting their lower back on the floor. That will help you to avoid overarching your lower back and switching off your abdominal muscles.”

2 Windmill

Start with the weight above your head and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Your weight distribution should be biased towards the side that’s holding the bell. Look at the bell and, keeping your eyes on it, lower your torso until your hand touches the floor.

Expert tip “Windmills look intimidating but they are an excellent move for building core stability and shoulder stability because they require a lot of control,” says Turner. “They also give you a good hamstring stretch.”

3 Side Press

Start with the kettlebell at shoulder height. Brace your core and lower your torso to one side while simultaneously straightening your arm. Aim to keep the kettlebell in place so that it barely moves – instead, your body should move away from it. From there, reverse the move back to the start.

Expert tip “This is a great obliques – side abs – exercise because you have to stabilise your torso as you push the weight away from your body,” says Turner. “As you get lower, the intensity of the exercise increases and your centre of mass changes. That forces you to think about the constantly changing kettlebell movement and instability as you go through the exercise.”

4 Angel Press

Start by sitting down with your knees bent, holding two kettlebells overhead. Slowly lower towards the floor while bringing the kettlebells down to your chest. Contract your abs to raise your torso while simultaneously extending your arms.

Expert tip “Once you’re sitting up straight, tuck your pelvis under and, as you lower, ‘roll through’ your spine so you’re trying to make contact with the ground one vertebra at a time,’ says Turner. “Going slowly on this move will make your abs work harder.”

5 Plank Drag

Get into a straight-arm plank position with your body in a straight line from head to heels, with a kettlebell positioned on one side of your body. Reach under your torso to drag the bell across to the other side. Switch hands and repeat the move.

Expert tip “This is great way of making the plank more interesting,” says Turner. “The wider you take the kettlebell, the hard it is to do. You can also try raising the kettlebell off the floor slightly to turn it into a modified reverse flye.”

Ashton Turner is the co-founder of Evolve 353 gym in London. He has worked with clients across multiple training disciplines including kettlebells, Olympic lifting, strength and conditioning, and Pilates.

The 7 Most Powerful Kettlebell Core Exercises

How to:

  • Pick up a kettlebell in your left hand.
  • Standing straight up with your core activated and shoulders rolled down and back, begin walking.
  • As you walk, focus on using your core to stabilize your torso and prevent it from tilting over
    Remember to breathe as you walk.
  • Once you’ve walked the pre-determined distance, take a short break, switch hands and walk back.
  • You can go pretty heavy with these once you’ve mastered the movement, loading up to around half your own body weight.

Sets/Reps: 3×30-60 yards on each side

5. Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell Swing is a powerhouse of an exercise that trains and corrects many weaknesses commonly found in the modern athlete. This exercise primarily targets the glutes and lower back, two areas that are not always considered part of the core, but perhaps should be. After all, it’s difficult to say an athlete truly has a “strong core” if these two key areas are underdeveloped. Kettlebell Swings train the all-important hip hinge pattern, which is what allows athletes to utilize the full power of their glutes during explosive movements like jumping. But make no mistake—you cannot perform this exercise without a major contribution from you core. A loose core makes for a sloppy, unexplosive Kettlebell Swing and puts stress on your spine. Keep your core tight throughout the exercise as if bracing for a punch. This will help train your core to transfer energy from your lower half into your upper half.

How To:

See above video

Sets/Reps: 3×6-10

6. Quadruped Bird Dog Kettlebell Rows

Warning—you’ll want to have mastered the standard Bird Dog before you give this challenging kettlebell core exercise a shot. But if you have, get ready for an awesome exercise that gives you a ton of bang for your buck. Dr. Joel Seedman, strength coach and owner of Advanced Human Performance, is a huge fan of this move for several reasons, one being how it aggressively activates the core. Quadruped Bird Dog Kettlebell Rows force the core to resist both extension and rotation while maintaining a neutral spine, aiding in posture problems and reducing the energy leaks that sap athletes of their explosiveness.

How to:

  • While maintaining a neutral spine, kneel on a bench in a quadruped position with your knees under your hips and your hands under your shoulders.
  • Pick up a kettlebell in your left hand while extending your right leg straight out, keeping your abs braced, stomach in and your whole body in one straight line from head to foot.
  • Perform a slow row with the kettlebell, mimicking the tempo shown in this video. The goal is to resist rotation and extension forces that attempt to destabilize your spine.

Sets/Reps: 3×6-8 with each arm

7. Kettlebell Single-Arm Windmill

Holding this position is tough with only your body weight, let alone with a kettlebell. During this kettlebell exercise, your core has to work overtime while your shoulder stabilizers fire to balance the kettlebell with your arm in the air. Also, the twisting motion increases hip and t-spine mobility. The result is a stronger, more resilient core.

How to:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, and hold the kettlebell in your left hand.
  • Raise your left arm straight up in the air directly over your left shoulder.
  • Slowly lower your right hand toward the ground in front of you. Once you reach the ground, your arms should form a straight line from the kettlebell to the ground.
  • Engage your core and reverse the move back to starting position, maintaining straight arms throughout the move.
  • Start light with these, only increasing weight once you’ve mastered the movement.

Sets/Reps: 3-4×5-8 each arm

Photo Credit: BartekSzewczyk/iStock, Halfpoint/iStock

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Everybody wants defined abs, but the training it takes to get them isn’t glamorous. Crunches? Situps? Planks?

Eh, you’d rather do more bench presses and curls. But if you have a kettlebell, you can instantly expand your repertoire of ab exercises, and make the workouts that forge a six-pack as fun and different as they are challenging and effective.

Eric Leija (a.k.a. Primal Swoledier), creator of the Men’s Health Kettlehell program, offers you the following six kettlebell moves. Add one at a time to your existing workouts, and cycle through them (give each move at least four weeks, trained at least once per week, to yield results). “You can do them in between sets of other exercises,” says Leija, “at the end of your workout—or, if your abs are a major weakness, do them first in the session.”

Men’s Health Kettlehell $29.95

Perform 3 to 5 sets of 15 to 20 reps for each exercise (except where otherwise noted). “All of these lifts train your posterior chain in addition to your abs,” says Leija. (The posterior chain refers to the muscles on the back side of your body—primarily the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.) “Strengthening the posterior will help prevent lower-back pain,” which can be aggravated by conventional ab exercises.

1. Bridge To Situp

  • Step 1. Hold a kettlebell in front of your chest and lie back on the floor. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat.
  • Step 2. Perform a situp, and then roll your torso back to the floor. Brace your core, and drive through your heels raise your hips into the air—be careful not to hyperextend your lower back at the top. Lower your hips back down. That’s one rep.

2. Two-Step Getup

  • Step 1. Lie on the floor holding a kettlebell in your right hand. Extend your left leg straight in front of you and place your right foot on the floor close to your butt.
  • Step 2.Press the weight overhead and raise your torso off the floor, using your left hand to support you. Roll yourself back down to the floor. Complete 5 reps on that side, and then switch sides and repeat.

3. Russian Twist to Quick Twist

  • Step 1. Sit on the floor and place a kettlebell on the floor at your side. Extend your legs in front of you but keep a bend in both knees and raise your heels slightly above the floor.
  • Step 2.Grasp the weight and pull it over and across your body to rest on the floor on the opposite side. Immediately let go and twist your torso back to the first side and touch the floor. Come back to grasp the kettlebell and repeat the process to the other side. Each twist is one rep.

4. Pullover To Situp

  • Step 1. Lie on your back on the floor and hold a kettlebell overhead with both hands. Bend your knees so that your feet are planted close to your butt. Tuck your pelvis under so your lower back is flat to the ground and brace your core.
  • Step 2. Reach your arms back behind you until the kettlebell is just above the floor (you’ll feel a stretch in your lats).
  • Step 3. Bend your elbows as you pull the weight back overhead and in front of your chest. Now perform a situp. Lower yourself back down with control.

5. Weighted Hollow Rock

  • Step 1. Lie back on the floor holding a kettlebell overhead with both hands. Extend your legs in front of you and tuck your pelvis so that your lower back is flat against the floor. Brace your core.
  • Step 2. Begin rocking your body back and forth, maintaining a tight core to keep your hollow body position. One rock forward and back equals one rep.

6. Side-To-Side V-Up

  • Step 1. Place a kettlebell on the floor and sit behind it. Place your hands on the floor at your. Raise your legs up and brace your core.
  • Step 2. Begin hopping your feet over the kettlebell, lowering them to one side and then the other—but do not touch the floor or the kettlebell. Each time over the kettlebell is one rep.

Sean Hyson, CSCS Sean Hyson, CSCS is a prolific fitness writer and the author of Men’s Heath’s Encyclopedia of Muscle.


The best kettlebell ab workout to target your core. These kettlebell ab exercises will strengthen and tone your stomach and burn tons of calories.

I am SO excited for this ab workout I have for you today ladies!

I know you have been loving the kettlebell workouts — so I figured I would give you a kettlebell workout for the ABS!!

You ladies are always requesting more ab workouts, so of course I have to agree! 😉 This one is awesome and will leave you feeling it for daysssss!

These kettlebell ab exercises will target you upper and lower abs, and obliques to strengthen your entire core. Plus, it will get your heart rate up to burn some serious calories.

And not to worry — if you don’t have a kettlebell this entire routine can be done using a dumbbell too!

If you like this workout, then you’ll love these…
Kettlebell Booty Workout
Total Bikini Kettlebell Workout

My Equipment:
Yoga Design Lab Combo Mat (in Geo)

Find your PRINTABLE download HERE!

Kettlebell Ab Workout

  • Kettlebell Halo – Hold your kettlebell by the base, wrapping your palms around the handles. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, then lift the kettlebell overhead. Bend your elbows to bring the kettlebell behind your head. Keep your elbows bent, then circle the kettlebell around your head. Slightly rotate through your torso, to engage the obliques and control the kettlebell. Complete 10 in one direction, then REVERSE.
  • Windmill – Hold the kettlebell in your RIGHT hand, with the kettlebell directly over your shoulder. Step your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, with your LEFT knee and toes turned out. Hinging at your hips, and pressing your hips to the RIGHT, slide your LEFT hand down the inside of your LEFT leg. Using your RIGHT side obliques, then press back up. Complete 15 repetitions with the RIGHT arm up, then repeat on the other side.
  • Kettlebell Roll Up – Lay on your back and hold onto the base of the kettlebell with both hands. Wrap the palms around the handles then press the kettlebell straight up to the sky, right above the chest. With your legs extended out straight, engage your abs to roll your spine up, continuing to press the kettlebell up to the sky. When you roll up to a seated position, the kettlebell should be overhead. Slowly, roll back down to the mat and repeat.
  • Kettlebell Twists – Have a seat on your tailbone, and hold the bell in your palms. If you can, lift your heels off the mat to balance on your tailbone. Twist your torso and the kettlebell to the RIGHT, using the obliques, and then twist and rotate to the LEFT, alternating side to side.
  • Kettlebell Crunch – Lay on your back once again, and hold onto the base of the kettlebell. Extend the legs straight up to the sky, and hold the kettlebell over your chest with your straight arms. Keep your arms straight, then curl up to reach your arms to your toes. Then slowly lower back down to the mat, keeping the legs lifted, and repeat.

Find your PRINTABLE download HERE!

Happy Monday Ladies, and let me know what workouts you like to see next! 🙂

Tis the season of jingle bells, sleigh bells, and our personal favorite: Kettlebells.

If you’ve heard the term “kettlebell” in your workouts before, chances are it was immediately followed by the word “swing.” While these moves are great for building strength in your entire body and spiking your heart rate, it’s time that they move over to give other moves their time to shine, because there are a whole lot of things that you can do with a kettlebell that don’t involve slinging it forward and back.

In fact, as our December Trainer of the Month Roxie Jones proves, you can use a kettlebell to get an abs-quaking workout at home. It only takes five minutes, so it’s great to add to the end of your cardio routine (Jones likes to do it after a long run) or do as a quick hit on its own. To make it more challenging, you can repeat the entire sequence three times… just be ready for it to hurt the next day.

Grab a 10-pound kettlebell (or lighter, if you need, because as Jones says, “a heavier weight doesn’t make a better workout—it’s form that makes your workout better”), and follow along with the video above. Don’t forget to check back next week for an all new kettlebell workout, care of Roxie Jones.

The kettlebell abs workout to try now

1. Russian twists x 12: Holding one kettlebell in both hands, sit in a V position. If you’re a beginner, keep your heels on the floor; if you want to make things more challenging, lift them up in the air to tabletop position. Twist your body to lightly touch the kettlebell to the floor on each side (one side-to-side counts as a single rep). Think about pulling your navel in toward your spine and keep your chest up so you’re not rounding your back.

2. Typewriter drags x 12: Start in a high plank position with one bell on the side of your hand. Squeezing your glutes and core, use your opposite hand to pull the kettlebell under your body and place it on the other side (one side-to-side counts as a single rep). If lifting the weight is too much, you can drag it from side to side. Be sure to keep your core tight so your hips stay stabilized.

3. Weighted sit-ups x 12: Lay on your back with your feet on the ground, and hold you kettlebell to your chest. Sit straight up, all the way up, keeping your kettlebell close. Be sure to press your lower back into the ground to fully engage your core. Exhale at the top of the move to exert more force.

4. Figure-8 pass x 12: Start in a V position (either with your feet on the floor if you’re a beginner, or raised to table top to make things more advanced) with one kettlebell in your hand. Raise each leg, one at a time, and pass the kettlebell underneath it, drawing a sort of “figure eight” around your lower body.

5. Weighted leg raises x 12: Holding the kettlebells in racked position with your back on the ground and legs up in the air, press your lower back into the core to brace your core. Elevate your hands all the way up, and lower your legs down to slightly above the ground. Raise back up to 90-degrees for one rep, and go slowly to ensure you’re activating every possible muscle.

Can’t decide whether you should be using a kettlebell or a dumbbell? Here’s how to figure it out. And this easy kettlebell move will boost strength and coordination at the same time.

Adding kettlebell ab exercises to your core routine is one of the best ways to intensify your workout and start burning fat faster. Kettlebells add additional resistance to each exercise – as including any weight would – but there are also some exercises specifically designed to be done with kettlebells. Please note: this was written by me, and I’m a woman, but obviously this abs workout is entirely suitable for men as well – as are all our best workouts for women, if truth be told. So arguably the headline is a bit misleading.

This kettlebell routine is a 15 minute ab blast. You’ll workout for 30 seconds, rest for 15 seconds and repeat three times for each exercise, with a 30 second rather than 15 second rest after your third set. We recommend using a kettlebell weighing between 4 and 8kg, depending on your existing strength and familiarity with ab exercises.

It’s not easy, but it’s fast. And we think that’s the best way to tackle abs. Plus, adding a kettlebell to these exercises makes them harder anyway, so we think you’ll be ready for the finish line after 15 minutes.

If, however, it’s not quite enough for you, why not follow this routine with a kettlebell arm workout or go hardcore with a full-body kettlebell exercise routine?

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(Image credit: dorianrochowski from )

Do these kettlebell ab exercises consistently and you’ll start to say goodbye to excess fat around your middle surprisingly quickly.

Don’t forget though that exercise alone won’t burn your belly fat and get you a six pack. For that you need to approach diet and nutrition sensibly too.

For the complete picture read our guide on how to lose weight fast to better understand how diet and exercise work in conjunction, and then you’ll be ready to try the best ab exercises to help you get a six pack.

  • Get a six pack fast (but not so easy) with THE hardest abs, biceps and core exercise

(Image credit: )

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: ‘Around the world’

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold your kettlebell in one hand, in front of your body by the handle.

Swing the weight gently around your hips, passing it from one hand to the other. The challenge here is to stabilise your core. Other than your arms, you should move your body as little as possible.

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Side crunches

Time: 30 seconds (15 seconds per side)

Sets: 3

Once again stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold your kettlebell in one hand.

Keeping your arms by your sides – not in front of you – reach towards your knee with the hand holding your kettlebell, bending at your waist. The movement is small, and the key is that the bend comes from the waist rather than your shoulders and back.

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Kettlebell Ab Exercise: V sits

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Sit on the floor with your knees tucked into your chest, and hold your kettlebell close to your chest with both hands. You can either hold it by the ball, or have it upside down and hold it by the handles, whichever is more comfortable.

Lean back slightly until you can feel that your core is keeping your upper body stable, rather than simply being sat upright. Next, fully extend your legs out in front of you, before pulling them back into your chest. This is one V sit.

The difficulty of this exercise is set by how quickly you work, and of course how heavy your kettlebell is.

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Sit up to press

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Stay seated, but this time start with your back flat on the floor. Do a regular sit up but once you are fully sat press your kettlebell from your chest to the ceiling. Hold the kettlebell in both hands for stability, either by the bell or the handle.

  • Is THIS the best core exercise ever?

Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Russian twists

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Sit back in your V sit position, again holding the kettlebell in both hands. Lift your feet off the ground and extend them as much as you can. Advanced exercisers should be able to fully extend their legs and hold them a couple of inches off the ground.

Lean back slightly, making sure your back does not touch the ground, and twist your waist so that your upper body turns from side to side. As with the standing side crunches, the movement is in your oblique muscles and not your shoulders.

Depending on the weight you’re using you can either move the kettlebell from side to side as you twist, or keep it in the middle of your chest.

(Image credit: Taco Fleur from )

Exercise: Plank

Time: 30 seconds

Sets: 3

Our final exercise is the classic plank, with a kettlebell twist. Before planking, place your kettlebell on the ground, handles up.

Get into a high plank position, where your hands are directly under your shoulders and your back is straight but sloping (i.e. not curving at your lower back, but your head is higher than your feet). You should align yourself so your kettlebell is just in front of your face. Make sure that if you drop out of your plank you’re not going to land on your kettlebell!

Engage your core so that you are completely stable. Ask yourself: if someone sat on your back right now, would you collapse? The answer should be “no”.

Now you’re set, you’re going to hold this position for 30 seconds, tapping the kettlebell with alternate hands as quickly as you can. The key is remain stable, so move at a pace that fits in as many taps as possible, but you don’t want to get seasick by too much swaying. If you can’t hold your body firm, slow down.

  • Want to know if all of this effort is paying off? Track your progress with a running watch
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Ab workout with kettlebells

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