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Unique Kettlebell Exercises: Adding Creativity to Strength Training

Oct 03, 2019

There are many different kettlebell exercises - some more challenging and demanding than others. When it comes to training with kettlebells, it’s important to start at the beginning, learning the basics of the swing and squat before moving on to more advanced movements. Without building up fundamental skills, technique will suffer and there is an increased risk of injury.

A kettlebell can be added to any basic exercise, making the movement different and more challenging. Below is a list of some unique exercises that involve kettlebells, which are easy to learn and add variety to a training program.

Rotational Deadlift

Performed at the end of deadlifting or squat workouts, the rotational variation offers unique movement to your hips and strengthens the back as the weight is pulled across the body.

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a kettlebell with both hands in front of the hips.
  • Keeping the back flat, bend at the waist and lower the kettlebell to the outside of the right foot.
  • Drive up to the starting position.
  • Repeat to the left.

Sets/Reps: 3 sets, 5 repetitions each side

Lying Pullover

This exercise for the core and latissimus dorsi (“lats”) is great for developing upper body strength and keeps breathing in sync with movements, which helps athletes be efficient with power production. It also improves core strength and fixes common posture problems that are often at the root of injuries.

  • Lie on the back with knees bent and feet together. Hold a kettlebell by the horn (the lower part of the handle where it attaches to the bell) in front of the chest, with arms straight.
  • Exhale and press the lower back into the ground.
  • Keeping arms straight, lower the kettlebell over the head until just before the lower back comes off the ground.
  • Bring the kettlebell up in front of the chest to return to the starting position.

Sets/Reps: 2–3 sets, 5 repetitions


The halo exercise is often used as a warm-up exercise because it takes the shoulders through a large range of motion while supporting heavy weight. Stand on one or two legs and hold a kettlebell, upside down, by the horn, in front of the face – standing on one leg will further engage the core muscles.

  • Rotate the kettlebell around the head by circling arms up and over the head.

Sets/Duration: 5 sets for 30 seconds each side

Goblet Squat Hold and Curl

By training the core in a squat position, it provides a new challenge. This is particularly beneficial for athletes, because they often have to stabilize and produce power from this position. A stronger core equates to a stronger and more powerful movement with less risk of injury.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a kettlebell by the horn in front of the chest.
  • Sit hips back and lower into a squat until thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Keeping the core tight, slowly perform one curl with the kettlebell.

Sets/Reps: 3 sets, 8-12 repetitions each side

Kettlebell exercises can be a great way to incorporate strength training into a workout and can enhance an established routine. Click here for more information about Sports Performance and training at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Featured Expert

Luke Tipple, MS, CSCS
Sports Medicine

Luke Tipple, MS, CSCS, joined Nationwide Children's Hospital in July of 2018 in the Sports Medicine Department as a sports performance coach. Before joining the performance team, Luke spent the previous 13 years as an assistant strength and conditioning coach of Olympic sports at The Ohio State University.

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