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Blog Fitness Kettlebell Leg Workout To Build Strong Legs And Core

Kettlebell Leg Workout To Build Strong Legs And Core

kettlebell leg and shoulder workout

Are you looking to sculpt and tone your lower body muscle? Perhaps you want to move faster, gain strength, or even lose weight. Whichever the case, kettlebells are the way to go. Sure, they may look intimidating at first sight. However, taking that first step will be totally worth it. Research suggests that lower body workouts have a greater carryover effect on your upper body (1). This article shows you how to build your leg mass and create the domino effect through kettlebell workout.

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How To Gain Leg Mass?

You’re looking to gain some leg mass through kettlebell workouts. However, which specific muscles do these exercises target? Let’s find out.

  • Core Muscles. Many kettlebell workouts involve squats, lunges, and crunches. These, plus other similar moves, tend to work on your abs and other core muscles.
  • Glutes. If you’re looking to tone your butt muscles, kettlebell workouts will help you achieve your goals. Why? Whenever you perform that lunge or squat using a kettlebell, you add some extra load on your glutes.
  • Legs. Lunges are arguably the most popular move in kettlebell workouts. And if there’s one thing that lunges really work on, it’s your leg muscles. Adding kettlebells will only make the process faster and more intense.
  • Arms. One of the most popular uses for kettlebells is in arms exercises like shoulder presses. They put some extra challenge to the muscle in your arms, thus helping in activating them.
  • Back Muscles. Kettlebell, when performing a deadlift, really helps when toning your back muscles.

So yes, kettlebell workouts can work on both your upper and lower body muscles. However, there are specific exercises that will primarily target particular groups of muscles. Next, we look at such exercises that’ll help you build your leg muscle mass.

Read More: Leg Workout For Running To Build Strength And Endurance

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Kettlebell Leg Workout Bodybuilding

Have you been wondering what are the best leg workouts for men and women? Well, these kettlebell leg workouts may be just what you’re looking for. But first, what are some of the benefits of kettlebell workouts?

Kettlebell Workouts Boost Your Fat-Burning Mechanisms

Kettlebells provide a huge calorie-burning potential that ultimately translates to weight loss. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), kettlebells can torch as many as 20 calories per minute. That means that you lose an impressive 400 calories in a 20-minute workout (3)!

Kettlebell Workouts Reduce Pain In Your Neck, Shoulders And Lower Back

A small study indicated that kettlebell workouts could relieve pain in your shoulder, neck and lower back muscles. 57% and 46% of the participants in the study noticed a reduction in musculoskeletal pain in their neck/shoulders and lower back respectively. These exercises can also help prevent future injuries by strengthening the muscles around these joints (4).

Kettlebell Workouts Can Improve Your Posture

Your posterior chain is a series of muscles that include your glutes, trapezoids, deltoids and hamstrings. The stronger they are, the better posture you’ll have. So you’ll be able to jump higher, run faster and move more smoothly. Kettlebell swings are particularly effective at strengthening these muscles, hence improving your posture (2).

Keep reading to find out how you can pull them off either at the gym or in the comfort of your home.

kettlebell leg and shoulder workout
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General Instructions

Like all exercises, kettlebell workouts can be dangerous if done incorrectly or using the wrong form. Here are some instructions that you should pay attention to before, during, and after each leg workout with kettlebells.

  • For each exercise, perform between 8-12 reps. If it’s a unilateral move, each side gets the same number of reps within the given range.
  • Complete about 3-5 sets for maximum impact.
  • Set aside a rest period of 2-3 minutes between each set before proceeding to the next move.
  • Finally, these are 20 min leg kettlebell workouts. So try not to overtrain, and where you have to, take enough rest periods between sessions.

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That said, below are samples of kettlebell leg and shoulder workouts without procedural steps on how to do them:

Kettlebell Deadlift

Have you been looking for a simple at-home leg workout with kettlebells? Well, this may turn out to be just what you need. This move primarily targets your hamstrings, glutes, and core. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Now hold a kettlebell using both hands by the handle and relax your arms in front of your body.
  • Next, hinge at your hips, gently bend your knees and push back your butt to perform a deadlift. Now slowly lower the weight down toward the ground.
  • Pause once you’re at the bottom, then slowly stand and return to your starting position. Squeeze your glutes once you’re at the top. This forms one complete rep.
  • Finish off by doing the required number of reps.
kettlebell leg workout
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Kettlebell Racked Squat

This move primarily targets your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned outward.
  • Now hold a kettlebell in both hands at your shoulders. Ensure you’re holding the weights by their handles and that you’re using an overhand grip. Doing this should make your palms face forward, and bells rest on your shoulders.
  • Next, shift your weight into your heels, making sure you engage your core, keep your back flat and chest lifted. Follow this by pushing back your hips and bending your knees to lower yourself into a squat.
  • Drive through your heels to stand, then squeeze your glute once you’re at the top. This completes one rep.
  • Finish off by doing the required number of reps.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

This move primarily targets your hamstrings, glutes, quads, and core. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes slightly turned outward.
  • Now hold the kettlebell by the bell using both hands at your chest.
  • Next, shift your weight into your heels, making sure you engage your core, keep your back flat and chest lifted. Follow this by pushing back your hips and bending your knees to lower yourself into a squat.
  • Now drive through your heels to stand, then squeeze your glutes once you’re at the top. This completes one rep.
  • Finish off by doing the required number of reps.
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Kettlebell Squat Clean

This move primarily targets your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell on the ground between your feet.
  • Now bend your knees as you push back your hips to lower into a squat. Grab the kettlebell using both hands by the top of the handle.
  • Next, drive through your heels to stand while you pull the weight up to your chest. Now quickly swap your hands from the handles to the bell in the same upward movement.
  • Lower back into a squat almost immediately, then shift your weight into your heels. Also, ensure that you bend your knees while pushing back your hips during this movement.
  • Drive through your heels to stand and squeeze your glutes once you’re at the top.
  • Switch your hands back to the kettlebell handle to reverse this movement. Follow this by lowering the weight back to the floor while you bend your knees and push back your hips. Doing this ensures that your spine remains straight. This completes one rep.
  • Finish off by performing the required number of reps.

Read More: A Leg Workout For Mass To Make Your Leg Day Count

Kettlebell Swing

This move primarily targets your core, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by making a triangle with the kettlebell and your feet. Ideally, your feet should be at the bottom of the triangle and the kettlebell on top, about a foot in front of you.
  • Hinge forward at your hips with a soft bend in your knees while you push back your butt. Grab the handle with both hands and tilt the bell on its side with the handle toward your body.
  • Next, hike the kettlebell high up in your groin area. Ensure your wrists touch high on your inner thigh during this movement. Simultaneously thrust your hips forward aggressively such that you’re standing in a plank at the top of the swing. You should also be looking straight ahead as you squeeze your core, glutes, and quads.
  • When the bell reaches chest height (below shoulder height), hinge forward at your hips and push back your butt. The bell should drop on its own when you do this. Also, you shouldn’t feel like you’re using your arms to do the lifting. To avoid straining your neck, let your eyes, head, and neck follow. This completes one rep.
  • Perform the required number of reps, then finish off by making a backswing. Bring the bell through your legs, but don’t thrust your hip forward. Instead safely place the weights back on the floor.
leg workout with kettlebell
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Alternating Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing

This move primarily targets your glutes, hamstrings, core, and quads. It’s also advisable that you master the two-handed kettlebell swing before trying it out. If you’re learning it for the first time, start with a lighter weight. That’s because you’ll be demanding more stability from your core by handling the weight with one hand at a time.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by making a triangle with the kettlebell and your feet. Your feet should be at the bottom of the triangle and the kettlebell on top, about a foot in front of you.
  • Hinge forward at your hips with a slight bend in your knees and push back your butt. Now grab the handle with your right hand. Tilt the bell on its side with the handle toward your body.
  • Hike the kettlebell high up in your groin area, ensuring your wrists touch high on your inner thigh during this movement. Simultaneously thrust your hips forward aggressively such that you’re standing in a plank at the top of the swing. You should also be looking straight ahead as you squeeze your core, glutes, and quads.
  • When the ball almost reaches your chest height (below shoulder height), bring up your left hand, then pass the weight to it.
  • Let the ball drop on its own as you hinge forward and push back your butt again. You should not use your arms to do any lifting. Let your eyes, head, and neck follow to relieve the strain on your neck. This completes one rep.
  • Pass the weight back to your right hand for the next rep. Continue this alternating pattern for the required number of reps on each side.
  • After finishing all your reps, perform a backswing. Bring the bell through your legs but don’t thrust your hip forward. Instead, safely place the weights back on the floor.
at home leg workout with kettlebell
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Kettlebell Tactical Lunge

This move primarily targets your core, hamstrings, glutes, and quads. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Now hold a kettlebell in your right hand by the handle. Your arm should rest comfortably by your side.
  • Move back about 2 feet with your right foot and land on the ball of your right foot. Make sure that your heel is off the ground during this movement.
  • Next, bend both of your knees, thus creating two 90-degree angles with your legs.
  • When you get into this position, your shoulder should be above your hips and chest upright. Your torso should also lean slightly forward so that your back isn’t arched or rounded. Also, ensure your left shin is perpendicular to the floor and your left knee is stacked above your left ankle. Finally, your core and butt should also be engaged.
  • After lowering yourself into the lunge position, pass the kettlebell under your front left knee, handing it to your hand.
  • Now push through the heel of your left foot to stand up.
  • Step your left foot back into a reverse lunge, passing the weight from your left hand to your right.
  • Push through the heel of your right foot to stand. This completes one rep.
  • Continue switching sides while passing the weight underneath your legs for the required number of reps.
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Sumo Squat

This move primarily targets your glutes and quads. Here’s how you do it:

  • Start by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes turned outward. Now hold a kettlebell with both of your hands. This becomes your starting position.
  • Next, shift your weight into your heels, then push back your hips and lower into a squat. Your core should be engaged, chest lifted, and back flat during this movement. Also, make sure you keep your spine long and upright.
  • Drive through your heels to stand and squeeze your glutes once you’re at the top. This completes one rep.
  • Finish off by performing the required number of reps.

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How To Use Kettlebells Correctly?

Like all equipment used during workouts, you need to be careful when using kettlebells to avoid injury. Compared to dumbbells, kettlebells pose greater risks of injury when not used in the right form. That’s mainly because your shoulder, wrist, and lower back are exposed when exercising using this equipment.

Here are some of the things you should watch out for when using kettlebells:

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Keep Your Feet Planted And Weight On Your Heels

Whenever you’re using kettlebells, you need a firm foundation to lift and move them. A firm foundation reduces the risk of injury that can be accrued from losing control of the equipment. The best way to avoid this is by making sure your heels always have a firm grip on the ground. 

Don’t Lift Kettlebells Directly Over Your Head

It’s easier to lose your grip when using a kettlebell compared to when you’re using dumbbells. That said, you wouldn’t want to slip or drop the weight directly on your skull, right? So as a safety precaution, avoid lifting them directly above your head.

Protect Your Back When Using Kettlebells

Protecting your lower back is crucial in any exercise you’re doing, not just kettlebell workouts. When you’re picking it off the ground, or swinging it in the air, avoid arching your back. Instead, use your legs and hips to generate the force and power required for all movements.

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Conclusion

Working out and staying in shape is not always easy. It takes commitment and discipline, but no one ever said it couldn’t be fun. Adding kettlebells to your workouts on your leg days will take things up a notch.

The bonus? It doesn’t matter where you are. So if you have been looking for something to spice up home leg workouts for men and women, then this is it! It’s about time you gave it a shot, don’t you think?

Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. Effect of Lower-Body Resistance Training on Upper-Body Strength Adaptation in Trained Men (2018, nih.gov)
  2. Effects of kettlebell training on postural coordination and jump performance: a randomized controlled trial (2013, pubmed.gov)
  3. Kettlebells: Twice the Results in Half the time (2010, )azureedge.net
  4. Kettlebell training for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health: a randomized controlled trial (2011, jstor.org)
Jeremy Mukhwana
Jeremy Mukhwana

Jeremy is a writer and part-time soccer player who is keen on demystifying the matters of fitness, health, and weight loss. His articles are focused on providing factual information and helping readers enjoy their fitness journeys. He understands that wellness is an often misunderstood yet deeply rewarding avenue of improving one’s life, which is why he is so committed to encouraging people to live their healthiest lives through his work. When he’s not typing away at his keyboard, he’s indulging his passion for soccer. The motto that guides Jeremy through his life is  ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’

I. Grebeniuk
I. Grebeniuk

Hey there! I'm a European Champion in synchronized swimming who holds a Bachelor degree in Physical Education. I have experience in working with Olympic level athletes, produced National Champions, State Champions and helped athletes secure their spots on the National teams.
I don't just want to work with professional athletes. I strongly believe that my purpose is to help anybody I work with to achieve their fitness goals and become their best self.

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