A 4-Move Lower-Body Kettlebell Workout to Strengthen Your Legs and Butt

If you’re trying to build strength, look no further than the humble-yet-mighty kettlebell. This free weight works similarly to a dumbbell, but its shape makes it a little more versatile, allowing you to do some more dynamic movements. You can swing it, flip it, and grip it from a few different angles. And you can get a great lower-body workout with just one or two kettlebells.

Whether you’re still sort of new to kettlebell training or have been doing it for a while now, this lower-body kettlebell workout from personal trainer Samantha Ciaccia, M.S., P.A.-C., C.S.C.S., is worth a try. It’s meant to improve both muscular strength and power, Ciaccia explains, which are two important fitness skills to focus on.

Strength, of course, has numerous benefits both inside and outside of the gym—strong muscles help you move throughout life more comfortably and efficiently, perform everyday tasks like pushing a heavy door open or lifting a suitcase into the overhead bin, and reach new milestones in your workouts, if that’s what you’re after.

Muscular power, or the ability to move weight in a short amount of time, is key in many sports but it’s especially important to train as we age, Ciaccia says. Power declines quite rapidly as we get older, she explains, and it’s important to maintain if we want to stay active and injury-free for the long haul. “Power training allows an individual to react quickly to a trip and catch themselves rather than falling and potentially breaking a limb,” Ciaccia says. While that may seem like something for future you to worry about, it’s a good idea to incorporate functional exercises into your regular routine to improve your fitness and keep your body ready for whatever life may throw at it.

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The lower-body kettlebell workout below will get you moving in a few different ways and strengthen both the front and back of your body. Try it on your next leg day to challenge (and build) your strength and power.

The Workout

What you’ll need: One medium-to-heavy kettlebell. (You can use two kettlebells for the single-leg deadlift if you have two of equal weight, otherwise, you can just use one. More on that below.) If you find you can use a heavier weight for some of the moves (say, the lunge and swing, for instance), go for it. Ciaccia recommends having two different weights on hand if you can, so that you can switch and adjust accordingly.

Instructions:

Do circuit 1 three times, resting for 30 seconds in between each exercise. After the third time through, rest for 60 seconds. Then, do circuit 2 three times, resting for 30 seconds in between each exercise.

Circuit 1:

  • Kettlebell swing — 10 reps
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Kettlebell single-leg deadlift — 5 reps each side
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Do 3 times.

Rest 60 seconds before moving onto circuit 2.

Circuit 2:

  • Kettlebell clean — 5 reps each side
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Kettlebell alternating lateral lunge — 5 reps each side
  • Rest 30 seconds.
  • Do 3 times.

Here’s how to do each move:

Demoing the moves below is Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies.

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