Kettlebells are incredibly easy to transport and way more forgiving on the joints than a barbell, making them the perfect total body workout. Since the possibilities are endless with kettlebell exercises, you may think that kettlebell moves are too complicated and require months to master. That’s true for some exercises, such as the windmill and Turkish getup, but the following five exercises are easy to learn and effective for getting your entire body ready for the rigors of a Tough Mudder course.
To improve your functional strength and stability with these five single-kettlebell exercises, perform these moves as a circuit, doing each exercise for 10-15 reps each. Do three total rounds, resting 2 minutes between rounds and 45-60 seconds between exercises. Try that workout 1-2 times a week. Or, work these exercises into your Tough Mudder workout routine by picking a couple and doing them 2-3 times a week. .
1. Kettlebell Swing
How to Do It: Stand with feet shoulder width apart with a kettlebell on the ground about 1 foot in front of your. Push your hips back, slightly bend your knees and grab the kettlebell using an overhand grip. Hike the kettlebell between your legs then stand straight up by thrusting your hips forward and bringing the bell to eye level. Lower the bell back down between your legs and explosively push the hips forward to start another rep. Your torso and shoulders can lean slightly forward during the hike and swing, as it’s your hips/glutes driving the weight forward.
2. Kettlebell Snatch
How to Do It: Stand with knees bent and back straight holding a kettlebell with an overhand grip with one hand so it’s in the middle of your legs. Hike the bell backwards, drive your hips forward, and start to raise the kettlebell over your head. As the bell reaches shoulder level, punch your hand straight up to flip the bell so it lands on the outside of the hand and forearm with the arm full extended overhead. Your arm should be straight, palm facing forward, and kettlebell on top of the outside of your hand. That’s one rep. Start the next rep by swinging the arm down between the legs again and pushing hips forward.
3. Kettlebell Goblet Squat
How to Do It: Stand with feet shoulder width apart holding a kettlebell with one hand on each handle and elbows pushed in close to each other. Keeping your back straight and core tight, push the hips back and squat down until thighs are parallel to the ground. Once at the bottom of the squat, explode up, returning to the starting position. Make sure your knees don’t cave in-focus on pushing them out-and keep the kettlebell in front of your chest throughout the motion.
4. Single-Arm Kettlebell Press
How to Do It: Stand with knees slightly bent holding one kettlebell with palm facing in towards your body on top of one shoulder. Tense every muscle in your body-abs, glutes, thighs, arms-and press the bell straight overhead until your elbow is locked out and arm is extended. Keeping a crushing grip on the bell the entire time, forcefully return the ball back down to the starting position. Do 5-8 reps on one side then switch sides.
This move not only works core and shoulder strength, but holding the bell tight improves grip strength, which is key for Tough Mudder obstacles such as Kong, King of the Swingers, and Funky Monkey: The Revolution. In fact, the rings and bars on these obstacles are of similar thickness to a kettlebell.
5. Single-Leg Kettlebell Deadlift
How to Do It: Stand holding a kettlebell in your right hand and position yourself so your left foot is on the ground with knee slightly bent and right leg is bent so the heel is off the ground. Push the hips back and slowly lower the kettlebell down towards the ground. Once you pass below the knee, keeping the weight close to your body, return to the top, with tapping the right toe to the ground. Make sure back is flat and chest is up throughout the move. For an added challenge, try to balance on the left leg the entire time, never touching the right leg back to the ground. Do 10 reps with the bell in the right hand then switch sides, holding it in the left and raising the left leg up.
Want to keep your training going? Find a Tough Mudder Bootcamp near you.