Time is the number one excuse for why people don’t exercise. Think about it: all of us want to be strong and fit, but few of us have endless hours to invest in working out. But we’re solving this universal issue once and or all with our 10-minute kettlebell leg workout that combines high-intensity work with some of the biggest muscles in your body which means you get way more done in less time!
According to the American Council on Exercise, kettlebells can provide a higher intensity workout than the usual strength training routine in a shorter amount of time. In fact, the typical kettlebell workout burns up to 20 calories per minute, which is equivalent to running a 6-minute mile. Plus, we’re working the legs and glutes in this workout which contains two powerhouse muscles: the gluteus maximus and the quadriceps.
Need a little refresher when it comes to kettlebells? Be sure to check out our beginner’s guide to kettlebells to look at the different parts of the kettlebell, how to use it, and what you need to do in order to get a safe, effective workout in less time.
Are you ready to build a stronger lower body? Look no further than this lower body kettlebell workout with the 10 best kettlebell leg exercises!
How Heavy Should My Kettlebell Be?
If you’re a beginner to strength training, and specifically to kettlebell training, we recommend starting anywhere between 10 pounds and 20 pounds. The tricky thing with picking the proper kettlebell weight is that you don’t go too light.
When specifically training the lower body, a large muscle group, you can usually use heavier weights. With that being said, if you can do 20 or more reps with the kettlebell, it’s time to go up in weight.
If you have multiple kettlebells on hand, here is a suggestion for kettlebell sets:
For women: 15 lbs, 20 lbs, and 25 lbs (to start) For men: 26 lbs, 30 lbs, and 35 lbs (to start)
It is not necessary to have multiple sets, however it will allow you to increase weight to challenge the muscles or decrease weight to focus on form with a new exercise. Find a weight that is “heavy” for you and will challenge the muscles in a new way!
Before we dive into the workout, let’s make sure to review proper kettlebell form.
Engaged Core: Before you even move, pull your core in and tighten your abdominal muscles like you are zipping up a tight pair of jeans. Keep that muscle pulled in the entire time you work—this is what keeps your movements safe and helps define your abs.
Stand tall: Keep good posture, pull your shoulders back and down, and keep your chest lifted.
Move with control: You are using dynamic movement, but stay in control and don’t fling the weight around. Originate the movement from your hips and core.
Use a Professional: Dynamic movements that come with kettlebell workouts can also put you at greater risk for injury if they aren’t used properly. Try a class, hire a trainer or follow along with our new Raise Some Bell workout program on Get Healthy U TV.
10-Minute Kettlebell Leg Workout
From squats to deadlifts, lunges and swings, this 10-minute kettlebell leg workout will have every muscle in the lower body feeling the burn. These 10 lower body moves will make an effective, yet efficient 10-minute kettlebell workout when you’re short on time.
Now that you’re convinced these cannonball-shaped weights are a great way to ramp up your workouts, let’s dive into our workout.
Medium to Heavy Kettlebell
Don’t have a kettlebell, you are welcome to use a single heavy dumbbell and replicate this workout with a single dumbbell.
We are using two 25-30 pound kettlebells in this lower body leg workout.
Follow along with the shortened quick video above to watch form for each movement.
What The Workout Looks Like:
10 Kettlebell Leg Exercises Timed Intervals 40 seconds of work/ 20 seconds of rest Repeat all 10 kettlebell leg exercises once for a 10-minute workout OR x 2 sets for a 20-minute workout
1. Kettlebell Squats (pick up and set down)
Kettlebell Squats – Pick Up Put Down
Start with your feet hip-width distance apart, and place a medium to heavy kettlebell on the ground in between your feet. With your weight in your heels, sit your hips back and down into a squat position. At the same time reach down to grab the kettlebell with your right hand. Drive through the heels, using the center glutes and quads to stand up tall, holding the kettlebell in between your legs. Drop back down into the bottom of your squat as you lower the kettlebell back down to the ground. Repeat the squat to lift motion, this time picking up the kettlebell with your left hand. Alternate and switch the hand that’s grabbing the kettlebell every single time throughout your 40 seconds of work.
2. Goblet Squat
Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Start with the feet hip-width distance apart. Grab the kettlebell at the base (also known as the bell) and hold it at chest height. Keeping the elbows tight to the chest and the weight right at the heart center.Sink through the heels and drop the butt back into a squat position. Drive through the heels to return to a standing position, with the weight still holding at heart center.
3. Single Arm Kettlebell Thruster
Kettlebell Single Arm Thruster
Start with the feet hip-width distance apart. Grabbing the kettlebell with your right hand, rack it at the chest in a front racked position. Drop the butt back and sink low into a front racked squat. Driving through the heels to stand, at the top press the weight overhead into an overhead thrust position. As the weight comes back down to the front rack position, start lowering yourself back to the bottom of your squat. Make sure to repeat on both right and left sides.
4. Kettlebell Deadlift
Start with the feet about hip-width distance apart. Kettlebell will be on the ground, placed in between your feet. Gently hinge at the hips to grab the top of the kettlebell. Hanging the kettlebell in between your legs at the top of the position, you are going to press through the heels and hinge at the hips. Dangling the dumbbell in between the legs as you press the glutes back into a forward hinging motion. Stopping the kettlebell somewhere around mid-shin or top of the knee cap, your spine should stay long and neutral. Driving through the heels and using the glutes to stand tall in the starting position.
5. Kettlebell Single Leg Deadlift
Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlift
Similar to a regular kettlebell deadlift, this is a unilateral exercise that will fire up the hamstrings and glutes, and use a little more core engagement for balance.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and kettlebell in the right hand. Transfer weight into your left foot, using the right leg as a kickstand to start. With a slight bend in the left knee, hinge at the hips, floating the right leg off the ground, making this a unilateral exercise. Keep both hips squared to the ground to ensure proper alignment. Keeping the dumbbell close to the body, hinge as far forward as you can until you feel a stretch in the back of the hamstring. Range of motion is going to vary for every individual. Watch the low back and make sure the spine is staying long and neutral through the entire exercise. Press heavily through the left heel on the ground, to squeeze the glutes and hamstrings to pull yourself back up to a standing tall position.
6. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell Swings – 2 Variations (shoulder height or full height)
The kettlebell swing is one of the most popular kettlebell movements, that focuses on the hamstrings, glutes, back and core. This exercise requires focus and strength, while also increasing the heart rate. Learn how to properly perform the kettlebell swing below:
Begin by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell between the feet, a couple of inches out in front of you. Hinge forward at the hips, reaching toward the kettlebell in front of you. Grab the kettlebell by the horns of the bell, palms facing toward your body. With the same hinge forward position and a slight bend through the knees, hike the kettlebell between your legs to start the swinging movement of a kettlebell swing. Drive through your heels, pushing your hips forward by squeezing the glutes. Think about this movement initiating from the glute squeeze behind you. At the same time, the kettlebell will swing up to shoulder height. Arms will remain in a locked position (straight arms) through the entire movement. Returning the kettlebell to it’s starting position, in between the legs, catch the weight between the legs by hinging at the hips, loading the glutes and hamstrings. Repeat this movement, keeping the weight back in the heels at all times and turning on the back side of the kinetic chain (glutes and hamstrings).
7. Kettlebell Single Arm Racked Squat
The single-arm front racked squat is a powerful strength exercise that will engage the glutes, quadriceps, and core. The core will act as a stabilizer muscle to keep you balanced in the front racked position.
For this exercise, we are going to show you a single arm front racked squat using a single kettlebell.
Place a single kettlebell in the front racked position, tucking your elbows in tight and forward using the biceps to hold the kettlebell stable. Rocking weight back into your heels, hinge your hips back and bend your knees to sink the butt back and down to the bottom of a squat position. Depending on your range of motion and flexibility, your depth may vary. Go as deep as you can with keeping the knees over the heel and a neutral spine. Drive through the heels, and squeeze the glutes to return to the starting position. Ensure to do this same movement in the front racked position on the other side!
8. Kettlebell Racked Forward Lunge
Single Arm Kettlebell Front Racked Forward Lunge
This is a dynamic exercise that works the lower body while holding a single kettlebell in the front racked position.
Start with feet about hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell in a front racked position on one side (let’s start with the right hand). Keep the elbow in tight for more bicep contraction. With the kettlebell in the right side racked position, you are going to step forward into a 90 degree lunge position with the left leg. Drop the back knee down toward the floor, forming a 90/ 90 degree angle in both front and back leg. Driving off of the left heel, you will return yourself to a neutral starting position. Be sure to do this on both sides of the body!
9. Kettlebell Lunge with Rotation
Kettlebell Forward Lunge with Rotation
Adding an element of twisting through the trunk will incorporate the core as well as the transverse abdominis (also known as your obliques). Balance is something that we lose as we age, so this is a good lower body exercise that will require more balance and core engagement.
Hold a kettlebell with both hands in front of your chest to start. Feet are about shoulder/ hip-width distance apart. Stepping forward with the right foot into a forward lunge position, the back knee will drop down into a 90-degree lunge. Once you’ve hit your forward lunge, you are going to twist and rotate through the trunk towards the right knee. You will twist towards the leg that is forward. Rotate and twist back to a neutral position before driving through the front heel to return to starting position. Keep the kettlebell close to heart center to engage the core. Repeat by stepping forward with the opposing leg and alternate each side for the desired amount of reps.
10. Kettlebell Deadlift and Clean to Front Squat Thruster
Start with your feet hip-width distance apart. With both hands, hold the horn of the kettlebell between the legs. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping the kettlebell close to the body, pushing the hips back to activate the back side of the hamstrings. As you hinge forward, maintain a neutral spine, with your shoulders relaxed down away from your ears. Think of this as a hinging motion, keeping the weight through the heels. Driving through the heels, squeeze the back of the glutes and hamstrings to return to a standing potion. At the same time returning to a standing position, clean the kettlebell to a front racked position. Keeping the weight close to your chest, your hands will slide down the horn as you catch and front rack the weight at chest height. With the kettlebell at chest height, sink the hips back and down into a kettlebell goblet squat. Driving through the heels and all times. Press back up, squeezing the glutes and pressing the weights overhead into a kettlebell overhead press.
Love this workout? Then be sure to check out our full-length kettlebell program, Raise Some Bell on my workout streaming service, Get Healthy U TV led by Amy Dixon. It’s full of high-intensity kettlebell workouts that will have you sweating and torching calories like you can’t believe!
On days when you’re pressed for time, you can also try out this 10-minute total body kettlebell workout I did with Prevention. This full-body routine is a time-effective routine you can do on its own or add on to existing workouts for an added boost of kettlebell power!
Save This 10-Minute Kettlebell Leg Workout For Later
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