8 Kettlebell Core Workouts for a Stronger Midsection

Use these kettlebell exercises for defined abs.

Skip sit-ups. Say goodbye to bicycles. To torch your core, all you need to do is lift weights and breathe deep. "All major lifts are a core exercise," said Joanna Castro, NASM-CPT (shown here), coach at Body Space Fitness in New York City. That's because they all incorporate a vertical plank (like a regular plank, but standing up), which is maintained throughout each move.

To practice a vertical plank:

  • start by standing tall, driving your feet into the ground with soft knees.
  • tuck your butt under slightly by pulling your belly button toward your spine and squeezing your glutes.
  • make two fists down by your sides.
  • take big inhales through your nose and exhales through your mouth in this position, engaging the entire body, especially the abs.

"When we create tension in our entire bodies, we create stability," Castro explained. "If we're not stable, we're not as efficient through the work," added Castro.

Here's a sneak peek at a few kettleball workouts—they'll make you strong to the core.

Farmer's March

Farmer’s March
ANTHONY CUNANAN
  • start standing with your feet hip-width apart, kettlebell or dumbbell in your left hand, held slightly away from the body.
  • hold your right hand in a fist either at your shoulder, out to the side, or down by your side (whatever is most comfortable for you) to create tension on that side.
  • engage the abs and maintain a tall posture, shoulders over hips over ankles (think about your vertical plank).
  • then, drive your left knee toward your chest, squeezing your right butt cheek.
  • step your left foot back down and repeat with your right knee.

Continue alternating for 30 to 45 seconds. Then switch the weight to your right hand and repeat.

Goblet High Hold

Goblet-High-Hold-HARD CORE STRENGTH Health Mag October 2021-210615_HealthMag_15_013
ANTHONY CUNANAN
  • start standing with your feet hip-width apart, knees soft.
  • hold a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands and raise your elbows up in front of you, in line with your shoulders and parallel to the ground.
  • keep your shoulders down away from your ears.

Hold for 30 to 45 seconds, breathing deep. Think about the vertical plank as you hold, making sure the core is engaged the entire time.

Goblet Squat

ANTHONY CUNANAN
  • start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  • hold a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands at chest height, elbows bent and in line with your shoulders.
  • pull your shoulders down away from your ears.
  • inhale as you lower your hips down and back into a squat like you're reaching for a seat. Avoid buckling your knees inward.
  • then, exhale and drive the ground away to stand back up with your abs engaged and your back flat.

Repeat for 30 to 45 seconds.

Archer Row

ANTHONY CUNANAN
  • start standing with your left leg back, holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in your left hand.
  • hinge forward at your waist, resting your right forearm on your right thigh and letting your left arm hang straight down.
  • engage your abs and keep your back flat.
  • then, row your left elbow back, bringing the weight up to your rib cage.
  • straighten your arm back down.

Keep your shoulders down away from your ears the entire time. Repeat for 30 to 45 seconds, then switch sides.

Single-Arm Suitcase Deadlift

  • start standing, feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in your right hand, down by your side (don't let the weight touch your body).
  • create tension in your other arm, either holding it out to the side at shoulder height or straight down in front of you.
  • inhale as you hinge forward at the hips with your knees bent, sending your hips straight back and keeping your chest parallel to the ground.
  • come back to standing.

Repeat for 30 to 45 seconds, then switch sides.

Strict Press

Strict-Press-HARD CORE STRENGTH Health Mag October 2021-210615_HealthMag_17_006
ANTHONY CUNANAN
  • start standing, feet hip-width apart.
  • hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in your right hand, at shoulder height.
  • make a fist with your left hand and extend it out to the side.
  • exhale to press the weight overhead, keeping your heels under your hips, feet planted, and abs engaged.
  • then, lower the weight back to shoulder height, keeping your elbow in front of you.

Repeat for 30 to 45 seconds, then switch sides.

Ipsilateral Dead Bug (Alternating)

  • lie on your back, both knees bent with feet lifted and flexed, knees over hips, and shins parallel to the ground.
  • extend your arms straight up, wrists over shoulders.
  • engage your abs to make sure there's no space between your lower back and the ground.
  • inhale to extend your right arm behind you and your right leg toward the floor.
  • keep your left knee bent over your hip and your left arm straight up.
  • exhale to return to the starting position.

Then repeat on the other side and continue alternating for 30 to 45 seconds.

Hollow Body Hold

  • lie on your back.
  • engage your abs to lift your head, shoulders, arms, and legs off of the ground, keeping your arms down by your sides and your legs straight out, feet flexed.
  • bend your knees if necessary to help keep your back flat on the floor.

Hold for 30 to 45 seconds.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles