Kettlebell Exercises for the Abs, Arms and Back

Kettlebells don’t ring, but they can certainly help tune up your body. Kettlebells are round weights with handles that offer an alternative to dumbbells or other hand weights. Like dumbbells, kettlebells come in a wide range of weights, from 4 to more than 100 pounds. The variety of kettlebell exercises should be music to your ears if you’re looking to firm up your abs, arm and back muscles.

Abs -- Halo Exercise

Stand erect with your feet about hip-width apart.

Grasp the kettlebell with both hands and hold it in front of your upper chest.

Exhale as you raise the weight a few inches over your head.

Maintain the bend in your elbows as you slowly move the weight in a clockwise circle above your head, while breathing normally.

Repeat the circles, moving counterclockwise. Perform at least eight reps in each direction.

Arms -- Single-Arm Row

Place a kettlebell on the floor, then assume a pushup position, with the kettlebell below your left shoulder and your feet spread wide.

Grip the kettlebell in your left hand.

Exhale as you lift the weight toward your left shoulder. Try not to move your upper body while performing the row.

Hold the kettlebell for a moment at its peak height, then inhale as you lower it back to the floor.

Repeat the exercise with your right arm. Perform at least eight reps with each arm.

Back -- Slingshot

Stand erect with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Extend your arms in front of you and hold the kettlebell with both hands.

Release the kettlebell with your right hand, then swing the kettlebell behind your back.

Pass the weight from your left to your right hand behind your back, then swing the kettlebell in front of you to complete one rep.

Perform five reps, then repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. Keep the kettlebell in constant motion, but keep it under control throughout the exercise.


  • The slingshot exercise also works your arms and abs. The single-arm row also targets your back and core muscles.

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About the Author

M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.