Complete Kettlebell Core Workout

Building your core muscles is hugely important. It’s not just about rock hard abs; the ability to do most everyday movements comes from your core. Fortunately, you can take your core workout beyond just the usual crunches and sit ups with kettlebells. They are a great piece of equipment for burning fat, toning your muscles, and making you more effective in your daily life. Follow this kettlebell core workout for a challenging routine to carve out that core.

Your Complete Kettlebell Core Workout

Do the circuit once for a beginner workout, twice for an intermediate workout, and three times for an advanced workout. Don’t forget to rest in between circuits so you don’t exhaust yourself too quickly.

Kettlebell Swings: 20 reps

Man trying to swing a kettlebell with both hands

It’s hard to find any kind of kettlebell routine that doesn’t include swings. That’s because they work almost every part of your body, including the core. 

Swings get quick results and include both strength and endurance training. You get the best of both worlds and you can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. They are popular for a reason!

To start a swing, take an athletic stance and put a kettlebell about six inches in front of you. Next, keeping your back straight, hinge your hips backwards and bend your knees to lower yourself so you can grasp the kettlebell. Once you have grabbed the kettlebell, hike it backwards between your legs.

Next, reverse the movement by quickly hinging your hips forward to bring the kettlebell up. As the kettlebell reaches about your chest height, contract your abs and allow the kettlebell to fall back down while guiding it between your legs.

The most common mistake people make when first attempting the swing is turning it into a squat. The power in this movement should be coming from your hips not your legs.

Russian Twists: 40 reps

Adding a kettlebell to Russian twists is the perfect way to give an extra challenge to a classic core movement. Doing Russian twists is one of the best ways to work your obliques, both internal and external.

Begin by picking up a kettlebell and holding it by the horns. Get into your starting position by sitting on the ground with your knees bent at about a 90-degree angle. Then begin to lean backwards so you can feel your abdominal muscles working, and simultaneously lift your feet off the ground.

To actually start the move, hold the kettlebell slightly in front of you and twist your upper body as far as is comfortable to one side, then switch to the other side. Bring the kettlebell with you as you twist, but don’t let your arms lead the movement. Also, be sure to keep your neck neutral and look straight ahead throughout the exercise.

Deck Squat with Kettlebell: 15 reps

Man doing core workout with a kettlebell

A deck squat is a common Crossfit move that will work your abs, obliques, and major thigh muscles, as well as get your heart pumping for some cardio.

Start by holding a kettlebell by the horns at your chest. Squat down until your butt touches the ground. As soon as you feel the ground, roll your body down while holding the kettlebell at chest level.

Next, raise the kettlebell over your head and tap the ground. The tricky part is the final movement where you stand back up. After you have tapped the ground, quickly pull the kettlebell out in front of you. Using the momentum from pulling the kettlebell over your head, stand back up in the squat position.

This is a more advanced kettlebell movement, so don’t be discouraged if you are unable to perfect it right away.

Plank Pull Through: 8 reps each side

This is a move that will carve out your entire core. It is a variation of the basic plank that will kill the core, arms, glutes, back, and quads.

Begin in a high plank, with your feet shoulder width apart. Have a kettlebell behind your right hand. To do the move, grab the kettlebell with your left arm and pull it to the left side of you and place it under your body.

Reverse the move on the other side. It is simple but effective. It is absolutely essential to keep your abs tight throughout this entire exercise to get the full effect of the move.

Kettlebell Windmill: 10 reps each hand

A windmill is a kettlebell core workout that really works those stabilizer muscles in the core. It also challenges the entire core through the act of holding a kettlebell above your head for the duration of the movement.

To do a windmill, take an athletic stance with your toes turned out slightly, holding a kettlebell above your head with your arm extended in a racked position.

Next, bend at the hips to touch the foot opposite of your kettlebell hand. Then, return to a standing position while holding the balance of the kettlebell over your head.

Man turning sideways while gripping a kettlebell

Kettlebell Toe Touch Crunches: 30 reps

Toe touch crunches target a lot of muscles in your abs, including the deep stabilizer muscles, the visible 6-pack muscles, and the transverse abdominals. Adding a kettlebell to your toe touches gives you some extra resistance to burn out your abs.

To do it, lay flat on a mat holding a kettlebell by the horns. Raise your legs straight up above your hips. Bring the kettlebell above your chest and move to touch the bell to your toes.

This move will result in mini crunches that you should really feel in your upper abs. The kettlebell adds some more resistance to help recruit all your core muscles to support this movement.


Doing core kettlebell exercises is a great way to spice up your core workouts. Learn and watch new kettlebell workouts so you don’t need to fall into the same boring movements over and over again. Building up a strong core is extremely important for your overall strength and your health, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Having a strong and healthy core will help you to move more effectively in your daily life. Doing a complete kettlebell core workout is a great way to help you get there.

Robert Lemus has been a natural competitor for 6 years, starting in Men’s Physique, then Bodybuilding, and then into Classic Physique. He is the Orange County Bodybuilding champion in 2016 for the Musclemania Organization. In 2018, he received his Pro Card with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Classic Physique.