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Kettlebells can be used to tone and shape every part of your body, especially your legs. Doing leg exercises with kettlebells is an excellent way to get in a dynamic workout that works on multiple muscles instead of isolating one muscle at a time. This kettlebell leg workout will train every muscle in your legs and leave you feeling good and sore the next day.
Your Complete Kettlebell Leg Workout
Do this complete kettlebell leg workout once for beginners, twice for intermediate, and three times for an advanced workout. Take two minutes of rest between circuits and 30 seconds of rest between sets. It is recommended you warm up with ten minutes of light to moderate cardio.
Goblet Squat: 20 reps, 2 sets
The goblet squat is an essential kettlebell exercise for your legs. It works the hips, quads, hamstrings, calves, and gluteal muscles.
To perform it, grab your kettlebell by the horns and place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Next, with your elbows pointed down, lower yourself into a squat until your elbows brush your knees. Then return to a standing position.
If done correctly, your upper body should have minimal movement. Think of your hips, legs, and lower back as a single unit, all moving together.
Single Leg Deadlift: 25 reps each side
The muscles worked in the single leg deadlift include the posterior chain, glutes, hamstrings, and adductor muscles.
To do a one-legged kettlebell deadlift, place the kettlebell in front of you with your feet together. Then, bend one knee slightly and bend at the hip. Extend your other leg straight out behind you and continue to lower yourself until you can pick up the kettlebell.
Next, return to standing upright by driving your hips forward while holding the kettlebell. Once upright, repeat the first half of the exercise to lower the kettlebell again.
While doing the single leg deadlift it is important to maintain a straight back throughout the entire movement while maintaining a tight core.
Kettlebell Clean: 10 Reps each arm
The clean is a classic full body workout, but it works multiple muscles in the legs to help you build strength and power.
To do the clean, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and the kettlebell in front of you. Bend your knees to pick up the kettlebell with one hand and hike it between your legs. Next, hinge your hips forward, driving the kettlebell upwards.
To finish the move, catch the kettlebell at your shoulder and bend your arm up, allowing the bell to flip backwards over your hand so it is resting in the crook of your arm. Remember to keep your elbow tucked into your side as you finish the move.
For an extra challenge, try a double clean.
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Kettlebell Pass Walking Lunges: 16 reps, 2 sets
Walking lunges utilize the same muscles used in a squat, but because they allow for a greater range of motion, they provide even greater development of the hamstrings and glutes. Adding a kettlebell to the walking lunge provides even more resistance for this already challenging exercise.
The walking lunge is a common leg exercise, but in this variation, we add a kettlebell pass. To do this, start with a basic walking lunge. As you reach the lunge position, pass the kettlebell underneath your leg from the hand opposite your lunging leg to the hand on the same side as your lunging leg. Continue with this same movement through two sets of 16 reps.
This is a burnout move so you will want to consider choosing a lighter kettlebell.
Kettlebell Swing: 20 reps (or until fatigue)
Kettlebell swings are arguably the most famous kettlebell move. They are great because they create full body tension to work almost every muscle in your body. The lower body muscles targeted are the hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
To do a swing, start with your feet shoulder width apart with the kettlebell in front of you. Then begin to bend over by hinging your hips and moving them backward, while keeping your back straight. Next, grasp the kettlebell with an over-hand grip and quickly “hike” the kettlebell backwards between your legs.
Then, quickly reverse the direction of the kettlebell by bringing your hips forward, straightening your legs, and squeezing your glutes. The momentum of this movement will allow the kettlebell to swing out in front of you. When the kettlebell reaches your chest height, contract your abs and let the momentum take it back down, while guiding it back between your legs.
Remember to keep your chest lifted and back straight throughout the entire movement.
If done incorrectly, a swing can hurt more than help you. The most common mistake made when attempting the swing is to turn it into a squat. Remember to hinge from the hips and keep your back straight for proper form.
Thrusters: 2 sets of 1 minute each
Doing thrusters will cause you to see real changes in the composition of your body. Thrusters are primarily a lower body exercise, but also incorporate some shoulder and back muscles. This kettlebell leg workout will get your heart pumping, so you may want to switch to a lighter kettlebell.
Thrusters are very similar to goblet squats. You start in the same position: feet apart and holding the kettlebell by the horns. Begin to squat, but as you come up extend your arms and lift the kettlebell above your head.
You will feel this one in all your major leg muscles so prepare to tire quickly. Pace yourself as you do this and really feel the burn as you go through the squats.
When doing a kettlebell leg workout, you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you do exercises that target multiple muscles instead of isolation movements. While going through this routine, remember that the number of reps and sets are guidelines. You know your body best, so you know when you need to push yourself harder and when to take it easy.
Go through this entire circuit for a complete kettlebell leg workout.