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7 Kettlebell Exercises for Bodybuilding

6 Kettlebell Exercises for Bodybuilding

Written by
January 29, 2015
Updated April 11, 2018

The term Bodybuilding is synonymous with names like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jay Cutler but aren’t we all trying to build the body that is aesthetically pleasing?

Onnit 24 kg KettlebellsYears ago, before I found the kettlebell, I spent countless hours in the gym anywhere between 5-6 days per week.

Not only did this take up a lot of my time, I noticed my physique changing, but not in the way I truly wanted.

Bodybuilding training is the isolation of each muscle group. Now this style of training is important if you have lagging body parts and you are working on symmetry.

Isolation will address underdeveloped muscles and balance you out but after years of training this way, you will just start to increase size, shape, and proportion.

If gaining size and strength is an issue you can still do so without training like a bodybuilder.

If you are in fear of bulking up, like most women are, you don’t have to worry about this with kettlebells.

Bodybuilding with Kettlebells?

Certain Kettlebell exercises will use the same type of concentric contraction as isolation exercises. Here are 6 Kettlebell Exercises for Bodybuilding:

Kettlebell Exercise #1: Goblet Squat


Kettlebell Exercise #2: Sidehandle Deadlift


Kettlebell Exercise #3: Split Stance Row


Kettlebell Exercise #4: Strict Press


Kettlebell Exercise #5: Sots Press


Kettlebell Exercise #6: Pistol Grip Press

These exercises are more for building muscle. If done in the 8-12 repetition range with adequate rest periods, 2-3 minutes, you will achieve the same results.

How to Avoid the Bodybuilding Look with Kettlebells?

How to Avoid the Bodybuilding Look with Kettlebells

These kettlebell exercises elongate the body while burning a ton of calories and most women or men prefer them when focusing on leaning out.

  • Swings
  • Alternating Swings
  • Jerks
  • Clean and Jerks
  • Snatches
  • Windmill
  • Wood Chopper Lunges
  • Sea Saw Press
  • Turkish Get Ups

These exercises completed in the high repetition range from 15-30 with smaller rest breaks will keep you lean and mean while your muscles stay elongated.

This does not mean that you should avoid the exercises listed that build muscle because you can benefit from them as well, but you can change the way you perform them. For example:

Substitute Renegade Rows for Bent Over Rows. This way you use more muscle groups and stabilizers that address the core and burn more calories. Clean Squat Push Press performed in a higher rep range so you focus on leaning out vs. building more muscle.

Try these Kettlebell Exercises in place of traditional weight training and cardio. Kettlebells are a great replacement because you get more done in a shorter amount of time. Just imagine building the body you want and having more time for yourself and your loved ones so that you can enjoy your life.

Lisa Balash has been a top Pilates and Kettlebell trainer in Las Vegas, NV since 2003. Lisa opened her studio Elite Physiques in 2008 and is currently training a variety of clients. Lisa still enjoys being an athlete herself and competes in Kettlebell Sport. She has released two instructional DVDs, Kettlebell Bombshell Vol. 1 and 2, which include 6 follow along workouts. These DVD’s have gotten rave reviews and were #26 on Amazon’s top 100 list. Lisa is also an ambassador for FitFluential and ReebokONE.
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