Fitness

15 Fun And Effective Kettlebell Exercises For Abs

Kettlebells are well known for their amazing ability to work the muscles of your core, including your abs. In this article, we will take a look at fifteen kettlebell exercises for abs that you can start to incorporate into your training program immediately.

1. Turkish Get Up

Muscles Worked

Abs, lower-back muscles, obliques, glutes, traps, hamstrings, triceps, calves, lats, quads

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step-by-Step

  1. Lie on your side with knees bent and heels behind your glutes. Hold a kettlebell in one hand in front of you.
  2. Roll onto your back and raise the kettlebell so that it is directly above you with your arm fully extended. One knee should be bent while the other one remains straight.
  3. Use your free hand to brace yourself by resting your forearm on the floor and raising your shoulders off the ground. Keep the kettlebell in the air above you.
  4. Straighten your free arm so that your hand is flat on the floor and your torso is almost upright (with kettlebell still straight in the air).
  5. Drive your hips up off the ground and rotate your torso so that there is a straight line from your free hand to the kettlebell.
  6. Bring the knee that is closest to the floor back and rest in on the ground.
  7. Remove your free hand from the floor. Rotate your body so that you are facing forward in a lunge position with kettlebell still straight up in the air.
  8. Stand fully upright with kettlebell overhead. Reverse movement exactly to return to the starting position.

Tips

This is one of the most technical kettlebell exercises around. Getting a coach to teach you perfect form could be a good idea for this one. When performed correctly it will work the entire body and massively improve your core strength.

2. Long Arm Crunches with Kettlebell

Muscles Worked

Abs

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and arms straight holding a kettlebell upside down. Your arms should be brushing your ears.
  2. Holding the kettlebell firmly, raise your shoulders off the ground and curl your abs until your face is looking forwards over your knees.
  3. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position.

Tips

Breathe out as you raise your shoulders off the ground. Use a light kettlebell for this exercise. It is one of the best kettlebell abs exercises and will work the entire core. Particularly your abdominal muscles.

3. Kettlebell Swing

Muscles Worked

Abs, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, traps, lats

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Hold a kettlebell in both hands and place it on the floor between your two feet. Your feet should be shoulder width apart with a slight bend in the knee. Push your chest out and pull your shoulders back to create a flat back.
  2. Swing the kettlebell backwards between your legs and then forwards to generate momentum.
  3. Swing the kettlebell until it is parallel with the floor, pushing your hips forward as you do so.
  4. Push your hips backwards as you swing the kettlebell backwards
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Tips

Kettlebell swings make a great warm-up for deadlifts. Keep your core tight throughout the swing.

4. Kettlebell Single-Arm Swing

Muscles Worked

Abs, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, traps, lats

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Performed exactly the same as the regular kettlebell swing, but using one hand instead of two

Tips

Start with your weaker hand first. Use a lighter weight. Chalk your hand if you feel that the kettlebell might slip.

5. Kettlebell Deadlift

Muscles Worked

Abs, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, traps, lats

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Place a kettlebell between your feet, place your feet hip width apart. Bend down and grasp the handle in both hands.
  2. Push your chest out and pull your shoulder blades together, then lower your hips.
  3. Take a deep breath and then raise the kettlebell off the ground, pushing your hips forward as you do so.
  4. Pause when you are fully upright, with hips pressed against the bell.
  5. Return to starting position by pushing hips backwards and lowering bell to the floor.

Tips

Use a heavy kettlebell for this exercise, even very new lifters should be able to handle a heavier kettlebell. Keep your chest pushed out throughout the movement to maintain a straight back.

6. Russian Twists

Muscles Worked

Abs, obliques

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Get into a sit up position with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold a small kettlebell in your hands.
  2. Squeeze your abs then bring the kettlebell over to your left side, then your right side, maintaining the sit up position throughout

Tips

Raise your feet off the floor to increase the difficulty. Using a lighter kettlebell is a good idea. 

7. Kettlebell Plank

Muscles Worked

Abs, deltoids, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Lie a large kettlebell on the floor then place both hands onto it. Either side of the kettlebell handle.
  2. Raise yourself off the floor so that there is a straight line from your shoulders down to your heels
  3. Hold position as long as you can

Tips

Use the biggest kettlebell that you can get your hands on. a lighter kettlebell will require more balance and make the exercise a lot harder.

8. Kettlebell Squat Thrust

Muscles Worked

Abs, calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, lower back, traps, lats, deltoids, triceps

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Hold a kettlebell upside down and close to your chest. Place your feet shoulder width apart
  2. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  3. Pause, and then drive yourself upwards. As you do so, raise the kettlebell above your head
  4. Pause, and then lower the kettlebell back down, squatting down as you do so to initiate the next rep
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Tips

Once the kettlebell has cleared your face, bring it back slightly so that when your arms are fully extended the kettlebell is directly over the center of your head rather than in front of your head.

9. Kettlebell Plank Row

Muscles Worked

Abs, deltoids, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads, biceps, lats, traps

Equipment

One large kettlebell, one smaller kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Place one hand on the handle of a large kettlebell (bigger the better). And grab a smaller kettlebell with your free hand. Get into a push up plank position.
  2. Hold your abs tight and stay still, then row the smaller kettlebell up towards your armpit. Pause, and then lower it down until it almost touches the floor. Repeat for the required reps, then swap hands

Tips

This could also be performed with your other hand holding onto any form of raised and stable surface. It doesn’t have to be a large kettlebell. This will really hit your core muscles. 

10. Kettlebell Plank Rotation

Muscles Worked

Abs, obliques, deltoids, lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Get into push up plank position with a small kettlebell to your left side
  2. Use your right hand to grab the kettlebell and pull it under your body. Place it down on our right side
  3. Use your left hand to grab the kettlebell and pull it under your body. Place it down on our left side
  4. Repeat this for as long as you can hold the plank

Tips

Don’t feel like you need to find a larger kettlebell, it’s not about the weight. It’s the movement of your arms that is important.

11. Kettlebell Sit and Press

Muscles Worked

Abs, hip flexors, deltoids, triceps, traps

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Lie on your back with legs straight and a kettlebell held in both hands resting on your chest
  2. Keeping your legs flat on the floor, raise your torso off the floor so that you are sitting up
  3. Drive the kettlebell over your head. Pause, then lower it back down, then lie down to finish the movement

Tips

Avoid this exercise if you have back pain or mobility issues. It is an advanced exercise

12. Kettlebell Snatch

Muscles Worked

Abs, glutes, hamstrings, lower back, deltoids

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, and hold a kettlebell with one hand, between your legs
  2. Bend forward so that your chest is over your feet, and straighten your free hand and bring it out to the side
  3. Swing the kettlebell backwards between your legs to build momentum.
  4. Drive your hips forwards and use this momentum to push the kettlebell forward. Swing the kettlebell and as it reaches shoulder height punch your arm upwards.
  5. Pause, and then reverse the movement to get back to the starting position.

Tips

Master the one-handed kettlebell swing first, as this will really help your snatch technique.

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13. Kettlebell Crunch

Muscles Worked

Abs, hip flexors

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees bent. Place a kettlebell onto your chest and hold it with both hands.
  2. Take a deep breath and then raise your shoulders and head off the floor, pausing when your head is looking over your knees. Breathe out as you do so.
  3. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position

Tips

This exercise can also be performed with your feet in the air, to increase the difficulty.

14. Kettlebell March

Muscles Worked

Abs, deltoids, traps, glutes, quads, hamstrings

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Hold kettlebell in the rack position (upper chest height with bell on outside of hand). Free hand can be held out to the side for balance.
  2. March on the spot while holding the kettlebell still. Swap hands at the halfway point or between sets.

Tips

Keep your chest pushed out throughout. If you don’t then the kettlebell will begin to tip forward and your posture will suffer.

15. Kettlebell Single Arm Push Press

Muscles Worked

Abs, quads, hamstrings, glutes, deltoids, triceps

Equipment

Kettlebell

Step by Step

  1. Hold kettlebell in the rack position (upper chest height with bell on outside of hand). Free hand can be held out to the side for balance.
  2. Bend knees slightly, then straighten legs. As you rise up, use the momentum to drive the kettlebell straight up in the air.
  3. Pause, then lower the kettlebell back down to upper chest height. When the bell reaches the right height, bend your knees and start again.

Tips

Grab a second kettlebell and you can do a two-handed version of this exercise.

Final Thoughts

There you have it. Fifteen ab exercises can be performed with a kettlebell. Check the videos, read the descriptions, and give them a go. For some of the more complicated exercises, you may want to get a coach to assess your form before you start lifting heavy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Build Abs with Kettlebells?

Kettlebell workouts can definitely work the abdominal muscles, so long as you are consistent with your workouts you should see good results. Remember that to see your abs, you’ll also need to focus on your diet. Abdominal training is only half the battle. Check out the awesome kettlebell ab exercises mentioned in this article.

Can I Do a Kettlebell Workout Every Day?

Not really, you would eventually suffer from overtraining. Abdominal training should be done every 2-3 days as even a strong core needs rest to recover. This can lead to bad sleep, low mood, injury, and stress. Give yourself a day off every two to three days.

How Can I Reduce My Tummy in 7 Days?

In all honesty, you can’t. You should not even attempt it. Weight loss should be a long-term process that involves increased exercise and a well-designed diet. Use those 7 days to find a workout and a diet that will suit your needs.

Matthew Smith

Matthew Smith is a Level 3 Personal Trainer with the Register of Exercise Professionals. He gained a BTEC National Diploma in Sports Science from London Metropolitan University. He has trained people both online and in-person for over 7 years and has written over 1,000 articles on fitness and nutrition subjects.

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