The Ultimate Kettlebell Workout for a Stable Core

zwei Kettlebells stehen auf dem Boden © foodspring

Kettlebells are the ultimate tool for getting your entire body in shape and improving your grip strength, coordination, and conditioning. What makes them so special? In addition to the weight attached to the handle, centrifugal forces also act on the body. Good stability is required to counteract these forces. And your core is responsible for providing this good stability. Your core muscles encompass the entire area below your collarbones, including your pelvis. This also includes deep muscles. While exercises like sit-ups and crunches work your abs in isolation, a kettlebell workout challenges your entire core musculature.

Also worth reading: More tips for a stable core! 

Why is core training important? A stable core helps you to keep your spine in a neutral position when activating your back, abdominal, and gluteal muscles. This ability is hugely important both when training and in everyday life, regardless of whether you’re doing lunges or carrying heavy grocery bags home. Taiwanese researchers even found that a strong core can reduce back pain. Subjects were able to alleviate pain through regular strength training that focused on the core and deep muscles.

The Warm-Up:

Take 10 minutes to get your body ready for a work out. You can do some jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, lunges, torso twists or good mornings.

The Workout:

The workout consists of 4 exercises. Complete all 4 exercises consecutively for 40 seconds each, with 20 seconds rest in between. Then you can recover for 60 to 90 seconds until the next set starts. Depending on your fitness level, you can complete a total of 4 or 6 rounds.

Choose your weights accordingly depending on the exercise. You need a heavy kettlebell for the Suitcase Carries, while a lighter ball dumbbell will be enough for a Plank Pass Through.

Kettlebell Clean to Front Rack Marches40 seconds20 seconds
Around the World40 seconds20 seconds
Plank Pass Through40 seconds20 seconds
Suitcase Carry40 seconds20 seconds

The Exercises

#1 Kettlebell Clean to Front Rack Marches

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and place 2 medium kettlebells on the floor in front of you. The handles should be inclined slightly toward each other. Bring your hips back to grab the kettlebells. While doing this, keep your back straight, bend your knees, and lean your upper body slightly forward. Do a kettlebell clean by first swinging the kettlebells slightly backward, then explosively straighten yourself up from the legs as the handle flips over your wrist. The kettlebells should now rest on your collarbone in the “front rack position.” Keep your wrists straight and your elbows close to your chest. Maintain an upright posture and a neutral spine. Raise one knee in a controlled manner without losing your balance. Your thigh should be parallel to the floor. Lower the leg back down and lift the other knee up. March in place.

Muscles: The entire body

Note: Your upper body must not lean backwards.

#2 Around the World

Stand with your legs about hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent while holding a kettlebell in your left hand. Keeping both arms extended, slowly swing the kettlebell forward, catch it with your right hand, bring the kettlebell behind your body, and catch it again with your left hand to return to the starting position. Circle the kettlebell around your body without pausing. Perform all repetitions clockwise and change direction in the next round.


Note: Avoid evasive movements and keep the upper body stable.

#3 Plank Pass Through

Get into a high plank position. Your palms should be under your shoulders. Place a light to medium kettlebell to your right, slightly below your palm. Keep your back as flat as possible. Bring your left arm under your body, grab the kettlebell, and pull it to your left side until it is under your left armpit. Place your left palm back down and repeat with your right arm.

Muscles: core

Note: Place your feet slightly wider apart for more stability. Your body should stay parallel to the ground.

#4 Suitcase Carry

Hold a heavy kettlebell in your right hand. Make sure that your spine is neutral and your arms are long, and activate your core muscles. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and down, and walk forward. In the next round you switch sides.

Muscles: Core, especially the lateral quadratus lumborum muscle and the oblique abdominal muscles

Note: If you are new to the exercise, opt for the Farmer’s Walk. Hold kettlebells of equal weight in both hands and walk forward with an upright posture. You have less to balance and have more stability in your torso.

Done? Good job! Time for a cool down. Learn how to cool down properly here. 

More workouts from foodspring:

Sources for this article

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