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The Most Effective Kettlebell Moves For Abs

Think crunches are the only way to work your core? Think again. We rank the best kettlebell moves for abs for the most complete workout. Brace yourself!

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best kettlebell moves for abs, woman with a toned stomach holding a kettlebell at the top of a swingphoto credit: shutterstock

Kettlebell Moves For Abs

Looking to increase your core strength? Crunches are great and all, but you need (we all do actually) exercises that are more dynamic. Increasing your core stability means not only strengthening your abdominals, but your glutes and hips too. These unilateral movements (think moving in a forward direction) challenge your core even harder.

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Kettlebell Moves For Abs WindmillsPhoto credit: fit squad

Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Windmills

8 to 10 reps on each side, 4 sets

  • Start with your feet just wider than shoulder-width.
  • From a front rack position (holding the kettlebell at your shoulder, with the “bell” part of the weight resting in the crook of your arm), press the kettlebell overhead.
  • Turn the opposite foot outward at 45 degrees and kick your right hip out. Begin to hinge at the hips.
  • Keep your eyes on the kettlebell, as you run your left hand down the length of your left leg towards your left ankle, holding the kettlebell above your head.
  • Return to the start position by pressing the kettlebell up overhead.

You should feel it in your obliques, like you would with a side crunch.

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Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Half Turkish Get-Upsphoto credit: fit squad

Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Half Turkish Get-Ups

8 to 10 reps on each side for 4 sets

  • Lying flat on the floor, hold the kettlebell with your right hand at your chest. Plant your shoulder blade on the floor to keep your shoulder stable.
  • Bend your right leg and extend your left arm to 90 degrees across the ground.
  • Brace your core and drive your right heel into the floor. Press the kettlebell up with a single-arm chest press.
  • Sit up and lean into your left elbow, holding the kettlebell up.
  • Press the kettlebell up while you bend forward to get up to your left elbow.
  • Transfer your weight from your left elbow to your left palm, until your arm is straight.
  • Press into your left palm and drive your right heel to extend your hips, lifting your body off the floor. Hold for two seconds. Squeeze your right glute to keep your hips up.
  • Bring your hips back to the floor, with the kettlebell above your chest.

This targets your core strength and stability.

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Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Renegade RowsPhoto credit: Fit Squad

Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Renegade Rows

10 to 12 reps each side, 4 sets

  • Using two kettlebells of the same weight, get into in a plank position (top part of a push-up) so the kettlebells are directly under your shoulders.
  • Bring one kettlebell up to your chest, squeezing your lats (by bringing your shoulder blades together) at a controlled pace.
  • Return the kettlebell to the ground.
  • Alternate sides.

Engage your glutes and brace your core, making your body tense, so your hips don’t shift through the row.

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Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Overhead Walking Lungesphoto credit: shutterstock

Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Overhead Walking Lunges

10 to 12 reps each leg, 4 sets

  • Start like you did with the windmills, holding the kettlebell at your shoulder, with the “bell” part of the weight resting in the crook of your arm.
  • Press the weight up and above your head.
  • Step the opposite leg forward. Bring the body down with a lunge.
  • Step forward, drive through your front heel, engaging your glute to bring your back leg to meet your front foot.
  • Continuing pressing the kettlebell above your head, bracing through your core as you lunge.

Extend your opposite arm to keep yourself balanced and stable throughout the exercise.

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Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Single Arm Kettlebell Squatphoto credit: fit squad

Kettlebell Moves For Abs: Single Arm Kettlebell Squat

10 to 12 reps per side for 4 sets

  • Begin in a single arm rack position, holding the kettlebell at your shoulder, with the “bell” part of the weight resting in the crook of your arm. Hold the opposite arm extended for stability.
  • Brace through your core as you squat, as if you’re sitting in a chair. Keep your upper body in an upright position.
  • Drive through your heels, squeezing, and squeezing your glutes.

You challenge your core because of the imbalance of weight on your lower body.

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workout for runners, photo of Jennifer Lauphoto credit: jennifer lau

About Jennifer Lau

Jennifer is co-owner of FitSquad Toronto and is a highly accomplished personal trainer and holistic nutritionist with 10 years experience in the fitness and health industry. Her passion to empower women has lead her to become a leader in female training. She is head coach of Fit Squad’s all women’s training camp, has given corporate workshops and presentations on fitness and nutrition and can be found regularly contributing to media outlets in the city.

See more of Jennifer on Instagram @fitsquad_training and at fitsquad.ca.