Kettlebell exercises for abs are incredible for building functional and aesthetic abs.
When I talk about building your core, I am not solely referring to your “abs” at all.
The best “ab” exercises also improve your posterior chain, and promote healthy posture along with abdominal definition. If you do not have a functionally useful core, there is no point to having a six pack!
Fortunately, these kettlebell exercises for abs can help you develop a shredded physique, and a physique which will keep you healthy!
The Best Exercises for Abs with Kettlebells
These kettlebell exercises are excellent because not only do they build the “mirror muscles” of your abdominal region, but also your lower back, the stabilizing muscles around your spine, and your glute muscles. When all of these parts of your body are functioning together properly, you will see an immediate increase in the amount of weight that you can move on pretty much every single exercise (yes, this includes curls as well)!
Kettlebell Dead Bug Exercise
The first exercise is often referred to as a dead bug exercise due to the position that you are lying in.
For beginners, I would suggest performing sets of 10-15 reps per side without any weight at all.
Even without weight, nearly everyone can experience significant improvements in how their body functions from becoming better at this exercise!
The differing weights also throw off your overall stability! The dead bug exercise is great since along with the functional benefits, they can also build you a shredded looking core!
Your “abs” will be forced to contract with each movement performed, building that “6 pack” look as well as strength and stability! Don’t worry about trying to go to heavy with this, form is always number one!
In the variation that I have shown here I am using 2 different kettlebell weights! This is an advanced version of the movement, since the kettlebells themselves force you to control your body more.
Check out this video of me performing the kettlebell dead bug exercise:
Kettlebell Bird Dog Exercise
The second movement that I have shown below is known as a “bird dog.”
Similar to the “dead bug” shown above, beginners and advanced trainees can benefit from doing this movement without any weight at all!
Bird dogs are excellent as either a warm-up, or as part of your regular core training routine.
Again, don’t worry about going to heavy on these at all.
The benefits are fully within the movement itself, and there is rarely a need to do these with weight.
For a more interesting challenge try attaching a resistance band between the foot which you are extending back words, and the hand which you are extending forward. Much more difficult than loading with any heavy weight!
For those of you looking to build up your glutes, this movement is especially great for you!
Not only does this movement target your glutes itself, but it will also activate them and allow them to be engaged on each and every movement you perform. Far too many people have dormant glute muscles, which limits your ability to move big weights especially on the squat and deadlift.
If this is you, add this exercise in right away.
Regardless of your level as an athlete, add these exercises in to your routine today and you will see the benefits quick!
Check out this video of me performing the kettlebell bird dog exercise:
Kettlebell Windmill Exercise
Although it might look unique, the kettlebell windmill is an exercise that we all could use to get better at. Far too often people base their “ab” training around crunches, sit-ups, and other flexion/extension ab exercises.
More recent research has proven these exercises to be ineffective at training the whole scope of your bodies core, as well as being potentially dangerous to your back and spine.
If you want to develop a truly aesthetic body, the kettlebell windmill is one exercise you don’t want to leave out of your training routine!
Check out Pat Ramsey performing the kettlebell windmill as a demonstration below!
The kettlebell windmill exercise is fairly straight-forward after watching the video. Make sure that you start with light enough weights to ensure proper form. As you can see here, Pat is an expert at this movement but still is getting all the same benefits from using light weights, with perfect form.
The kettlebell windmill benefits your body in numerous ways including:
- Improving Oblique Strength and Muscle-Definition
- Improving Shoulder Stability
- Developing Glute Strength and Stability
- Developing Your Posterior Chain
One of the most commonly seen exercise in the gym is the “standing side-bend,” performed usually with a heavy plate or dumbbell. This exercise seems to have become the go-to for oblique training, when it doesn’t hold nearly the value of so many other exercises.
The windmill is your perfect solution to getting rid of the weighted-standing side bend, as you can now replace it with something far more functional!
The kettlebell windmill not only adds another functional movement to your weekly routine, but it could be the missing link to building massive strength and power throughout your whole body!
Kettlebell swings are probably the most commonly known kettlebell exercise for abs, and they might be the most effective too! The best part about kettlebell swings is that they are very easy to learn.
Kettlebell swings work your entire core, as well as your posterior chain, lower body muscles, and shoulders.
If you are not sure how to do kettlebell swings, check out this video:
Read Next: Kettlebell Turkish Get Up Benefits
Are you familiar with rack squats? If you are, double kettlebell squats will be no problem for you. (Heh.)
However, this doesn’t mean heading straight for a 225-lb kettlebell.
There’s no shame in dominating a light kettlebell in the beginning. As world-class athlete Pavel Tsatsouline shows, kettlebells are phenomenal for optimizing your workouts.
Since your range of motion isn’t restricted (like it is with bars), there’s less risk of overloading your spine and joints.
Double kettlebell squats are an excellent exercise for building lower body and core strength, while also challenging the stabilizing muscles of your upper body.
Kettlebell Overhead Press
If you want to turn heads in a fraction of a second, double overhead presses with kettlebells will make you do just that (especially if you’re using MarcyPro’s 55lb Hammertone kettlebell).
The kettlebell double overhead press will activate you:
- Forearm/Grip Strength
- Upper Pec
It is a tremendous upper body exercise, and it is fairly easy to learn.
For a simple explanation, you can perform the KB overhead press by standing in an athletic position and performing an overhead press as you would with a barbell or dumbbells.
Remember to engage your lats and core muscles as well. Overall, this is an excellent upper body and core exercise!
Kettlebell Renegade Rows – Plank Rows
You’ve probably heard of planks, made plans to conquer them, and then you just crushed planks like they were nothing.
Whichever path you intend to take with kettlebells, let it be renegade plank rows.
Renegade rows are perfect because you are doing a full-body plank while rowing a kettlebell. It is a powerful force that zaps your energy fast!
Plank rows stimulate muscles in your core that you probably did not know you have. Use Renegade rows early in your workout to active muscles throughout your body!