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6 Unconventional Kettlebell Exercises to Mix Up Your Routine

Why Do Kettlebell Exercises?

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This odd bell-shaped fitness tool can offer a full-body metabolic and toning blast, thanks to its unique shape and the centralized location of the weight. One University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse study even showed that kettlebells can improve core strength up to 70 percent while boosting aerobic capacity, balance, and explosive power.

But what if you're bored with traditional kettlebell swings? Here, Matt Delaney, Equinox Tier X coach, shares his favorite unconventional kettlebell moves.

Photo: Matt Delaney

Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing

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A. Stand with feet hip-width apart and grab kettlebell with right hand in overhand grip. Perform a single-arm swing, hinging hips.

B. At the top of the movement, alternate hands, bringing the bell back down into a hip hinge. Repeat, alternating hands.

Delaney says: "The alternating single arm swing is more challenging than a traditional kettlebell swing because the unilateral load introduces an element of rotation that needs to be controlled. The need for added stability strengthens your core."

Photo: Matt Delaney

Kettlebell Cross and Carry

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A. Start standing with one kettlebell racked close to the chest and another held, suitcase style, in the opposite hand. Walk forward 30 yards, return to start. Repeat on opposite side.

Delaney says: "Alternating between rack and suitcase position challenges your core because it has to resist both forward and lateral flexion simultaneously."

Photo: Matt Delaney

Kettlebell Bottoms-Up Press

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A. Start with one knee down, one foot in front of you for support. Holding kettlebell on same side as kneeling leg with bell up, press the weight directly overhead until bicep is next to ear. Lower back down to start for one rep.

Delaney says: "Turning the bell bottoms up requires more efficient shoulder mobility and stability around the scapula. If you think it's tough, you're not alone!"

Photo: Matt Delaney

Kettlebell High-Pull Snatch

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A. Start with feet slightly wider than hip-width distance, holding the handle of the bell with knees bent.

B. Exploding through the heels and thrusting hips forward, high-pull the bell up to chest. In a continuous movement, push the bell up overhead. Return to start for one rep.

Delaney says: "The high-pull snatch helps develop lower body power because of the rapid hip extension required to accelerate the bell vertically overhead."

Photo: Matt Delaney

Kettlebell Pull and Drag

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A. Start in a high plank position with kettlebell to the right of torso on its side, handle facing body. Grab the handle with left hand, keeping hips level, and pull the bell under torso, putting it down on opposite side.

B. Place left hand back in high plank position. Repeat on opposite side for one rep.

Delaney says: "This is a great exercise for your core. Staying neutral as you reach under your body to grab the weight and slide it through will improve your ability to stabilize the spine during movement (which is the main function of the core, after all)."

Photo: Matt Delaney

Turkish Get-Up Sit-Up

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A. Lie on back with right knee bent, left leg extended. Left arm is extended by side with palm facing down. Hold a kettlebell in right hand with arm extended toward ceiling.

B. Engage core and use left hand to sit up, first moving to left forearm then pressing up to left palm, while keeping right arm extended overhead. Return back to start for one rep.

Delaney says: "Most people get stuck on this phase of the Turkish get-up because they try to sit straight up. Practicing this movement will teach you how to roll onto your forearm and create some of the necessary scapular stability."

Photo: Matt Delaney

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