Chances are, if you’ve used kettlebells before, you know how to swing 'em, which uh, gets a little boring after awhile. So how can you switch things up to get more out of your favorite horned strength training tool? Just flip it on its head.

“Swinging kettlebells works the posterior chain including the back, shoulders, legs, and glutes,” explains certified personal trainer and program director at in New York City. “But holding the kettlebell with the bottom facing up brings balance and stability into the exercises.”



We asked Santucci to share some of the most challenging bottoms-up kettlebell exercises with us. These moves focus on building shoulder strength and stability, which can either be your entire workout or act as a great warm-up for a heavy lifting day.

How to use this list: Perform each of the moves below for 10 to 12 reps, or a 30-second hold. If you're experienced, try 15 reps. To make any of these single-arm moves harder, you can add a second kettlebell for a double-arm progression. And if you’re looking for a routine, try the flow sequence Santucci put together at the end of this article.

And be aware: These moves challenge your balance and stability, so you want to go lighter than you normally would with a kettlebell for swings. “Women should start with a 6-kilogram bell and men with an 8-kilogram bell,” Santucci suggests. And then work your way up from there. “If you’re not able to hold the kettlebell bottoms-up, hold the handle on the side so the bell is sideways for these moves.”

1. Bottoms-Up Single-Arm Press

Man performs bottom up single arm kettlebell press
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding kettlebell in left hand. Keeping left elbow close to side body, bend elbow to raise fist to shoulder (this is your starting position). Extend right arm out for balance. Keeping abs engaged and body still, extend left arm to press kettlebell up toward ceiling. Slowly lower to return to starting position. Complete 10 to 15 reps, then repeat on other side.

2. Swing to Hold

Man performs wing to clean to bottom up hold
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding kettlebell in left hand, right arm extended out for balance. Hinge at hips and slightly bend knees as you swing kettlebell between legs. Drive hips forward to swing kettlebell and stand back up, using the momentum to bring left fist to left shoulder, balancing and stabilizing the bottoms-up bell. Complete reps, then repeat on opposite side.

3. Double Alternating Press

Man performs double alternating bottom up press
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell in each hand, bottoms up, fists at shoulder height and elbows close to side body. Keeping right arm still, extend left arm, pushing kettlebell up toward ceiling. As you slowly lower back down, extend right arm, pushing kettlebell up toward ceiling. Continue alternating.

4. Reverse Lunge

Man performs bottom up reverse lunge
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, balancing a bottoms-up kettlebell in each hand at shoulder height. Keeping arms still, step right leg back and bend knees to 90 degrees, right hip stacked directly over right knee, left knee stacked directly over left ankle. Push through left heel to stand back up. Repeat on other leg for 1 rep.

5. Double Floor Press

Man performs bottom up floor press
Start seated and grab a kettlebell with each hand and rack at shoulder. Lean back to lie faceup, knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms bent to 90 degrees, balancing the kettlebells. Extend arms to press kettlebells toward ceiling. Lower back down to elbows bent 90 degrees. Repeat.

Make it harder: Press through heels to lift hips to a bridge position with back and glutes off the ground. Remain in this bridge position for the entire set.

6. Side Plank Hold

Start in a side forearm plank on left side, elbow under shoulder, core engaged, kettlebell in right hand. Bend elbow to balance kettlebell bottoms-up with palm facing forward, wrist directly over elbow, and elbow close to side body. Extend right arm, pressing kettlebell up toward ceiling, and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on other side.

7. Overhead Hold

Man performs overhead hold
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding kettlebell in left hand. Keeping left elbow close to side body, bend elbow to lift kettlebell to shoulder height with bottom facing up. Extend right arm forward for balance. Keeping body still, extend left arm to press kettlebell up toward ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds. then repeat on other side.

8. Side Plank With Corkscrew Press

Man performs side plank with corkscrew
Start in a side forearm plank on left side, elbow under shoulder, core engaged, kettlebell in right hand. Bend elbow to balance kettlebell bottoms-up with palm facing forward, wrist directly over elbow, and elbow close to side body. This is your starting position. Extend right arm, pressing kettlebell up toward ceiling while twisting palm to the left (to face feet). Reverse the twist to lower kettlebell back down to starting position. Complete reps, then repeat on other side.

9. Squat With Single-Arm Hold

Man performs squat with single arm hold
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding kettlebell in left hand. Keeping left elbow close to side body, bend elbow to raise fist to shoulder, balancing kettlebell bottom facing up. Extend right arm forward for balance. Keeping left arm still, send hips back and bend knees to sit back into heels, squatting down until thighs are at least parallel to floor while chest stays lifted. Push through heels to return to standing. Do reps, then repeat on other side.

10. Double Static Hold

Man performs static hold
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell in each hand. Bend elbows to 90 degrees and raise elbows to shoulder height, kettlebell bottoms facing up. Hold for 30 seconds.

11. Swing to Bottoms Up

Man performs swing to bottom up
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding kettlebell in left hand, right arm extended out for balance. Hinge at hips and slightly bend knees as you swing kettlebell between legs. Drive hips forward to stand back up as you swing kettlebell up and overhead, keeping left arm straight the entire time. With control, slowly lower kettlebell back down, and swing to repeat. Complete reps, then repeat on other side.

12. Windmill With Overhead Hold

Man performs windmill with overhead hold
Stand with feet just wider than hips, kettlebell in left hand, arm extended straight overhead. Keeping eyes on bell overhead, bend knees slightly as you reach right hand to inside of right foot. Stand back up. Complete reps, then repeat on other side.

13. Posting Position for Turkish Get Up

Man performing posting position for Turkish getup
This move (the first part of a Turkish get up) is a great way to build strength to progress to the full move. Lie faceup, right leg extended, left leg bent with foot flat on ground. Rest right arm on ground out to side and hold kettlebell bottoms up in left hand. Keeping eyes on bell, extend left arm straight up wrist over shoulder. Brace core, bend right elbow, and push off ground as you peel left shoulder up to sitting. Slowly lower back down to starting position. Complete reps, then repeat on other side.



Kettlebell Workout

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