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Kettlebells were initially used in Russia in the 1800s as a weight to measure grains and other goods. But then Russian vendors started exercising with kettlebells to show their strength and quickly recognized they were on to something when they saw the size of their glutes popping.
Now from Russia to you, we are delivering the best kettlebell workouts for glutes.
Here we’ll explain why kettlebells are great for your glutes, give six kettlebell exercises that target the glutes, and three glute-focused kettlebell workouts to improve the size and strength of your behind. Ready to build a butt worthy of a song? Then let’s go.
Benefits of Doing a Kettlebell Workout for Glutes
You can train the glutes, AKA your butt muscles, with bodyweight, barbells, machines, bands, and dumbbells. The glutes don’t care what kind of resistance you have as long as it’s resistance. But kettlebell glute workouts are like a match made in exercise heaven.
A kettlebell is a unique tool with weight centered underneath the handle, unlike dumbbells, barbells, and bands, where the weight is slightly more evenly distributed. This makes the kettlebell a great tool to train the glutes. First, it allows you to perform ballistic lower body hip hinge exercises like swing, snatch, and clean. These power moves train your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which have the biggest potential for growth.
RELATED: The Best Adjustable Kettlebells
Second, the kettlebell’s shape allows you to keep the weight closer to your center of gravity, making it easier to get into better positions when doing exercises such as swings and snatches. And this allows you to load your glutes a little easier and allows for greater ranges of motion to give you the tension required to increase muscle mass in the glutes.
Finally, the kettlebell’s unique shape creates an offset load that challenges your balance, stability, and grip strength while swinging, squatting, and snatching. This gets more of your core, hips, and shoulder stabilizers involved for more than just a glute workout.
6 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Glutes
According to this certified personal trainer, these are the best kettlebell exercises to build your butt muscles. They are a mix of power and strength exercises to get your glutes growing.
The offset nature of the kettlebell increases your balance demands, which forces you to slow down and perform this with good form. This increases the time under tension for your lower back and glutes for more booty gains.
How to do it:
- Hold one or two kettlebells at arm’s length in front of your quads, with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart.
- With your shoulders down and chest up, perform a hip hinge until the KBs reach the floor.
- Squeeze your armpits together, stand back up, and finish with your glutes at lockout.
- Reset and repeat for desired reps.
Double Kettlebell Front Squat
The double-racked position on this squat may make it feel like you are being held hostage. The racked position fires up your anterior core and upper back, and you’ll be able to use heavier weight than, say, a goblet squat for extra glute gains.
How to do it:
- Clean a pair of kettlebells to the front-racked position at shoulder height and keep your chest up
- Get your feet hip-width apart or wider for comfort.
- Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground or to your preferred depth.
- Keep your chest up, stand up, and finish with your glutes at lockout.
- Reset and repeat for desired reps.
RELATED: The Best Kettlebell Trap Workout
Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
The kettlebell single-leg deadlift is a challenging exercise with many benefits. You’ll improve balance, strengthen the imbalances, work your core muscles, and reduce your risk of hamstring strains. The beauty of this KB variation is that you can come to a dead stop to reset your balance.
How to do it:
- Hold a kettlebell in your left hand and find balance on your right foot
- Soften your right knee.
- Keeping your chest up and shoulders down, perform a hinge by lifting your left leg off the ground behind you. Try not to rotate the working hip.
- Hinge until your belly button faces the floor, or the KB is on the floor.
- Return to the starting position, reset and repeat for reps.
- Repeat on the right hand and right leg.
The kettlebell swing is a fundamental move that will improve your core strength, glute and hamstring power, cardiovascular fitness, and the look of your glutes. It is a ballistic exercise that is high-intensity and low-impact exercise—and it’s even been shown to improve the health of the muscle groups in your back1.
There is significant debate regarding whether to do a Russian swing vs an American swing in your strength training regimen. We err on the side of Russian swings because it poses less of a risk.
How to do it:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart (or wider if need be) with the kettlebell in front of you.
- Perform a hip hinge down to grab the bell with both hands, squeeze your armpits, and get your chest up.
- Hike the kettlebell behind you like a gridiron snapper and thrust your hips forward, using this momentum to swing the bell up to eye level.
- Finish the swing by squeezing your glutes and quads and repeating this in a continuous loop for desired reps.
Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Strength coach icon Dan John is credited with inventing the goblet squat to teach people to squat deeply with an upright posture. The kettlebell is a counterbalance to get you in a squat position to train your glutes, quadriceps, and anterior core strength through a more extensive range of motion.
How to do it:
- Hold a kettlebell at chest height underneath your chin, shoulders down, and chest up.
- Get your feet into your preferred squat position.
- Begin to lower your hips, pushing your knees forward and out, keeping your chest up until your elbows touch your inner thighs or knees.
- Stand back up and squeeze the glutes at lockout.
- Reset and repeat for desired repetitions.
The kettlebell snatch is an explosive movement that engages the entire posterior chain and teaches you to stabilize your shoulder in the overhead position. This primarily trains the glutes, hamstrings, quads, back, and shoulders, but it’s really a full-body exercise.
How to do it:
- Have one or two kettlebells between your feet with the feet at hip-width apart.
- Perform a hip hinge and grip the kettlebell(s) with the handle resting diagonally in your hand(s).
- Hike the kettlebell back into a hip hinge like the swing.
- As you rise, pull your elbow(s) up until they can rise no further.
- Allow the power from the hip snap to punch your fist(s) toward the ceiling. The KB should wrap around your wrist as your elbow extends.
- Go back to the starting position and reset and repeat.
3 Kettlebell Workouts for Glutes
When you’re looking to target the glutes, look no further than the three workouts below. With a mix of squats and hip hinge exercises, slow and powerful exercises, your glutes may have a muscle pump like never before.
Swing & Squat Workout
- 10 kettlebell swings
- 1 goblet squat
- 15 kettlebell swings
- 2 goblet squats
- 25 kettlebell swings
- 3 goblet squats
- 50 kettlebell swings
Instructions: Use a 26-, 35-, or 52-pound kettlebell, depending on strength level. Complete swings, and without rest, perform the goblet squat. After finishing the circuit, rest and repeat for more rounds. Substitute the snatch or kettlebell front squats for the squat if you want to. If you are a beginners to kettlebell training, start at just two rounds and build up from there.
Trainer Tip: Use the same kettlebell for the swings and squats with minimal rest between the two exercises.
Swing, Squat, And Carry
- 10 swings
- 5 goblet squats
- Suitcase carry 40 yards each side
- Rest 1 minute
- 10 swings
- 4 goblet squats
- Suitcase carry
*Continue to drop a rep on the goblet squats each round until you’re finished
Combining swings, squats, and carries without letting go of the kettlebell will increase your heart rate and test your grip and glute strength.
Instructions: With the kettlebell weight of your choice, perform the swings, squats, and suitcase carry on each side without putting down the kettlebell. Rest one or more minutes after the carry. Go down one rep on the goblet squats while keeping the swings and carry the same until you get to one rep of the goblet squat.
Trainers Tip: if your grip fails, choose a lower weight to complete all the rounds. Also, you can substitute in the snatch, front squat, or Turkish get-up here for swings if you prefer.
10-10-10 Glute Burn
- 10 double kettlebell front squat
- 10 kettlebell single-leg deadlift (one KB only)
- 10 kettlebell snatches (can do single or double KB here)
Instructions: Choose any of the 3 exercises above and perform 10 reps of each in an exercise circuit. Rest as much as needed between exercises and circuits, and do as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes.
Trainers Tip: If you’re performing unilateral exercises, perform 5 reps per side, not 10 per side, to get more rounds and cardio burn-in.
Kettlebell Workouts for Glutes: Final Thoughts
The kettlebell, with its shifting center of mass, the ability to easily transition between exercises, and the ability to perform various hinges and squats, is a great exercise tool to target the glutes. The benefits of kettlebells are many, including:
- Improve your grip strength
- Help burn fat
- Improve your cardiovascular conditioning
- Increas your power output with swings, snatches, and cleans.
This weird-shaped cannonball object could be the tool to take your muscle, strength, and conditioning to a new level. Plus, it will build a butt that Sir Mix-A-Lot will be proud of.
Kettlebell Workouts for Glutes: Q&A
Can you build glutes with kettlebells?
With the kettlebell being highly versatile and quickly switching between exercises, kettlebells are a great tool to build your glutes. Using a mix of ballistic hip hinge movements like the snatch and swing with the slow grinding movements of the deadlift and squat, you’ll build a “baby got back” because of the tension you’ll be placing on your glutes.
Are kettlebells good for the burn?
Kettlebells are great for the burn if this is what you want. With its offset load, your body has to work harder to stabilize the weight every rep, and you can easily switch between exercises to keep that heart rate up. Kettlebell moves such as the swing, snatch, and clean is the perfect mix of strength and cardio, so your lungs and muscles will feel the burn. The kettlebell is a great tool to improve your conditioning and burn unwanted fat2.
What weight kettlebell should I get for my glutes?
A great starting weight for beginners and women is the 26-pound kettlebell; an ideal starting weight for men is 35 pounds.
How do kettlebells target the glutes?
The most popular kettlebell exercises, like the swing, snatch, and clean, all start with the hip hinge, which targets the glutes and hamstrings. Other kettlebell exercises like the Turkish get-up, goblet squat, windmills, and deadlifts also focus on hip extension. Most kettlebell exercises’ bar presses focus predominantly on the posterior chain of the back, glutes, and hamstrings.
- McGill SM, Marshall LW. Kettlebell swing, snatch, and bottoms-up carry: back and hip muscle activation, motion, and low back loads. J Strength Cond Res. 2012. doi: 10.1/JSC.
- Budnar RG et al. The acute hormonal response to the kettlebell swing exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Oct;28(10):2793-800. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000474.
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Kettlebells were initially used in Russia in the 1800s as a weight to measure grains and other goods. But then Russian vendors started exercising with kettlebells to show their strength and quickly recognized they were on to something when they saw the size of their glutes popping. Now from Russia to you, we are delivering the best kettlebell workouts for glutes. Here we’ll explain why kettlebells are great for your glutes, » Read more about: Pump It Up: Try Our Favorite Kettlebell Workouts for Glutes » Read more
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