Top 5 Double Kettlebell Exercises

You’ve mastered the basic kettlebell exercises (swing, TGU, squat, clean, press, and snatch).  You’ve met some of your initial kettlebell training goals and are ready to take your KB training to the next level.

Challenge yourself in a new way and add some variety to your workouts with double kettlebell exercises!

A few unique qualities and benefits of double kettlebell exercises:

  1. More work/total weight lifted in same time frame = more calories burned and faster fat loss
  2. Ability to utilize more total weight during a given exercise = faster muscle gains
  3. More core involvement = stronger abs

So for today’s post, I’ve come up with a list of my top five double kettlebell exercises.  This list is by no means exhaustive (I actually came up with a list of seventeen of ’em off the top of my head before writing this) – but these are the moves you should master and incorporate first into your workouts before learning any other more advanced/exotic ones.

Today I’ll go over my top five double kettlebell exercises with you, and next post I’ll put together a couple of double KB workouts for you to try using these exercises.  In the meantime, read the exercise descriptions, watch the short video, and start practicing!

Video Transcript

If you’ve mastered all the basics – the squat, the Turkish get-up, the swing, the clean, the press, and the snatch with one kettlebell – you might want some variety and extra challenge to your existing kettlebell workout program. You can do some double kettlebell drills.

So today I’m going to go over the top five with you and give you some basic coaching points on each!

Our first exercise with two kettlebells will be the double kettlebell swing. This is going to be identical in mechanics to your normal kettlebell swing.  Just a couple variations – wide stance with the feet, you’re going to turn the kettlebells in slightly at the bottom. So you get a nice smooth transition and your palms are going to be facing the ground at the top. That’s your number one double kettlebell exercise.

Number two is the double kettlebell squat. We’re going to get into a wide stance, clean the ‘bells back, bring them up to the rack position so your thumbs are touching your collarbones, forearms straight up and down. Bring your stance in a little bit and we’re going to do the double kettlebell squat.

From here, our third one is the double kettlebell press. So you’re going to be in the same strong rack position, and we’re going to do our press with two kettlebells at the same time.

Number four is the double kettlebell clean. Same coaching points as our single kettlebell swing. Little bit wider stance, so we have room for the bells to clear.

Our fifth one is the renegade row. This is one of my favorites. It starts with a wide grip push-up, you get in the push-up position, do a push-up and then shift your weight to one side. You’re going to do a row with one ‘bell. The key with this one is to do your push-up and then be able to shift your weight. So you want to be able to pick up your hand and do your row. A common mistake with that one, if you don’t shift your weight over enough to one side, you don’t tighten up the abs enough, you don’t engage the glutes and tighten up the quads, and get tight enough for maximum benefit.

To sum up, you can add some variety into your existing kettlebell program and challenge yourself in a brand new way with double kettlebell exercises. Stay tuned for next time … I’ll share a couple of double kettlebell workouts you can do using the exercises I talked about in today’s article.

Thanks, and keep training hard –

Forest Vance, Level II Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor

PS – Like this article?  Find 58 more kettlebell/body weight workouts, 95 done-for-you meal ideas, 11 full-length training videos and much more here:  === >> Kettlebell Basics Weekly Workouts

Mud Run Kettlebell Workout

Training for a Mud Run? If you’re not using kettlebells as part of your training plan, you’re missing out big time.

Kettlebells are very effective for developing:

  • Dynamic/isometric strength
  • Anaerobic/aerobic conditioning
  • Quickness and explosive power
  • Flexibility/mobility
  • Mental toughness

ALL things you’ll need at a Mud Run event!

So – I’ve put together a Mud Run kettlebell workout for you.  Please note – this is NOT the be-all-end-all of your event prep.  You need to be training outside, doing some long runs, preparing physically and mentally for the events you’ll be facing, etc.  But incorporate this one into your overall routine … and it’ll also get you thinking about how your workouts should be structured leading up to the event.

Mud Run Kettlebell/Body Weight Workout

  • Fast run .25 mi
  • 50 Kettlebell swings (divided into as many sets as needed)
  • Fast run .25 mi
  • 3 Turkish get ups ea side (alternating sides each rep)
  • Fast run .25 mi
  • 15 pull ups (divided into as many sets as needed)
  • Fast run .25 mi
  • 20 burpees (divided into as many sets as needed)

Repeat for 2-3 rounds total

Additional workout notes:

  • Workout is best done on a track/soccer field/etc. where one could do the prescribed reps of an exercise, run the .25 mi and return to same area to complete the next exercise
  • “Fast” run means fast for you – a good rule of thumb would be about a 7/10 on an intensity level scale, with one being the easiest and 10 the hardest
  • For the swings, pull ups and burpees – you may divide the total number of reps into as many sets as needed, but you cannot move on to the next interval run before you complete the total number of prescribed reps.  For example, to complete 15 total pull ups, you might do one set of six, rest 20 seconds, do a set of five, rest 20 seconds, and do a final set of four.
  • Make sure to include a SMR/joint mobility/dynamic stretch warm up
  • For video demos/form pointers/etc. on each exercise, make sure to click the links on each exercise.

In conclusion, KB’s are a great implement to use in your training for the Mud Run event.  While this Mud Run kettlebell workout is NOT the be-all-end-all of your event prep, it’s a great place to start – and to get you thinking about how to put together your training sessions.

Thanks for reading, and talk soon –

Forest Vance, Level II Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor

PS – If you’re in the Sacramento, CA area, check out our complete Mud Run prep program here:

=== >> 2012 Mud Run Event Prep

PPS – If you’re NOT in the Sacramento area, can’t make it to our in-person training sessions, etc., but are interested in the training plan I’m putting together, shoot me a quick email and let me know – I’ll see what I can do 🙂

PPPS – We’ll DEFINITELY have the Mud Run training plans available to our Kettlebell Basics Weekly Workouts members.  And don’t forget – membership rates are officially going up in just nine days – so if you’ve been thinking about hopping on board, there’s never been a better time!  Click here for details and to secure your spot:

=== >> Kettlebell Basics Weekly Workouts

Kettlebell Warm Up

kettlebell warm up
Planning on lifting this puppy? You'll need a proper kettlebell warm up first ...

There’s a school of thought out there that says warming up isn’t necessary.  That if you have minimal muscle imbalances, that if you’re mentally prepared for physical activity at all times, that you should be able to hop right into your workout full bore, right out of the gate.  That when our ancestors had to run for their lives or run to catch an animal or lift a giant bolder or whatever, that they didn’t get a chance to warm up.  And that even in real life today, there are situations where one may need to lift a heavy object, run fast, etc. without the luxury of getting physically or mentally prepared first.

And so while I do suppose there is some validity in this line of thinking, I mostly disagree with it 🙂  Maybe if you’re in law enforcement, training for combat, etc. and your life depends on being able to perform at a high level without a warm up … in that case I can totally see why you would want to train this way …

But I can also tell you from personal experience – I feel WAY better when I go through a sequence of exercises/movements to methodically and specifically prepare me for the workout ahead.  And honestly, for those of you simply looking for general fitness, and without specific performance needs like the ones listed above – why WOULDN’T you warm up?

 Warm Up – Definition and Benefits

To start, here is the definition of a warm up from, along with some specific benefits:

A warm up is the act of preparing for an athletic event or workout by exercising or practicing for a short time beforehand. Warming up helps reduce your risk of injury and the aches and pains that come with exercise. The physiological reason to warm up is to assist your circulatory system in pumping oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles. The idea is to increase circulation throughout the body in a gradual manner. A proper warm up safely prepares the body for the increased demands of exercise. Cold muscles do not absorb shock or impact as well, and are more susceptible to injury.

A warm-up helps you prepare both mentally and physically for exercise and reduces the chance of injury. During a warm up, any injury or illness you have can often be recognized, and further injury prevented. Other benefits of a proper warm up include:

  • Increased movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
  • Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This prevents you from getting out of breath early or too easily.
  • Prepares your muscles for stretching
  • Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure
  • Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
  • Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
  • Improved coordination and reaction times

The Kettlebell Warm Up

Here is the sequence I use to prepare for myself and training clients for kettlebell workouts; it is both field-tested and backed by research and science as one of – if the best – way to warm up and prepare yourself for physical activity:

1. Self Myofasical Release

Deep tissue massage therapy modalities such as myofascial release improves flexibility, function, and performance; speeds up the recovery process; and reduces chronic pain and injury risk. Regular deep tissue massage breaks down adhesions and scar tissue that form in the fascia. With the use of a few simple, inexpensive tools (foam roller and a soft ball), you can perform daily self-myofascial release (SMR) and receive much of the same benefits as weekly professional bodywork.  And it’s fantastic to do before a workout; click the link below to check out a full article about it:

=== >> Self Myofasical Release

2. Joint Mobility

Joint mobility training is important for several reasons:

  • It improves performance by helping you learn how to properly engage each joint and muscle group in your movements.
  • It increases the efficiency of your movement.
  • It drastically decreases the chance of injury by elimiating incorrect movements along incorrect joints.

Here are more details about joint mobility training and a quick video on how to do it:

=== >> Joint Mobility 

3. Dynamic Stretch

A ‘dynamic warm-up’ or ‘movement prep session’ is the last element in my warm up sequence; click the link below to learn how to do it:

=== >> Dynamic Warm Up How-To

In conclusion, while there are some folks out there that think warming up for your kettlebell workout isn’t necessary, unless you have specific training needs like the ones outlined in this article, I disagree with this line of thinking.  There are many proven benefits of warming up, and honestly, if you can, why not?

The warm up sequence detailed in this article is perfect to get you ready for your next kettlebell session. Incorporate it into your existing kettlebell routine and see increased results today!

Forest Vance, RKC II

PS – Signed up for my weekly email newsletter yet?  You’ll even get a free copy of my Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training when you do so – just drop your name and best email into the box at the upper right of the page to get it now!

The Kettlebell Windmill

The Kettlebell Windmill

The picture above is of me, at the July 2011 RKC II, performing a kettlebell windmill.

And I’ll admit it.  Until I attended this training, I did NOT like the exercise.  It felt awkward, I didn’t know if I was doing it correctly, and it just didn’t feel like I was getting much out of it.

Then I learned how to do the exercise PROPERLY – and I quickly realized just how powerful it was for building core strength, shoulder stability and mobility, opening up the thorasic spine, “unlocking” the hips, and a whole lot more …

My goal with today’s video and article is – especially if you’re in the same boat as I was before the RKC II – to help you learn how to do the windmill properly … and to fully realize all the wonderful benefits it has to offer!

First, check out the video below to see the kettlebell windmill learning progression:


And now for some additional coaching points …

Kettlebell Windmill Progression

Weightless Windmill

Start with a ketttlebell at the instep of your foot. Your feet should be pointed to the side at approximately 45 degrees.

Poke your hip out to the side. The movement in this exercise is coming from the hip and not the torso.
Let the hand slide down the leg; tap the ‘bell and stand up.

(You’re imagining you have a kettlebell in your top hand throughout the movement here.)

Bottom-Hand Windmill

Same exact movement; now you’re simply picking up the ‘bell with your bottom hand.

Standard Windmill

Same movement – only now the KB is overhead. Arm is locked, shoulder is “packed” – same principles as the Turkish get up. Make sure you tense the glute and engage the core to stand up.

Kettlebell Windmill Workout

Now for a sample workout using the windmill … here’s one from the brand new 21 Fat Burning Kettlebell Workouts program (the exercise, in fact, is a staple of the full plan):

In conclusion, the kettlebell windmill is a great exercise – but it can be a little tricky to master.  Follow the progression outlined in this article, take your time learning, and you’ll be on your way to building strong shoulders, a back of steel, and a bulletproof core … with the the KB windmill!

Train hard and talk soon –

Forest Vance, Level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor