Top 4 Beginner Kettlebell Exercises

Kettlebells are an awesome training tool for strength, flexibility, and endurance. The amount of different exercises we can do with them is vast, but which exercises are best for beginners trying to learn the basics? Here is an outline of my top 4 kettlebell exercises for beginners:

1.) The Sumo Deadlift

A great exercise for the legs, hips, core, and back. It’s also key to learn this one before moving on to the swing.

With the kettlebell between your feet, start the movement by pulling the hips back. Imagine there is a wall behind you and you’re tapping it with your hips.

You should feel a nice stretch in the back of the legs at the bottom of the movement. Grab the KB with both hands and stand up with it. That’s one rep.

2.) The Swing

The beginning of this movement should be nearly identical to the Sumo Deadlift. Now, instead of simply picking the weight up, snap the hips (like you’re jumping) and let the kettlebell swing up to about chest level.

This is a totally lower body – driven movement. If you’re doing it right, you should feel the hams ‘load up’ at the bottom of the move, and the weight should float for second at the top.

Keep the arms relaxed and the shoulders down and back!

3.) The 1/2 Get Up

Start lying on the floor with the KB at shoulder level. Pull it into the body, roll over to your back, and press the weight in front of your chest, kind of like you’re doing a dumbell bench press.

‘Punch’ the weight up towards the ceiling while pivoting on the opposite elbow. The same leg as arm is up and should be bent at this point with the heel planted on the ground. Come up until the arm on the ground is straight, and then simply reverse the movement. That’s one rep.

The 1/2 Get Up is another great beginner kettlebell exercise. Next comes the Squat.

4.) The Squat

Holding the KB by the horns with both hands, perform a squat. Keep the chest up and shoulders down and back! And remember to sit back – and keep the knees behind the toes.

Learn these basic four beginner kettlebell exercises before you move on to more advanced ones. They can be done by themselves in sequence, for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps each, for a great total body workout, or ‘vertically loaded’ – done one after another with minimal rest – for a killer circuit.

These are just a few basic kettlebell drills to get you going; if you’d like to learn in more detail about how to perform these exercises, get some sample workouts, check out some great kettlebell training videos, and a whole lot more, check out a free week of my “300” Kettlebell Training plan here:

-Forest and the Team at

TT Bootcamp Workout #4 – “Tabata Time” (Advanced)

Bodyweight training is the perfect compliment to kettlebell work.

By strategically blending KBs and calisthenics, you can hit all five aspects of fitness:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Muscular strength
  • Body composition

Today’s workout is from the “Turbulence Training Bootcamp Workouts” ebook. I highly recommend you pick up a copy and get some great ideas on how to incorporate bodyweight workouts with and into your kettlebell program. (Turbulence Training Bootcamp Workouts is actually oriented towards trainers and fitness professionals, but truly ANYONE looking to reap the benefits of bodyweight exercise can benefit.)

Check it out:


TT Bootcamp Workout #4 – “Tabata Time” (Advanced)

*Check out full exercise descriptions in the main program HERE

Warm-up (30 seconds per exercise) – 10 minutes

• Run in Place
• BW Squat
• Inchworm
• Cross Crawl
• Prisoner Forward Lunges
• Shuffle
• Rest 1 minute before repeating 1 more time.

TT Strength Circuits (30 seconds per exercise) – 10 minutes

• Vertical Jump & Stick
• Spiderman Pushup
• 1-Leg Deadlift (30 seconds per side)
• Rest 2 minutes before repeating 1 more time.

TT Tabata Circuits – 10 minutes

• BW Squats – 20 seconds BW squats plus 10 second hold in bottom position x 8 rounds
• Rest 2 minutes and take water break
• Pushups – 20 seconds pushups plus 10 second hold in top position x 2 rounds

Water Break – 2 minutes

TT Big 5 Conditioning Circuit (30 seconds per exercise) – 10 minutes

• Siff Squat
• Close-Grip Pushup
• Prisoner Sumo Squat
• Walking Lunge
• Mountain Climber
• Rest 2 minutes before repeating 1 more time.

Water Break – 1 minute

Total Body Abs Circuit (30 seconds per exercise) – 5 minutes

• Cross-Body Mountain Climber
• Plank
• Reverse Bridge
• Rest 1 minute before repeating 1 more time.

Cool-down, Stretching & Water Break – 10 minutes


To sum up, bodyweight training and kettlebells are like a match made in heaven. Master the basics of both, and you’ll have everything you need to stay lean, strong, and athletic – at ANY age. Be sure to check out the full TT Bootcamps program HERE. And here’s to your continued success!

-Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Kettlebell Expert
Over 40 Training Specialist

Kettlebell “Cluster Training”

Cluster Training is a little-known method that works amazing if you want to gain the most amount of strength in the least amount of time. It involves using short inter-set rest periods, which allow you to do more reps with a heavier weight. It is one of the main methods used in the Muscle Explosion – rapid strength gain plan.

One of the main benefits of cluster training is that you can do more reps with a heavier weight. You can overload the muscles more than you would in a standard rep set up. This results in faster improvements in strength and muscle gains.

Let’s take a cluster set of kettlebell presses for example. Let’s say the maximum weight you can press for five consecutive reps is 32 kilos / 70 pounds. With cluster training, instead of doing one set of five with that 32 kilo / 70 pound KB, we do four “mini-sets” of two reps, with a 10-15 second break between each mini-set. This allows us to basically do eight reps with our five rep max. We lift more, progress faster, and get stronger and bigger than we would be able to otherwise.

The new 28-day Muscle Explosion program put together by Nick Nilsson uses cluster training as one of its main methods. Using this little-known method in a specific and strategic way is how you are able to make very rapid gains in strength in a short period of time in this program.

To sum up, cluster training is a special training method we can use for rapid strength and muscle gains. It is not widely known, but it is very effective. It is one of the main methods used in the 28-day Muscle Explosion course. Learn more and pick up your copy at the link below:

-> 28-day Muscle Explosion

-Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Over 40 Training Specialist
Kettlebell Expert

“Is plank bad for abs?”

“Crunches and sit ups are back for your back! Plank instead.”

…says every personal trainer at your gym.

But here’s the thing they are missing:

Your abs are muscles. They grow when they are exposed to resistance exercise. If you can develop the muscles of the abs, you can see them easier. A point often not talked about, but a point that is also very true!

This means that though planks should be PART of your ab training, they shouldn’t be ALL of it. 

Planks are what is known as an ISOMETRIC movement – and they aren’t going to cause much actual hypertrophy (muscle growth). They are great for activation and strength and core endurance and other stuff. But you also need to do a variety of OTHER types of ab moves too for complete development.

Kettlebells are one of the BEST ways to train your abs, because you can do moves where you add heavy resistance for relatively low reps, and you can cause the muscle growth and development you are looking for.

Check out my upcoming 28-day Kettlebells for Abs Challenge to learn exactly how to get a stronger core, improve your posture, and finally get that six-pack – in just 28 days:

-> 28-day Kettlebells for Abs Challenge

And here’s to your ab training success!

-Forest Vance

11-min KB/BW Interval Finisher

A couple of days ago, I told you about a new way to do HIIT, that’s an especially great option of you’re over 40.

Today I want to show you a workout from the creator of the program, Mike Whitfield, a colleague and friend of mine.

The whole concept is:

– Short, quick-hitting, to-the-point workouts
– Easy on the body and joints
– Jack up your heart rate to burn fat fast
– Strength worked in so you build lean muscle too
– Lots of variety so you never get bored
– Minimal equipment – you just need a KB and/or a pair of DBS (and there are even bodyweight-only options/subs if you’re still working on getting equipment)

Check it out:

11-min KB/BW Interval Finisher

Do the following circuit ONE time, resting as shown:

– Stability Ball Jackknife Pushups (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– KB Goblet Squat (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– Ab Wheel or Stability Ball Rollout (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– Bulgarian Split Squat (Left Side) (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– Bulgarian Split Squat (Right Side) (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– Close-Grip 3/4th Rep Pushups (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– Jumping Jacks (50 secs), rest 10 secs)
– X-Body Mountain Climber (50 secs, rest 10 secs)
– Bench Vault (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– Pushup Plank (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– Split Shuffle (50 secs), rest 10 secs
– KB Swings (50 secs), rest 10 secs

No fluff, no frills, just straight to the point, and straight to the results 🙂

Take the next step to getting the best HIIT program for men and women over 40 at the link below:

=> HIIT for men and women over 40

…and here’s to your continued success!

– Forest Vance

T-Rex swing

The kettlebell swing is staple of my workout programming because:

  • It’s a very efficient total body exercise
  • It works your cardio
  • It improves athleticism
  • It strengthens dozens of muscles quickly

…and much more!

However, there is some technique involved. With most clients, it’s an on-going process to refine and improve the form.

One of the most common mistakes I see when performing the kettlebell swing is what’s called the “T-Rex” swing – it’s where the arms in the finish resemble that of a T-Rex:

What we want in a proper swing is the arms 100% (or as close as we can get) straight, more like this:

To correct the T-Rex Swing, here are some tips:

  • Flex your triceps. This is probably the simplest cue to help you NOT bend your arms, and keep the proper position.
  • Sit back into your hip hinge completely. The T-Rex swing can come from not getting enough hip drive on the ‘bell in the first place. Get the KB back there, imagine like you’re hike-passing a football (but it’s a kettlebell). Remember to keep your chest tall and look straight ahead or slightly down the whole time.
  • Use an “active” back swing. Don’t just let the KB fall; be active about almost throwing it down and back.

To sum up, kettlebell swings are an AWESOME move, that should play a role in most people’s workout plan! However, it is a move that is tricky to master, and takes continuous practice and refinement. One of the most common mistakes we see in the exercise is called the “T-Rex” swing, and in today’s article, I covered three quick tips to fix it.

Train hard, talk soon!

-Forest Vance
Kettlebell Expert
Over 40 Training Specialist

PS – Little tips like these – especially when they are specific to you! – can make ALL the difference in your training results. In my “KB Fit Over 40” – online personal training program, I can give you specific feedback, individualized to you, that’s going to help you shortcut the learning curve. Details and apply at the link below:

-> KB Fit Over 40 – Last Call to Apply

💪 Sneak Peak: “KB Fit Over 40” Online Personal Training with Forest Vance 💀

Check out this “sneak peak” into my KB Fit Over 40 online coaching program!

So many of my remote personal training clients talk about how cool it is that we have the technology to work together and get amazing results, whether they are working with me in person here at my Sacramento, CA – based kettlebell studio, OR pretty much anywhere else around the world with an internet connection!

Now, this sample workout is just a small example of how I can help you reach your goals working together remotely.

We are also able to:

– Design a written, personalized workout plan that you’d do on your own time

– Give you on-going, individual feedback on your training

– Formulate a customized nutrition plan together so that you know exactly what to eat and when to eat it …and MUCH more.

I’ve had my online personal training program going since 2014, and in that time, I have helped almost seven hundred men and women over 40 get the best results of their lives – with kettlebells!

Click the link below to apply and be my next success story:

KB Fit Over 40 –

– Forest Vance Owner, FVT Boot Camp and Personal Training

Master of Science, Human Movement

Certified Russian Kettlebell

Certified Personal Trainer

Certifed Performance Enhancement Specialist

Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist

Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach

“KB Fit Over 40” personalized coaching

ATTN kettlebell fans over 40 

I am looking for a few more people to join my “KB Fit Over 40” personalized coaching program!…

This is specifically for people who:

– Want some structure around their workouts and nutrition

– Want to get in shape without getting injured

– Are looking to keep stress levels down

This could be the perfect fit. Click this link, fill out the interest form, and I’ll get back to you ASAP:

-> “KB Fit Over 40” personalized coaching

Look forward to hearing from you –

– Forest Vance

Certified Kettlebell Instructor

Over 40 Training Specialist

How do you know when you are ready to go up in kettlebell weight?

How do you know when you are ready to go up in kettlebell weight?

The gap in available kettlebell sizes typically presents a significant increase in weight. KBs are typically available in 4k increments, so the jump from a 12k to a 16k for example is a full 33% increase in weight. This is a jump you would NEVER take, for example, in barbell training. (Imagine going from squatting 200 pounds one workout, to 265 the next!)

Plus, kettlebells are not cheap, so adding more weights can also get expensive in a hurry.

So then, how do you know when you are ready to go up in kettlebell weight?

The main criteria should be to be able to demonstrate smooth proficiency and feel at a sense of ease with your current set of kettlebells.

For example, if you can perform a smooth set of 5-10 kettlebell presses with ease and great form using your current weight, it’s probably time to size up.

Or if a set of 20+ two hand kettlebell swings feel easy, you can maintain perfect form, and do not spike your heart rate – it’s time to size up.

And remember, over time, you need to be continuously challenging the body to adapt in order to keep making progress. It could be adding weight, it could be adding reps, it could be doing a different, more challenging variation of an exercise – but the overall principle is critical for your long-term success.

I hope this simple guideline helps you safely and confidently grab that next kettlebell. Now go get those kettlebell GAINZ!!

– Forest

PS – My “300” KB Challenge workouts will help you get better results – and, with some of the advanced techniques in the program, you can probably get some additional mileage out of your current set of kettlebells! Details and grab a copy here ->

Zero-Gear Bodyweight Workout

The great thing about bodyweight training – IF you know how to do it right – is that you can unlock the hidden power in even the most basic exercises to revitalize your body and build high levels of fitness… with zero equipment required!

It’s also the perfect training approach if you’re trying to take it easy on the body and joints.

Try this Zero-Gear Bodyweight Workout from the Warrior Zero Challenge:


Zero-Gear Bodyweight Workout
from – Warrior Zero Bodyweight Challenge


2,3,5,8,13,21,13,8 …

You will set your timer for the duration of the Protocol; in this case 15 minutes.

Start with exercise #1 and perform 2 repetitions.

Next, exercise #2 for 2 reps, then exercises #3 for 2 reps.

You will stick with the 2 reps of each exercise until you complete 2 reps of all 8 exercises.

From there, you move on to 3 reps of all 8 exercises.

You will working through the repetitions until time expires (moving up and down the ladder). Perfect Form not Speed is the goal here.


  1. Hip Bridge
  2. Shinbox Switch
  3. Front Squat
  4. Tactical Push Up
  5. Spinal Rock
  6. Sit Thru
  7. Front Lunge
  8. Pull Press

*All exercises demoed, broken down, explained in the Warrior Zero Bodyweight Challenge course, HERE


WOW – how do you feel after that one?

It’s tough, and it’s also DIFFERENT than others out there – which is awesome to keep you motivated and excited for each and every session.

You’ll unleash a level of inner strength and confidence you may not know you possess right now, even if it’s buried beneath years of wear and tear.

Learn more and order now at the link below:

-> Warrior Zero Bodyweight Challenge

To your success –

– Forest Vance
Master of Science, Human Movement
Certified Personal Trainer