In this guide, I’ll explain what makes kettlebells a fantastic piece of training equipment and how you can use them to build muscle, lose fat, and transform your skinny fat physique.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Fix the skinny fat look in 7 simple steps...
Download my free guide on fixing the skinny fat look in the next 6 months. Implement step one today!
What Are Kettlebells?
Kettlebells are a type of weight that’s shaped like a ball and has a handle on top. Like dumbbells, kettlebells can vary in weight and work well for various exercises.
Is Kettlebell Training Beneficial For Skinny Fat People?
Kettlebell training is beneficial for skinny fat individuals because the exercises provide a sufficient stimulus to promote muscle gain. Additionally, combining kettlebell workouts with moderate caloric restriction can help you achieve a body recomposition––building muscle and losing fat simultaneously.
Using kettlebells in your training allows you to create the necessary overload to keep making progress in the long run. One option is to use heavier kettlebells. Alternatively, do more repetitions and sets or tackle more challenging exercises. Increasing your workouts’ difficulty is crucial for long-term muscle and strength gain.
Another reason why kettlebell training works well for skinny fat people is that you can invest a bit of money and get a few of these for home training. Many people are still reluctant to return to the gym, but they can still train effectively at home. Plus, they don’t take up much space, and you can perform a variety of effective movements even if you get only one kettlebell.
What Benefits Does Kettlebell Training Offer?
Kettlebell training is not that widespread, especially among gym-goers, but it offers numerous good benefits:
1. Muscle Growth
While many trainees scoff at kettlebell training, it can promote muscle hypertrophy because it can cover all of the necessary criteria:
- Train all muscle groups two or more times per week
- Perform a variety of exercises for each muscle group
- Leverage a variety of repetition ranges
- Recover long enough between sets to maintain your performance
- Do enough weekly sets and reps to stimulate your muscles
- Avoid training to failure most of the time; leave one to three reps in the tank
Everyone builds muscle at a unique rate, but you can rest assured that kettlebell training will improve how your body looks, so long as you train hard and stay consistent.
2. Strength & Conditioning
Kettlebells are an excellent training tool for strength and conditioning. You can perform a range of exercises, put together fun and challenging circuits, push yourself to your limits, and train in various repetition ranges.
One option is to use kettlebells for traditional exercises like the overhead press, goblet squat, floor press, and bicep curls. Alternatively, you can perform metabolic conditioning workouts that revolve around more intense movements like kettlebell swings, thrusters, etc. You can also combine the two types of activities into fun and challenging sessions that make you stronger, athletic, and resilient.
3. Fat Loss
Fat loss primarily comes down to what and how much you eat. You must create and sustain a calorie deficit (consuming fewer calories than you burn), forcing your body to break down fat for the remaining energy it needs.
Aside from being careful what you eat, you should also follow a good training program to raise your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and protect your muscle mass. Kettlebell training is a fantastic way to achieve both. You create the necessary stimulus to protect your lean tissue and burn many calories, making it easier to be in a calorie deficit.
4. Balance & Athleticism
The beauty of kettlebell exercise is that most train a range of major muscle groups in your body, resulting in good stability and overall athleticism. Instead of doing something simple like a dumbbell curl that only focuses on the biceps, you’re doing more complex activities like kettlebell swings, thrusters, cleans, snatches, etc.
Complex movements are more challenging to master, but the benefits are well worth the effort. You teach your muscles how to work together, resulting in good coordination and more stability that translate to superior athletic performance in various sports and activities.
5. Quick and Effective Workouts
Another considerable benefit of kettlebells is that you can use them for several training styles. One option is to stick with traditional gym exercises:
- Overhead presses
- Kettlebell rows
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extensions
Alternatively, you can string together more complex kettlebell movements to train your entire body and finish your workouts in less time. The approach works great for people on a tight schedule looking to burn extra calories, promote fat loss, and maintain muscle while dieting.
A List of The 14 Best Kettlebell Exercises For Strength And Conditioning
Muscles worked: hamstrings, glutes, back, shoulders, arms, and midsection
Kettlebell swings are an excellent full-body dynamic movement that builds strength, power, endurance, stability, and muscle mass.
2. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
Muscles worked: hamstrings, glutes, back, midsection, and arms
Single-leg kettlebell Romanian deadlifts are a fantastic unilateral movement for training one leg at a time, improving your balance, and developing the posterior chain through a hip hinge.
3. Bent-Over Row
Muscles worked: back, shoulders, biceps, and midsection
Bent-over rows are a classic exercise you can perform with a kettlebell to strengthen and develop your back and biceps.
4. Goblet Squat
Muscles worked: quadriceps, adductors, glutes, back, midsection, shoulders, and biceps
Goblet squats are an effective variation where you remain more upright, leading to better quadriceps, back, and midsection activation.
5. Loaded Glute Bridge
Muscles worked: hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, back, and midsection
Glute bridges are a beginner-friendly exercise that strengthens your posterior chain through hip extension. Placing a kettlebell over the crease of your hips allows you to overload the movement.
Muscles worked: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, back, midsection, biceps, triceps, and shoulders
Cleans are a full-body dynamic exercise that builds power, strength, muscle coordination, and overall athleticism. The movement also offers an excellent caloric burn.
Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, lats, trapezius, midsection, chest, shoulders, and triceps
Thrusters are a dynamic exercise that trains a range of muscle groups together, making you stronger, more powerful, and more athletic.
8. Push Press
Muscles worked: quadriceps, midsection, back, shoulders, chest, and triceps
The push press is a variation of overhead presses that requires you to generate momentum off the floor. As a result, you can train with more weight and overload your shoulders and triceps well.
Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, midsection, back, shoulders, chest, biceps, and triceps
Kettlebell snatches are another full-body movement that trains many major muscles, developing your athleticism and strength.
Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, midsection, and arms
Lunges are an excellent lower body exercise that trains and strengthens one leg at a time, leading to balanced development and muscle growth.
11. Floor Press
Muscles worked: chest, shoulders, triceps, serratus anterior, and midsection
The floor press is a safe and effective compound exercise that strengthens your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Performing the movement on the floor limits your range of motion, placing your shoulders in a safe position and preventing your legs from contributing.
12. Lateral Squat
Muscles worked: quadriceps, adductors, glutes, hamstrings, midsection, arms, and shoulders
Lateral squats are an effective exercise that develops your quadriceps, adductors (inner thigh muscles), and glutes. Squatting to the side provides a unique stimulus and improves your balance.
13. High Pull
Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, back, midsection, shoulders, and biceps
High pulls are a fun and dynamic upper body exercise that improves muscle coordination, strengthens your core and develops your entire back, shoulders, and biceps.
14. Renegade Rows
Muscles worked: glutes, back, midsection, chest, serratus anterior, shoulders, triceps, and biceps
Renegade rows are a full-body exercise where you maintain a high plank position while supporting yourself on a pair of kettlebells. From the position, you must row one weight at a time, training your back, shoulders, and biceps.
A notable benefit of kettlebells is that you can also use one for simpler exercises like:
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extensions
- Lateral raises
- Chest flyes
- Calf raises
- Farmer’s carry
You can also check out an article I wrote recently outlining more traditional exercises for skinny fat people.
A Simple And Effective Skinny Fat Kettlebell Workout Program
Day 1 (e.g., Monday) - Full Body
Kettlebell swings - 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
Goblet squat - 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Push-press - 3 sets of 6 to 12 reps
High pulls - 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps (per side)
Day 2 (e.g., Wednesday) - Full Body
Bent-over rows - 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps (per side)
Loaded glute bridge - 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps
Floor press - 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps (per side)
Alternating lunges - 3 sets of 16 to 30 reps (total)
Day 3 (e.g., Friday) - Full Body
Cleans - 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps (per side)
Lateral squats - 3 sets of 16 to 30 reps (total)
Renegade rows - 3 sets of 6 to 12 reps (per side)
Single-leg Romanian deadlift - 3 sets of 8 to 15 reps (per side)
You can also read my guide on a fantastic beginner gym routine for skinny fat people.
5 Training Tips For Safe And Effective Kettlebell Training
1. Start With The Basics
Kettlebell training can be challenging, and you should avoid trying the most complex exercises initially. Instead, begin by learning the fundamental movement patterns:
- Strict overhead press
- Floor press
- Bent-over row
- Goblet squat
- Romanian deadlift
2. Pick The Right Load
Kettlebells are not adjustable, so you must have several to load movements correctly. For instance, you wouldn’t use the same kettlebell for bicep curls and goblet squats. The latter is an isolation exercise that trains the biceps.
You should always pick a load you can handle safely through a full range of motion. Always be in complete control of the weight, especially on more dynamic movements like cleans, thrusters, and swings.
3. Keel Your Entire Body Tense
Keeping your entire body tense is vital for weight training, particularly when using kettlebells. Maintaining whole-body rigidity is essential for keeping your balance and transferring force into the kettlebell safely and effectively. A soft midsection would limit your performance and put you at a higher risk of injuries.
4. Don’t Overthink It
Kettlebell training can feel overwhelming and inaccessible if you’ve never done it before. My advice is to avoid overthinking it and start with the basics. Sure, swings and cleans might not suit you now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start doing easier exercises to get comfortable with kettlebells and develop your skills.
5. Follow Sound Training Principles
Kettlebell training isn’t different from other forms of exercise. As such, don’t overcomplicate things and don’t follow different rules. Focus on the basics, and you will do great:
- Train all major muscle groups two to three times per week
- Perform enough sets for each muscle group to grow (generally 10-20 per muscle per week, but fewer can work for beginners)
- Put enough effort into individual sets but avoid training to failure all the time as that can prolong the recovery period and lead to technique breakdown
- Train in a variety of repetition ranges to cause overload and metabolic stress, both of which are essential for long-term progress
- Do various movements to keep your training fresh, change up the stress you place on your body, and train your muscles from different angles
Kettlebells are an excellent fitness too skinny fat people can leverage to build muscle and lose fat.
A notable benefit of kettlebells is their sheer versatility. You can perform a range of exercises, combine them in numerous ways to form effective routines and vary the intensity to fit your goals and schedule. Kettlebells are also great because you can invest some money and use them for excellent home workouts.