In this article, we outline the very best kettlebell workouts for over 50’s and highlight some fantastic kettlebell exercises for anyone just getting started.
Kettlebells are a great bit of functional fitness equipment and can be used in a variety of exercise classes and workouts, to deliver all round body strengthening and conditioning.
Kettlebells are perfect for at-home training and those who want an effective workout without investing in lots of equipment and gear. Most exercises don’t require that much space either.
With just one kettlebell, the world’s your oyster and you can really target so many muscles in your body and enjoy very varied exercise routines.
Kettlebells can deliver a fantastic strength workout, making them ideal to help build muscle and support functional movement in everyday life. Kettlebells exercises often involve lots of muscles working together, which helps improve skills such as coordination and balance (which often aren’t discussed enough in terms of healthy ageing).
For over 50s, the benefits can be clear and abundant, including:
- Better grip
- Improved mobility and range of motion
- Better cardio-vascular fitness
- Weight loss
- Better core stability and strength
- Improved upper body strength
- Improved lower body strength
- Improved posture
Like any exercise routine, especially in terms of weight training, there are risks so always consult with your doctor before starting. Similarly, ensure your form is good when performing any kettlebell exercise. Some movements involve swings which if performed badly could cause injury.
Selecting a Kettlebell Weight
The most appropriate kettlebell weight will largely depend on your current strength. It’s always better to go too light to begin with, than too heavy. At least if the kettlebell is too light, you can develop better form and get used to the movements. If it is too heavy, you risk developing bad habits as you learn how to do the exercises.
As you get better and stronger, you can invest in a heavier kettlebell.
As a starting point:
Kettlebell Weight for Men Over 50
Kettlebell Weight for Woman Over 50
Our Favourite Over 50 Kettlebell Workout
There are so many kettlebell workouts out there, but we love the one in the video below. This is beginner friendly and a great way to get introduced to kettlebell workouts.
The beauty of kettlebell workouts is that everyone can follow a very similar routine, regardless of your fitness level. The only difference is the weight of the kettlebell. This makes it great for group classes and exercising with a friend.
To begin with, you could follow along to the workout below without using a kettlebell and simply go through the motions. This in itself will be a great way to get your body used to it.
It’s very easy to start to design your own kettlebell workouts by mixing and matching from a variety of exercises and movements. Perhaps you want to focus more specifically on improving lower body strength, or maybe developing better balance.
The exercises below are some of the fundamental kettlebell movements.
Kettlebell Swing Double Arm
This is undoubtedly the most iconic kettlebell exercise and one that most of us naturally think of when kettlebell exercises are mentioned.
This is a great all round strength and conditioning movement that you can do to develop explosive strength in the lower and upper body. Correct form is required to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your lower back. You should really feel your legs, back, shoulders and arms all working in harmony.
Although the movement is a swing, you really want to be pushing your feet down and using your energy and strength to maintain this stable foundation. From here, the move with naturally take its course.
Kettlebell Swing Single Arm
The single arm variation of the swing is a great option if you’re finding your kettlebells slightly light or want to target each side individually. This will mean a single arm needs to swing the kettlebell, making it harder than the double arm swing.
It’s always worth doing sets on both arms to ensure you don’t develop strength imbalances.
The advantage of doing single arm swings is that you test each side and don’t allow for a stronger side to mask imbalances in strength or balance.
The kettlebell pull-up involves pulling the kettlebell up towards your chin with both hands. This will not only strengthen your shoulders and back, but it also requires a good grip so provides a great exercise to strengthen hand grip. Grip is often something we all need to improve but fail to prioritize it in daily exercise workouts.
The halo is a great exercise to practice coordination, balance, strength and upper body mobility. This exercise involves passing the kettlebell around your head. Instead of trying to do it really quickly, go for a slow and controlled approach.
Kettlebell Bent Over Row
The bent over row is a fanastic exericse and one that packs a punch in terms of strength training. It is very versatile and can be done with dumbbells, barbells, sandbags or even kettlebells.
There are lots of subtle variations you can do that are well worth experimenting with. For example, you can really increase difficulty and turn the exericse into a balance test by standing on one leg. If you keep your leg straight, this would also require your hamstring to be engaged, helping target more muscle groups.
The kettlebell Russian twist is highly effective at toning and strengthening your core. While sitting, hold the kettlebell with both hands and move it from side to side, tensing your core as you do so. To make things more challenging, try lifting your feet off the ground. This will force you to balance as you twist from side to side.
The shoulder press is another functional movement that will develop practical strength. Being able to lift that suitcase into the overhead storage will be a breeze once you do some kettlebell shoulder press exercises.
You can either do these single or doubled handed.
Single will be more difficult as all the weight is on one arm but this will give you more range of motion to push up and extend.
Single Arm Deadlift
The kettlebell single arm deadlift engages a lot of muscles and helps develop explosive power in your lower body. Remember to keep your chest upright and back straight.
Although the deadlift looks like a pulling exercise, try to think of it as a pushing movement. You should be pushing down on the ground, creating leverage to lift the kettlebell up.
Straight Leg Deadlift
The straight leg deadlift is one of our favourite exercises for those who spend a lot of time sitting down. This really targets the hamstrings and helps resolve potential weaknesses here (which can sometimes be a cause for lower back pain).
Keep you back and legs as straight as possible. If you’re having difficulty keeping them straight, look to do more flexibility training exercises.
The goblet squat is a tough exercise and takes the regular squat to a whole new level. You’ll be gripping the kettlebell tightly with both hands as you squat down and up. This engages the upper body and core, turning the exercise into an amazing full body workout. This is ideal for anyone who is busy and wants to pack a lot into a short period of time.
Keep your back straight and focus on pushing down through your feet to gain the power to squat up.
The tukish get-up is quite an unusual exercise (and name) but don’t let that put you off. It’s another great movement to develop functional strength and test your muscles in a different way. Starting in a sitting position, push the kettlebell in an upward motion above your head using a single arm. Maintaining this straight arm, raise yourself up from a sitting position to a standing position.
This will force your body to engage all sorts of muscles and skills. It requires strength, balance, flexibility and coordination – all of which are worth their weight in gold for over 50’s.