10 Kettlebell Workouts to Build Muscular Legs

 

For a seriously dynamic lower-body workout, look to kettlebell training. Even the basic swing is seriously lower-body dominant—your hips and glutes (and not your arms!) power up every swing. “Rather than isolate each individual muscle in the lower body separately, we can train them together so that our time is best managed and our results more powerful,” says Bob Garon, owner and head coach at Synergy Kettlebell Training, which has three locations in northern Illinois.

Coach Bob Pelsang, founder of Kettlebell Training USA in Jackson, NJ, agrees. “The strength and endurance will build character, definition, and a can-do attitude that will carry over into everything else you do.”

Let these workouts, designed by Garon and Pelsang, amp up your next Leg Day.

*If rest is not noted in the workout description, just rest as little as possible. 

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Workout #1

Warmup: 10 minutes Kettlebell Snatch

Beginners should switch hands every minute, while advanced should switch hands half way through.

Workout:

15 Deadman Burpees*

15 Situps with Kettlebell Overhead Press

15 Kettlebell One-Arm Rack Lunge each side

x3

*In the Deadman Burpee, you lower all the way to the ground on the lowering of the pushup and extend your arms out on the floor to the sides, then bring your hands back in to finish the pushup.

Core Finisher:

30 seconds Fire Hydrants

30 seconds Tree Climbers**

x3

**In Tree Climbers, you’re on your back, legs extended straight up into the air, then lift your upper body up to reach fingers toward toes.

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Workout #2

This progressive workout is a true commitment. The basic idea: You’ll work up to 5 minutes of each exercise with two minutes rest between. Once you’ve mastered that, you’ll shorten your rest by 30 seconds until you’re resting only 30 seconds between rounds. 

Warmup: 5 minutes Kettlebell Swings (light weight)

Workout:

Kettlebell Swing to failure or 5 minutes

Rest 2 minutes (or less)

Kettlebell Goblet Squat to failure or 5 minutes

Rest 2 minutes (or less)

Alternating Kettlebell Goblet Forward Lunges to failure or 5 minutes

Rest 2 minutes (or less)

Alternating Kettlebell Goblet Reverse Lunge to failure or 5 minutes

Rest 2 minutes (or less)

Alternating Kettlebell Goblet Side Lunges to failure or 5 minutes

Rest 2 minutes (or less)

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Workout #3

Warmup: 1 minute Mountain Climber Burpees

Rest 20 seconds

1 minute Walkout Frog Hops (jump as far as possible rather than a short hop)

Rest 20 seconds

1 minute Up Up Down Down Plank Pushups

x2

In Mountain Climber Burpees, add a mountain climber set after the jump to plank. Walkout Frog Hops have you walking out to plank with your hands, then frog-hopping your legs back in. Up Up Down Downs start in a tall-arm plank position, then you lower one arm at a time to forearms, then back up, alternating lead arms.

Workout:

15-9-6-3 reps of each:

Double Kettlebell Clean and Jerk

Double Kettlebell Deadlifts

Double Kettlebell Rack Squats

Core Finisher:

1 minute Bicycle Crunches

Rest 20 seconds

1 minute Heels to Heaven*

Rest 20 seconds

1 minute Flutterkicks

x2

*Heels to Heaven are reverse crunches done with straight legs.

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Workout #4

Warmup: 5 minutes Kettlebell Swings (light weight)

Workout:
10 Pistol Squats, alternate legs

10 Kettlebell Swings

10 Lateral Lunges

10 Reverse Lunges

10 Forward Lunges

10 Split Squats

Repeat until failure

For the lunges and split squats, you can either hold one kettlebell, goblet style, or use two and hold them down by your sides.

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Workout #5

Warmup: 5 Double Kettlebell Jerks

x3

Workout:

16-minute AMRAP:

3 Man-Makers

5 Wall Climbs

7 One-Arm Rack Kettlebell Split Squats, each side

25 Jump Ropes

For Wall Climbs, start in tall-arm plank position with your feet against the wall. Walk your hands back as you walk your feet up the wall until you’re in a handstand. Advanced athletes can add a handstand pushup before walking back out.

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Workout #6

Warmup: 5 minutes Kettlebell Swings (light weight)

Workout:
Holding a kettlebell in each hand:

10 Walking Lunges

10 Squat Jumps

10 Leaping Lunges

10 Calf Raises

Put kettlebells down and repeat sequence.

Then, repeat entire routine till legs on fire.

This workout is really tough. Maintaining good form is more important than reaching each rep count without rest.

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Workout #7

Warmup:

30 seconds One-Arm Kettlebell Squat Thrusts, each side

30 seconds Double-Rack Kettlebell Hold

x6

That hold seems simple enough—rack and stand there—but you’ll be amazed at how many muscles have to stabilize, especially if you go heavy with the kettlebells.

Workout:

15 Kettlebell Prisoner Squats

2 Heavy Farmers Carry around gym

15 Double Kettlebell Squat Thrusts

2 Heavy Farmers Carry around gym

x4

For the Prisoner Squats, you’ll hold the kettlebell against the upper back rather than behind the head or neck.

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Workout #8

Warmup: 5 minutes Kettlebell Swings (light weight)

Workout:

10 Alternating Reverse Lunges with Kettlebell Twist

10 Alternating Forward Lunges with Kettlebell Twist

20 Supine Kettlebell Pullovers with Flutter Kick

20 Bicycle Crunches

10 Kettlebell Squats

Repeat to failure

For those lunges with twist, you’ll twist to the side of the knee that’s forward. For the Pullovers on your back, maintain the flutterkick the whole time.

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Workout #9

Warmup:

21-15-9-3 of Kettlebell Cleans to Squat Thrust

Workout:

45 seconds each:

One Arm Kettlebell Swing, each side

Kettlebell Snatch, each side

Kettlebell One-Arm Bent-Over Rows, each side

Rest 45 seconds

x4

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Workout #10

Warmup: 5 minutes Kettlebell Swings (light weight)

Workout:

50 Kettlebell Prisoner Walking Lunges

10 Alternating Forward Lunges

40 Kettlebell Figure 8s to Hold

10 Burpees

30 Double Kettlebell Cleans

10 Burpees

20 Double Kettlebell Swings (go heavy!)

10 Burpees

10 Walkouts with Pushup

10 Burpees

In the Prisoner Walking Lunges, hold the kettlebell against the upper back, not the neck or head. For the Kettlebell Figure 8s to Hold, you’ll figure-8 the kettlebell between and around your legs, then pop your hips to swing/curl it up toward your chest where you’ll “catch” it with your free hand and hold for a moment before going down for the next figure 8 (at which time you’ll switch hands for the hold).

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