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What are the timeless symbols of physical fitness and health that we are all chasing with our endless miles on the treadmill and rep after rep of whatever exercise we are doing at the moment?  Ask any young child what it means to be strong and healthy and they will flex their biceps and pull up their shirt to expose their belly.  Big toned biceps and washboard abs have been those dragons all of us have been chasing our entire lives.  

What this article covers:


The nice thing about the kettlebell, which will be our focus in this article, is that this fitness tool will provide you with an excellent kettlebell ab workout  without spending endless hours in the gym or having access to a ton of gym equipment.

And while the simple to follow exercises that we discuss are working the core, the movements will be great kettlebell exercises for abs and bum or kettlebell workout for arms and abs.

Kettlebell Swings for Abs

The most important kettlebell exercise for abdominals and pretty much every other area of the body is the kettlebell swing for abs.  This exercises tones and build muscles, burns insane amounts of calories and can help develop our mobility and flexibility.

MASTER THE FUNDAMENTALS OF KETTLEBELL with the help of Steve Cotter and StrongAndFit.com!

kettlebell exercises to flatten stomach

This crucial standing kettlebell core exercise is one of the premier fundamental exercises and should not be left out of any solid kettlebell ab program.  Not many exercises are as efficient as the swing in making changes in our bodies over time.

The kettlebell swing is performed by placing a kettlebell between one’s feet which are placed about shoulder width apart.  In the two-handed version, you will reach down and pick up the kettlebell with both hands on the handle.  

You will inhale and while keeping the arms extended and straight (but not locked out), you will raise the kettlebell to shoulder height and while exhaling allow the kettlebell to swing down between your legs without bending at the waist.

Your straight back and hips form a hinge that will open and close rhythmically as you swing the weight from the bottom to the top position and back.  After only a few repetitions, you will begin to feel the impact of the movement as your ancillary muscles work to stabilize and support the primary core, hips and upper body muscles.

If you are just beginning to learn the kettlebell swing movement, it’s important to start with a manageable weight and focus on smooth, perfect repetitions.  Many kettlebell proponents focus on performing repetitions for time rather than trying to perform a specific number, but the choice is yours which approach you’d rather follow.

Keep things simple.  Grab a manageable weight.  For men this could be anything between 20-30 lbs and for women 10-20 lbs if you are beginners.  Set a timer for a minute.  Perform as many clean reps as you can in that one minute.  Rest for anything from 30-60 seconds and repeat.  Aim to complete at least 3-5 sets of 1 minute.  

Over time you can build up the amount of sets you do, or increase the length of each set.  To increase the intensity of the fat burn, you can even shorten your rest period between sets of kettlebell swings, or you can add more exercises and move through them in a circuit with no rest between the exercises.  At the end of a circuit of say 3-5 exercises, you can then add some rest.

The kettlebell swing works both aerobically and anaerobically to stress the muscles of the abs (and nearly every other muscle group) while also putting a cardio load on the heart that guarantees a huge calorie burn.  All of these factors are key to getting to those abs we’re looking to achieve.


Other exercises that target the abdominals a little more directly that you can incorporate into your existing workouts, or even create gut burning sessions focused solely on the abdominals are things like bridges, sit ups, side bends and partial Turkish Get Ups.


Bridges are accomplished by lying on one’s back and keeping the kettlebell suspended above the belly button with elbows close to the ribs.  With the feet tucked back towards the butt, you will thrust your butt off the floor elevating your body and the kettlebell in the process.


Sit Ups using the kettlebell are performed in a similar manner by lying on your back with your feet close to your butt and the kettlebell held above the core.  The upper body is then curled off the floor towards the knees.

These two exercises, The Bridge and the Situp, can also be combined to form an ab combo that is guaranteed to light those muscles on fire.  Try this version for some variety.


Side Bends are a great exercise for developing the sides of the core, made up of the oblique muscles.  These are performed by holding a moderately heavy kettlebell in one hand at arm’s length while standing upright.  Then slowly allowing the kettlebell to slide down one’s leg pulling you off center as far as you go, then slowly bringing the body back upright.  After a series of repetitions, i.e. 10-15, the kettlebell can be switched to the other hand and the other side performed.


The Turkish Get Up is another highly efficient kettlebell exercise that works every single muscle group, while taxing the cardiovascular system.  It could be argued that it is even more effective than the kettlebell swing for overall impact on the body when performed correctly.

MASTER THE FUNDAMENTALS OF KETTLEBELL with the help of Steve Cotter and StrongAndFit.com!

kettlebell flat stomach

The full Turkish Get Up is characterized by the person performing the exercise building themselves from a position on their back on the ground, all the way up to a standing position and back down to the ground.

In the partial version, the goal is to press the kettlebell overhead similarly to a press motion and then rolling up to the opposite side bringing the torso off the ground while maintaining the kettlebell extended upright.  The movement is reversed back down to the mat and repeated for the specific time or number of reps planned.

Add these simple kettlebell exercises to your ab routine and watch your overall fitness improve as those washboard abs begin to shine through.  Don’t be afraid to try other exercises.  The kettlebell is one of the simplest, yet most creative fitness tools available today.

Did you find the blog beneficial? If so, consider exploring our other guides.