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Millions of people are currently running on treadmills, lifting weights, and doing endless sets of sit ups and crunches in the hopes of achieving one of the most sought after indicators of a healthy physique and weight, visible abdominal muscles.  

What this article covers:


Just the tiny glimpse of a famous athlete or movie stars chiseled abdominals can set social media on fire.  For the average person, the amount of work that it would take to achieve those same abs seems inconceivable.  The famous athletes and Hollywood celebs have their trainers, their dieticians, and all the time in the world to work out.  It can seem hopeless.

But Strong And Fit is here to share an approach that could help get you to your goal of washboard abs, while improving your overall health and fitness.  And it might surprise you that it doesn’t involve endless hours of heart pounding cardio or starvation diets.  Instead, we’re going to recommend a tool that’s been around for probably thousands of years, but first gain real popularity a few hundred years ago in Russia, the Kettlebell.

Get Into Your Best Fighting Shape with the help of kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline and STRONGANDFIT.COM.

kettlebell abs

Before we talk about how to get a flat stomach with kettlebells let’s talk a little bit about the history of the kettlebell and why it continues to grow in popularity today.  The exact origin of the kettlebell or its inventor is hard to pin down.  There are some hints of this fitness tool as far back as Ancient Greece.

Even though there are some records of “kettlebell-esque” feats of strength coming out of Athens, the first documented use of the term “kettlebell” was in a Russian dictionary in the 18th century which mentions a “girya” which translates into kettlebell in English.

Physical exercises using the “girya” or kettlebell began to take a foothold in Russian fitness training with the help of a Russian doctor Vladislav Kraevsky.  Kraevsky is widely considered to be the originator of modern Olympic weight training.  He would open one of the first weight training facilities in Russian that made use of both kettlebells and barbells.  Dr. Kraevsky wasn’t just using kettlebell exercises for a flat stomach like the average person today might be.  Instead, his programs made use of the unique fitness tool to help build up areas of weakness to help the athletes perform at peak levels.

As Russian athletics entered the 20th century, kettlebells had become an essential part of the strength and conditioning programs.  The Russian military is also said to have adopted kettlebells to help build conditioning in its soldiers.  In the early to mid 1980’s the Soviet government would go as far as to mandate physical training involving kettlebells for all citizens to help foster both health and overall productivity.  The first national championship kettlebell games were held in 1985.

Get Into Your Best Fighting Shape with the help of kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline and STRONGANDFIT.COM.

kettlebell exercises for abs


In the US, it’s only been in the last few decades that kettlebell training has become popular.  Just as with most new fitness crazes, a few Hollywood outliers typically draw attention from the masses who become interested in their training regimes.

Let’s look at some of the many benefits of using kettlebells for one’s physical development before we get into specific kettlebell exercises for abs and arms or whatever bodypart(s) you’re looking to develop.

Kettlebells are unique because most exercises build full-body fitness and strength.  Unlike the machines and standard barbells and dumbbells being used at the local Planet Fitness, kettlebell exercises tend to require the use of multiple muscle groups at all times.  So even though, the purpose of this article is as simple as answering the question “Can kettlebell swings build abs?”  benefits of kettlebell work will be across your entire body.

Not only do kettlebells engage multiple muscle groups, improving their strength, one’s coordination and overall mobility are also being worked.  This gives them a greater overall impact thus leading to a more efficient fitness experience because of increased calorie burn.

Kettlebells tax our cardio as much as they work our muscles.  This makes using kettlebells a great alternative for the treadmill or elliptical.  For people who need to incorporate low-impact cardio into their workouts due to physical issues or injuries, kettlebells make a great option.  One round of a kettlebell circuit, implementing a series of 3-5 exercises done in succession with no rest, will quickly show the neophyte the true cardio impact of this simple tool.

Kettlebells help build lean muscle efficiently through the use of different types of lifting that impacts a variety of muscle fibers.  Because the overall weight of the kettlebell is lighter than what might be used in conventional weight lifting, the repetitions and duration of the work can be expanded which impacts muscles differently and goes a long way to building improved endurance.

Get Into Your Best Fighting Shape with the help of kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline and STRONGANDFIT.COM.

kettlebell workouts for abs

Kettlebells, when implemented properly, are an incredible fat burning tool.  Because of their ability to tax different muscles at the same time, the overall caloric burn and impact on the cardiovascular system is greater.  This combination of muscle pumping effort over and over for higher reps can help burn a ton of fat, which is essential when designing a kettlebell workout for abs and bum.


Up to this point, we’ve assumed that the reader knows what a kettlebell looks like, so let’s clear it up for anyone who has been living under a fitness rock for the last decade.  The kettlebell is a round cannonball shaped weight with a flat side that allows it to be set on the floor.  Attached to the round portion is an oversized grip.  The position of this grip in relation to the bell forces one to learn a variety of hand and wrist positions depending on the lifts, each one taxing the body and building the grip in a different way.

Due to its unique shape and the way it taxes an athlete’s body, the kettlebell also does a great deal to improve overall core strength, which goes a long way in building that abdominal infrastructure that we’re trying to let the world see through our hard work.  In addition, the way kettlebell exercises are performed in a ballistic manner helps build explosiveness that puts a strain on and develops a strong set of abdominal muscles.

Finally, one of the most important benefits of the kettlebell is because of the dynamic range of motion used in most exercises, it does a great job in improving any muscular weakness one might have.  This harkens back to the original purpose that our Dr. friend in Russia had when beginning to use this tool in conjunction with his Olympic lifting program.

These are just a few of the most important benefits of kettlebells as a fitness tool.  Now let’s look at two of the absolute best specific tummy exercises with the kettlebell that will help us achieve that goal of rock hard abs.

1. The Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell Swingis the godfather of all kettlebell exercises.  It is typically the first exercise anyone new to using kettlebells learns and it is arguably the most physically beneficial because of a long list of benefits.  

From a muscular standpoint, the kettlebell swing works the hips, the butt and lower back all at the same time.  When done properly the abs are contracted which help rounds the kettlebell swing out as one of the most effective overall core exercises.  The kettlebell swing is a controlled, yet explosive movement that strengthens the back, builds power in the hips and when done for high repetitions, it can build endurance and burn tons of calories while working to improve the cardiovascular system.

The Kettlebell Swing is performed by stepping up to a kettlebell that is placed between your feet, with either one hand or both hands.  Keeping the arms relatively straight, but not necessarily locked out completely, the kettlebell is lifted straight up to about eye-level and then allowed to swing down between the legs.  The back is kept straight and strong focusing most of the work in the hips.

2. The Turkish Getup

The Turkish Getup is one of the most challenging kettlebell exercises you can do.  Where the kettlebell swing shines in terms of relative simplicity, the Turkish Getup involves moving through a complex series of movements twice during each rep.  Therefore, it’s important to start easily and purposely with a lightweight kettlebell or no kettlebell in the beginning.

The Turkish Get Up takes an athlete from a fetal position with the kettlebell out to the side to a position where the bell is pressed overhead.  From this position, the athlete slowly builds themselves up while keeping the shoulder locked and the kettlebell overhead.  Once they have built themselves up to the standing position, the goal is to reverse the steps and go back down to the floor while keeping the arm and kettlebell extended overhead.

Get Into Your Best Fighting Shape with the help of kettlebell guru Pavel Tsatsouline and STRONGANDFIT.COM.

kettlebell ab exercises

Because of the complexity and sheer number of movements this exercise takes you through, it is one of the most taxing from a cardio and calorie burn perspective, making it great for helping to work and expose those abs.  No single kettlebell exercise hits ALL of the benefits of using kettlebells like the Turkish Getup.  

If you have limited time and are looking for a dynamic, creative workout that will build strength, cardio, burn calories and fat, and ultimately help get you those abs you are striving for, look no further than the Kettlebell Swing and the Turkish Getup.  

You can focus on one of the exercises in each session or combine them.  There are a variety of ways to effectively use kettlebells.  One of the simplest is to set a timer for say anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes and simply try to perform as many repetitions as one can of either exercise.  Over time, work to perform more repetitions within your time range to help improve your conditioning and keep challenging you.

If you’re looking for abs and looking for a new way to get them, forget the classic treadmill and crunches.  Look no further than our friend the Russian doctor’s favorite tool, the powerful kettlebell to get you to your fitness goals.

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