THE BEGINNER KETTLEBELL WORKOUT: how to avoid an epidemic of squat + shoulder raises, and how to do it RIGHT!

On this page we promise that you will find: progressional detailed beginners kettlebell workoutfree 38 minute kettlebell swing tutorial for beginners, option to download the beginners workout as a PDF, videos that show further details of the workout and many other free beginners resources.

beginner kettlebell workout

Beginners Kettlebell Workout ‘Novicius’

The Ultimate Novice Kettlebell Workout that promotes progression.

On the Internet you’ll find a lot of misinformation, if you’re a novice looking for a ‘beginners kettlebell routine’ or ‘kettlebell exercises for beginners’, you’ll discover popular men’s magazines telling you for example that you need to be doing 5 beginners friendly exercises:

  • Kettlebell Deadlift
  • Kettlebell Swing
  • Kettlebell Squat Thruster
  • Kettlebell One Arm High Pull
  • Kettlebell One Arm Clean

Most ‘beginner’ exercises that you find in these popular magazines will come with a 2 paragraph instruction, 3 if you’re lucky, and not one of those refers to the hip hinge. If you’re really lucky, the photos of the exercises will actually match up with the actual exercises described, but it’s quite common that it’s not and perhaps you’ll see a photo of someone pressing a kettlebell in what is supposed to be a “Kettlebell one arm high pull”.

Those guides/articles can definitely not be classified as “kettlebell exercises a beginners guide”, but don’t be disheartened, we’re here to provide you with a true kettlebell beginners workout that includes exercises suitable for kettlebell novice.

The above 5 recommended beginner exercise comes from an actual men’s magazine which a lot of people have a high regard for and trust the source of, but not only are these not beginners exercises, the descriptions and photos of the exercises are confusing and wrong. Here is an explanation of why it’s not a beginners workout nor beginners exercises.

Listing the deadlift first is great, as the conventional deadlift should be mastered first because it is so similar to the kettlebell swing hip hinge movement, but the description does not mention the most important part—the hip hinge movement—which will result in the most common mistake people make starting out with kettlebells, which is turning the movement into a squat and shoulder raise.

The kettlebell swing should not be suggested to a beginner without listing the proper technique or referring to other sources where the novice can find the information to properly understand and learn the most important kettlebell exercise a beginner needs to learn. [check out the free 38 minute long video with audio on the kettlebell swing we provide free access to below]

The kettlebell squat thruster is not something that should be included in a beginners program or even suggested until the squat is correct and a simple strict press can be performed with proper arm lockout.

The kettlebell one arm high pull should not be included until the one arm swing is covered.

Like previous exercise, the one arm clean should not be included until the one arm swing is covered, and like the kettlebell swing, the clean is not something you can cover in three paragraphs, there are so many intricate kettlebell clean details to make sure the client gets it right and does not injure themselves.

Any novice kettlebell enthusiast who stumbles on the above article and gives those exercises a go, will quickly put the kettlebell down and never look back at it because they will have a sore lower back, injured shoulders, banged up wrists or knees that are hurting.

Following is your beginners kettlebell workout plus novice exercises to work on and progress from

Beginners (Kettlebell) Exercises to Master

In a perfect world, or when training with us online, you will learn to execute the following exercises properly and in that order.

  1. Bodyweight hip hing
  2. Hip hinge hang lift
  3. Hip hinge dead lift video
  4. Bodyweight squat video or goblet Squat video (depending on status of technique)
  5. Kettlebell double arm swing video
  6. Kettlebell double arm swing clean video

For auxiliary drills use the squat jump and plank. The squat jump because you need to understand that the swing is an explosive movement and you need to push your heels into the ground. The plank because you would need to learn to pack your shoulders and chest by pulling down and back, furthermore, the plank provides great core strength and also happens to be close to the position you’re in at the top of your kettlebell swing.

The hip hinge hang lift is covered before the dead lift because it’s an easier version, closer to the swing movement and allows safe assessment of flexibility. The hip hinge dead lift follows because we want you to be able to pick up your weights without hurting yourself, and it’s the natural progression from the hip hinge hang lift (AKA 3HL).

The squat because it’s one of the primal movements everyone should know how to do correctly before anything else, plus some progressional movements rely on the squat, we’re also covering it because a lot of people think that a squat is the same as sitting into a chair, while that might not be so bad for non weight bearing exercises, that same technique is going to get you into trouble once you add some weight to your squat.

The kettlebell double arm swing is the king of kettlebell exercises and anyone training with kettlebells should understand this exercise before progressing to other exercises, especially because a lot of other important exercises depend on the swing movement.

The kettlebell double arm swing clean is the next progression and besides the assisted clean, the easiest clean you can learn. It’s an awesome transitional movement to exercises like the kettlebell halo, front squat, lunge and twist, overhead press etc. Learning this movement will allow you to start putting together exciting kettlebell complexes that will keep your mind and body entertained for a long time. Without further ado, following is your free beginner full body kettlebell workout.

Kettlebell Beginners Workout ‘Novicius’

Great workout for practising and improving the kettlebell swing but at the same time still able to give you that workout you’re looking for while not neglecting other parts of the body.

Performed with one kettlebell.

Exercise #1

Double Arm Swing

Repetitions: 5

Exercise #2

Alternating Halo

Repetitions: 5
Transition: Double Arm Swing Clean

Exercise #3

Double Arm Swing

Repetitions: 4

Exercise #4

Front Squat

Repetitions: 5
Transition: Double Arm Swing Clean

Exercise #5

Double Arm Swing

Repetitions: 3

Exercise #6

Double Arm Overhead Press

Repetitions: 5
Transition: Double Arm Swing Clean

Exercise #7

Double Arm Swing

Repetitions: 2

Exercise #8

Squat Hang High Pull

Repetitions: 5
Transition: Double Arm Swing Clean

Exercise #9

Double Arm Swing

Repetitions: 1

Rest and repeat as required.

*the transitions are mentioned so that you know how to move from the previous exercise into the next.

Set a time and do as many rounds possible, or go for time by setting the amount of rounds to be completed. When setting a time, try and stick to something achievable and safe like 15 to 20 minutes, when setting rounds, stick to about 8 to 10. Gradually increase over time by adding weight, reps, time or more rounds. Perform the workout once or twice a week and keep track of your progression.

When to rest?

Rest before you’re fatigued, you can rest in the double arm racking position, rest the bell on one of your shoulders or put the kettlebell down all together and rest.

Following is a video of Gloria who performed this beginner workout and sent us the footage. Note, there are some improvements with transitions to be made, in particular into the last swing, but overall, awesome effort.

Exercise Details

Double Arm Overhead Press

Start from the chest, brace the core, squeeze everything tight, slightly pull the head back when pressing up, and gently bring it forward once the Kettlebell is past the head, pull the lats down, slightly pull the shoulder blades together, pull the biceps towards the ears, lock the elbows out and actively but in a controlled manner pull the kettlebell back down. The grip on the Kettlebell is thumbs around the horns, palms around the Bell, handle pointing down and base pointing up.

Double Arm Squat Hang High Pull

You stop the kettlebell from the swing by transitioning with a double arm swing clean, then from the chest you bring the kettlebell down, arms straight, come into a squat hang, come back up fully, slight pause and high pull with the traps and front delts, the elbows lead and stay above the handle, do not being the hands higher than the elbows, the kettlebell should not come higher than the chin and keep the bell close to the chest, it should travel in one straight path up and down.


The other exercises are covered in the videos listed, if you have any questions at all, do not be afraid to post them below.

Taco Fleur

Kettlebell Head Coach

Taco FleurTaco Fleur is one of the qualified and certified kettlebell head coaches at Kettlebell Training Education (KBTE), owner of the popular Youtube channel and website Cavemantraining, World Kettlebell Community, has travelled the world, lived in 3 continents, owned 3 gyms in two different continents and has a sincere passion for kettlebell training and helping other people understand how to train with the kettlebell.


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Free Beginner Kettlebell Resources

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