Forget sit-ups — this kettlebell workout sculpts your core in just 6 moves

a man performing a kettlebell workout outside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Adding kettlebells into your workouts adds a challenging element of resistance to your exercise, intensifying the muscle engagement during the different exercises and promoting greater strength and definition in the core. Lucky for you, we've found a six-move, kettlebell-only core workout for you to use.

All you need to get started is one of the best kettlebells and, possibly, a yoga mat to reduce strain on your joints and add some stability. Then you'll be ready to take on this routine from fitness trainer Alex Quig, who created a six-move weighted workout suitable for beginners and seasoned core crushers. 

If you're new to training with this style of weight, be sure to ask a trainer for some guidance and read our advice on how to hold a kettlebell properly. If you are experiencing any injuries or pain right now, avoid starting new workouts until you get approval from your doctor or physiotherapist.

Watch Alex Quig's 6-move core workout

Think you can handle three rounds of six kettlebell core exercises? We believe you can. Just be sure to focus on your technique to get the from right and avoid injury. If you're new to these moves, you can follow Quig's form in the video demonstrations.

The great thing about circuit workouts is that time flies by. For Quig's core-blasting circuit, you'll complete 10 reps of each exercise, take a 15-second rest between moves, and repeat the whole circuit for three rounds. Allow yourself a longer break between rounds — anywhere between 45-60 seconds, according to Quig.

Unfortunately, it's going to make more than one kettlebell workout to achieve a chiselled set of abs. Increasing lean muscle mass, lowering your overall body fat percentage and being consistent with resistance training will all contribute to building strength and definition in your core.

However, regular midsection strengthening moves like the ones above will ensure you target your core muscles from multiple angles and enhance muscle engagement and growth. Check out a full list of the moves below:

  1. Kneeling Around the World
  2. Upper cross rotation
  3. Half kneel low to high chops
  4. Kneeling halos
  5. Push press to rotational twist
  6. Knee tuck to double mountain climbers

These kettlebell exercises are like a power-up for the core muscles. The mixture of weighted moves will work your core muscles from all angles, targeting everything from your abs to those deep stabilizing you might not even know you had. 

Moves like kneeling halos and upper cross rotation add a twist (quite literally) ensuring your muscles stay engaged and challenged. Plus, dynamic exercises like push press to rotational twist crank up the intensity, helping you build strength and tone across your entire core. 

It's also possible to keep your core muscle gains by incorporating progressive overload into your training, gradually increasing the weight of your kettlebell as you become stronger and more comfortable with the exercises. This will help ensure each session challenges your muscles to adapt and grow stronger.

If you've read this far and don't like training with weights or, you don't have access to a kettlebell, we would like to assure you that it is still possible to strengthen your core without weights. Classic bodyweight exercises like planks, crunches, and leg raises are fantastic for targeting the abs and obliques. 

Similarly, incorporating Pilates into your fitness regime can enhance core strength and stability through controlled movements. The same can be said for yoga, which not only strengthens core muscle but also improves your flexibility and balance.

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Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.