This 7-move workout builds a stronger core using just one kettlebell

a topless man performing kettlebell windmills on the floor
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The mighty kettlebell is an excellent tool for firing up your core muscles, helping to build serious strength and contributing to an overall toned and chiseled midsection. If you're ready for a little challenge and own one of the best kettlebells then we have a seven move routine with your name on it.

The workout comes from Natalie Wilson who has crafted the routine to only include kneeling kettlebell exercises for targeting the core. This is going to make things a little more challenging for your core as the kneeling position means the lower body is less involved in stabilizing your body during the exercises.

This forces the core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back, to work harder to maintain balance and stability. On the note of kneeling, it's a good idea to add something padded to the floor where you are working out.

This will take stress off your knee joints helping to protect them and make the workout more enjoyable for you. We'd use one of the best yoga mats but a padded blanket or towel will also do.

What is Natalie Wilson's kettlebell core workout?

There are seven exercises to work through and the recommended rep range from Wilson for each is 12-16 but feel free to adjust this to what feels right for you. You should aim to complete three or four sets in total so make sure to factor in rest periods if you want to keep up good form and performance for the full whack of the routine.

Wilson uses a 15 pound kettlebell but when it comes to you trying out the workout simply pick whatever weight provides a good challenge for you without causing too much strain or hinders your form. Then you'll be ready to tackle the following moves:

  • Half kneeling windmill
  • Halo chop
  • Kneeling wood chop
  • Around the worlds
  • Hover pass through
  • Kneeling good morning
  • Press twist

Instead of just focusing on the more superficial muscles around your midsection, this kettlebell workout engages multiple muscles within the core, including the rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle), obliques (responsible for trunk rotation), and the transverse abdominis (which acts as a stabilizing belt around the torso). 

One of the primary benefits of performing these exercises in a kneeling position is the increased demand on the core for stability. Kneeling on the floor, your lower body provides a smaller base of support, which means the core muscles must work harder to maintain balance and control.

The kettlebell as a weight is particularly effective for strengthening the core due to its unique design and the type of exercises it facilitates. The off-center weight challenges your balance and stability and uses the core muscle to assist. It's also great for improving functional fitness by incorporating movements that mimic real-life activities, such as twisting, lifting, and bending.

This kneeling kettlebell workout will also come in handy for those looking to build definition around their abs. The intensity of the weighted exercises will help develop muscle and strength meanwhile the metabolic demand of a kettlebell workout, which includes compound movements, contributes to overall fat loss, helping to make the underlying muscles more visible. 

If you want to keep progressing your fitness and strength gains beyond this workout you should look to gradually increase the weight of the kettlebell you work with for this routine, in line with the progressive overload technique, and vary your fitness regime with a mix of cardiovascular workouts and full-body strength training. 

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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.