Kettlebells for Runners

Kettlebell – a cast-iron weight (resembling a cannonball with a handle) used to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training.


I’ve been into swinging, the kettlebells, for about a year and half. A little history, Kettlebells were developed in Russia in the 1700s. The Soviet army used them as part of their physical training and conditioning programs in the 20th century. They have been used for competition and sports throughout Russia and Europe since the 1940s. They recently became popular in the United States. 

So what? Why Kettlebells?

Kettlebells are truly an all-in-one fitness, strength and conditioning tool. They promote strength, cardio, flexibility, and mobility with an emphasis on CORE strength. This is perfect for those looking to maximizing workouts, those without a lot of time or runners tying to add to their strength without taking too much time away from running. One to Three 20/30-minute workouts a week will provide results. You will be stronger and you will run faster.



I generally do 2 kettlebell moves, the Swing and the Snatch. The swing is considered the easiest and most effective move .According to to do the swing, place the kettlebell on the floor and stand about two feet behind it. Keeping your back straight, bend at the waist and knees as you reach forward and grasp the handle. Steadily lift the kettlebell, let it swing between your legs and pop your hips forward as you swing the kettlebell in front of your body. Continue to swing the bell between your legs and forward in a pendulum motion. When you swing it forward, forcefully contract your abs, glutes and quads. It is at this point that you should exhale. Do not arch your back or use your arms or shoulders to move the kettlebell.

I should note that the swing can be done with 1 or both arms ( I am not an expert, trainer or professional however I suggest you start with both arms/hands and work your way up to one handed swings)

The Military Press is part of the snatch, at least that is my understanding and it works the shoulders and core. Straddle the kettlebell with your feet in slightly wider than shoulder-width position, reach down and grab the kettlebell with your right hand. Carefully lift it off the floor, flip it over so the ball portion rests on the back of your forearm and tuck your arm into the front of your body. This is the rack position and that movement is called a clean. The kettlebell should now be at upper chest height. After bending your knees slightly, stand straight up as you push the kettlebell straight above your head. Forcefully contract your abs, glutes, and quads for a full second, lower the kettlebell to your chest and repeat. After doing a set of reps, switch sides.


The Snatch is a combination of a one arm swing and military press. To begin this exercise, start in the same position as with the swing and place one hand on the kettlebell. Carefully lift it off the floor, let it swing between your legs and forcefully lift it straight above your head. When you do this, flip the ball over to the back of your forearm and keep your arm as straight as possible. Swing the bell back between your legs, repeat for a set of reps and switch sides.

Wow! this sounds awesome now what kind of kettlebell should I get?  again I am not a professional so according to many many websites, training manuals and store sales reps Women usually begin with the 9kg/18 lbs or 12kg/26 lbs and Men with either the 16kg /36 lbs or 24kg/53 lbs. With that said I have 15lb and 20lb one that I purchased from GOFIT. They make Regular and Contour ones and they come with a video that probably does a better job at explaining the movies then I can. This site has a ton of informative videos if you are interested.  Also your local sporting goods store should also sell them. Happy swinging!

Do you swing?


    Thanks so much for doing this post! I've heard of kettlebells but had no idea what they were used for! I will have to give them a try!

    Mindy @ Road Runner Girl | 6 years ago Reply

      be prepared to get addicted to them ;)

      Josephine | 6 years ago Reply

    Not yet, but at some point I'll be adding to my workout plan these type (Kettlebell) of workouts will probably be incorporated.

    The Convivial Coach | 6 years ago Reply

    Thanks for this post. I have been wanting to start a kettle bell routine to strengthen my core and this is a great set of exercises to start with. You have motivated me to get a kettle bell or two after work today!!

    Bill Dowis | 6 years ago Reply

    Do you swing? Yea, well I did when my knee didn't hurt. I have a 35lbs KB.

    Alex (@alexbridgeforth) | 6 years ago Reply

      You must be strong! Hope you knee gets better soon

      Josephine | 6 years ago Reply

    LOVE Kettlebells! My trainer works them into a lot of our workouts and they are awesome.

    Carly D. (@carlyrachael) | 6 years ago Reply

    I love kettlebells. most of my runner friends don't use them,....yet. lol. It's great to know Runners are mixing it up!

    Michelle | 6 years ago Reply

      Seems like people are scared of them, at least people I know are ;)

      Josephine | 6 years ago Reply

    this post is exactly what I've needed. I've been at a loss as to what weight kettlebells to purchase. :)

    Wild Things Run Free | 6 years ago Reply

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