The Best Double Kettlebell Exercises
Hey everyone - Nikolai Puchlov of Pro Kettlebell here.
If you’ve ever wondered “Do I need one or two kettlebells to perform the exercise correctly?” or “Do I need two kettlebells to make things more intense in my workout?” then you’ve come to the right place.
I’m here to share some of my favorite two-kettlebell exercises and explain how to achieve them perfectly.
You’ll need a matching pair of kettlebells (both the same weight) to perform these double kettlebell exercises. However, many of these can be modified for single kettlebell work.
Click the youtube video above for an overview of my top nine favorite double exercises of the moment, and if you have a pair, jump on in to one of the great doubles workouts we have on our Pro Kettlebell Workouts Training App :
Top 9 Double Kettlebell Exercises
A gunslinger is a swing that is done on the outside of the body. It’s like you’re holstering two pistols.
Starting with a narrow stance, take your two kettlebells and swing them on the outside of your legs. Once the bells approach waist height, row those arms back with your elbows nice and tight to your lats.
This exercise is going to work your biceps, your legs, your erectors, but primarily I throw the gunslingers in when I’m looking for a really dynamic bicep exercise!
#8 Rack Squats
Take your kettlebells into the rack position. Then, put your feet about shoulder width apart or where you squat best and squat from that rack position.
Squat deeply, going all the way down. The rack squat forces you to have to really pick your elbows up to keep from rounding your back.
You’re going to have to work hard with your erectors to keep your chest up and it’s really going to put a lot more emphasis on those quads!
#7 Kettlebell Burpees
What’s better than a burpee? A kettlebell burpee!
This double kettlebell exercise will get your heart rate pumping in no time.
I like to stand inside of my kettlebells, so the kettlebells draw a line across the arches of my feet. Drop your hands down on the kettlebells, kick back into a plank, perform a pushup, jump back to your feet, stand up and repeat.
I love those kettlebell burpees! They get your heart rate going, it’s a full body exercise you’re getting your chest, shoulders, core, legs, abs and your erectors. It’s the whole meal deal!
#6 Alternating Press
When you want a good shoulder and tricep workout, go for an alternating press.
Take your two kettlebells into the rack position. The rack is where you will be able to get a little bit of rest. Alternate pressing on the right and then returning the bell down to the rack and then pressing on the left.
Make sure you get you use your full range of motion as and fixate the bell at that top so you can really have to activate your stabilizer muscles to keep that bell nice and still overhead and then when you’re in that rack position keep your arm nice and tight to your body, so you can get a little bit of rest.
#5 Kettlebell Pushups
Who doesn’t love a nice chest bump? This exercise will turn a bird cage into a love nest.
Kettlebell pushups allow you to get a little bit deeper than your normal pushups.
Take a pushup position by planking on your kettlebells. If you want to work on your triceps keep the kettlebells right under your shoulders and keep your elbows against your ribs.
If you want to focus more on chest and lats, put the kettlebells just outside of shoulder width and keep your elbows at about a 45-degree angle to your ribs. If you really want to work your shoulders and open up that chest, position the kettlebells out even wider. Kettlebell pushups also really help to condition your hands for kettlebell sport if you’re into that.
When you initiate the pushups, make sure to come down nice and deep to expand your chest and then push up all the way through your full range of motion. Half reps make half muscles.
#4 Renegade Rows
Renegade rows are another great full body exercise that involves planking on the kettlebell handles. The closer your feet are to each other, the harder this is. Likewise, the farther apart they are, the easier it is.
Keeping the back nice and straight, row the kettlebell up while keeping your elbow tight to your ribs. Keep the kettlebell under control and squeeze at the top of motion, alternating arms each rep.
Not only are you working your shoulders and triceps in the plank, but you’re also really working your core because your body wants to twist as you row. Also, your obliques have to work really hard to counter that rotation and then you’re also getting a bicep and lat pump as well.
#3 Kettlebell Cleans
Kettlebell cleans work your entire posterior. They will really strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and erectors. You’ll also get some bicep benefits as well, and if you’re going really heavy, you’ll get a little bit of a shrug for your traps.
The clean is just a swing that finishes in the rack position. I liken it to a dynamic deadlift. You’re getting all the benefits of a deadlift, but with an added cardio benefit.
#2 Long Cycle
If cleans are great, how do I make them better? I add a jerk with it! The long cycle movement is simply a clean plus a jerk.
Sometimes they just call it clean and jerk.
To perform the long cycle, clean the kettlebells to the rack position, stabilize the kettlebells and perform a jerk.
Once you have locked the kettlebells out overhead, that’s considered one rep. Drop the bells back down to the rack, clean them again and repeat.
Long cycle is going to give you an amazing aerobic and anaerobic workout while strengthening your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, ABS, obliques, shoulders, triceps. It’s really a full body workout on its own.
If you were on a deserted island and could only do one exercise with two kettlebells, the long cycle would be your go-to for staying in great shape.
#1 Double Half-Snatch
Build strength and train your nervous system to exert some serious power!
I have been seeing a lot of people doing double half-snatch on social media right now. The double half-snatch is really similar to long cycle, but rather than stopping at the rack position and jerking the bells to the overhead position, you're going to use one big pull to get those babies overhead.
So, you're not using your quads and shoulders quite as much as you would with long cycle, but you're using more power and still hitting them and taxing those hamstrings, glutes, abs, erectors, and triceps. It’s a great full body exercise, as long as it’s done properly. Start by making sure your single snatch is dialed in.
When you’re snatching two kettlebells, this doubles the number of things that can go wrong, but we know how to minimize that risk. Bring it down to the rack after you snatch it and keep snatch mechanics in mind as you accelerate.
The setup is very similar to the long cycle. Your stance is wide enough to allow the kettlebells to pass between your legs cleanly.
You’ll want to hike the bells back nice and give a big acceleration pull. Make sure to quickly insert your hands when they’re at about 10 o’clock and lock out aggressively in your fixated position overhead, then return the bells back to the rack and that's the half snatch.
Those are my top nine double kettlebell exercises. Let me know your favorites, and how well they’re working for you!
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