Kettlebell Leg Workout | Build Stronger, Leaner Legs

Introduction | kettlebell leg workout fitness benefits | Start the workout!

A woman completing a kettlebell leg workout. She is performing goblet squats.

If you want to build functionally strong legs, you need to include this kettlebell leg workout into your training routine. The organisation of kettlebell exercises ensures that every lower body muscle group is engaged.


Also, because there are two workouts to choose from, you can focus on either strength development or muscle endurance and cardio conditioning.


So, if you’re looking for a compact workout that targets all the muscles of the lower body, this one is for you.


kettlebell leg workout fitness benefits

You stand to gain a number of health and fitness benefits from this kettlebell leg workout. The first benefit is that of building stronger leg muscles. Kettlebell exercises like the goblet squat increase muscle density in the glutes and quadriceps.


In addition, because of the dynamic nature of the kettlebell exercises, you will be engaging in functional movements. Functional exercises, such as kettlebell stepping lung, improve motor skills as well as coordination and control.


Furthermore, these exercises also involve a wide range of muscles beyond those specifically targeted. For example, kettlebell step-ups primarily engage the quads and glutes. But because step-ups are a functional movement, and because muscle contraction is required to support the weight, this exercise also stimulates the core, traps, shoulders, and the muscles of the arm.


The fitness benefits of this workout do not stop there.


If you select workout Option 2, which involves completing a series of short CrossFit-style AMRAPs, you will begin to notice an increase in muscle endurance and fitness conditioning. The AMRAP (as many reps as possible) training methodology is the ultimate in overload training. Sustaining high output for extended periods requires that the heart works harder to fuel the muscles. Thus, as well as improving muscle endurance, AMRAPs also get the heart rate up and with it improve cardio conditioning.


Kettlebell leg workout key benefits

  • Increases strength in the major muscles of the legs

  • Enhances muscle endurance

  • Activates the cardi-respiratory system

  • Develop functional fitness


Related: Best competition kettlebell


How to do this kettlebell leg workout

You have two options to choose from. Each option delivers a different training outcome. The first is geared more towards developing functional strength whereas the second enhances endurance and aerobic fitness. Here’s how they work.


Option 1 is structured similarly to a standard gym session. For each of the four kettlebell exercises, you will complete the prespecified sets and reps. The sets and reps span the strength and muscle endurance range. This means that if you want to focus purely on strength, you should select the lowest set but use a heavier kettlebell. If you want to make muscle endurance your focus, move up the range but down the kettlebell weight.


Option 2 is all about volume and overload. Organised into four 5-minute AMRAPs, your objective is very simple: perform as many reps as possible in the time allotted. After each AMRAP take a 2-minute break before progressing to the next exercise.


kettlebell leg workout key points

  • Complete the warm-up prior to starting the workout

  • Select the option most suited to your training objective.

  • Using the session plan provided, progress through the four kettlebell exercises following the appropriate formula.


Cardio and kettlebell warm up

Before starting the kettlebell workout it is wise to complete a progressive warm-up. Warming up prior to working out will improve performance while decreasing injury risk. The warm-up for this workout is as follows:


5-minutes rowing at a low intensity
1 up to 10 reps air squats into press-ups
2-minutes rowing at a moderate intensity
1 up to 10 goblet squat into kettlebell swing
1-minute rowing at maximum intensity

kettlebell leg workout

A diagram of the Hungry4Fitness kettlebell leg workout.

Kettlebell exercise tutorial

What follows is a brief overview of the key teaching points of all the exercises that feature in the kettlebell leg workout. If you’re more of a visual learner, each exercise includes a link to a short video tutorial.


Kettlebell goblet squats

  1. The kettlebell is held in front of your chest, elbows locked at 90 degrees.

  2. Adopt the same as you would when performing a barbell squat: feet spaced a little over shoulder-width, toes pointing at a slight angle, back straight, eyes fixed forward.

  3. Under control lower to 90 degrees.

  4. Pause momentarily before standing up.


Kettlebell stepping lunge

  1. The stepping lunge can be performed with one or two kettlebells. If you’re going solo hold the bell in the same position as the goblet squat. If you’re lunging with a pair, hold them at your side as you would a pair of dumbbells when doing the farmer’s walk.

  2. Leading off with the right leg (or left, your choice), step forward and out slightly. (Stepping out helps with balance.)

  3. Smoothly sink into the lung by bending the lead leg until a 90-degree angle forms at the knee. Don’t allow the kneecap of the rear leg to touch the floor.

  4. Power out of the lunge and return to the start position.

  5. Alternatively, if you’ve got enough space, step the rear leg in line with the lead before initiating the next repetition.


Kettlebell plyo squat jump

  1. The kettlebell is held in the same position as the goblet squat.

  2. It’s advisable to perform this exercise on a cushioned training mat.

  3. Execute a squat as normal. However, you don’t have to sink below 45 degrees. The focus of this exercise is the explosive plyometrics jump. The initial squat is merely a build-up to the main event.

  4. Explode out of the shallow squat propelling yourself high above the floor – the higher the better!

  5. Land on your tip toes and roll the foot down as this reduces impact.

  6. Sink immediately into the next squat and repeat.


Kettlebell step ups

  1. First position a stable object of about 2 feet high on a cushioned training mat.

  2. The kettlebell step up can be performed with one or two bells. When using one the bell can be held in two different positions. First: at your front (goblet squat-style). Second: between your legs as you would when doing deadlifts. If you’re using two bells hold them at your sides.

  3. Standing in front of a solid object, then, step up ensuring to plant the full foot on the flat surface.

  4. Bring the other foot level before stepping down with the lead leg. Either change legs or complete the full set on one leg before changing. (Note: if you select the AMRAP option you will need to change legs after each rep.)


kettlebell leg workout hints and tips

Ensure that you are technically proficient at all the exercises before starting the workout. If you encounter an exercise that you are not 100% confident at performing, either brush on your kettlebell lifting technique or use a light bell.


To help keep track of your progress through the sets-and-reps option of the workout, consider using the session plan provided.


If you pluck up the courage to have a bash at the AMRAPs, make a note of your rep scores. This will give you a benchmark to compete against if you have a go at the workout in the future.


 

Enjoyed this kettlebell leg workout

Get your hands on 70 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 2.

This kettlebell leg workout concludes with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits and Workouts Volume 2. This image shows the Hungry4Fitness book of circuits and workouts volume two. Inside the image, it identifies the key features of the book which include: Over 70 fully customisable circuits and workouts suitable for all levels of fitness and ability; 4-Week Functional Fitness Training Programme; How to create your own circuits and workouts including essential training principles; Key exercise explanations and tutorials; A complete guide to fitness testing; The 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge; CrossFit-style training sessions including EMOM, AMRAP, and HIIT workouts; An illustrated, step-by-step guide to stretching.
 
Related: Try this 20 Minute Kettlebell Workout
 

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