The Best Kettlebell Workouts For Runners

The Best Kettlebell Workouts For Runners

By Brittany van Schravendijk:

Kettlebell training is an effective, appropriate, and time-efficient way for runners to prevent injury and improve performance. Running causes a lot of impact on the body each time the foot strikes the ground, and long-distance running especially can wear down the muscles and joints over hundreds of miles. Strength training can help prepare the body to resist typical overuse injuries from running, which are often the result of tight and/or weak hip, gluteal, and core muscles. Even if injury is not a concern, strength training can lead to increased speed and power, as well as increased muscular endurance. Kettlebell training specifically targets the hamstrings, glutes, back, and core all at once - areas that are notorious for causing injury in runners if they are not strengthened. Sounds like kettlebells and runners were made for each other, am I right?

Below we will go over some of the best kettlebell exercises for runners. The images show the movement and the text will highlight the important parts of the movement. For some of the movements you can click on the name to watch a full demonstration. Lastly, we have created workouts that put it all together in order to give you some kettlebell training ideas for running.

Single Leg Deadlift - targets hamstrings and glutes and enhances unilateral stability.

    1. Start in a standing position with a kettlebell in one hand.
    2. Reach the kettlebell for the floor by hinging at your hips and lifting the leg on the same side that you are holding the kettlebell. Keep the muscles of the lifted leg engaged by squeezing the quad and flexing your foot.
    3. Ensure back is flat, standing knee is slightly bent, and hips drive back to engage the standing leg's hamstring and glute.
    4. After you tap the kettlebell to the floor (or however far down you can go maintaining a flat back), rise back up to standing position with control.

Goblet Squat - targets hamstrings, glutes, quads, arms, and core.

  1. Place hands on either side of the kettlebell handle and hold the kettlebell in front of the chest.

Push hips back with the chest up to come into the squat position; elbows should lightly tap the inside of the knees.

Drive through the heels and squeeze butt muscles to return back to a standing position.

Swing - targets hamstrings,

glutes, back, and core.

    1. Start with the kettlebell about a foot in front of you and feet hip width apart.
    2. Reach forward to grab the kettlebell handle with both hands, keeping back flat and hips up.
    3. Pull the kettlebell back between the legs, maintaining hip hinge and chest up.
    4. Rapidly extend hips by squeezing butt muscles, which will cause the hips to push the arms, and thus the kettlebell, up to chest level. Keep full body tension and an active core with a sharp exhale as you extend the hips.

Side lunge - targets hamstrings, glutes, quads, and core.

    1. Hold a kettlebell in front of you with both hands on the handle.
    2. Step sideways and bend the leg that steps out while keeping the opposite leg straight. Keep your chest up and shoulders back. Think of this movement as a squat on one leg, while stretching the other leg out straight.
    3. Drive into the bent leg to propel yourself back to the starting position.

Read on to see Kettlebell Workouts in which we put it all together for you and give you full workouts to train with on a weekly basis!

Row - targets back, arms, and core.

    1. Start in a lunge stance with one leg back and the same side arm grasping a kettlebell.
    2. Retract the shoulder blade and pull the kettlebell up until the elbow just passes the body. Keep the elbow tight to your side throughout the movement.
    3. Release the kettlebell back down, releasing the shoulder blade at the bottom.

Get Workouts Here:

Press - targets back, shoulders, and core.

    1. Start with the kettlebell in the rack position.
    2. Press the kettlebell overhead, keeping elbow in line with the shoulder the entire way up. Use an exhale to create tension and engage abdominal muscles through the challenging portion of the lift.
    3. Bring the kettlebell back to rack position.

Turkish Sit Up to Side Plank - targets back, shoulders, arms, glutes, and core.

    1. Start on your back with one leg straight and one leg bent, with the foot of the bent leg flat on the floor. Legs should be about 45 degrees apart. The arm on the side of the bent leg holds a kettlebell up over the shoulder, the other arm is 45 degrees out from the body with palm facing down.
    2. Roll onto the elbow of the arm on the floor, keeping the kettlebell stabilized over the shoulder.
    3. Push up onto the hand, again moving the kettlebell up slightly to stay over the shoulder. Lift hips up as high as possible, pressing the foot of the bent leg firmly into the floor (keep the other leg straight).
    4. Release hips back down to the floor. Slowly come down to the elbow, then all the way back down to the floor. Use the arm and the core for a controlled descent.

Read on to see Kettlebell Workouts in which we put it all together for you and give you full workouts to train with on a weekly basis!

Here are some great workouts we have created which utilize the movements highlighted above. You can do these a few times a week to increase strength and endurance and improve your running! Additionally, you can subscribe to our workouts which utilize some of these movements or be creative and make your own workouts with the movements above.

Workout 1: Super Kettle Sets

Superset 1: 3-5 sets (No rest between exercises; 1-3 minutes between sets depending on the weight used)
Single leg deadlift 10 reps per leg

Row 10 reps per arm

Superset 2: 3-5 sets (No rest between exercises; 1-3 minutes between sets depending on the weight used)

Lung 20 reps alternating

Press 10 reps per arm

Workout 2: Strength & Stability

Complete 1 minute per arm x 3 sets: (1 minute rest between sets)

Turkish Sit Up to Side Plank

Complete 5 sets: (1-2 minute rest between sets)

swing 20

Goblet squat 10

Sample Workout 3: Kettlebell Strength Ladder

Complete 3 rounds, increasing weight each round (1-2 minutes rest between exercises; full rest after each round):

swing 14

Goblet Squat 12

Lungs 10 each side

Row 8 each side

Single leg deadlift 6 each side

Press 4 each side

Turkish Sit Up to Side Plank 2 each side

What's next?

If this is your first time reading one of our posts, we create kettlebell workouts in collaboration with kettlebell experts designed to give you maximum results and not take up much of your time. We send these to your in box automatically every week! We recommend you read more about receiving a quick, free, dynamic kettlebell workout every week you can click below.

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Also, we recommend you subscribe to our posts so you can be notified when we publish more in this series. Additionally, you can be notified when we publish new articles about specific kettlebell movements or techniques as well as niche pieces like this designed for specific training.

About Brittany:

Brittany is a Master of Sport, World Record Holder, and National Record Holder in Kettlebell Sport. She learned how to lift kettlebells at one of the top Kettlebell Sport gyms in the United States, Ice Chamber, which has produced seven female Masters of Sport lifters to date (Brittany is the most recent one).

Brittany is the Head Coach of Kettlebell Sports at KOR Strength and Conditioning in San Diego, California. She has traveled all over the world to teach Kettlebell Sport workshops. Brittany is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA.

You can find more information about Brittany on her website ( ), which contains information, tips, videos, and tutorials on kettlebell lifting.

List of accomplishments:

  • Youngest American female Master of Sports
  • World Record Holder in 2x20kg and 2x16kg Long Cycle
  • National record holder in 24kg biathlon
  • National Champion in 24kg Snatch
  • Master of Sport, 24kg snatch
  • Master of Sport, 24kg Long Cycle
  • Silver medalist in 16kg Snatch at the IUKL World Championships, Junior category


Instagram: @kbfitbritt

Facebook: KB Fit Britt

YouTube: Brittany van Schravendijk

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