The Kettlebell Bombshell’s Guide to Kettlebell Workouts For Women

Lisa Balash is a Pilates and Kettlebell trainer in Las... read more

What’s the difference between a workout for a man and a workout for a woman? If you’re a woman does it really matter what you do, or how you do it?

The answer is YES!

There is a big difference between male and female bodies and the way they work. This means there is a specific way that women should train their body to tighten, tone and keep its feminine shape.

woman with kettlebell

Most male trainers teach women to train with light weights and a lot of repetitions. The problem with this style of training is it shortens the muscles and tends to givey you a bulky appearance over time.

I am a former national level Figure competitor and I was used to traditional weight training and cardio. Over time I became stronger, so the weights became light and I had to keep increasing them. Before I knew it, I could squat 225 lbs and bench press my own body weight, which was 165 lbs.

I was much bigger and I looked very bulky, but when I added kettlebells to my training three times per week, I  transformed my physique.

What Is the Advantage of Training With Kettlebells?

When you are holding a barbell on your back while doing squats or lunges, the weight is supported by the neck, trapezius muscles, back, shoulders and arms. The weight a woman can squat will increase because most women have very strong legs and your upper body will become stronger too from holding the weight.

Kettlebell-Training for women

When you are squatting or lunging with a kettlebell, the  weight will be lighter because of the unique way you hold the Kettlebell. When combined with other kettlebell exercises like Cleans, Snatches, Jerks, Push Presses and Turkish Get-Ups you are using every muscle in your body, including the cardiovascular system. I particularly love this because it saves time and keeps me off of the boring treadmill.

The kettlebell is designed to move around your body on different planes of motion which recruits all of your stabilizers. This helps you to burn more calories and allows your body to work more efficiently.

Traditional weight training will also use stabilizing muscle groups but because of the kettlebells “U” shaped handle, your central nervous system responds to it much differently.

Kettlebell training is functional training and uses the joints, ligaments, tendons and skeletal structure. Functional movements mimic everyday life activities so this type of workout does more than just build a beautiful body.

The kettlebell rests on the wrist bone over head, or in the lockout position, and when you sink the shoulders the scapula continues to support the weight. The same is true in the racked position. The kettlebell should sit on the wrist bone, not in the middle of your hand which can put undue stress on the shoulders. Ideally the elbow should reach  the top of the iliac crest or hip bone.

The handle allows you to open the hand and rest while working where barbell or dumbbells do not have this option.

Kettlebells do not isolate the muscles so you will not put on much size as a result from using them – in fact it’s quite the opposite. When you train with compound exercises, multiple muscle groups at one time, this burns more calories opposed to single joint exercises.

Here is an overview of compound movememnts versus single joint movements:

Compound Movements Single Joint Movements
Squats Bicep Curls
Lunges Hamstring Curls
Push-Ups Tricep press downs
Chest Press Shoulder Raises
DeadLifts Leg Extension
Pull-Ups These types of exercises build an individual muscle group hence giving it a shortened, rounder or bulky appearance.

I avoid the single joint moves with my workouts so that I stay long and lean. Using the kettlebell efficiently will give you a much better workout and a more feminine physique.

  • You will not become big or bulky
  • You will increase strength without hypertrophy
  • You will sculpt your entire body with one tool
  • You will improve cardiovascular conditioning

Circuit training or H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training) has been proven to be the most effective way to burn fat and save time. These types of workouts are fast paced and fun and you’re finished in 20-30 minutes.

Add this to your training now and watch how much faster you tighten up and slim down.


Sample Kettlebell Workout Plan

Use a kettlebell that you feel comfortable with and if you need more rest than suggested please take it! Go at your own pace and work up to shorter rest breaks or heavier weights.

Remember! There is no isolation with kettlebell training so you will not get bigger. A good nutrition plan will also get better results.

Workout time: 40 seconds

Rest time: 20 seconds

Rest between segments: 1 minute


Beginner 10-15 lbs

Intermediate/advanced 18-25 lbs

Two Hand Swings 40 sec
Alternating One Arm Swings 40 sec
Cleans (R) 40 sec
Cleans (L) 40 sec
Rest 1 minute
High Pulls 40 sec
Alternating High Pulls 40 sec
Swing Catch Squat 40 sec
Rest 1 minute
Clean Squat Push Press (R) 40 sec
Clean Squat Push Press (L) 40 sec
Racked Lunge (R) 40 sec
Racked Lunge (L) 40 sec
Rest 1 minute
Figure 8’s 40 sec
Speed Skater Figure 8’s 40 sec
Figure 8’s to a hold ( to the shoulder) 40 sec
Snatches (R) 40 sec
Snatches (L) 40 sec
Swing Snatch (R) 40 sec
Swing Snatch (L) 40 sec

Cool down and stretch.

Here is the video with Lisa where you can watch how to perform each exercise.

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