Kettlebell Exercises for over 40 or 50

Kettlebell/CrossFit Super Granny — Kettlebell Exercises for over 50

This months Caveman Athlete of the Month is another amazing person that shows us all that age is just a number. With this story I also want to address something that gets asked quite often, what are good “kettlebell exercises for over 50“.


My name is June Sawdon I’m 65, nearly turning 66. I’ve been a nurse for nearly 34 years and I have been attending different gyms for the past 30 years, including a boxing gym, but not for fighting, of course!

I have been lifting in kettlebell sport for around 18 months. I completed the 10 minute one arm snatch in the European Championships last November at which I successfully won a gold medal. I was so proud when I was stood on the podium and they played the national anthem.

I qualified for the world championship in Dublin this May for the one arm snatch and long cycle. I know this is going to be tough, but all I can do is my best and bring a medal back to England.

I train at Hull Kettlebell Club with my coach Nick Johnson, who is awesome, he believed in me when I did not. I also just started training at CrossFit to help with my strength and it just starting to pay off as I’m now training with a 12kg kettlebell.

I have also a few medals from the junior competition when I first started lifting. Besides kettlebell sport, I do body combat yoga and spinning. Over the last few years I’ve spun for charity, a charity that’s close to my heart TSA, my poor niece’s daughter suffers from non-cancerous brain tumors. We spend 5hrs non-stop on the bike with a 10min toilet break. We have 3 spin instructors pushing us on.

I am getting quite a bit of media coverage from our local radio station and television, and I would like to thank all my beautiful Kettlebell friends and amazing coach Nick for all their help.

Kettlebell Champion

What an inspiration ?? June the super gran is putting us all to shame ??

Posted by BBC Breakfast on Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Life was a little tough growing up sometimes in the early fifties, we didn’t have much money, my dad was working two jobs and mum was working in the evenings. Sometimes having holes in my shoes and my dad having to put his big overcoat on my bed to me keep warm because we didn’t have any more blankets. But I survived and didn’t do me any harm. I always tell my two children and four grandchildren what life was like in those days. Hoping it makes them appreciate things.

I have always been into fitness. I think it came from my dad who was a big football player. At school I played netball rounders, basketball (but I was always on the short side haha), running, and I swam for the school.

My parents were very good role models and we were taught to work for what you want! I have worked non-stop since leaving school at 15 years, except for maternity leave. I’m still working part-time now at nearly 66 years.

I keep trim by watching what I eat. I am a diabetic so have to watch my sugar intake. But a lot of it is down to the amount of exercise I do. I exercise around 4-5 times a week. Exercise is so important in the elderly. I go to classes at the gym with the young ones and have so much fun. A lot of my friends I went to school with are having knee, shoulder, or hip surgery, NOT ME!!!

Life is too short to sit around knitting and doing jigsaw puzzles. Fitness is my ‘me time’. I love every minute of it. I will never stop till they carry me off in a wooden box. I’ve told my children that I want my best trainers and medals in the box with me. 🙂


Kettlebell Exercises for over 50

What are some great kettlebell exercises for over 50? Before I answer that question, let’s take a look at some of our past Caveman Athlete of the Month nominees that are over 50 (some 78) and are using the kettlebell or other tools to stay fit and strong.


Jerry Gray

I’ll be 78 years old in July. A heart attack at age 39 was a big deal to me, and a sign that I should take being alive serious. Since that event Oct. 13, 1980, I’ve been self motived. My wife Liberty and I are on the same page when it comes to the quality of life. She is my rock. I have 3 sons, 2 daughters, 1 stepson, 22 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. I feel it is my responsibility to set an example for my children on living life to the fullest and being a part of their life. This summer will mark our 30th year of backpacking with my 6 children. It is sad to see people of my age let themselves go by not owning their lives. I want to be that person that says, you can do better by taking control of your life. I’ll show you what has worked for me.

A healthy life is really a big deal and not to be taken lightly. A series of decisions that must be dealt with on a daily basis. Personal health comes before anything else in life, for if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. It’s a matter of establishing a healthy protocol and being the turtle. The turtle goes slowly and always wins the race. Consistency is the key.
Read more about Jerry Gray


Per Ohlans

Many say that it looks so difficult and hard to train and work with the kettlebell. I ask them if the could skate or play table tennis the first time they tried. The answer is, of course, “no”. So why should this be any different? It’s about technique, regular training and to decide that you want to learn this. It’s the same for everything. Those who do try and stand it for the first two months are usually hooked when they see and feel the difference. Both physically and mentally. “What´s happening here?”, is a common positive comment.
Read more about Per Ohlans


Rik Brown

What keeps ME going in my training is that the mace is not just strength, it is strength and skill, so even as I grow older I can still improve my skill with the mace and not be so focused on the weight. Even in competition, I am not (at 60 years of age) so concerned about what place I come in, I just want every repetition to look like it is near perfect, like a note on a piano played by a master, that’s my goal.
Read more about Rik Brown


The best exercises for over 50 are?

The answer: Any that progress you step by step.

Our current and past Caveman Athletes nominees have shown us all that people over 40/50 can snatch kettlebells of a weight that a 20-year-old can. There are no kettlebell exercises specifically set apart for people over 50. Anyone and everyone should progress step by step and continue with that progression under the assumption that nothing is out of reach. With that said, let’s list 7 kettlebell exercises that would be suitable for over 50-year-olds from the perspective of progression that anyone else could go through as well:

  1. Kettlebell hang lift
  2. Kettlebell assisted clean
  3. Kettlebell deadlift
  4. Kettlebell hang clean
  5. kettlebell dead clean
  6. Kettlebell swing
  7. Kettlebell press


1) The kettlebell hang lift can be performed with a hip hinge or squat movement and is great to work on range and strength before moving into more ballistic exercises.

2) The kettlebell assisted clean is important to learn for any beginner to safely clean the kettlebell and understand the nuances for ballistic cleans.

3) The kettlebell deadlift works on improving range and strength which is a requirement before moving into ballistic/explosive movements.

4) The kettlebell hang clean is the shortest range to work with entering the world of explosive movements.

5) The kettlebell dead clean requires full squat range to be done safely. When at full squat range, one is ready to work with more explosive exercises.

6) The kettlebell swing is now introduced to work the posterior chain muscles and together with the dead clean will the two most important explosive exercises to work with at beginner level.

7) The kettlebell press is the safest exercises to work overhead strength and more. Overhead stability, flexibility, and strength are what’s required before snatching or other explosive overhead movements.

This whole progression is just one of many, and the aim should be to keep going and master all kettlebell exercises, exercises like the jerk, snatch, and more. Nothing is out of reach, no matter what age, it all comes down to progression. Step-by-step. Proper programming and ego at the door.


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