The Best Beginner Kettlebell Warm-up

How do you warm up for a kettlebell workout? What is the most recommended kettlebell warm-up? All the answers to these questions can be found below and the free video explains the best exercises for a beginner warm-up.

The most basic exercises to include in a warm-up and hit all of the important joints in the body are:

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Squats
  3. Thoracic rotations (alternating)
  4. Hip hinges

For the number of reps or duration per exercise to use in your warm-up please read on.

Include push-ups if you’re going to be doing chest work, or replace the hip hinges with push-ups if you’re not going to be doing kettlebell swings.

How long you perform a kettlebell warm-up depends on a lot of factors like the local temperature, your condition, etc. but anywhere between 6 to 10 minutes should be sufficient.

What type of movements and exercises you include in your kettlebell warm-up will depend on what you’ll be doing in your workout and also what areas your body, in particular, need attention. With that said, a good generic kettlebell warm-up covers the full body and pays attention to the important areas. Most warm-ups neglect the spine which is super important to include. This kettlebell beginner warm-up includes a focus on the spine, hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders.

More answers to questions like the following can be found further below:

  1. How do you warm up before a kettlebell workout?
  2. How to warm up for kettlebell swings?
  3. Can kettlebell swings be used as a warm-up?
  4. How do you start a kettlebell workout?
  5. How do you structure a kettlebell workout?
  6. How long should a warm-up be?
  7. How intense should a warm-up be?
  8. Are all warm-ups the same?
  9. What is mostly neglected in warm-ups?
  10. Should you include stretches in your warm-up?
  11. What does the perfect warm-up look like?
  12. Why warm-up?

Best Kettlebell Warm-Up

All the warm-up exercises that follow are covered in the video above.

30 seconds of jumping jacks
30 seconds of squats
30 seconds of alternating thoracic rotations
30 seconds of hip hinges

Perform 3 to 4 rounds of the warm-up routine.

The first minute of the kettlebell warm-up is intense with the jumping jacks plus squats and then the intensity drops with the thoracic rotations and hip hinges which allows you to keep going because the intensity is up and down.

As you start the first round your intensity should be in the low to medium range and as you progress through the rounds you increase the intensity/speed of your warm-up.

If you prefer to work by reps rather than time, the following is a good number of reps to work with in the warm-up.

12 jumping jacks
6 squats
4 alternating thoracic rotations
6 hip hinges

Perform 4 to 6 rounds of the warm-up routine.

Follow-Along Kettlebell Warm-Up

This warm-up has a focus on the hips.

4 × Frankenstein kicks
4 × single-leg hip circles
Repeat on the other side

4 × jumping jacks
4 × squats
Repeat 2 times

2 × static alternating runners lunge and twist

4 cycles of the warm-up

We have hundreds of uniquely designed follow-along kettlebell warm-ups in our online workout library monthly memberships, all you do is click play and just follow along. We have kettlebell warm-ups for Turkish Get-Ups, kettlebell Snatches, kettlebell Windmills, and so on.

Warm-Up FAQ

How do you warm up before a kettlebell workout?

You can use a generic full-body warm-up like the one covered if you don’t want to spend much time thinking about the warm-up or you can look at what your body needs and what the workout demands. For example, if the workout is all lower body, then the focus would be more on that. in the warm-up but still raising the temperature and spending some time on the upper body too. Even a lower-body-focused workout with kettlebells will still require the back to work.

How to warm up for kettlebell swings?

The best way to warm up for kettlebell swings is by using the same movement that’s used in the kettlebell swing variation, if that’s a hip hinge then use that in a warm-up. Frankenstein kicks and single-leg hip circles are also great to include as per the follow-along warm-up video above.

Can kettlebell swings be used as a warm-up?

Yes, kettlebell swings can be used as a warm-up for certain people. For beginners, it’s not recommended to start with weight right away but for more seasoned kettlebell athletes it’s possible to use. One would start with light kettlebell swings and then increase the weight and pace. For beginners, it’s best to start with hip hinges and/or squats and then swings.

How do you start a kettlebell workout?

How you start a kettlebell workout depends on your conditioning, experience, the workout itself, and more. But one thing is for sure, it’s always best to perform a warm-up before you start your kettlebell workout. The warm-up covered here is a good generic warm-up to use before you start a kettlebell workout.

How do you structure a kettlebell workout?

The best structure for a session is warm-up, prep work, workout, and cool down. The warm-up is best performed without weight, i.e. bodyweight only. The prep work is where you break down the exercises in the workout and slowly start increasing weight. The workout is where you go all out and the cooldown is used to stretch the areas worked. Stretching is not always required, in our kettlebell workouts, we include a lot of active recovery, mobility work, and dynamic stretching between heavy or intense tasks. We basically hide/disguise the work most people prefer not to do or find boring.

How long should a warm-up be?

A good warm-up should be anywhere between 6 to 10 minutes but it depends on the condition of the athlete, the work to come, and the local environment too, if it’s cold then the warm-up should be longer.

How intense should a warm-up be?

The intensity of a good warm-up should start at low intensity and then gradually increase. To what intensity it should go up depends on the conditions, but a warm-up should not tire you out nor fatigue the muscular system.

Are all warm-ups the same?

No, and a good example of this would be the difference between a warm-up for a split workout focused on the chest and a workout that has the overhead squat in it. The split chest workout would require focus on the front delt, pecs, triceps, and biceps, and the overhead squat workout would require focus on the thoracic spine, hips, knees, ankles, and shoulder joints.

What is mostly neglected in warm-ups?

The most common joints neglected in warm-ups are the wrists, elbows, and ankles. Including these joints in your warm-up will usually increase the warm-up time to between 10 and 14 minutes. The wrists and ankles are super important as the ankles do a lot of work no matter what you do standing up, and the wrists are involved with overhead work, although with a good grip and kettlebell placement the work on the wrists is heavily reduced.

Should you include stretches in your warm-up?

Yes, you can include stretches in your warm-ups but they have to be dynamic and not static stretches. Static stretches are the ones that you hold for a while to work on releasing/relaxing the muscles. You could do a warm-up prep work, and then static stretching, although this is best left till after the workout. However, this is not black and white and the rule applies best to beginners, whereas the more advanced could under certain conditions start with static stretching.

What does the perfect warm-up look like?

The perfect warm-up for kettlebells, or any resistance workout for that matter, is one that makes your whole body feel nice and loose, gets the blood pumping through the body, and prepares you both physically and mentally for what’s to come. Mimicking the movement patterns from the workout helps prepare the mind, and can break down plus build up the more complex exercises in the workout. For me, the perfect warm-up starts with slow dynamic stretching, less intense bodyweight exercises that focus on the joints and movement patterns, followed by a more intense version of that, then prep work which again breaks down the exercises and gradually increases weight. Potentially that is followed up by a bit more joint work with a focus on the feet, ankles, wrists, and elbows for a couple of minutes and then attack the workout.

Why warm-up?

The reason for warming up is to prepare the body and mind for what’s to come and reduce the chance of injury. This is especially true for beginners and/or people who have been or are mostly sedentary. A good warm-up increases the body temperature, gets the blood pumping faster through the body, and also improves the delivery of oxygen to the muscles. There is a lot more that happens but without going too deep, a warm-up is always time well spent.

To learn more about warming up and have access to many preprogrammed different warm-ups that focus on the kettlebell workout to come, join our online kettlebell workout membership to get access to over 250+ kettlebell sessions that include follow-along warm-ups, prep work, workout, cooldown, technique breakdown, common mistakes, alternatives, and so much more.

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