How to use kettlebells for training out of the water

Dryland training
Written by: arena coaches at 28 April '21 0
You are reading: How to use kettlebells for training out of the water

This little piece of equipment from Russia can help you make great gains. Here’s how to use kettlebells for your training out of the water. 

A kettlebell is a small piece of gym equipment (conventionally made of iron) that is basically a spherical weight with a handle. It first appeared in Russia back in the 18th-century, “officially” as a counterbalance for trading purposes but “unofficially” for strength competitions between merchants and traders. The kind of kettlebell we are now familiar with, shaped like a cannonball with a handle, was invented in the former USSR and used for training both professional and amateur athletes.

There are various reasons why more and more people are choosing this piece of equipment as part of their training: it is not too expensive or too bulky and is extremely versatile.

Weights (and sizes) vary from 2 kg-40 kg, so you can choose the right weight for your strength and fitness when first using this piece of equipment.

Kettlebells will improve your physical fitness as a swimmer by working on your strength and power. Bearing in mind that the right posture is crucial when exercising with weights, they will also help you develop your core stabilityThey will also strengthen your shoulders and protect them from getting injured, a familiar problem for many swimmers. 

Let’s take a look at 4 basic exercises you can start doing with kettlebells.


This is the best-known exercise with a kettlebell and is extremely useful for swimmers. You need to use all your muscles, particularly your legs, glutes, abs and back. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, grasp the kettlebell with both hands (or one hand only) and swing it up from between your legs to head height, keeping your arms extended and your back straight. Most of the thrust should come from your legs, hips and then your back during the final part of the exercise. 

Perform 3-4 sets of 12 reps or 8 reps with each arm. Allow 1’/1’30” recovery between sets. 


Your need to use your entire posterior kinetic chain when performing the “windmill”. Starting with your legs shoulder width apart, lift the kettlebell above your head with one arm so it is in line with your hip as if it were an extension of that of your body. With your eyes focused on the kettlebell, lower your upper body sideways and forwards attempting to touch the floor with your other hand. Reach your limit keeping your legs straight and without losing the posture in your back, then gently return to the starting position. Do 2-4 sets of 6-8 reps for each side. Allow 1’/1’30” recovery between sets. 

Using kettlebells for training out of the water


Similar to the previous exercise but, making sure your eyes are focused on the kettlebell, squat down until you can touch the floor with your opposite hand. When performing exercises like these with a kettlebell above your head, your shoulder muscles will have to work hard to keep the weight steady throughout the exercise. 

Perform 3-4 sets of 12 reps. 1’/1’30” recovery between sets. 

Using kettlebells for training out of the water


Exercise for your upper body working mainly on your chest and back but also engaging your abs. Do a push-up with your weight resting on the handles of the kettlebells (you can also use ordinary dumbbells, but it is easier with kettlebells because they have flat bottom). After completing a push-up, lift the kettlebells (one at a time, of course) off the floor up towards your chest in a pulling/rowing movement. Use your core strength to keep your body perfectly straight. 

Perform 3-4 sets of 8 reps with one rep being a push-up + 2 pulling/rowing movements.


You can also combine these 4 exercises to make a circuit. Do 3/4 circuits starting with 15 seconds for each exercise and 10 seconds rest, then gradually lengthening the exercises by 5 /10 seconds for each circuit.

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arena coaches

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