9 Trainer-Approved Kettlebell Ab Exercises

No basic crunches in here.

Trainers share their favorite kettlebell ab exercises.
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Kettlebells provide great resistance to help activate your core muscles, says strength coach Nikki Naab-Levy. You can also use them to work your core in functional ways that mimic movements from everyday life. Here are 9 kettlebell ab exercises that are trainer-approved.


Farmer’s Carry

Naab-Levy says this exercise hits the spinal stabilizers and obliques.

- Hold a moderately heavy kettlebell in right hand.

- With good posture, walk across room for 1 minute.

- Keep body upright to work obliques.

Repeat on both sides, 3x.


Half Turkish Get-Up

Trainer Anna Victoria loves this ab and arm move.

- Lie on floor, kettlebell in right hand over head, left arm out to side.

- Use core to push bell to ceiling as you bend right knee, lift body into bridge.

- Reverse, slowly lower down.

Do 10 per side, 3 sets.

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Dead Bug

Victoria says this is one of the best core exercises.

- On back, legs bent 90 degrees.

- Hold kettlebell above head in both hands.

- Extend left leg out, keep bell over head.

- Bring leg back. Repeat with right leg.

- For a challenge, lower bell behind head.

10x, 3 sets.

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Oblique Dips

Trainer Alayna Curry says this one targets the sides of your core.

- Legs hip-width apart. Hold kettlebell by handle in right hand.

- Left hand on hip.

- Slowly lean to right, let bell lower along your side.

- Come back up to neutral using core.

Do 15 reps per side.

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Do a kettlebell sit-up to work the rectus abdominus along the front of your torso, Curry says.

- Lie on ground, knees bent.

- Hold kettlebell above chest by handle.

- Come up to sit, lift bell overhead.

- Slowly lower back down.

Do 10 reps, 3 sets.

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Kettlebell Swing

Swings are a good choice too, Curry says.

- Feet hip-width apart.

- Squat to pick up kettlebell with both hands.

- Use hips and core to lift and swing bell forward with control.

- Keep this motion going for a cardio and core workout.

Repeat 25x.

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Renegade Row

Trainer Robert Dodds points to this move to work abs and obliques.

- Put two identical kettlebells on floor.

- In push-up position, place hands on each kettlebell.

- Core tight, lift one bell, pull to armpit.

- Return to floor, lift other bell.

Do 10 reps per side.


Russian Twist

Dodds also likes this oblique-strengthening move.

- Sit on floor, feet flat, knees bent.

- Grab bell from side by handle with both hands.

- Twist torso to right, lift bell over body as legs go to other side.

- Twist back, alternate sides.

Do 20x.

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Single-Arm Dead Bug

Try this variation from Naab-Levy.

- Lie on back. Press kettlebell up to ceiling with right arm.

- Bring legs to tabletop. Press left hand into left thigh.

- Straighten right leg.

- Return legs to neutral, repeat on other side.

Do 8 reps, 3 sets.

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