There is a better way to build a six pack than doing endless amounts of crunches. In our opinion, kettlebell ab exercises offer a far more intense and efficient way to build a strong, functional core.
Unlike their bodyweight counterparts, the best kettlebell ab exercises require the entire core to engage to safely move the weight through a full range of motion. Typical bodyweight ab exercises tend to isolate certain muscles and often times don't offer enough stimuli to get the abs to grow and adapt.
If you really want to build an awe-inspiring and injury preventing core, replace your boring and ineffective ab exercises with our 4 best kettlebell ab exercises.
4 of the Best Kettlebell Ab Exercises
#1: Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Double Overhead Sit-up
The Double Overhead Kettlebell Sit Up is a much more advanced version of the standard sit up. This exercise is on our list of the best kettlebell ab exercises because it requires additional abdominal engagement and makes you focus on not rotating the upper body.
It is also on our list of the best kettlebell ab exercises because the overhead loading of the kettlebell also helps build strength and mobility in the shoulders. Tip: Use the bottoms-up version of the exercise and also work your forearms and grip strength.
#2: Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Windmills
Kettlebell Windmills are another one of the best kettlebell ab exercises due to their ability to improve core strength, spinal mobility and shoulder stability. They are also great for opening up the hips and pelvis.
Kettlebell windmills are also on our list of the best kettlebell ab exercises for their ability to crush the obliques; especially as you rotate throughout the exercise.
The key to working the abs during this exercise is to take your time on the downward motion of the exercise. Keep the core as tight as you can on the way down while exhaling. Then, on the bottom of the movement, pause momentarily, take a quick short breath and pull the body back to the standing position.
#3: Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Renegade Rows
Kettlebell renegade rows are one of the best kettlebell ab exercises because they combine the full core engagement of the plank, with the strength building single arm rowing motion. This may look easy enough, but it challenging as hell.
The renegade rows is a great exercise because it requires a lot of balance. When done properly, this kettlebell ab exercise can engage and work every muscle in the body from your toes to your noes.
Tip: Start by using a fairly light pair of kettlebells and complete as many rows as you can in 1 minute. Then over time increase the weight.
#4: Kettlebell Ab Exercise: Side Plank with Overhead Hold
The side plank is one of the best kettlebell ab exercises because it makes the side plank a lot more fun and challenging. Like many of the best kettlebell ab exercises, they also work the shoulder, which is great for scapular stability.
The key to doing this kettlbell ab exercise safely is to take your time getting into the plank (see below).
As with all plank variations, the objective is to keep the body straight and stable for as long as possible. Always squeeze your glute and keep the hips forward, so that the entire body remains in a straight line.
Tip: Get into the plank position and try to hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side. Give this a try during your next workout and you'll instantly see why we included it in our list of the best kettlebell ab exercises.
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Conclusion: These are the best kettlebell ab exercises that we feel everyone should be working into their routine. If you don't have a kettlebell, no problem. Just use dumbbells instead.
We realize we left off a lot of other great kettlebell ab exercises, including the Turkish Get Up and the Gladiator Get Up, but due to the technicality of those exercises, we feel they belong to a different category of kettlebell exercises.