Try this trainer's five-move kettlebell workout to build strength in your legs and glutes

Strengthen your lower body with this quick kettlebell workout

Personal trainer Alanah Bray with her kettlebell
(Image credit: Alanah Bray)

Kettlebells are a versatile tool that can make your home workouts more challenging. You can use them to gain muscle or to add some heft to your aerobic exercise. They're also great if you want to build strength gradually, as you can simply swap out your lighter model for a heavier one once your workout becomes too easy.

I've found they're particularly useful for adding weight to lower-body moves like goblet squats, but you can also use them for classic moves like kettlebell swings and upper-body workouts, too. 

This kettlebell routine from personal trainer Alanah Bray, of Fitagain Retreats, specifically targets your lower body, strengthening the big muscles in your legs and glutes. There are only five moves to master, so you can easily memorize it for your next leg day session. 

Scroll down to see the list of exercises and explainers for each move. If you haven't got a set of kettlebells already, check out our guide to the best kettlebells to see which ones we rate.

Alanah Bray
Alanah Bray

Alanah Bray is a dedicated master trainer at the UK-based Fitagain gym and fitness retreats. She specializes in fitness for the over 40s and her approach to exercise emphasizes the importance of stretching, mobility, and strength

Lower-body kettlebell workout

  • Sumo squat into calf raises: 3x12
  • Single leg Romanian deadlift: 3x12 on each leg
  • Lateral lunges: 3x12 on each leg
  • Split squats: 3x12 on each leg
  • Curtsy lunges: 3x12 on each leg

1. Sumo squat into calf raises

Personal trainer Alanah Bray demonstrates a sumo squat

(Image credit: Alanah Bray)

Sets: 3 Reps: 12

  • Begin with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed outward at a 45-degree angle, and a kettlebell held with both hands in front of your body. Keep your back straight, chest up, and shoulders relaxed. Engage your core for stability. 
  • Lower your body by bending your knees and hips simultaneously, performing a sumo squat while holding the kettlebell in front of you. Keep going until your thighs are parallel to the ground, or as far as your flexibility allows.
  • Come back up from the squat position and rise onto the balls of your feet, lifting your heels off the ground to perform a calf raise while still holding the kettlebell. Squeeze your calf muscles at the top of the movement.
  • Lower your heels back to the ground to your starting position.

2. Single leg Romanian deadlifts

Personal trainer Alanah Bray demonstrats a Romanian deadlift

(Image credit: Alanah Bray)

Sets: 3 Reps: 12 on each leg

  • Stand with your feet staggered, with the toe of your back foot resting on the floor. Hold a kettlebell in the same hand as the front leg, with your arm extended in front of you. Shift your weight onto your front foot and slightly bend your front knee. Engage your core for stability and balance. 
  • Hinge at your hips, slowly bringing the kettlebell towards the floor while keeping your back straight and chest up. Continue to lower your torso and the kettlebell toward the ground, feeling a stretch through the back of the front leg. Lower the kettlebell as far as your flexibility allows, ideally until it's just above the ground or in line with your front knee.
  • Once you've reached your lowest point, reverse the movement by squeezing your glutes and hamstrings to return to the starting position. 

3. Single side lateral lunges

Personal trainer Alanah Bray demonstrates a lateral lunge

(Image credit: Alanah Bray)

Sets: 3 Reps: 12 on each leg

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart with feet turned out and hold a kettlebell with both hands against your chest.
  • Lower your body to the side by bending one knee, keeping the other leg straight. Keep your back straight and chest up during the movement. Avoid letting your bent knee go beyond your toes and traveling forward by sending your weight backward and into your glutes.
  • Push through the heel of the bent leg to return to the starting position. 

4. Split Squats

Personal trainer Alanah Bray demonstrates a split squat

(Image credit: Alanah Bray)

Sets: 3 Reps: 12 on each leg

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in one hand with a firm grip. Take a step back with the foot opposite to the side holding the kettlebell, creating a staggered stance. The front foot should be about 2-3 feet in front of the back foot. Your toes should point forward, and the back heel should be lifted off the ground.
  • Begin the squat by lowering your back knee towards the ground. Your front knee should also bend, creating a 90-degree angle or slightly more in both knees. Make sure your front knee does not go past your toes to protect your knee joint. Lower your body until your back knee gently touches the ground or hovers slightly above it. Make sure not to slam your knee into the ground.
  • Push through the heel of your front foot and raise your body back up to the starting position. 

5. Curtsy Squats

Personal trainer Alanah Bray demonstrates a curtsy squat

(Image credit: Alanah Bray)

Sets: 3 Reps: 12 on each leg

  • Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell to your chest in an upside-down position, with both hands clasping it by the sides.
  • Take a step back and diagonally to the left with your right foot, crossing it behind your left leg. Bend both knees, lowering your body towards the ground. Keep going until your left thigh is parallel to the ground or as far as your flexibility allows. Ensure that your knees are aligned with your toes and that your weight is balanced on your left leg.
  • Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement, then push through your left heel to return to the starting position.
BalanceFrom Wide Grip Kettlebell Set: was $44.99, now $19.99 at Walmart

BalanceFrom Wide Grip Kettlebell Set: was $44.99, now $19.99 at Walmart

Save $25 Ideal for beginners, this set of weights contains 5lb, 10lb and 15lb kettlebells. The wide handles are suited to exercises like kettlebell swings, and the plastic casing makes them a good fit for alfresco sessions. They're currently discounted, as part of the early Black Friday weights deals

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.

Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.