An expert trainer shares three of her favorite moves for building strength, longevity and mobility

Build stronger muscles and joints with these three exercises from iFit trainer Hannah Eden

A woman learning how to do the kettlebell swing
(Image credit: Getty Images / Eva-Katalin)

What’s the best exercise in the world? The answer to this depends on your fitness goals; you’re not going to squat for stronger arms or expect a heavy deadlift to deliver cardio gains.  

But some moves boast enough benefits to warrant a place in pretty much any workout plan. 

To help you track them down, iFit trainer Hannah Eden has picked three of her favorite all-rounder exercises and explained why she rates them so highly. 

If you want to build a stronger, more resilient body, you might want to count them among your favorites too.

iFit trainer Hannah Eden
Hannah Eden

Hannah Eden is an iFit trainer and the founder of Hannah Eden Fitness. Her first steps in the fitness industry came as a CrossFit athlete, and she has since expanded her training and coaching to specialize in functional strength training, kettlebell exercises and animal flow. Eden is currently training for her first Ironman event, less than a year after giving birth to her son. 

1. Kettlebell swing

  • Stand upright with your hips slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell in both hands in front of your hips. 
  • Bend your legs slightly and, keeping your back flat, hinge at the hips to lean forward and allow the kettlebell to fall between your thighs. 
  • Drive your hips forward explosively to stand upright. With your arms straight throughout, use this momentum to swing the kettlebell up in front of you until it's at roughly eye-level. 
  • Allow it to fall back between your thighs and repeat. 


Eden loves the kettlebell swing because it’s a dynamic exercise. "Think of it almost like a ballistic deadlift, rather than a squat," she advises.

It uses a hinging movement from the hips to build functional strength and power along your posterior chain (the muscles along the back side of your body).

"Keeping your posterior chain strong is going to benefit anything else that you do. I’m pretty sure kettlebell swings and deadlifts are the reason I don’t need help when I’m moving a couch," she says.

"I’m able to do so much because I have a strong back; I think it’s essential for living your life and having longevity.

"You hear so often, 'Oh, my back’s gone out', as people start to get older. I don’t think it has to be that way. If we focus on strengthening the posterior chain in particular and learn how to move properly then we can do hard things for a long time and not let age get the best of us."

2. Goblet squat

  • Stand upright with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and your toes facing forward. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in both hands tight to your chest. 
  • Keeping your chest up and your back flat, bend your knees to lower your hips towards the ground as far as you can control. 
  • When you've lowered your hips as far as you can while keeping your chest up, drive through your feet to return to the starting position. 

Trainer's thoughts

The goblet squat is a great exercise for strengthening your legs with just a single dumbbell or kettlebell. 

"I think it’s really important that we all have the strength in our legs to stand, walk, sit down and just live our lives really," Eden says. And that’s not all the goblet squat is good for. 

"It’s a full-body exercise," she adds. "You have to hold on to the weight with your upper body, and that’s really good for your chest and back."

Holding the weight in front of your chest also forces your torso into an upright position, helping you fine-tune your squat form while recruiting your core muscles to maintain this posture.

3. Side kick-through / Breakdancers

  • Start in a table top position, with your weight spread between your hands and your toes. Your knees should be directly beneath your hips, hovering just above the floor, and your hands should be under your shoulders. 
  • Lift your left hand and twist to your left. As you do this, extend your right leg under your body so it's perpendicular with your torso. 
  • Reverse this movement to return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side. 

Trainer's thoughts

You might not be familiar with this exercise, but it’s one of Eden’s all-time favorites. It’s a move from Animal Flow training, which uses animalistic movements to develop strength and mobility. 

"In CrossFit I noticed I had a lot of injuries because I was only focusing on the heavy hitting exercises," Eden says. 

"Even though I was doing these really explosive movements like snatches, I didn’t have the stability I needed at the end ranges of these movement patterns. 

"That’s why I started to get into Animal Flow, and the side kick-through is the holy grail in terms of movements in that world. It’s beautiful to look at.

"I believe it’s helped me avoid a lot of injuries—I have such good mobility and strength at my end ranges [of motion] now.”

She says the exercise requires total concentration, coordination and body awareness—there’s no chance to zone out here.

"It needs a massive amount of core strength too," she adds."The core is what’s keeping you together and balanced so you don’t swing or fall."

This move is quite tricky, so you might want to start with some of the regressions below before moving onto the full version of the exercise. 

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.