Summer is nearly here and your busy schedule at work may not coincide with your plans to get ripped before your beach vacation, but luckily using one piece of equipment, the kettlebell, can transform your body during a short workout. Using a single kettlebell combines cardio and strength training to burn calories and tone muscles – and you don’t even need to hit the gym! This is excellent news for anyone who is short on time or just can’t find the motivation to hit the gym for hours on end. In this 30-minute kettlebell routine that you can do anywhere, get your body fired up by doing 12 different exercises that work out every major muscle group for optimal gains.
Are you a novice gym-goer looking to drop a few pounds with new exercises or are you simply trying to get back into the groove of working out after a long hiatus? These exercises are great for any level of expertise and can be made more difficult as you boost your stamina and build strength, so don’t let your lack of experience at the gym hold you back from your new body!
The following exercises build strength as well as burn fat, helping you reach your goals, and tone your body.
Depending on your experience level, you can push yourself as easy or as tough as you want, once you’ve built strength and feel comfortable using a kettlebell you can increase reps or circuits.
For maximal efficiency and intensity, complete the following exercises as a circuit exercise: perform one exercise, and then go right into the next without taking a break. Once you complete all twelve exercises, you can take a quick 2-minute break before starting the routine again. It’s recommended that you repeat the entire circuit 2-3 times, working your way up as you progress.
In order to prevent injuries during your workout, begin with a short warm-up to lengthen and engage your muscles. Since you will be firing up your entire body with this workout, start with basic stretches that target each core muscle group. Getting your heart rate up at the start can also help optimize your workout and build momentum. Start by doing a few reps of mountain climbers, jumping jacks, frog hops, and pushups. Warm up for at least five minutes before beginning the circuit.
#1 Russian Kettlebell Swing
Get your body moving with this high-intensity exercise! Start by standing hip-width distance apart, holding the kettlebell handle with both hands using an overhand grip.
Bend your knees slightly, drawing the kettlebell between your legs while remembering to always keep your core tight and engaged.
Thrust your hips forward to bring the kettlebell all the way up to shoulder height using strength from your legs and lower body. Complete 15-20 reps.
#2 Goblet Squat
Stand just a little bit wider than hip-width apart and keep the kettlebell at chest height with both hands. Turn your toes out just a bit and bend at the knees into a squat, making sure to keep the kettlebell at chest height and then stand back up. Repeat this squat 15-20 times.
#3 Single Arm Row
Start by placing the kettlebell onto the floor and place your right foot on the outside of the kettlebell. Place your left foot behind you and slightly bend at the hips so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor.
Next, place your right elbow on your right thigh for added support as you grab the kettlebell with the left hand. Complete 8 reps on the left side, then switch sides.
#4 Shoulder Halo
In this exercise, you use a range of motion to build strength in your arms. Start by standing hip-width apart and grab the kettlebell by the horns upside down, facing the bell upwards. Make sure your feet are placed firmly on the floor and move the kettlebell around your head. Stay upright maintaining tension throughout your core. Do 8 full circles and then carefully switch directions.
#5 Single-Arm Squat to a Press
Start by holding the kettlebell at shoulder height with one hand. Next, tuck your elbow in so your forearm is facing forward, then squat. Reverse it by standing up and then pressing the kettlebell overhead. Repeat 8 times on each side.
#6 Russian Twist
Russian twists are a great way to get six-pack abs and your heart rate pumping. Start by placing a mat on the ground and sitting with your knees bent. Grab the kettlebell by the handle and hold it with both hands in front of your chest.
Next, pick your feet up off the floor, keeping your core tight and engaged. Hold your lower legs up parallel to the mat. Keep your core very tight as you turn your torso slightly to the left and then return it back to center while holding the kettlebell. Rotate to the right side and then return to the starting position. Repeat this movement 15-20 times.
Push yourself with deadlifts to get the lower body engaged. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and place the kettlebell on the ground in between your feet. Next, bend at the hips keeping a neutral spine, push your hips back with a very slight bend in the knee, and then grab the kettlebell placed on the ground. Remember to keep your core and glutes engaged as you stand, pressing through your heels to lift the kettlebell, then reversing to put it back down. Repeat this movement 15-20 times.
#8 Lunge to a Single-Arm Press
Start by standing shoulder-width apart and hold the kettlebell up at your right shoulder while keeping your elbow tucked in at your side. Step backward into a lower lunge so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. Next, press the kettlebell up and over your head. Bring the kettlebell back down to your shoulder and bring your leg back up to a standing position. Repeat 8 times on each side.
#9 Single-Arm Floor Press
Get your arms fired up in this calorie burning exercise. Start by lying on your back on a mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Next, hold the kettlebell in your left hand above your chest. Lower the kettlebell so that the upper part of your arm touches the floor. Pause here and then press the kettlebell back up keeping your hips on the floor. Do 10 per side.
#10 Single-Arm Front Squat
In this exercise, kettlebells take an ordinary squat that works just your lower body to a full body workout. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in your right arm, lifting it in front of your shoulder, making sure to keep your elbow tucked in.
Next, hold your left arm straight out and then push your hips back and go down as far as you can into a squat. Pause in the squat and then return to the starting position. Do 8 reps per side.
Windmill builds strength in the lateral part of your body while activating your core and improving your balance and flexibility. Start by holding the kettlebell with one arm, fully extending it over your head. Next, stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly turned out. Start to bend forward at the hips with the kettlebell remaining in place and rotate towards your left foot with your right hand touching your foot. Stand back up to your starting position while always keeping the kettlebell over your head. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
#12 Renegade Row
In this exercise get your core burning as you strengthen. Start in a plank position on a mat, placing your feet shoulder-width apart to engage your core. Once you’re set in plank, use one hand to grip the kettlebell. Row the kettlebell up towards your chest while tucking in your elbow. Lower the kettlebell and then repeat 8 times on each side.
Just as with any other workout, you will want to take the time to cool down after this circuit in order to let your muscles rest. Although you only used once piece of equipment, you just worked out your entire body! Here’s a cool down you can use after this workout:
- Start by bringing down your heart rate by gently jogging in place and wiggling your arms at your sides.
- Stretch your hamstrings by pulling your leg up behind you while holding onto a chair for balance.
- Bend down and touch your toes to stretch your hamstrings.
- Stretch your chest by lacing your fingers behind your back, straighten your arms, and then look up to the ceiling.
- Stretch your arms by crossing one arm across your body while holding it with the other arm. You can also place one hand on your back to help stretch out the back of your arms as well.
- Do some cat-cow stretches to stretch out your core.
- Lie down in child’s pose to rest for 1-2 minutes to completely cool down your body after your full body workout.
There you have it, a very quick, but efficient full body workout that tones and tightens, while allowing you to keep your busy schedule.
After you perform these exercises, you will quickly see that you don’t necessarily have to have fancy gym equipment or countless weights in order to get your body toning exercises in. You can use one single kettlebell to work out every muscle in your body. Try swapping out some of your regular everyday exercises for a kettlebell exercise instead. Using the kettlebell is a great way to engage your muscles and an excellent way to improve your overall fitness.
As your strength increases, you will be able to increase your reps and the number of times you go through this circuit. Just remember to always listen to your body and go at a pace that feels right for you.