Full-Body Exercises

Crank Up Your Metabolism with Kettlebell Conditioning

Take your kettlebell curriculum beyond the swing with this wind-sucking circuit designed to get you lean and powerful.


A lot of people know the kettlebell swing by now. But by incorporating a few additional moves and one more kettlebell, you can get a fantastic workout that can build muscle and set your metabolism on fire.

This conditioning workout is a high-intensity interval based workout characterized by short periods of all out effort followed by periods of rest. Over time, work capacity will increase, meaning you will have the ability to accomplish more work in the less time. You’ll notice that there is no prescribed number of reps for this workout – you should simply aim to complete more reps in the same amount of time or add more weight as you progress and your conditioning improves.

These all-out efforts followed by rest are more effective and burn more fat than a steady-state endurance training session because they trigger excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, more commonly known as the afterburn. This afterburn effect is the reason why intense exercise helps burn more fat and calories that steady-state workouts and produces a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after you’re done training.

Your barbells and dumbbells are effective. The kettlebell is just an additional tool for your ability to burn fat and it breaks up the monotony of your more vanilla routine.

The Workout

American Kettlebell Swing

Figure Eight

2-Kettlebell Hang Clean



Perform each exercise for one minute straight. Do not rest between exercises. Going through each exercise constitutes one circuit. Rest one minute between circuits. On your next run through, perform each move for 45 seconds, then rest 45 seconds. Make a third and final pass through the circuit, performing each exercise for 30 seconds.

The Exercises

American Kettlebell Swing 

Bend at your hips and hold one kettlebell with both hands at arm’s length in front of you. Pull the kettlebell back between your legs, then squeeze your glutes, thrust your hips forward forcefully, and swing the kettlebell overhead to a position in line with your torso.

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, deltoids

Figure Eight

Use a lighter weight for this exercise. Start with knees slightly bent, in a modified squat position. Head and back should be in a straight line, look forward and keep your core tight. Hold a single kettlebell by the horn with one hand. Pass the kettlebell between legs then around the outside of your leg in a fluid, figure-eight motion.

Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings and core

2-Kettlebell Hang Clean

Start in a standing position with a kettlebell in each hand at full extension in front of your thighs. Keep your back straight and chest up. While maintaining chest-up position, dip slightly and drive upwards using the hips and knee extension to “snap” into a clean position. Catch the bell on the outside of the forearms. Always keep the elbows tucked into the ribcage.

Targets: glutes, hamstrings and core

Kettlebell Thruster

Start in a squat position, butt down and back, chest up, a kettlebell in each hand in front of your chest. Drive up using an aggressive thrust, while pressing the kettlebells overhead.

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, shoulders and core

Kettlebell Burpee

Like the dreaded bodyweight move by the same name, you squat down with the kettlebells in a neutral position and thrust your feet back so that your body is in a plank position. From there, do a push-up and “jump” your feet back between your hands before extending your legs and hips to stand up with the kettlebells. For an added challenge, try a small jump when you squat out of the burpee.

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, chest, shoulders, triceps

Eric Salvador is the head instructor of The Fhitting Room, a boutique fitness studio in New York delivering comprehensive, high-intensity workouts in a small class environment. Known as El Capitán, Eric is a United States Marine and is certified through the NASM, NSCA and USA Weightlifting. For more, visit http://www.fhittingroom.com