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The Best Beginner Kettlebell Workout Routine

This beginner workout combines the benefits of dumbbell training with a high-intensity cardio workout to help you build muscle, increase power, and get lean.

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  • 30-45

  • 10

  • Yes

Kettlebell Swing
kali9 / Getty
Kettlebell Swing
kali9 / Getty

Kettlebell workouts have, reportedly, been around for 350 years. They were first used by Russians as counterweights when measuring out goods, and then some old-timey strongmen started to juggle, press, and swing them around for entertainment. There’s probably more to it than that, but that’s essentially how the kettlebell became a staple in gym culture.

Although we don’t recommend dressing up in loincloths and haphazardly tossing weights overhead, there are many benefits to a good kettlebell workout.

  • For one, the thick handle that attaches to the cast iron base will challenge your grip more than a dumbbell or barbell.
  • They’re also easy to swing between your legs and rest comfortably (well, comfortably enough) on your wrists. This means you can perform more explosive and dynamic movements with kettlebells compared to their iron counterparts.
  • You also can get a lot of work done in a tight space, so kettlebells are perfect for small home gyms or apartments.
  • Lastly, you can more naturally string together moves to create a workout flow – do a swing, then a clean, and then a press for example.

Kettlebell workouts offer all the benefits of dumbbell training, with the added advantage that the super-thick handles challenge your grip. And because the weight can swing in relation to the handle, simply handling kettlebells works your core extra hard.

Most of all, kettlebells are versatile. They’re ideal for explosive exercises that work major musclesburn body fat, and build power. They also add a new dimension to classic moves like chest presses and flyes. And you don’t need a wall-length rack of them to get a great workout—one pair will suffice for this routine. Use them regularly and you’ll see the body you’ve always wanted.

The below kettlebell workout also utilizes an elastic band (though, if you don’t have a band you can just use a kettlebell, lightweight, or skip the curl). You’ll perform a series of compound and isolation movements, back to back, in a higher rep range of 12-15. The idea is that you’ll exhaust your muscles just enough while jacking up your heart rate to burn more calories and therefore more fat. Just like the kettlebell itself, the methods of this routine aren’t new – but they’ve stood the test of time because they work.

How it works

The weight of a kettlebell hangs a few inches below its handle, which makes it more difficult to control. Everything from your grip to your core has to work harder than if you were using a dumbbell, so you get more out of even standard dumbbell moves. This extra muscle activity means your body burns more calories. Couple that with exercises that target the whole body, and you have a formula for significant fat loss.

Directions

Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set for each, one after the other. Rest as needed between sets. If you’re new to kettlebell training, complete two circuits. If you’re more experienced, do three to five circuits. Choose a weight that allows you to complete 12-15 reps for each exercise.

Kettlebells in front of bodybuilder creating a cloud of chaulk by clapping his hands

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Routine

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The best kettlebell workout

Build muscle while burning fat

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 10

Kettlebell Swing

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 2 of 10

Kettlebell Squat

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 3 of 10

Kettlebell Shelf Reach

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 4 of 10

Single-Arm Single-Leg Kettlebell Press

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 5 of 10

Kettlebell Row

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 6 of 10

Biceps Curl

Equipment
Elastic Band
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 7 of 10

Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Use kettlebells.
Exercise 8 of 10

Kettlebell Flye

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 9 of 10

Weighted Situp

Equipment
Weight Plates
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
0 sec.
Exercise 10 of 10

Seated Russian Twist

Equipment
Kettlebells
Sets
1
Reps
12-15
Rest
As needed
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