3 Quick Kettlebell Workouts Anyone Can Do

Tony Bonvechio
by Tony Bonvechio
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3 Quick Kettlebell Workouts Anyone Can Do

The kettlebell is a versatile fitness tool that can help almost anyone reach his or her fitness goals. Kettlebell workouts, if designed properly, can burn fat, build muscle, and improve athletic performance. Who wouldn’t want all three?

If you’re keen on getting in shape fast with one simple piece of equipment, try any of these three quick kettlebell workouts, which pack a lot of punch in a short amount of time. And what’s more, these workouts can be tailored to any fitness level—simply pace yourself as fast or as slow as needed, and choose your weights accordingly.

For these workouts, we’ll use three kettlebell exercises: the sumo deadlift, goblet squat and swing. Check out the instructional videos below to learn how to execute the moves with good form:

Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift
Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Kettlebell Swing

1. Evens and Odds

If you thought learning to count by even and odd numbers in elementary school was hard, wait until you try this workout. Purely a numbers game, “Evens and Odds” uses a trick called “descending sets.” You’ll do your hardest set first and the sets get gradually easier, allowing you to keep going even when you feel tired. So rather than stopping to rest between sets, the workout becomes one long set—this helps you build more muscle and burn more fat overall.

Grab a kettlebell that’s about a quarter of your bodyweight (so if you weigh 140 pounds, use a 16 kg kettlebell—about 35 pounds), and perform the following:

  1. 10 deadlifts, 10 goblet squats, 10 swings
  2. 8 deadlifts, 8 goblet squats, 8 swings
  3. 6 deadlifts, 6 goblet squats, 6 swings
  4. 4 deadlifts, 4 goblet squats, 4 swings
  5. 2 deadlifts, 2 goblet squats, 2 swings

Rest 2 minutes, and then perform:

  1. 9 deadlifts, 9 goblet squats, 9 swings
  2. 7 deadlifts, 7 goblet squats, 7 swings
  3. 5 deadlifts, 5 goblet squats, 5 swings
  4. 3 deadlifts, 3 goblet squats, 3 swings
  5. 1 deadlift, 1 goblet squat, 1 swing

For your first workout, start with one round, and record your time. When you’re able to finish the workout faster, increase the weight of the kettlebell or add another round.

2. Kettlebell Intervals

You may have read somewhere that interval training is the best way to burn fat, and it’s true. Performing short bursts of intense exercise followed by longer periods of lighter exercise lets you do more work in less time. It even lets you burn more calories at rest by increasing Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC for short), which simply means that you’ll burn slightly more calories than normal for a few hours after completing an interval workout. Talk about a return on your investment!

This workout combines kettlebells and planks to help you burn fat and strengthen your core during your rest periods. Grab a kettlebell you can comfortably swing for 20 swings and perform the following:

  1. Deadlift, 10 reps
  2. Front plank, 30 seconds
  3. Goblet squat,15 reps
  4. Side plank (right side), 30 seconds
  5. Swing, 20 reps side plank (left side), 30 seconds

Repeat for 3-5 rounds, resting 60 seconds between rounds.

3. Power Pairs

Want to run faster and jump higher? Combine heavy lifting and explosive movements during your workouts. This technique is called “contrast training,” and it takes advantage of a nervous system phenomenon known as post-activation potentiation. Basically, if you lift something heavy, your nervous system gets fired up and recruits more muscle fibers to help you jump and sprint more explosively.

But here’s the catch—you’ve got to put everything you’ve got into every rep. Contrast training relies on maximal effort, so perform every rep like your life depended on it.

Try these three exercise pairs to develop your athletic power:

  1. Goblet Squat, 3 sets x 5 reps (Use a weight you could lift 7 times)
  2. Vertical Jump, 3 sets x 3 reps (Jump as high as possible and don’t pause between jumps)
  3. Sumo Deadlift, 3 sets x 5 reps (Use a weight you could lift 7 times)
  4. Broad Jump, 3 sets x 3 reps (Jump as far as possible and don’t pause between jumps)
  5. Swing, 3 sets x 8 reps (Use a weight you could swing 10 times with good form)
  6. Sprint, 3 sets x 30 yards (Run as fast as possible)

Conquering the Kettlebell

These three workouts are fast and simple, but most of all, they work. Regardless of your fitness goal, the kettlebell can get you there, so grab yours today and get moving.

About the Author

Tony Bonvechio
Tony Bonvechio

Tony Bonvechio (@bonvecstrength) is the co-owner of The Strength House in Worcester, MA, where he trains primarily powerlifters and team sport athletes. A former college baseball player turned powerlifter, he earned his Master’s degree in Exercise Science from Adelphi University. You can read more from Tony at bonvecstrength.com.

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27 responses to “3 Quick Kettlebell Workouts Anyone Can Do”

  1. Avatar Kate says:

    Can kettle bells be used by people with back problems?

    • Avatar KKat says:

      I use kettle bells as part of my strength and conditioning training and I have a bad back at times but it’s due to being weak so it’s important to strengthen it. It’s crucial you have perfect form though – don’t pick up a kettle bell if you’ve never used them without helping you on your form.

    • Avatar Gail Owens says:

      I have back problems kettlebell training helps. However get a really good Kettlebell instructor to check your form! Don’t do over head swings!

  2. Avatar Ellen Sherin says:

    That’s awfully heavy for a newbie – I’m about 125 lbs at the moment, slightly off my game and a HEAVY set for me is 30 lbs which is probably close to your newbie recommendation for swings….I don’t have a problem with them for deadlifts, but for swings? And I should say I’ve been swinging for about 2.5 years at least 2x/wk, often more.

    • Hey Ellen – that’s a legitimate concern, but I’ve found that rookies often swing BETTER with a slightly heavier bell. They often try to muscle a lighter bell too much instead of being crisp with the hip thrust and smooth with the back swing. I can honestly say that 90 percent of the time I start people with a 14kg at the LIGHTEST for swings.

  3. Avatar aem says:

    Hi, I’m trying to log this in the exercise in MFP – what can I class this as?

  4. Avatar Bridgitt Lee says:

    I log it under kettlebells or you can log it as circuit training. There’s an exercise in the database.

  5. Avatar Gregory says:

    Newbie and a 1/4 of my body weight is 60 lbs. Sounds like way too much.

    • Avatar Amy Sullivan says:

      It is. Don’t listen to that advice. Start around 15-25 lbs depending on your current fitness level. Check out DragonDoor(.com) for more information.

      • Avatar The_Truth says:

        Thanks for the info. I think that is pretty unrealistic. I weigh around 135 and a 15 lb is a bit too heavy for me… I am currently using a 10 lb kettle bell until I build some strength and stamina. It’s still a great workout with a much more manageable weight.

  6. Avatar itsjustmyreaction says:

    Glad I found this article. I bought some kettle balls can’t wait to try these exercise

  7. Avatar heyjude says:

    I’m not sure about the advice on weight of ketttlebell. I’ve never used one before and I weigh 212 (five foot ten inch female) and so they’re advising about 25lbs? I’m using ten pound kettlebells to start out with and even THEY seem to strenuous!!

    • Avatar Densford says:

      Actually the article recommended 25% of your body weight or 50+ pounds! I have a couple more pounds and I just ordered a 20 lb weight which I thought would be challenging. I think you should just work yourself up to higher over time.

      • Avatar heyjude says:

        Then be careful because my doctor has seen many patients who throw out their backs with these things!! I don’t want to be one of them.

  8. Avatar Amy Sullivan says:

    These types of articles drive me crazy. If you’re interested in kettlebells, check out DragonDoor(.com). I have been using kb’s off and on to supplement my training for about 4 years. I’m not RKC, but I can tell you the form in the pictures is not accurate for a kb swing, deadlift, or squat, so I’m not sure what exercise they’re trying to illustrate. Also, a newbie would never start at 25% of their body weight with a kb. That’s just absurd. For me, that would be 50 lbs. The centrifugal force during a swing increases the weight of the bell. Therefore, a 50 lb bell is going to feel much heavier than 50 lbs during a swing. My heaviest bell is 16 kg (about 35 lbs) and it’s a beast. I only use that one for maybe two sets MAX and then switch back to the 8 or 10 kg bells. The authority on kettlebells is on DragonDoor. Start your research there. Do not try to pick up a bell and swing it around without getting professional, certified instruction. You will end up at the doctors office with an injury. If you’re already very fit and strong, you might be able to start with a 16 kb bell, but even the kettlebell experts don’t suggest using your current body weight as the guide on where to start if you’re brand new to kettlebells.

  9. Great post, I like the workout regime. I have been doing significant amount of strength training using kettlebells and agree with you they are good for burning fat. Initially I started with a stubborn belly fat but with continues dieting and exercises, I have god the results.

  10. Avatar Dayle says:

    The trainer does assume that your fitness level is sound before taking part. Whilst the circuit is reasonable for those already participating, that’s quite an ask for a newbie. Dropping down to a just over a quarter of my weight (16kg) is a good push and certainly manageable. If you’re looking for guidance, reading articles is not your best bet. Enlist in a trainer or gym instructor for safetys sake. Have seen way too much bad form.

  11. Avatar Malcolm says:

    It depends on your current fitness level and experience with kettlebells. If just starting out i Recommend GB personal training, ironedge,dragondoor or even go and see a personal trainer/strength and conditioning coach with a cerification in Kettlebell training at Least a level 1 or 2. Don’t just take there word for it, because there are a lot dick heads out there.. Ask to see there qualifications.

  12. Avatar tylynn2017 says:

    I need help I been trying to lost weight but no matter what I do it sent like I can’t lost it at all and it is making feel overwhelm

    • Avatar Susan Bulloch says:

      When I hit a plateau, I start keeping a food diary if EVERYTHING I put in my mouth. There are lots of online apps to choose from for the this, such as Map My Fitness. It is impossible to out exercise a bad diet, so that is where I start. Another thing to look at is if your clothes are fitting better. Even if you are not losing pounds on the scale, if you are trading fat for muscle that is a very good thing. Good luck!

  13. Avatar Pat says:

    Hey, I am 70, don’t you ever offer any workouts for me. I am active. I walk five miles daily 7 days a week. I break it up with short sprints. I do light weights. I try to stay in shape but MyFitnessPal must think everyone is under 40 and a body builder. Let’s get with the program. It is my workouts that give me my positive quality of life. I love my vivofit and reading the tips and articles but don’t take us out of the picture yet. Thank you.

  14. Avatar HenryInMizzou says:

    Have a personal trainer coach you on this so you are safe. These are good exercises, but a trainer will help assure that you do no harm.

  15. Avatar Clare Quilty says:

    Kettleball exercises ANYBODY can do?! Yeah, anybody who is strong, in shape, and has no back or knee problems. Who writes this stuff?

  16. Avatar Jason says:

    Do people just get on here to bitch and moan? Find the workout that fits you. And read the whole article. He writes, “these workouts can be tailored to any fitness level—simply pace yourself as fast or as slow as needed, and choose your weights accordingly.”

  17. Why does the my myfitnesspal database seem devoid of kettle bell exercises?

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