Test your strength and aerobic staying power with this quick but hard-hitting full-body kettlebell workout.

Tight on time but sick of bodyweight HIIT workouts? Then grab a pair of the best kettlebells and try this full-body kettlebell workout.

Starting with kettlebell swings activates your hips, glutes, shoulders and back, and if performed correctly will work you hard without affecting your performance in the other exercises.

The higher rep range for the squats, meanwhile, will give your upper-body muscles a little more recovery so you can continue the circuit without resting.

How to do this full-body kettlebell workout

If you’re an experienced trainer, we recommend repeating the circuit continuously without rest for 15 minutes (as many rounds as possible), but if you’re a beginner, rest for a maximum of 30 seconds at the end of each round.

You’ll need a pair of kettlebells for these exercises. We recommend using ones that offer a decent amount of resistance without being unwieldy. It’s always a good idea to do a warm-up to fire up your muscles before you work out.

Full-body kettlebell workout

1a. Kettlebell swing (12 reps)
1b. Kettlebell front squat (20 reps)
1c. Kettlebell floor press (10 reps)
1d. Kettlebell plank (30 secs)
1e. Kettlebell shoulder press (10 reps)
1f. Kettlebell towel curl (8-10 reps)

Keep reading for full exercise instructions.


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Kettlebell swing exercise

1a. Kettlebell swing

  • Begin this full-body workout by holding a kettlebell in both hands at thigh height.
  • Bend forward and swing it through your legs.
  • Straighten up and thrust your hips to drive the kettlebell up until it reaches shoulder height.
  • Complete 12 reps.

Man performing kettlebell front squat

1b. Kettlebell front squat

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding two kettlebells in the rack position.
  • Squat as low as you can, then drive back up through your heels.
  • Complete 20 reps.

Man performing kettlebell floor press as part of a full-body kettlebell workout

1c. Kettlebell floor press

  • Lie on the floor, holding the kettlebells in the rack position on either side of your chest.
  • Drive your feet into the floor and press the weights straight up.
  • Lower the kettlebells slowly back to the start.
  • Complete 10 reps.

Fitness model demonstrating kettlebell plank exercise in full-body workout

1d. Kettlebell plank

  • Assume a high plank position, with hands on the kettlebells, directly under your shoulders.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

Man performing kettlebell double shoulder press as part of full-body kettlebell workout

1e. Kettlebell shoulder press

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding kettlebells in the rack position at shoulder height.
  • Keep your core braced as you press the weights up.
  • Lower back to the rack position.
  • Complete 10 reps.

Fitness model performing kettlebell towel curl in full-body workout

1f. Kettlebell towel curl

  • Finish your full-body workout circuit by wrapping a towel around the handle of a kettlebell and holding both ends securely.
  • Curl the weight up until your forearms are at mid-chest height.
  • Return to the start with control.
  • Complete 8-10 reps.

Benefits of training with kettlebells

The benefits of kettlebells are numerous – from the large range of different weights available, making them accessible for a variety of levels, to their small size and storability, which makes them an ideal bit of kit for home gyms.

We also find kettlebells to be great for linking cardio and strength training together, as they can help you burn fat and boost metabolism, while also building full-body muscle. Plus, because the best kettlebell exercises often require you to use different muscle groups at the same time, they are ideal for building up functional fitness. This means that with regular kettlebell training, you’re likely to feel stronger in your day-to-day life – whether carrying the groceries or lifting up your kids – as well as in the gym.

What are the risks of training with kettlebells?

Like all workouts – especially those involving equipment – there are a number of risks to be aware of. Firstly, it goes without saying that the heavier the weight, the greater the risk. So, make sure you choose a suitable weight for you and build up gradually to avoid excessive muscle strain.

Whichever weight you choose, there’s also a risk of injury if you drop the kettlebell. This is why it’s crucial to choose a kettlebell with good grip and handling, so you can feel safe and secure during your workout. Plus it’s a good idea to think about hand care for kettlebell training.

Your floors and furniture might also be at risk if you’re training with kettlebells at home. If you’re looking to protect your surroundings from scuffs, scratches and dents, we recommend opting for a kettlebell that’s coated in rubber – or try a water- or sand-filled option.

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Model: Nik Naidoo
Photography: Eddie Macdonald