Kettlebells are awesome! You can use them to build muscle, increase your strength, burn fat, and even improve your cardiovascular conditioning. They truly are incredibly versatile. But, if they have a disadvantage, it is that most exercisers only have access to one or two. Kettlebells are also fixed weights, so you have to use the same ‘bell for all your exercises.
Having just one kettlebell might seem like a disadvantage, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, combined with a Gymboss timer, one is all you need for a fast, effective, whole-body workout!
Do one set of each of the following exercises in turn, moving quickly from one to the next. Do four rounds in total. Set your interval timer for 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest, and 20 sets. Do as many reps as you can in the time allowed, making sure your technique is as good as possible. From start to finish, this workout should take 20 minutes. If 40/20 sounds like too much work, or you are a beginner, try 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds or rest instead.
1. Two-handed swing
2. Goblet squats
3. Alternating snatches
4. Goblet side lunges
To get the most from any exercise, it’s crucial that you do it properly. Follow these directions to make your Gymboss kettlebell workout as safe and beneficial as possible.
Good for your posterior chain, this exercise will also increase your heart and breathing rate. It’s a great way to start any workout!
1. Hold your kettlebell in both hands in front of your hips and stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
2. Bend your knees slightly, hinge forward from your hips, and lower the weight down between your thighs.
3. Drive your hips forward and swing the weight up to around shoulder-height.
4. Swing your kettlebell back down and repeat at a brisk pace. Do not round your lower back.
Goblet squats work your thighs, glutes, lower, and upper back, as well as your arms. They also teach and promote proper squat mechanics and better posture. This is a very beneficial exercise!
1. Hold your kettlebell by the vertical handles in front of your chest and just below your chin. Tuck your elbows into your sides.
2. Step out and into a shoulder-width stance, and toes turned slightly outward.
3. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not round your lower back.
4. Stand back up and repeat. Keep your core braced throughout the exercise.
This explosive exercise works one arm at a time, which will develop your coordination and core and shoulder stability. Make sure you have enough clearance overhead, and that your weight won’t hit a low-hanging light or fan.
1. Place your kettlebell on the floor between your feet, which should be about shoulder-width apart. Squat down and grab your ‘bell with one hand. Drop your hips, lift your chest, and straighten your arm.
2. Quickly stand up and pull your weight up the front of your body. Dip your knees slightly and catch the kettlebell overhead at arm’s length. It should flip over your hand at the top of the movement.
3. Lower the weight back to the floor, change arms, and repeat.
Goblet side lunges
Working one leg at a time, this lunge variation works your front, inner, and outer thighs, as well as your butt. It’s also useful for increasing lower body flexibility and mobility.
1. Hold your kettlebell by the vertical handles in front of your chest and below your chin. Tuck your elbows into your sides. Stand with your feet together.
2. Step out to the side with your left foot, keeping your right foot in place. Bend your left leg and descend into a deep sideways lunge, keeping your right leg straight.
3. Push off your left leg and return to the starting position.
4. Change legs and repeat.
It’s hard to think of a kettlebell exercise that involves more muscles than thrusters. Not only does it work your legs, arms, shoulders, and core, it will also drive your heart and breathing rate sky-high!
1. Hold your kettlebell by the vertical handles in front of your chest and below your chin.
2. Squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Stand up quickly and use this momentum to help you press the kettlebell up and overhead to arms’ length.
3. Lower the weight back down to your shoulders and then repeat.
Modifications for beginners
Because this is a timed circuit, it’s up to you how many reps of each exercise you perform. Do as many as you can but also pace yourself to avoid overexertion. You can also reduce the length of the work periods, increase the length of the rest periods, or do fewer laps to make this work out more manageable. Finally, use a lighter kettlebell if you have one.
Lack of equipment does not have to mean boring or ineffective workouts. With just one kettlebell and a Gymboss timer, you can get fit, burn calories, and even build muscle, all within the confines of your home. Use this workout any time you can’t make it to the gym but still want a great total-body workout.