Too busy to go to the gym or don’t want to pay for an expensive membership? We’ve got the solution for you: a full-body kettlebell workout you can do at home – or anywhere you choose. We’re bringing together two awesome Polar ambassadors: personal trainer Lucy Young from Australia and Jax Pougnet from South Africa. Lucy has put together a full-body kettlebell workout you can try at home or at the gym and Jax has created the perfect playlist to go with the workout. Take it away!
One of the many benefits of kettlebell training is that you can do it anywhere and don’t need to concern yourself with additional equipment to break a sweat. One kettlebell can provide you with the basis for an astounding number of exercises that work your entire body. Cost and time-efficiency? Yes, please!
A kettlebell workout only involves one piece of equipment but only the sky is the limit to what you can do with it. So, even though a kettlebell workout is fairly simple, it offers a range of variations.
To get started hassle-free and make sure you break a sweat (and not anything else), try Lucy Young’s go-to kettlebell workout session divided into three sections:
- Full-body warm-up
To get you in the right mood, click the playlist from Polar Ambassador Jax Pougnet and let these tunes spur you through the workout:
Tracks 1–3: Warmup
Tracks 4–8: #BringingTheHeat
Track 9: Cool down
kettlebell workout: WARM-UP
Complete the circuit 3-4 times to reap the benefits and pay attention to the weight categories when selecting an appropriate kettlebell weight. Also, ensure you always squat down (from the knees, not the waist) to pick up the kettlebell so you avoid stressing your lower back.
10 x Squat High-Pull
A two-in-one exercise that works your upper and lower body and will have everything from your shoulders to your calves activated.
- Start holding the kettlebell with straight arms and feet slightly more than hip-width apart.
- Keeping your weight in your heels squat until the kettlebell touches the floor (or comes close to this) and come to standing.
- Pull up with your arms, allowing the kettlebell to come just underneath the chin, and your elbows up towards the ceiling.
10 x Lunge Press-Out
Your core is the stabilizer for this exercise and it’s essential that you keep it strong and steady so that you don’t fall over.
- Start with your feet together and the weight in at your chest.
- Take a step forward (keeping a straight back), drop your knee and turn your torso towards the leg that is forward.
- Press out with the kettlebell, and then bring it back to the center of your chest.
- Push off your front leg and come back to standing.
- Repeat with the opposite leg.
10 x Single-Leg Deadlift (Each side)
Despite this being predominantly a hamstring exercise, your balance is what makes this exercise an excellent coordination warm-up drill. I like to do this exercise with the kettlebell in the opposite arm to my balancing leg. I would advise any beginner to start in this position in order to avoid rotating the hips open.
- Start on one leg with the kettlebell in the opposite hand.
- Keeping your stabilizing leg slightly bent, lower your upper body down towards the ground while kicking out your back leg.
- Slowly come back to standing, trying your best not to let your free foot rest on the ground between reps.
kettlebell workout: Cardio/Lower-Body
15 x Regular Kettlebell Swing
This move has been named the ‘single most perfect exercise’ and there are many reasons why. It burns a tremendous number of calories, scorches fat, improves endurance, strengthens your muscle mass, and prevents lower back pain (if performed correctly!)
- Begin in a lowered-squat stance with your feet slightly separated.
- Keep your shoulders back and bring the kettlebell between the legs with straight arms and a good swing.
- Forcefully extend the knees and push the kettlebell forward with straight arms, allowing it to come to eye-level.
- Do not overly extend the hips forwards as this can put unnecessary pressure on your lower back.
- Quick hint: You should never feel like you are lifting the weight with your arms. The exercise is called a kettlebell swing for a reason, so allow your hips to move like a pendulum forward and back and let the weight follow.
- Another hint: The biggest mistake people make is forgetting that this exercise is more of a hip-thrust than it is a squat.
15 x American Kettlebell Swing
An extension of the regular kettlebell swing that will have you slightly more out of breath because you are required to bring the weight entirely above your head, and the range of motion is larger.
- Rather than bringing the weight to eye-level, allow it to continue almost until it is completely over your head.
- You can have slightly bent elbows once the weight is above your head and let the kettlebell point slightly down in order to make it faster to bring it back between the legs.
- Don’t push the weight too far behind your head as this can damage your rotator cuff (the muscles & tendons at the shoulder joint that allow your arms to go overhead) and throw you off-balance.
12 x Goblet Half-Squat to Full-Squat
This is quite possibly my favourite exercise. The half-squat component is what makes this move so challenging! Essentially, you are cutting down the recovery period and doubling up the work by adding this small pulse. Tough? Well, nobody gets strong glutes by sitting on them!
- Start in standing position with your toes facing slightly outwards (to engage more inner-thigh).
- Come down to the lowest point in your squat, up half-way, back down, and then up to standing.
kettlebell workout: Upper-Body
10 x Single-Arm Overhead Press (EACh SIDE)
The single-arm overhead press is one of the best ways to sculpt shoulders without putting the rotator cuff at risk of injury. This is because your elbow stays in when you push overhead and the weight is stacked in line with your shoulder so your center of mass is balanced. Your core is also getting some attention with this move because it must remain stable as your legs stay locked in place and you push overhead with just your arm.
- Start with the back of your hand resting against the body of the kettlebell as you hold the handle.
- With the kettlebell in at your shoulder, press overhead and back down.
- Repeat with the other arm.
12 x Kettlebell Overhead Press to Triceps Extension
This exercise is predominantly a triceps-deltoid (shoulder) combo. However, it also works the traps and core when performed standing.
- Stand shoulder-width apart with the kettlebell in at your chest.
- Push the kettlebell overhead and, keeping your elbows in and relatively motionless, drop your forearms (with the weight) behind the head and back up.
- Bring the kettlebell in front of your body and repeat.
10 x Single-Arm Kettlebell Row (EACH SIDE)
This exercise works your middle back and is awesome for shoulder blade mobility by strengthening the tendons around the shoulder blade or scapula.
- Begin slightly bent-over with a straight back and glutes pushed out.
- Pull one kettlebell to the stomach while retracting the shoulder blades and flexing your elbows.
- Lower the weight back down.
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Please note that the information provided in the Polar Blog articles cannot replace individual advice from health professionals. Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.