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Killer Kettlebell Workout

Torch 300 Calories in 15 Minutes!

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Unlike many here-today-gone-tomorrow fitness crazes, kettlebell workouts are a time-honored technique that's just finally getting the attention it deserves. Since the weight isn't evenly distributed, using a cast-iron kettlebell forces your stabilizer muscles to work harder. As a result, you'll carve your core, sculpt your shoulders and back, and tone your butt and arms, as well as build power and boost endurance.

As for its calorie-burning capability, the average kettlebell workout melts away 20 calories a minute, says a recent study from the American Council on Exercise. That’s 300 calories gone in just 15 minutes!

Try this total-body circuit from kettlebell expert and celebrity trainer Paul Katami, star of the Kettlebell Konnect DVD. You can do it at home or in the gym to fry fat and tighten up from head to toe.

Workout details: Do a quick dynamic warm-up (1-2 minutes of jumping rope, jacks, or high-knee marches), and then do 1 set of the prescribed number of reps (or time) for each exercise. Move quickly from one move to the next with little rest in between. After you've finished the last exercise, rest 1-2 minutes, and then repeat the entire circuit 1 more time for a 15-minute, fat-blasting workout. If you're up for a challenge, complete 4 circuits total for a full 30-minute session.

You’ll need: A kettlebell (5-15 lbs, depending on your level)

(Never worked with a kettlebell before? Read these helpful tips before getting started.)

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Step-Out Swing

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A swing squat isn't like regular squats, Katami says. "It's a hybrid between a squat and a deadlift. A swing is a skill exercise that requires power and momentum."

How to do it: Stand with your feet together, holding the kettlebell in front of your thighs. Step out with your right foot, push your hips back, and lower into a squat. Maintain the natural arch in your spine as you swing the kettlebell between your legs. Swing the bell up in front of your chest (arms stay extended) and quickly step your right foot back into your left. Do this movement as many times as you can with good form for 30 seconds with your right leg, and then 30 seconds with the left.

Squat Rotator

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"The core comes alive on this one!" Katami says. "It's a combo of a basic squat and a windmill of sorts."

How to do it: Start standing, feet together, with the bell in your right hand in ‘rack’ position (the bell should rest on the back of your hand with the handle running diagonally across your palm). Step out to the left and lower into a squat as you press the bell to ceiling and reach your left hand down between your feet. Try to create a straight line between both hands with your arms, and then slowly return to start position. Perform the movement for 30 seconds on each side (60 seconds total) with no rest in between.

Training tip: "Rotation through the midsection should be the primary focus," Katami says. "Always track your eyes with the bell above you, watching the bell the whole time, and carefully return to the rack position at the start."

Gunslinger Lunge

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Build strength in your biceps and forearms while you shape up your lower body with this compound exercise.

How to do it: Start with feet together, holding the bell in your left hand. Step back with your left leg, lower into a lunge, and perform a biceps curl (bell bottom down). Immediately return to the starting position. Do 12-15 reps in a row on each side.

Push Press

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This power move incorporates the entire body, but it really engages your abs during the press.

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with the bell in your left hand in rack position, right hand tucked under your left palm. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat, and then quickly explode upward, pressing the bell overhead, reaching your right arm down by your side. Return to rack position and repeat. Perform the movement for 30 seconds on each side (60 seconds total) with no rest in between.

High Pull Burpee

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Get ready to work it! Those burpees you love to hate are taken to a whole new level with this combo move.

How to do it: Hold the kettlebell in your right hand and stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. To perform a basic high pull, lower into a squat, swinging the bell through your legs, and as you stand, pull the bell back, bending your elbow [as shown in the top right photo]. Immediately lower into a squat and perform a burpee on top of the bell [bottom photo]. Return to start and repeat. Perform the movement for 30 seconds on each side (60 seconds total) with no rest in between.

Training tip: "The bell hand in the burpee takes very little weight," Katami says. So it's almost like a single-arm burpee on the free hand. "Never press directly into the bell in the pushup position," he adds.

Spider Drags

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Challenge your entire core (and more!) with this total-body exercise that's great for building core and shoulder stability.

How to do it: Start in an elbow plank position, with the bell just behind your right elbow. Step one hand in at a time to press up into full pushup position. Reach your right hand under, grab the bell, and drag it to the other side. Lower back down into modified plank one arm at a time. That's one rep. Complete 12 reps, alternating sides each time (6 reps per side).

Photos by: Vanessa Rogers Photography