Melt fat with killer workout routines that fuse the body-sculpting effectiveness of kettlebell exercises with the fast motions of kickboxing

By Ashley Mateo
Updated: April 16, 2015
Dasha Libin Anderson

The only thing we love more than doing kettlebells or kickboxing on its own is a badass workout that fuses the two for even better body-sculpting results. Why do just one workout when you can get the benefits of a two-in-one sweat sesh? Because while swinging a kettlebell does have its benefits, building those moves into specific workout structures can bring you even closer to your body goals, whether that's building muscle or sporting a chiseled look come summer.

To help (because, hey, it's not like we all have degrees in sports science), we tapped Dasha Libin Anderson, author of Kettlebell Kickboxing, to create three unique workouts using just eight kettlebell exercises. Stick with the plans below, alternating workouts three to four times a week, for the next three weeks, and you'll sculpt a fierce look with the muscular strength to back it up-just in case anyone decides to challenge you!

Workout 1

If you're new to exercise and weight loss is your primary goal (with the added bonus of muscle definition), try this:

• Perform the moves in a circuit for 3–4 sets

• Work for 1 minute for each move

• Actively rest for 1 minute by doing a light jog, jumping jacks, or alternating kicks

• Continue to the next exercise

• Rest for 2 full minutes after you have completed one full set of exercises and then move on to the second, third, and fourth sets

Workout 2

If your goal is to sculpt and tone your body while building functional movement and strength, try this:

• Perform the moves in a circuit of 3–4 sets

• Work for 4 minutes for each move, using a weight that is challenging enough to make you work to your full capacity

• Rest for 20 seconds

• Continue to the next exercise

• Rest for 2 full minutes after you have completed one full set of exercises and then move on to the second, and third sets, decreasing the rest periods during each set by 5 seconds; by the time you get to the fourth set, you'll take no breaks between exercises

Workout 3:

If you workout often and you're looking for a real challenge-while burning calories and building strength, endurance, and power, try this super high-intensity version of the moves below:

• Perform the moves in a circuit of 3–4 sets

• Work for 1 minute for each move, using a weight that is challenging enough to make you work to your full capacity

• Actively rest for 1 minute, performing 40 seconds of mountain climbers, burpees, or sprints and then fully resting for 20 seconds

• Continue to the next exercise

• Rest for 2 full minutes after you have completed one full set of exercises and then move on to the second, third, and fourth sets

Start in a sit-up position with one leg bent underneath the other. Perform a sit-up, holding the kettle mid-racked at chest height. At the top, bring one leg out in front of you and push onto it, driving through the heel until in a lunge position with front knee at a 90-degree angle and back knee on the floor. Continue to hold the kettlebell close to the body as you sit back down all the way back to the starting position. (If you need to use your arm to sit up, put the kettlebell down after performing the sit-up.)

Sit on the floor with knees bent, holding a kettlebell at chest level. Lean back so torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor, making sure to keep abdominals tight and lower back and shoulders straight. Without moving your torso, slowly (take two full seconds) rotate shoulders as far to one side as possible. Then, slowly and with full control, turn shoulders to the other side. Make sure that you turn from your shoulders, not just your arms, so that your spine is stable and all of your muscles are fully engaged. Continue to alternate back and forth.

You will need a pair of kettlebells that are of challenging weight. Let them hang naturally at arm's length, holding the kettlebells with thumbs facing forward. The farmer's carry is just a walk holding the kettlebells. If you can walk for longer than one minute, try a heavier weight.

Begin in a swing stance, with the kettlebell hanging down and shoulders and back straight. Make sure hips sit back farther then knees (you are not squatting). Dip down a little bit into a hinge position, engaging the glutes. Using that momentum, begin to lift the kettlebell straight up (do not swing it). As the kettlebell reaches chest level, begin to turn it over into a bottoms-up position and continue to bring it overhead until arms are fully extended. Do not pause. Begin to bring the kettlebell back down the same way; turn it from a bottoms-up to a hanging position immediately after passing chest level. Repeat in a steady and continuous form.

Holding the kettlebell at chest height, take a boxing stance with one leg forward and the other behind. Place weight on the ball of rear foot and twist down a little toward front foot, as if you are ducking a punch coming at you from your rear foot's side. Dip down in a mini squat and make a small half circle with the head as you come up, slightly shifting the head. Keep the kettlebell at chest level and tight to the body. Switch directions, coming back through the mini squat to starting position. Do not forget to switch stance for the next set.

Kettlebell Knee Jab

Start in a boxing stance with left leg forward and right leg back and turned out 45 degrees. Keep shoulders squared, back straight, hands by chest, holding kettlebell by the horns. Take your right leg and drive it up, bending at the knee so that you are driving the crown of your knee forward and up. Step the knee back into boxing stance and repeat. When you get comfortable, you can add a light hop or skip to the knee. Do not forget to switch legs for the next set.

Start sitting on your butt with hands below your shoulders, fingers facing toes, and feet flat on the floor. Push up to a table top position, placing the kettlebell underneath you and engaging your glutes and core. Lift one arm off of the ground and reach around to the opposite side to touch the kettlebell. Turn and switch sides, continuing to alternate.

To begin, lie down with the kettlebell in left hand and left leg bent; right leg and right arm should be straight and positioned out at a 45-degree angle from body, flat on the ground. Starting in the position described above, stare only at your kettlebell (never look forward or down). Push up to rest on right elbow. Push up to balance on right hand. Lift body up by pushing hips up to the sky. Pause for a second, engaging glutes and keeping abdominals tight. Continue back down through the same exact steps as when you came up, then switch sides. Continue alternating.

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