This Kettlebell Workout Sculpts *Serious* Muscles

Photo: Peter Ardito

For major results from a single sweat sesh, kettlebell workouts are hard to beat. Score a cardio and strength workout in one with these classic, total-body moves.

01 of 07

Grab a Bell and Get Ready

Peter Ardito

Kettlebell workouts are some of the most efficient, effective ways to sculpt a strong physique. Why? Instead of isolating muscle groups like you do when lifting dumbbells, you work all your major muscle groups at once with a kettlebell. That's because the weight isn't evenly distributed, so you have to work continuously to control the bell's shifting center of gravity. The result: major calorie burn—a study by the American Council on Exercise found that a kettlebell workout can burn up to 20 calories a minute—while you build muscle and define to your shoulders, back, butt, core, and arms.

This kettlebell workout—demonstrated by Lacee Lazoff, a StrongFirst Level 2 certified kettlebell instructor and trainer at Performix House in New York City—has the only moves you need to get in, get a solid workout, and get out in no time.

How it works: Perform 1 set of each kettlebell workout move back to back. Do the entire total-body circuit 3 times. For best results, do this kettlebell workout three times a week on non-consecutive days so your body has time to recover in between.

You'll need: A 10- to 20-pound kettlebell.

02 of 07

Kettlebell Swing

Peter Ardito
  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a kettlebell at your center line.
  • Slightly bend knees, shift hips back, and bring torso almost parallel with the floor.
  • Keeping core engaged, come back to standing, engage your glutes and drive hips forward.

Do 15 reps at a quick pace.

Kettlebell workout tip: The weight should naturally swing up because your hips are powerfully driving forward—not forcing it up with arm strength. Think of it more as a hip thrust than a squat. (Discover all the epic benefits of kettlebell swings.)

03 of 07

Kettlebell Squat

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell with both hands at your chest. Draw shoulders down and back.
  • Keeping chest lifted, bend knees and shift hips back to lower into a squat (lower hips until thighs are parallel to the ground).
  • Press heels into the floor and engage your glutes to return to standing.

Do 10 reps.

Kettlebell workout tip: Make sure knees are pressed out or pointing straight ahead the entire time, not buckling in.

04 of 07

Single-Leg Deadlift

Peter Ardito
  • Hold kettlebell in left hand. Shift weight onto your right foot.
  • Slightly bend right knee and hinge forward at your hips.
  • Keeping glutes, core engaged, and chest lifted throughout the kettlebell workout move, kick left leg back as your torso comes parallel with the floor.
  • Press foot into the floor as you return to standing. (

Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

05 of 07

Bent-Over Row

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell in left hand.
  • Bend knees and hinge back at your hips. (Torso will be close to parallel with the round, back completely straight.)
  • Keeping the weight close to your side and core engaged, row the kettlebell up to shoulder height by bending left elbow straight up to the ceiling.

Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Kettlebell workout tip: If needed, you can place your right hand on a wall for extra support.

06 of 07

Kettlebell Suitcase Carry

  • Grab the kettlebell in one hand and stand at one end of the room. Draw shoulders down and back, lift chest, and engage your core.
  • Maintaining this muscle engagement, begin to walk forward while holding the kettlebell in one hand.
  • Continue walking for 20 steps, and then switch hands and repeat. (

Do 20 steps. Switch sides; repeat.

07 of 07

Shoulder Press

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding the kettlebell with one hand in racked position over shoulder, elbow in tight.
  • Keeping a slight bend in your knees, press the weight directly overhead.
  • Slowly lower the kettlebell down to start

Do 10 reps. Switch sides; repeat.

Kettlebell workout tip: Be sure to draw shoulders away from ears and avoid arching back.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles