Best Full Body Kettlebell Workouts– Exercises to Build Muscle and Lose Weight, Fast!

Kettlebell Workouts for Beginners (and “Intermediate”) – Get Strong, Get Ripped, Fast.

Before I started using kettlebells to build muscle and lose weight, I thought the same thing that just about everyone who doesn’t work out thinks when it comes to weightlifting.  I thought that there just wasn’t enough time in the day, and I couldn’t imagine finding a weight lifting routine that wouldn’t disrupt my busy schedule.

I was starved for time, trying to balance my need for physical rehabilitation to manage my scoliosis with my passion for martial arts, while still having enough energy left to perform well at work.  I needed something that was simple, versatile, and time efficient, and I wanted something that could help me build serious muscle in as little time as possible.

The answer I eventually found was kettlebell training.  When used correctly, kettlebells can help you build muscle, lose weight, and condition your cardiovascular system, all in one exercise.  Kettlebells excel as the cornerstone of a simple, minimalist routine designed to produce the best results in the shortest amount of time.  But I didn’t believe in all of the hype surrounding kettlebells at first.

The trainer who first introduced me to kettlebells looked a lot smaller than I was, both shorter and less muscular.  But when he started explaining kettlebells to me and I watched him handle a 16kg kettlebell effortlessly through a wide range of movements while I struggled immensely with the same weight my first time around, I knew there was something to the kettlebell craze.  After working with them for just a while, I knew that kettlebells were perfect for me, and offered everything I was looking for in a simple package.

If you are looking to get started using kettlebells to build muscle, lose weight, and increase your cardiovascular health all in one simple and minimalistic form of exercise, you’ve come to the right place.  Read on for everything you need to know to get started with kettlebells.

  • SO What is a Kettlebell?

If you have experience with weightlifting in the past, forget what you think a “weight” should look like.  Yes, kettlebells are a form of weightlifting weight just like dumbbells and barbells, but they don’t look or function anything like either of these more common types of weights.  Basically, kettlebells look like a bowling ball with a handle on top. That makes them very different from a barbell or a dumbbell when it comes to weight distribution.

With a barbell or dumbbell, the weight is distributed on both sides of a bar for optimal stability. With a kettlebell, the weight is placed directly below the handle, which changes the way that kettlebell training hits muscle groups and changes the way that kettlebells are handled during a workout.  For example, the initial backswing to prep an exercise’s forward swing looks like you’re hiking a football in the NFL.

What is Kettlebell

Kettlebells aren’t some sort of “newfangled invention,” though they admittedly haven’t been in wide use in the U.S. for very long.  The oldest known kettlebell is an artifact from ancient Greece, weighs 314 pounds, and was supposedly hoisted by a man named Bibon.

If you can imagine how challenging it would be to lift a 314-pound handbag over your head, you can guess at how impressive Bibon’s physique must have been.  Or if you want a more contemporary example of how effective kettlebells can be, look at Gerald Butler’s impressive musculature during the movie 300.  The actors for that film incorporated kettlebell training into their workouts, and it sure paid off handsomely.

Turning back to history, kettlebells were widely used in Russia as far back as the early 1700s.  They only became popular in the U.S. at the turn of the 21st century, thanks to Russian fitness guru Pavel Tsatsouline, or the “evil Russian.”  Tsatsouline originally worked as the Physical Training instructor for the Soviet Union Special Forces, and is widely regarded as the modern “king of kettlebells.”

After a successful article about kettlebells in 1998, Tsatsouline wrote a more extensive guide to using kettlebells called “The Russian Kettlebell Challenge.”  His writing ultimately led to the wide scale manufacturing of kettlebells for U.S. markets, and Tsatsouline remains active today through Strongfirst.com.

Today, kettlebells are becoming more and more popular in U.S. fitness circles.  That’s partially because of high-profile success stories, like the amazing body that Gerald Butler and the rest of the 300 cast achieved by working kettlebells into their training.  And it’s partially because kettlebells offer so many unique and powerful benefits.  Here are some of the key advantages of using kettlebells.

  • Why Kettlebell Workouts?

With so many different ways to exercise out there, what makes kettlebells so useful?  And why is choosing a kettlebell workout such a smart move for most people looking to build overall fitness?  A big part of the answer to that question is based on the design of kettlebells, as we mentioned above, since the physics of kettlebell weight distribution means that they can help you work-out in a unique way.

But the real reason why so many people have already happily converted to kettlebell training, and why so many others can benefit from this type of workout, is the unique benefits that kettlebells provide.  Looking at these benefits, it’s easy to see why kettlebells have quickly earned so many fans.

Benefits of Kettlebell Workouts

As unique as the shape of kettlebells are the benefits that they provide exercise enthusiasts.  Here are a few of the biggest advantages of kettlebell training.

  • Kettlebells provide a well-rounded approach to fitness. Kettlebells aren’t primarily a bodybuilding tool though some definite muscle gains will occur if you use them right.  And they aren’t a cardio or weightlifting tool exclusively either.  The biggest benefit of kettlebell training is it helps you lose weight, gain muscle, and develop your cardiovascular system all at the same time.
  • The strength training aspect of kettlebell workouts is much more applicable to many types of sports fitness than conventional weightlifting. Traditional weightlifting will only train you to move weight and apply force in a very predetermined direction for a short period of time, but kettlebells force you to train strength more fluidly, resulting in muscle growth and overall fitness that can be more easily adapted to sports or other recreational purposes.

Key Advantages of Kettlebell

  • The cardio aspect of kettlebell training can be easily translated into other activities as well. While exercising with kettlebells won’t build up the same kind of long-term cardiovascular endurance you will develop through sustained cardiovascular activity; it will make your heart and lungs a whole lot stronger.  And this strength will help you push yourself when running, biking, or engaging in any other type of cardio exercise.
  • The strength you develop with kettlebell training translates to your everyday life more directly than strength developed through conventional weightlifting as well. Since they don’t have as convenient of a center of gravity, picking up a kettlebell is a lot more like picking up the things you will carry in daily life.  The grip that you develop through kettlebell training, and the ability to apply that grip to pick up more realistic objects, will make you strong in a way that will have a big impact on your daily life.

 Kettlebell Home Workouts

In addition to the unique fitness benefits of kettlebells discussed above, one of the best parts about starting a kettlebell routine is that this type of equipment is very suited to home workouts.  Here are a few reasons why.

  • Compared to conventional weight lifting, you won’t need as much equipment to start training at home with kettlebells. That means that it is a lot less expensive to get started with kettlebells as a hobby compared to other types of home workouts.
  • Since they provide such a well-rounded workout, it is a lot easier to build a home gym with a limited amount of space around kettlebells then it is around other types of workouts. You won’t need as much floor space to contain all of your workout equipment, and you can get a very well-rounded workout without devoting as much of your home to building up a gym.

Kettlebells: Great Workout for Beginners

All of the characteristics that make kettlebells such a beneficial type of workout for anyone make them especially great for beginners.  Here are a few reasons why picking up kettlebells as a fitness novice is a great idea.

  • Kettlebells have low potential for injury, once you have been trained in using them correctly. Compared to other cardiovascular exercises, kettlebells are “low impact” and won’t put impact stress on your joints.  Compared to other types of muscle building exercises, kettlebell movements are more fluid and natural, and injury isn’t very common once you know how to use kettlebells right.
  • Kettlebells are a fairly cheap way to set-up a full workout at home. This is especially helpful for fitness beginners, who may not be comfortable investing very much money in a fitness based hobby that they are unsure about pursuing.
  • Kettlebells provide a good all around workout and build up fitness skills that can be translated to lots of other types of physical activity. If you are just getting started exploring the world of physical fitness, the strength you build with kettlebells will help you pursue a wide variety of fitness based hobbies.

Kettlebells: Workouts to Build Muscle and Lose weight

The single greatest benefit of kettlebell training, which I’ve mentioned above but which can’t be stressed enough, is that with the right kettlebell exercises you can build muscle and lose weight at the same time.  That means an efficient workout; it means great things for overall health, and it means that kettlebells are a uniquely powerful way to get a great workout in.  Before you get started, here are a few exercise essentials to keep in mind.

Before Your First Kettlebell Workout

Before you get started with kettlebells, here are a few basic things to consider.

  • Diet and nutrition will be just as important as your actual workout in seeing the results you want to see. Consider consulting a nutritionist, or having an in-depth conversation with your doctor about what diet areas you need to be aware of.  In general, stick to a few rules of thumb.  Processed food, junk food, and fast food should be avoided.  Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and lean proteins should be consumed whenever possible.
  • You may need to make an active effort to stay motivated, depending on your past familiarity with fitness and your ability to stick to a workout routine. Remember that no matter how well you perform each kettlebell exercise, real results only come from repetition and consistency.  In order to motivate yourself to workout more frequently, it can be a good idea to try to make connections with other exercise fans that will push you to stay on top of your goals.

Before first kettlebell workout

  • Before getting started with your kettlebell routine, you should make sure that you have done everything you can to correctly stretch and warm up for the strenuous activity. Make sure that you do stretches that will hit all of the muscles you will be targeting, and do a brief warm-up to get your blood flowing and prepare your body for exercise.
  • Best Kettlebell Exercises

In the section that follows, I will cover some of the most common and important Kettlebell exercises in more depth.  But first, it’s important to have some general ideas about what working out with kettlebells the right way looks like.  Here are some form tips to point you in the right direction.  Follow these guidelines, and you will be more likely to avoid injury and get the most out of your workouts.

Basic Kettlebell Form Tips

  • Keep your back straight. Imagine laying a bard flat across your spine, from your head to your hips.  In order to help keep your back straight, focus on pushing your chest up and out, as this will make it impossible for your upper back to round.
  • Keep an appropriate neutral stance. You don’t want your legs too wide, or you can cause damage to your knees and hips.  If your legs are too wide apart for you too easily jump, they are too wide.  Shoot for just wider than shoulder width.
  • Lift with your hips and legs. You’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t lift with your back,” and it’s just as true of kettlebells as it is of any other sizeable weight.
  • Don’t train to failure. With all kettlebell training, your form will be of utmost importance.  As you approach fatigue, your form starts to break down, and you could even dangerously lose your grip on the equipment you are using, resulting in injury or damage to your surroundings.
  • Don’t force reps. If something doesn’t feel natural, don’t work through the awkwardness.  Instead, reset your form, and focus on making sure that you are performing the movement correctly.
  • Stick to the basics. There are a lot of different variations out there for the kettlebell movements discussed below, but you should worry about getting the basics of form down before experimenting too much.  Don’t try to get too fancy.  Remember that the beauty of kettlebell training lies in its simplicity.
  • Use the right grip. For most kettlebell exercises, you will want a semi-relaxed grip, with the bar resting in the hook of your fingers.  Don’t use the meat of your palm to grip the handle, unless you are completing an exercise that specifically calls for a different grip type.
  • Go barefoot, or lift in flat shoes like Converse or Vans. Lifting in running shoes might be convenient, but it can be a very bad idea.  That’s because most running shoes have an elevated heel, and this can put a lot of stress on your knees and ankles as you start lifting heavier weights.  Even if you avoid injury, lifting in running shoes will negatively affect your form.
  • Start with light weights. Even if you have experience in the fitness world, kettlebells are different from any other type of weight you have lifted in the past, and you should be careful to start lighter than you think you will need to start.  A 12kg or 16kg kettlebell is a good starting weight for most people.
  • Learn, practice, then lift. For each of the exercises below, make sure that you have a good idea of what the movement should look like before you ever attempt a movement on your own.  After you have read about what each exercise should look like, try it out without weight to see how each motion feels.  Then, move on to actually lifting.

If you keep each of the form tips in mind for all kettlebell exercises, you will be much less likely to injure yourself while training.  Plus, you will be more likely to complete each movement well, and you will be more likely to see good muscle growth and weight loss results, if you follow the tips above.

After I share tips on completing some of the most popular kettlebell moves, I will discuss the perfect minimalist routine that will help you meet your goals.  But first, here’s a bit more information about some of the most common and powerful kettlebell exercises.

Kettlebell Workouts

The Kettlebell Swing

The Swing is one of the fundamental kettlebell movements, and it is so important and so powerful that we will be posting a standalone Swing tutorial here in the near future.  For now, here are a few tips for performing the Swing correctly.  First off, check out this video from StrongFirst.com, the modern home of Pavel Tsatsouline, the “king of kettlebells.”

After watching the above video to get a good idea of form, follow these steps to perform the kettlebell swing.

Kettlebell Swings

  1. Choose a kettlebell that is light enough for you to easily control, avoiding your “working weight” while you learn technique. Then, step over the kettlebell you have chosen with your shoulders at or just slightly wider than hip width.  Stand with your chest pushed up and forward and your shoulders pushed back and down to keep your back in a straight line. 
  2. Squat down by bending at the knees, and take a grip on the kettlebell handle. Remember that you don’t want to hold the handle with the meat of your palm.  Grip the handle with your palms facing you, thumbs wrapped loosely around the handle, and the majority of the handle gripped in the “hook” of your hand.
  3. Without lifting the kettlebell yet, maintain your grip and drop your hips and glute down towards the wall behind you. Keep your arms long and loose, making sure that your biceps don’t flex, your shoulder blades retract, and your core gets engaged.  If dropping your hips seems uncomfortable, focusing on shifting your weight to your heels.  Think of your body like a coiled spring at the base of this exercise.
  4. Explode. Driving through your heels, explode through your hips to send the weight swinging upward and away from your quads.  Aim for the kettlebell reaching chest height, with your arms extended and not flexed.  Drive through your heels, and reach the finish position by snapping your hips forward, contracting your core, and squeezing your glutes.
  5. Let gravity take over, driving the bell back towards the ground. Follow the arc of the bell, shifting your weight back onto your heels and dropping your hips as the bell lowers.  Make sure to keep your back straight and your chest up as you return to the bottom position.  Repeat steps 1-5 for each rep.

When done correctly, the Kettlebell Swing has the potential to activate a huge number of muscles throughout your body.  Make sure that you are comfortable with your form before adding more weight, and always remember to keep your back straight as you swing.  The Swing will be the core basis of the minimalist routine we will discuss later, so take the time to get this one perfect, and check out the video above for more tips.

The Kettlebell Snatch

The Kettlebell Snatch is one of the most popular exercises there is in the Kettlebell world, but it is far from a beginner technique.  Unless you have a lot of experience with Olympic lifting, you probably won’t be able to perform a snatch correctly the first time.

In fact, most trainers recommend learning a progression of moves building up into the snatch before attempting a kettlebell snatch straight out.  Here is a three part video series by trainer Mike Stehle that does a great job of explaining some of the moves you should learn while building your skills up to snatch.  After following the progression laid out in the videos below, follow the steps listed to complete a snatch.

Part 1

 

Part 2

 

Part 3

  1. Stand over the kettlebell you have selected with a stance slightly wider than shoulder width. For the kettlebell snatch, you will only be lifting with one hand at a time, so be extra cautious to start with a weight low enough for you to control.
  2. Drop your hips while keeping your back straight, just like you did for the Swing. Feel free to bend at the knees as well, just keep your weight on your heels and keep your back straight by pushing your chest out and up and dropping your shoulders back.  Grasp kettlebell with the same overhand grip discussed above, but using only one hand.  Remember to grab the handle with the hook of your hand and not the meat of your palms.
  3. Lift the kettlebell off the floor slightly, pulling your forearm against your inner thigh to brace the weight while keeping your back straight and your hips taught. Keep your knees slightly bent, and focus on controlling the weight in a hang above the floor.
  4. Explode. Drive your hips forward, with your torso upright and your back straight, much as you would for a Swing.  Instead of letting the bell rest at chest height though, your finish position will be with the kettlebell over your head.  To reach this position, pull the bell towards your body slightly with your elbows pointed out once it has raised past your hips. As the kettlebell continues to rise, decelerate rise of handle allowing kettlebell to rotate in your hand into an inverted position, allowing the weight to drop down along your forearm and placing your hand with the kettlebell handle in at as the highest point on your body. Push kettlebell upward in an overhead straight arm position with kettlebell positioned behind forearm
  5. To lower the kettlebell in the kettlebell snatch, reverse the movements you have already made. Lower the kettlebell from over your head by unlocking your elbow, dropping the weight down in front of your body, and following through with your hips to return to the down position with the kettlebell just above the ground, forearm pressed to thigh.  Repeat movement for each rep, ending by placing your kettlebell on the ground following your last rep.

Again, kettlebell snatches are an advanced movement.  They are very popular, and a lot of people may want to get started trying a snatch the first time they pick up a kettlebell.  Here is another demonstration video, this one by StrongFirst Certified coach Danny Sawaya.  Until you can perform this movement with the perfect form you see from Danny, don’t try to raise your weight.

The Kettlebell Turkish Get-up

turkish get up

This movement will be less familiar to most people than the snatch and some of the other Olympic-inspired movements on this list, mostly because it is a kettlebell specific exercise.  The Turkish Get-up will be an important part of the powerful minimalist routine that this guide ends with, so be sure to pay extra attention.  Here’s another StrongFirst video to help you visualize proper form before you follow the step by step instructions below.  Since this is a complicated move, it may help to see an illustrated guide as well.

  1. Lie on your side, with your kettlebell next to the shoulder you will be working. This is another advanced motion, and it is critically important that you start with a low weight you can safely control.  Grip the kettlebell with your working hand, and roll onto your back, cradling the kettlebell with your non-working hand for extra stability in this step.
  2. Press the kettlebell overhead, using both hands for stability, until you are lying on your back with the kettlebell above you. Lock out your elbow of the hand you will be working, and press your loaded shoulder back into its socket. Bend your knee on the side of the body you are working, dropping your non-working arm to the floor and positioning it in a stabilizing 45-degree angle.
  3. Take a deep breath, and prepare to start moving that weight. Driving up from your foot on the working side, roll onto your elbow on your non-loaded hand, and then push up to supporting yourself on your palm.  Don’t skip supporting yourself by the elbow, or instability and injury could occur.
  4. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the ground, making enough room to move your non-bent leg out from under you. This movement does not necessarily come naturally to most people, but you will want to end by supporting your weight from three points, your palm, your outstretched leg, and the flat of your foot from your bent knee.  Keep weight distributed over these three points like a tripod.
  5. Swing back your non-bent leg and enter a lunge position, using your shin and knee of your non-bent leg to support you. Your straight leg should end up next to and behind your hand on the floor.  You should end this step with one knee pointing straight ahead, your knee on the floor pointing towards your hand, and your kettlebell raised above your shoulder.  Keep your neck up and your back straight through this movement.
  6. Push-up from your lounge, taking your support hand off of the floor and pressing upwards from your hips and glutes. Make sure to focus on keeping your kettlebell steady, as there will be a substantial amount of weight getting pressed over your head.  Before pushing up from the bottom of your lunge, sweep back your support leg so that your legs are parallel, then push up as you would out of the base of any lunge, using slow and controlled movements and relying on the muscles in your hips and glutes.
  7. Reverse-lunge to exit the top of the movement, dropping your hips down and kicking your support leg out again. Think about completing the entire movement in reverse, ending on your side with your kettlebell next to you. Throughout your lowering, make sure to keep your back as straight as you can, your shoulders engaged, and your hips and glutes are handling as much of the weight as possible.

The Turkish Get-up is obviously a complex movement, but it is one of the most important kettlebell exercises out there, and it will help form the basis of the complete minimalist routine we will discuss soon, the Simple and Sinister workout.  If you have access to a coach or trainer that is experienced with kettlebells, consult them before attempting the Turkish Get-up on your own.

Kettlebell Squat and Deadlift

These are actually easier progressions to prep you for the core Simple and Sinister workout we will discuss briefly.  They are both tremendously popular and effective and can be used as add-ons as you get more advanced with kettlebell training.  Since neither of these movements will form the core of the routine that follows, they won’t receive quite as in-depth of an explanation from me here.

Kettlebell Squat

First, we will start with the kettlebell squat.  There are many different variations of the squat, but here we will focus on a version called the “Goblet Squat.”  Here’s a great video that illustrates the motion, again from StrongFirst.com

  1. Start in a comfortable stance, with your feet just wider than shoulder width. Push your knees out with your elbows to widen the bottom of your squat, but do so while keeping your feet firmly planted and pointed forward or at a slight outward angle, depending on comfort and flexibility.
  2. Pick up the kettlebell you will be using with both hands, using a small swing to raise it into position in between your legs. Grip the kettlebell handle on the sides, again using your elbows to push out your knees for a wider base of your squat.
  3. Explode up, pushing from your glutes and keeping your knees out while you rise. At the top, take a deep breath and use the air to keep pressure in your torso, protecting your back from injury.  Drop back down by pushing your glutes out and leading through your hips, and repeat the motion for reps.  Here is a second instructional video to help you get a handle of the kettlebell squat.

Kettlebell deadlift

The Kettlebell deadlift will utilize a lot of the same physiological principles, but will help you hit your back and posterior chain more directly.

  1. Step over the kettlebell you have selected, with your feet at a shoulder width or just wider stance. Start by dropping your hips down and grab the kettlebell with both hands in an overhand grip, again aiming for a grip with the hook of your hand rather than the meat of your palm.
  2. Keeping your back straight and engaging your glutes, push from the bottom of your deadlift while keeping your arms slack. At the top of your deadlift, your kettlebell will be resting somewhere just below your groin.
  3. Take a deep breath to keep your torso full of air, and then drop your kettlebell back to the floor by reversing the motion you used to pick the weight up. Keep your back straight and keep your glutes flexed.

Both the kettlebell squat and deadlift are somewhat simpler than some of the other exercises on this list, and both can be a great addition to any routine once you learn more about kettlebells and get more comfortable using them.  For now, take note of the squat and deadlift as some basic, standard weight lifting motions that just about everyone in a gym is familiar with.

The Kettlebell Clean and Press

Kettlebell Clean and Press

The Clean and Press is a more advanced move, and kettlebell newcomers may want to wait before taking this too seriously.  I will only share a few pieces of information to give you an idea of what the move entails.  Again, this move should only be attempted once you have built up a familiarity with kettlebells, and ideally you should only try a Clean and Press under the supervision of an experienced coach or trainer.  Here’s a video of the Clean and Press, demonstrated as Pavel Tsatsouline would love to see the movement performed.

When completed correctly, the clean and press has the potential to target many of the muscles of the upper body, and comes very close to delivering a “full workout” using nothing but kettlebells.  However, again, this advanced movement takes advanced training, and shouldn’t be attempted by novices.  Here is one more instructional video to help you understand what the clean and press looks like with kettlebells.

Other Kettlebell Exercises

The six exercises above represent the most popular, powerful, and important kettlebell exercises, especially for beginners just learning the discipline.  But the great thing about kettlebells is that they can be adapted into many different movements, and can be used to perform a whole slew of other exercises once you master the basics above.  Here is a look at a few other useful, more specialized kettlebell movements.

The Windmill

kettlebell windmill

 

The kettlebell windmill looks a lot like a side bend, and helps you strengthen your core and lower back.  The windmill is performed by hoisting a kettlebell over your head, supporting it there with a static extended arm, and bending your torso towards the ground.  Here is an illustrative video by Onnit.

The Kettlebell Row

Kettlebell Row

Kettlebell rows target your biceps and back, especially your upper and mid back, and help you build some “glamor” muscles that the exercises above don’t hit.  This movement will look familiar to anyone who has done a dumbbell row, but using a kettlebell makes the movement easier to complete without other equipment.  Here’s is an illustrative video of the row.

Notes On Other Movements

There are a whole lot of other kettlebell movements and exercises out there, but the truth is that most should be avoided.  When crafting a routine, you want something basic, minimalistic, and straightforward that you can stick to.  You want a routine that will hit all of your core muscle groups in at least some way, and in as little time as possible.  And you want to be sure that you are using a routine that has been tried and tested, and can guarantee you the strength gaining and weight losing benefits of kettlebell training.  Enter the Simple but Sinister Workout by Pavel Tsatsouline.

  • The Simple and Sinister Kettlebell Routine

Developed by the “king of kettlebells” Pavel Tsatsouline, this routine does everything that you could hope for from a good kettlebell routine.  Simple and Sinister is very minimalistic, using only a few basic movements to give your body a full workout.  But don’t think that by doing less you won’t get a great workout.  Even though Simple and Sinister is straightforward, it’s far from easy when done correctly.

The Simple and Sinister Program

With any minimalist program, the warm-up is as important as the actual training movements you will perform.  Pavel’s recommended warm-up looks like this, though you can add other light-weight exercises in if you have different muscle groups that tend to “stick” and need extra attention.  Here’s Pavel’s recommendation:

Complete all three exercises as a circuit, and complete three circuits to finish your warm-up.  Goblet squats we have covered above, but Halos and Supine Bridges may be a new movement for many aspiring kettlebell aficionados.  I’ve linked to each of the exercises above, and you can read over the provided guides before adding these movements to your warm-up.

Kettlebell Halo

Here is an instructional video of the Kettlebell Halo performed correctly:

And here is a video of a correctly performed Supine Bridge:

Once you have completed your warm-up, it’s time to get into the heavier lifting and complete your workout.  With any minimalist work-out, you need to be sure that you are putting your full effort into your workout sets.  Make sure that you follow the movement guides above to complete each exercise correctly, but be sure to push yourself and try your hardest as well.  Here’s what the main workout of Pavel’s Simple and Sinister workout looks like:

  • 10×10 one-arm Kettlebell Swings
  • 1×5 Turkish Get-ups, each arm (10 total).

We covered each of these exercises extensively above, so scroll up if you need a refresher.  The only big difference to note is that Pavel recommends a one arm swing, to help you focus on balancing your training.  You can start by using a two handed swing while you learn, but be sure to work your way up to one handed as you progress.

Notes on Simple and Sinister Weight and Modifications

For the Simple and Sinister routine shared above, you will always want to work with a weight that you are in full control of.  Once you have become accustomed to completing each motion, you can raise weights as you go, but be sure that you always have full control of the kettlebell that you are using.  For males, make it a goal of reaching a 32kg kettlebell for both major motions.  For women, shoot for a 32kg for the swing and a 24kg for the get-up.

  • Conclusion

While reading this guide probably didn’t make you an immediate expert in the world of kettlebells, I hope that it convinced you of a few things.  When used correctly, kettlebells can be a great fitness tool to both lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.

Kettlebell workouts with the Kettlebell Swing at its core, are one of the best all-around minimalist routines that you can find.