15-Minute Kettlebell Ladder Workout – Your Next Gym Challenge

Kettlebell renegade row
(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

This two-move, whole-body workout challenge will make you stronger, torch fat and improve your cardio fitness in just 15 minutes.

It uses the ladder workout format, where you do one rep of an exercise then two reps and so on until you get to ten.

The twist is that the reps of one move ascend while the reps of the other descend. You start by doing ten thrusters then one rep of the press-up rows. You then do nine thrusters and two press-up rows and so on until you do one thruster and ten press-up rows. It’s simple to describe but tough to complete.

“The thrusters are probably going to feel harder so it’s good to get most of them done when you’re fresh and then you hang on in there at the end,” says personal trainer Tom Eastham.

“Time your first effort, then time it again in six weeks to see if you beat your previous time. You can also do a scaled version where you do thrusters for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then do press-up rows for 30 seconds then rest for 30 seconds. Do that for ten minutes, record the reps and try to beat your rep count next time you try it.”

What Weight? If you’re an experienced exerciser, use two 16kg kettlebells. If you’re a beginner, use two 12kg kettlebells. To do this kettlebell workout at home, pick up a pair of the best kettlebells.

Kettlebell Thruster

Kettlebell thruster

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

How Stand up straight holding two kettlebells to your chest with the bells resting on your forearms (known as the “rack” position). Keeping your torso upright, simultaneously bend at the hips and knees to lower towards the floor. Go as low as you can, then straighten up and as you do so, press the weights overhead. Lower them to the start position and repeat.

Why “This is a great full-body exercise that involves moving a weight through more distance than any other move, with the exception of a snatch,” says Eastham. “But it’s not as technical as a snatch because it forces you to stay upright – if you aren’t, you’ll fall over. “

Kettlebell Press-Up Row

Kettlebell Press-Up Row

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

How Start in a press-up position with your hands on the kettlebell handles. Perform a press-up then, keeping your body straight, row one kettlebell up to your side. Return it to the floor, then row the other kettlebell up and down. Then repeat the whole move.

Why “This is an excellent stabilisation move,” says Eastham. “There’s so much core work involved – press-ups are underrated as a core exercise. It’s effectively a moving plank. And when your hands are on the kettlebells, you get a greater range of motion than a standard press-up.”

Joe Warner
Former editor of Men’s Fitness UK

Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.