This 10-Minute Kettlebell Workout Takes No Prisoners

Man holding kettlebells in gym
(Image credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

You might think that you can’t achieve much with a 10-minute kettlebell workout, that you won’t be able to really challenge yourself in such a short period of time. If that’s the case, then this quick AMRAP workout is going to be a rude awakening.

AMRAP stands for As Many Rounds As Possible and the aim is simple: complete as many rounds of the four kettlebell exercises below as possible. The  session starts to feel tough about 90 seconds into the 10 minutes it takes, and if you’re doing it right, it’s only going to get harder from there. 

“This is a great total-body session that will leave you in a pool of sweat in a short space of time with minimal equipment,” says trainer Olli Foxley. “It could be used as a finisher to one of your strength sessions or as a stand-alone workout that will hit every major muscle group. AMRAPs force you to get your head down and work, as opposed to checking your Instagram feed between every set.”

Once you’ve recovered from your first attempt at this 10-minute kettlebell workout, make sure you note down how many rounds you managed. You can dangle the carrot of beating that score next time you attempt the workout so you push even harder.

For more great workout options, try these kettlebell workouts.

How To Warm Up

If you’ve come looking for a 10-minute workout, then the odds are you’re short on time and aiming to get a good workout done as quickly as possible. We get that, but at the same time, you do not want to go into this workout completely cold because it involves 10 minutes of working at flat-out effort with heavy weights. Some kind of warm-up is essential for both maximising your performance and reducing your risk of injury.

It doesn’t have to take long, but it does need to be specific to the workout you’re about to do. There’s little point in jogging on the spot for two minutes – you want to prime the muscles you’re going to use.

The simplest way to do that is to run through a round or two of the exercises in the workout, using light weights or no weights at all. That will take just a couple of minutes, so if you do have another couple to spare, then try doing this dynamic stretching routine as well. Sure, you’ll have one eye on the clock while you’re doing it, but when you find you rack up more reps than ever before during the 10-minute workout, you’ll never skip your warm-up again.

The Workout

We hope you like lunges, because you’ll be returning to them after each exercise. Do five lunges on each leg, then two overhead presses. Do another five lunges on each leg, then two renegade rows on each side. Do another five lunges on each leg, then do 10 swings. And in an easier to follow format: 

  • 5 lunges on each leg
  • 2 overhead presses
  • 5 lunges on each leg
  • 2 renegade rows on each side
  • 5 lunges on each leg
  • 10 kettlebell swings

That’s one round. Do as many rounds as you can in 10 minutes.

The Exercises

Racked kettlebell walking lunge

Racked kettlebell walking lunge

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Start with the kettlebells in the “racked” position, with your elbows tucked in to your sides. Take a big step forwards and simultaneously bend both legs until your knees are bent at 90° and your front shin is vertical. Push through your front foot and bring your back leg through to return to a standing position, then lunge forwards with the opposite leg and repeat

“The racked walking lunge is a great single-leg exercise that will test your core as well as challenging your breathing,” says Foxley.

Kettlebell overhead press

Kettlebell overhead press

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Start in the rack position with the kettlebells at shoulder height and your elbows tucked in to your sides for support. Press the weights directly overhead, using the most efficient path possible to minimise the stress on your shoulder joints.

“Using kettlebells when pressing overhead allows for some rotation during the press, making it more shoulder-friendly,” says Foxley.

Kettlebell renegade row

Kettlebell renegade row

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Set yourself in a high plank with your hands on the kettlebells. Keep your feet a little wider than normal for better stability and engage your core and glutes. Row one arm up, keeping your elbow moving back towards your hips and pulling your shoulder blades together. Support your weight with the opposite side of your body. Lower the weight and repeat on the other side. Keep your core tight to stop your hips rotating.

“Renegade rows are a great way to train anti-rotation [your ability to resist an external load pulling you out of alignment] for the core, as well as a pulling movement for the lats and upper back,” says Foxley.

Kettlebell swing

Kettlebell swing

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

With a kettlebell in each hand, drive your hips through until you’re upright. As your arms come up, squeeze your glutes to prevent overextending your lower back.

“The double kettlebell swing will keep your heart rate elevated and will also help posturally, hitting your hamstrings, glutes and lats, as well as your grip,” says Foxley.

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.