I Lift Weights Five Times A Week, But This Three-Move Kettlebell Workout Humbled Me
Do not underestimate the mighty kettlebell
Kettlebell workouts are underrated. Barbell exercises may allow you to lift really heavy loads, and dumbbells are incredibly versatile, but there’s just something about kettlebells that results in a double-hard workout.
Need proof? This workout from trainer Keanu Rey Soto targets your whole body in less than 20 minutes using just three moves and a single kettlebell – and it really delivers, too. Trust me, I’ve tried it and it kicked my butt. I lift weights five times a week, run on my active recovery days and never say no to exercise, so I thought I’d be able to breeze through it. This wasn’t the case.
Soto sets a challenge of 10 rounds of 10 kettlebell swings, one Turkish get-up on each side of your body and 10 goblet squats. Sounds simple enough, right?
If you need technique tips for any of these movements, watch Soto’s video below, and keep reading to find out why I was wrong to think I could cruise through this session.
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My first piece of advice for this workout is, if you have a choice of kettlebells, be conservative when choosing the weight you use. I opted for a 16kg kettlebell over a 24kg one, and feared I’d gone too easy on myself as the opening rounds flew by smoothly. However, the weight soon began to feel heavier as the reps stacked up.
This was particularly evident during the Turkish get-ups, because it’s a technical movement that requires skill as well as strength. After I’d spiked my heart rate with the compound exercises, it was a challenge to bring my breathing back under control and compose myself for this lift.
It’s well worth incorporating into your training though. A Turkish get-up doesn’t trigger the same bodybuilding burn you get from hypertrophy training, but instead I could feel the stabilising muscles around my shoulders and in my core springing into action to keep me balanced.
Strengthening these areas can pay dividends for injury prevention. Strong rotator cuffs can better cope with heavy shoulder exercises, while developing your deep-lying core muscles can help you maintain good posture and ease lower-back pain.
It’s not just lesser-known muscle groups that you’ll hit. I found my legs quickly fatigued from the goblet squats, while the kettlebell swings fired up my posterior chain – the muscles that run along the rear side of your body, including those in your glutes, hamstrings and back.
In the end, I was able to complete this workout in a little under 18 minutes, working progressively harder to maintain a consistent pace. My muscular endurance was put to the test, but I found it was a decent cardio workout too.
The high volume and lack of rest meant my heart rate soared, which goes some way to explaining why, despite tackling Soto’s session in an unheated home gym only a few degrees above freezing, I was down to just a T-shirt by the second half.
So if you’re after an efficient, effective workout you can do almost anywhere, this three-move workout comes highly recommended. My main takeaway? Never underestimate the kettlebell.
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Harry covers news, reviews and features for Coach, Fit&Well and Live Science. With over a decade of training experience, he has tried everything from powerlifting to gymnastics, cardio to CrossFit, all in a bid to find fun ways of building a healthy, functional body.