You Need Just One Kettlebell And Seven Moves To Build Muscle All Over

Woman with kettlebell pressed overhead
(Image credit: OLEKSANDRA TROIAN / Getty Images)

Kettlebell workouts can look intimidating, especially when they feature explosive, technical moves like the kettlebell snatch or kettlebell clean. Those moves are well worth mastering, but there are lots of other ways to train with a kettlebell (one of the reasons we think it’s worth adding one of the best kettlebells to your home gym).

Ellie Crawley, a personal trainer and the founder of the activewear brand Feel Fit, is fond of training with kettlebells, especially full-body kettlebell workouts. Crawley has devised a challenging session for you to try at home or in the gym. “Training with kettlebells will challenge your strength, boost stamina and build muscle all over—while burning calories by the bucketload,” she says. “Not much can beat it.” 

How To Do This Workout

This workout uses straight sets, so perform all the sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. 

A range has been given for reps and rest. The first time you perform the workout choose the fewest number of reps and the full 60 seconds of rest. Increase the difficulty each time you perform the workout by adding one more rep or reducing the rest period.

Resist the urge to grab the heaviest kettlebell you can find. Instead, start with a weight you can comfortably press overhead. Before you begin, make sure to prepare your body—this warm-up routine will do the trick—and familiarize yourself with each exercise. 

Perform each rep with the correct form. If you feel your technique slipping, take a few extra seconds to regain your composure then pick up where you left off. 

Workout Overview

  1. Goblet squat 4 x 10-12
  2. Single-arm overhead press 3 x 8-10
  3. Overhead reverse lunge 3 x 10-15 each side
  4. Kettlebell swing 5 x 10-15
  5. Kettlebell single-arm row 3 x 10 each side
  6. Kettlebell thruster 4 x 10-12
  7. Kettlebell march 5 x 10-15 each side

Form Guides

1 Goblet squat

Sets 4 Reps 10-12 Rest 45-60sec

Stand with your feet hip width apart and your toes pointing out slightly. Hold the kettlebell in front of your chest, cupping the round part of the kettlebell in both hands with the handle pointing down. Bend your knees and push your hips back to lower into a squat, keeping your knees in line with your toes. Focus on pushing your knees out to drop lower into your squat. Drive through your heels to rise back to standing. Inhale at the top of the exercise, then exhale as you drive up to stand. 

2 Single-arm overhead press

Sets 3 Reps 8-10 Rest 45-60sec

Hold a kettlebell in the racked position, holding the handle in one hand with your knuckles pointing up, the bell resting against your forearm, the weight held close to your shoulder and your elbow pointing forward to keep your chest up. Inhale and brace your core. As you exhale, extend your arm to drive the weight straight up, keeping your wrist straight. Control the weight back down to your shoulder and repeat. Do all your reps on one side, then switch. 

3 Overhead reverse lunge

Sets 3 Reps 10-15 each side Rest 45-60sec

Hold a kettlebell in your right hand in the racked position. Extend your arm to press the weight overhead. Keeping the weight overhead, take a big step back with your right leg and bend both knees until your right knee gently taps the floor. Your left knee should be directly above your left ankle. Drive up through your left heel and step your right foot forward to standing. Lower the weight to the racked position to complete the rep. Perform all the reps on one side, then switch sides.

This is a challenging move, especially after four sets of the overhead press. You may want to keep the kettlebell in the racked position while performing the lunge.

4 Kettlebell swing 

Sets 5 Reps 10-15 Rest 45-60sec

Stand with feet shoulder width apart and the kettlebell on the floor just in front of you. Bend slightly at your knees and hinge at your hips to grasp the handle of the weight. Keep your chest and eyes facing forward, retract your shoulder blades to engage your mid and upper back muscles, then hike the kettlebell off the floor and between your legs to initiate the move. Once your forearms touch your inner thighs, drive your hips forward to generate power and push the kettlebell forward up to eye level. Allow the weight to swing back between your legs and go straight into the next rep. Your shoulders should stay above hip height throughout the exercise. 

5 Kettlebell single-arm row

Sets 3 Reps 10 each side Rest 45-60sec

Stand in a split stance with your left foot forward. Position the kettlebell on the floor on the inside of your left foot and hinge forward at your hips and rest your left forearm just above your left knee. Hold the kettlebell handle in your right hand. Retract your right shoulder blade to engage your upper back muscles, then lift the weight to your right hip, drawing your elbow past your torso. Pause, then lower until your arm is extended. Avoid twisting your spine. Complete all the reps on one side, then switch.

6 Kettlebell thruster

Sets 4 Reps 10-12 Rest 45-60sec

Stand with your feet hip width apart, holding a kettlebell by the handle in both hands close to your chest and the handle pointing up. Point your toes out slightly, bend your knees and push your hips back to lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Drive powerfully through your heels to stand and extend your arms to press the kettlebell overhead. Lower the weight to chest height and continue into the next rep. Inhale at the top of the exercise, then exhale as you explode up.

7 Kettlebell march

Sets 5 Reps 10-15 each side Rest 45-60sec

Hold a kettlebell in the racked position with one hand. Extend your arm to press the weight overhead. Brace your core, then march on the spot, lifting your knees to hip height. Focus on keeping the weight directly above your shoulder. If you can’t maintain good form, even after a brief pause, lower the kettlebell to the rack position and continue. Complete all the reps on one side, then switch arms and repeat. 

Lucy Gornall

Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.