This super-compact kettlebell 20 minute workout activates all the major muscle groups. And because you’ll be maintaining a high intensity it also stimulates the heart and lung while burning fat.
‘Not a single sport develops our muscular strength and bodies as well as kettlebell athletics,’ (The Russian Kettlebell Challenge).
As well as engaging every aspect of your physicality, this kettlebell 20 minute workout is fully customisable. The simple, yet effective structure of the workout can be used as a framework around which you can create your one kettlebell workout. But we’ll discuss how to modify this workout in more detail below.
First, let’s consider the fitness benefits up for grabs if decide to include this kettlebell 20 minute workout in your general training routine.
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kettlebell 20 minute workout fitness benefits
This workout is all about overload – the training principle of ‘progressively working your muscles harder and harder to induce gains in strength, mass or endurance,’ (The Complete Guide to Strength Training).
Training for overload places significant stress on the muscles. Though this may not sound like a good thing, experienced trainers will know that stressing the muscles is the most effective way of stimulating gains. In order to improve fitness performance, ‘the body must be exposed to a physical stress that is greater than that encountered in everyday living,’ (The Complete Guide to Stretching).
Increased cardio fitness is also a benefit on the cards. Because the kettlebell is a functional exercise tool, it activates major muscle groups including scores of synergists. For example, the kettlebell swing alone engages all the muscles of the posterior chain – hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back – including the core, anterior deltoids, upper pectorals, and forearms.
To fuel the muscles throughout a kettlebell workout the heart must work harder. So, even without engaging in any aerobic exercise, you can still improve your cardio capacity.
full body strength
The final fitness benefit of note has to do with strength development. This kettlebell 20 minute workout was designed to increase muscle endurance and aerobic stamina. However, with a slight modification, it can also enhance strength.
To switch the workout to strength training all you would do is interchange a heavy kettlebell for certain sections of the workout. By doing so you’ll be training across multiple components of fitness.
Kettlebell 20 minute workout benefits
Enhances endurance and stamina in all the major muscle groups
Improves cardiovascular fitness
Can build strength
Develops whole body physical functionality
Provides a customisable workout that can be tailored to suit most fitness goals
How to do this kettlebell 20 minute workout
The most important component of this workout is the warm-up. A progressive intensity 10-minute warm-up will prepare you for the coming demands while also enabling you to begin at a high tempo.
Split into four 5-minute sections, the objective is to cycle continuously through the kettlebell exercises until the time is up. Concluding each completed section, either take a short rest (no more than 2-minutes) or get straight back into the next series of exercises.
This kettlebell 20 minute workout is organised around the AMRAP training method. So, once warm and ready, set a 5-minute countdown on your training timer and try to amass as many repetitions as possible.
warm up before workout
5-minutes cardio (rowing, cross-trainer, airdyne bike)
1-minute kettlebell swings (light kettlebell)
2-minutes cardio (rowing, cross-trainer, airdyne bike)
1-minute clean and jerk alternate arm cycle (light kettlebell)
1-minute HIT cardio (rowing, cross-trainer, airdyne bike)
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Kettlebell 20 minute workout
How to modify this kettlebell 20 minute workout
Depending on your current level of fitness you could adjust the duration of the workout. Each section is scheduled for 5-minutes. But that’s not set in stone. If you felt that your fitness wasn’t up to 5-minutes of sustained kettlebell exercising, reduce the time. Even two and half minutes per section would make for a demanding session. Reverse the advice if you want to challenge yourself.
Instead of resting between sections throw in a short cardio blast. When I was experimenting with this workout, trying different configurations and permutations, one variation included completing a 1000-metre row after each 5-minute AMRAP. I found that the row broke up the workout nicely which also provided a rest. But you don’t have to row. Any aerobic exercise will do fine – running, cycling, and skipping. The only stipulation I will advance is to keep the CV section the same duration as the kettlebell sections.
Another modification option is to change the exercises. I’ll be brief here because there are quite literally hundreds even thousands of possible exercise combinations to choose from. But it would not negatively impact the workout if you replaced any of the kettlebell exercises or included other resistance exercises – dumbbell snatches, resistance band deadlifts, or even bodyweight movements.
Kettlebell 20 minute workout hints and tips
Using a countdown timer helps maintain momentum and focus throughout the workout. This strategy is even more effective if you can keep an eye on the timer. When you see that last minute come round, you can ramp up the intensity and sprint to the finish.
If you’re relatively new to kettlebell training, it would be wise to acquaint yourself with the exercises before starting the workout. Being able to maintain consistency will maximise fitness gains while also enabling you to get the most out of the workout. To achieve this a fluid transition between exercises is essential.
Related: Master these 10 Killer Kettlebell Exercises
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