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Burn Fat and Build Muscle With This Kettlebell Cardio Workout

A group of people taking part in a kettlebell cardio workout as part of a health and fitness regime. They are working through shuttle sprints followed by kettlebell swings. They are exercising in a CrossFit style gym.

This kettlebell cardio workout will help you build muscle and burn fat. There couldn’t possibly be a better combination of exercises (in my opinion). As well as being super-functional kettlebell exercises work every muscle in your body.

In addition, they develop core and grip strength while also improving balance and coordination. Kettlebell exercises do this because they are dynamic movements that transition through multiple joints.

So that’s your skeletal muscles taken care of. But what about the oft-neglected internal muscles, such as your heart (cardiac muscle), diaphragm and the smooth muscles that facilitate the flow of blood through your vascular system? This is where the cardio exercise comes into play.

The cardio exercise that has been selected for this workout is arguably the best. Rowing, unlike cycling or running, works the major muscles of the body – legs and back – while also stimulating the internal muscles.

Furthermore, because rowing works so many muscles it’s also an excellent fat burner. As well as being a whole-body exercise rowing promotes weight loss while enhancing muscle definition. Combining rowing with the kettlebell makes for a complete training session.

The perfect home gym workout combination

It’s because rowing and kettlebell exercises are such great fitness developers why, if you’re thinking of building a home gym, they’re the only pieces of kit you need. If you’ve got an indoor rowing machine and a couple of different weight kettlebells you pretty much have a complete gym.

Training sessions like this cardio kettlebell workout tick all the right fitness boxes. Fat loss, strength development and muscle definition can all be achieved without even leaving the home. And, if you access our Fitness and Workout page, you’ll discover a substantial stock of training sessions that you can do in your home gym.

How it works

You’ll be working through an ascending row into kettlebell swing pyramid. After a good warm-up (when I completed this session, I warmed up with 10 X 200-metre rows with 10 kettlebell swings in-between) start at the first exercise and proceed up the pyramid.

This workout starts off deceptively easy. In the early stages you’ll think that you’re going to get off lightly. But around the 400-metre row mark, you begin to feel it: your heart rate starts climbing and fatigue sets in. At this point the fight is on to the finish.

Methods of modification

If you’re up to the challenge you can easily turn this into an extreme kettlebell cardio workout by a) sticking to a high row pace (below 2:00/500 – that’s 2-minutes per 500-metres), and b) going heavy on the kettlebell swings.

Of course, you don’t have to stick with the exercises below. For example, a worthy substitute for rowing could be skipping. Instead of counting metres you would count skips. Though, if you did decide to skip, it would be wise to half the repetitions: 50 skips in place of 100-metre row.

As with the cardio exercise, you could replace the kettlebell swings for a comparable movement. If you didn’t have access to a kettlebell, dumbbell thrusters would make a worthy replacement.


Kettlebell cardio workout


In this Kettlebell cardio workout you are to complete the following 20 exercises: 100-metres row 10 kettlebell swings 3. 200-metres row 4. 20 kettlebell swings 5. 300-metres row 6. 30 kettlebell swings 7. 400-metres row 8. 40 kettlebell swings 9. 500-metres row 10. 50 kettlebell swings 11. 600-metres row 12. 60 kettlebell swings 13. 700-metres row 14. 70 kettlebell swings 15. 800-metres row 16. 80 kettlebell swings 17. 900-metres row 18. 90 kettlebell swings 19. 1000-metres row 20. 100 kettlebell swings.

Time taken:

Total metres rowed: 5500

Total kettlebell swings: 550

(Let us know what time you achieved:


Enjoyed these workouts? Have they left you hungry for more? The Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits Vol. 1 contains 50 complete circuits and workouts.

Circuit training is one of the best forms of physical exercise for maintaining and increasing overall-fitness. A well designed circuit will provide a great cardiovascular workout, strengthening the heart and lungs in the process, whilst also improving muscle endurance and developing functional strength. This unique combination, of fat burning and muscle building, which singular exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming or weights cannot give, will help to sculpt a lean defined physique.


(As we are very interested in user experience here at Hungry4Fitness, we would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance!)

Blog Author

Adam Priest, former Royal Marines Commando, is a personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.


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