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Kettlebell Full Body Workout For Total Strength

Updated: Feb 5

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A woman about to start the kettlebell full body workout.

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Strong legs, an activated posterior chain, increased chest and shoulder pushing power – this kettlebell full body workout delivers all these fitness benefits and more.


As well as developing strength in the major muscle groups, this kettlebell full body workout also offers a great aerobic boost. The combination of compound exercises and high-intensity output gets the heart pumping from the first to the final rep.


Related: Need a Competition Kettlebell?

Kettlebell full body workout benefits

The first benefit is that you’ll get a full-body workout that won’t take more than 30-minutes. This is a super-compact, fast-paced body blast that’ll enable you to activate the major muscle groups in one sitting.


It’s the time-sensitivity that makes this an ideal workout for a lunchtime session or for those on the run. After a quick warm-up, set a 30-minute countdown timer and flow through the six kettlebell exercises.


This kettlebell full body workout burns fat

If you can find space in your training routine for this kettlebell full body workout expect an increase in muscle definition and fat loss.


But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a workout comprised of kettlebell exercises yields these results. After all, kettlebells are one of the best training tools for developing superior fitness.


This accounts for their recent rise in popularity and why there’s been a sluice of kettlebell training books.



How to approach this kettlebell full body workout

Before starting this workout it’s wise to warm up first. For 10-minutes, row at a light to moderate intensity ensuring to include a few sets of the kettlebell exercises below.


Once thoroughly warm you’re ready for the workout. Begin at the first exercise, kettlebell goblet squats. After completing five reps you will progress to the next exercise, stiff leg deadlift.


Performing five reps on each of the six exercises, your objective is to complete as many circuits as possible in 30 minutes. You can either rest between each exercise or after one full circuit. Alternatively, if you really want to push yourself, forgo rest altogether.


Kettlebell full body workout

A session plan of a kettlebell full body workout.

Goblet squat

Muscles engaged: the goblet squat is first and foremost a leg developer. When performing this exercise, the quads and glutes are primarily activated. However, because you’re suspending the kettlebell at your front, the goblet squat also engages the chest, anterior deltoid, biceps, and forearms.


Goblet squat key techniques

  1. Standing directly over a kettlebell, set your feet wider than shoulder-width.

  2. Grasp the outer part of the kettlebell handle. Your hands are on the outside of the handle and your thumbs point to the body of the bell.

  3. Pulling the kettlebell back between your legs, swing it up arresting it in front of your chest. The base of the bell should be pointing to the ceiling and there should be a 90-degree angle between your forearm and bicep.

  4. Squat down until your forearms touch your quadriceps.

  5. As soon as contact is made, stand up out of the squat.


Stiff leg deadlift

Muscles engaged: the kettlebell stiff leg deadlift is a lower back antagonist par excellence. But, as we explain at length in this stiff leg deadlift tutorial, this exercise develops strength in the upper back and arms. Also, the stiff leg deadlift enhances hamstring flexibility while also engaging the posterior chain.


Stiff leg deadlift key techniques

  1. Hold the kettlebell at your front, palms facing inwards. Space your feet spaced about shoulder-width and ensure there is a slight bend in the knees.

  2. Hinge at the hips and keeping your hamstrings straight, scrape the kettlebell down your inner calves.

  3. As you do so remember to keep your back straight.

  4. Engage your core and bring your chest parallel with the floor.

  5. Pause momentarily before returning to the start position under control.


Kettlebell swing

Muscles worked: the kettlebell swing is pretty much a whole-body developer. Other than the pectorals, swinging stimulates almost every muscle of the body. The primary muscles engaged include those of the posterior chain: hamstring, glutes, lower back, and trapezius.


Kettlebell swing key techniques

  1. Hold the kettlebell between your legs, palms facing inwards, feet a little over shoulder-width apart.

  2. Keeping the back straight pull the bell between your legs before firing forward using glute and transverse abdominus strength. The arms remain straight throughout every stage of the movement. And you are not ‘pulling’ the kettlebell up with your arms. You are propelling it forward with the muscles of the posterior chain (see above).

  3. When the kettlebell is level with the shoulders, allow it to drop to the start position.

  4. As the bell passes between your legs it should pull you back. The objective is to harness this energy for the next repetition.


Single arm clean

Muscles engaged: much like the swing, the single arm clean works a vast array of muscles. Including those of the posterior chain, when executing a clean the lats, rhomboids, teres minor and major, and trapezius are all called to action.


Single arm clean key techniques

  1. Standing over the kettlebell with a shoulder-width stance (or slightly wider), grasp the handle.

  2. In one fluid movement, swing it back between your legs.

  3. Using glute and lower back strength fire the bell forward.

  4. Cutting the trajectory short, pull the bell into the nook of the arm.

  5. Pause before repeating.


Single arm jerk

Muscles engaged: the common misconception is that the jerk is a shoulder-pressing movement. Thus, most trainers think that it primarily activates the deltoids. However, the jerk, when performed properly, is initiated with quad contraction. The deltoid is a secondary agonist and serves to control the trajectory of the kettlebell. You can increase the intensity of the exercise by performing the double kettlebell variation.


Single arm jerk key techniques

  1. Standing over the kettlebell with a shoulder-width stance (or slightly wider), grasp the handle and, in one fluid movement, swing it back and execute a clean. In this position, the kettlebell should be resting in the nook of your arm.

  2. Taking a shallow dip at the knee use your quadriceps to get a bit of momentum in the kettlebell.

  3. Assist the upward flight of the kettlebell with shoulder and arm strength.

  4. From here return the kettlebell back to the nook of the arm.

  5. Pause monetarily before performing the next jerk.


Single arm clean and jerk

Muscles engaged: an amalgamation of the previous two exercises, the clean and jerk is a whole-body movement. Consequently, it activates pretty much every major muscle group. And as with the jerk, you make the exercise more challenging by performing the long cycle.


Single arm clean and jerk key techniques

  1. Standing over the kettlebell with a shoulder-width stance (or slightly wider), grasp the handle and, in one fluid movement, execute a clean. In this position, the kettlebell should be resting in the nook of your arm.

  2. Taking a shallow dip at the knee use your quadriceps to get a bit of momentum in the kettlebell. Assist the upward flight of the bell with shoulder and arm strength.

  3. Don’t forget to double-dip! As the bell passes your head, or thereabouts, take a second dip at the knee. You are effectively ‘falling’ under the kettlebell. Remember to lock your arm out as you do so.

  4. Now, to complete the movement, simply stand up.

  5. In one unbroken movement, the kettlebell retraces the above steps until it is back in the nook of the arm.

  6. Alternatively, you can change hands when the bell passes between your legs. This is the alternate hand clean and jerk cycle.


 

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Kettlebell full body workout concludes with the book Atomic Kettlebells.

 

About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and fitness coach. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at info@hungry4fitness.co.uk.

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