5 Kettlebell Moves That Will Work Every Muscle in Your Body
Looking for an exercise routine that’ll help you build full-body strength while giving you a dose of cardio? We have a 30-minute kettlebell workout that packs a great two-for-one punch with an interval-style circuit full of functional, full-body strength moves.
In this full-body kettlebell circuit you’ll be focusing on basic movement patterns, which is a solid way to challenge all of your muscles and make the workout super functional, ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, CPT, owner of Strong With Sivan, tells SELF.
Basic movement patterns are essentially movements that you do in your everyday life, she says. Think squatting, hinging, pushing, pulling, and carrying. Practicing basic movements in your workout can help you perform them in day-to-day life more efficiently and with less risk of injury. And that can pay big dividends in tons of different scenarios, like squatting down to sit in a chair, deadlifting to pick up a box from the floor, or carrying heavy grocery bags into the house.
Moreover, emphasizing basic movement patterns is a stellar way to structure a workout that’s effective and time-efficient.
“All the basic movement patterns are big compound movements,” Fagan says, meaning they work multiple large muscle groups across more than one joint and thus make it easy to challenge your entire body in a short amount of time. What’s more, basic movement patterns require serious core engagement—including the often-overlooked deeper muscles of your inner core—so they’re a solid choice for strengthening your abs and related muscles too.
This particular workout, which features those five basic movement patterns, will smoke all your major muscle groups and provide some cardio too, thanks to the HIIT-style format that emphasizes bursts of intense work followed by periods of rest. You can do this routine twice per week, Fagan says, so long as you don’t do it on back to back days, since your body needs time off in between sessions to recover.
Before jumping into this workout, spend a few minutes warming up. Fagan recommends doing a mix of shoulder joint mobility drills (like pull-aparts and side-lying open book, which involves bringing your arms together then opening them apart) and lower-body moves (like striders and leg swings). You can also try this five-move warm-up designed to prep you for any workout.
Ready to challenge your entire body, get sweaty, and improve your basic movement patterns in the process? Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about this awesome 30-minute kettlebell workout that will get the job done.
What you need: Three different weight kettlebells that range between 5 and 25 pounds. (Of course, the “right” weight varies for each person, but you can use this range recommendation as a jumping-off point!) You’ll need one light kettlebell for the overhead press and row; one medium bell for the kettlebell swing and rack carry; and one heavier bell for the sumo squat.
- Kettlebell swing
- Single-arm overhead press
- Sumo squat
- Single-arm row
- Rack carry
- Do each move for the designated amount of time listed below. Rest minimally in between moves (though of course take breaks if you feel like you can’t catch your breath or your form starts to falter).
- After you’ve done all five moves, rest 2 to 3 minutes, then repeat the circuit. Complete 5 rounds total. (For a shorter workout under 30 minutes, feel free to complete fewer rounds.)
Kettlebells We Like:
Amazon Basics Cast Iron 10-Pound Kettlebell
This bell is super durable and no-frills thanks to its cast iron makeup.
Yes4All Vinyl Coated 10-Pound Kettlebell
The vinyl coating helps reduce noise and corrosion and gives it a splash of color.
Demoing the moves below are Nikki Pebbles (GIFs 1-2 and 4), a special populations personal trainer in New York City who also holds a master’s degree in psychology specializing in body image and leadership; Gail Barranda Rivas (GIF 3), a certified group fitness instructor, functional strength coach, Pilates and yoga instructor, and domestic and international fitness presenter; and Davi Cohen (GIF 5), a powerlifter, farmer, educator, dancer, singer, coach, and youth mentor based in Brooklyn.