A 15-Minute Kettlebell Workout

woman with kettlebell

If the thought of squeezing exercise into an already busy day causes your anxiety to go into overdrive, these kettlebell workouts are for you. Designed to work your entire body in 15 minutes, these exercises will burn some serious calories while strengthening all the major muscle groups, including your core. And since you can perform these workouts just about anywhere, including your living room, you'll find it much easier to commit to than a regular fitness program. 

But it's not just the convenience factor that makes kettlebells an excellent addition to your overall routine. Tony Carvajal, Certified L-2 CrossFit Trainer with RSP Nutrition, says one of the best reasons to use kettlebells is because they allow you to develop muscles and real-world strength by forcing you to use your entire kinetic chain for each lift rather than isolating one muscle at a time. This allows you to do a full-body strength and conditioning workout with minimal equipment.

Sample 15-Minute Full-Body Kettlebell Workout

These sample workouts are designed for you to perform at home or the gym. If you're new to exercise or new to kettlebells, consider working with a personal trainer to start. They can help you fine-tune your form, choose the right weight and make sure you're staying safe while doing the workouts. 

Bryant Johnson's 15-Minute Total Body Blast

Personal trainer Bryant Johnson of The Vitamin Shoppe, who is most famously known for his work with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, shares his 15-minute full-body kettlebell workout here. 

Complete three rounds with a one-minute rest between each round.

Two-Hand Swing (20 reps)
1. Stand with feet shoulder or hip-width apart and knees slightly bent.
2. Place a kettlebell on the floor about a foot in front of you, between the feet. 
3. Do a quarter squat and hinge forward at the hips to lean down and grip the kettlebell with both hands, elbows fully extended with a palms-down grip.
4. Keep the back as straight as possible as you begin to pull the kettlebell back between the legs.
5. Push the hips forward and pull the knees to generate the forward momentum to swing the kettlebell forward and up in front of the body. Keep eyes looking forward with hands holding the kettlebell between the thighs and elbows fully extended. 
6. Once the kettlebell reaches the top of the move, allow it to drop into the downswing and flex the hips and knees to absorb the weight of the kettlebell back down between the legs for the next rep. 
7. Do 20 reps total. 

Clean and Press (10 reps per side)
1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and grip the kettlebell tightly in one hand.
2. Keep the back straight while sinking slightly into the hips to allow the kettlebell to swing back under the hips between the legs.
3. Drive the hips forward as you swing the kettlebell forward. As it gains forward momentum in front of the body, quickly pull it up to the chest and immediately drop the elbow toward the rib cage and sink back into the hips to catch the kettlebell up by the shoulder. 
4. Sink back into the hips, explosively push the feet into the floor and snap the hips forward while pushing the left arm straight into the air to complete the press. 
5. Lower the kettlebell by pulling the left elbow down towards the rib cage, sinking back into the hips. After the kettlebell has lowered to shoulder-height, let it drop down between the legs. 
6. Do 10 reps on each side.

Front Goblet Squat (10 reps)
1. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart with toes pointing slightly out. 
2. Hold a kettlebell at chest height with both hands. Keep elbows tucked close to your body and eyes looking forward.
3. Keep your chest up and push your hips backward as if sitting back into a chair. Your weight should be back on your heels.
4. Continue descending into the squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor. 
5. Pause for one to three seconds and then drive back up to a standing position by pushing the floor away from you while staying on your heels.
6. Do 10 reps total. 

Tony Carvajal's Full-Body Kettlebell Workout
You will perform 15 minutes of AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). Do each exercise for the recommended reps before moving to the next exercise. Continue this until 15 minutes is up. Take a 30- to 60-second rest at the end of each round. 

American Kettlebell Swings (10 reps)
This is a variation of the kettlebell swing that adds an overhead component. In this move, the bell goes overhead with your arms straight and the bottom of the bell pointing straight toward the ceiling. Since this move requires you to bring the kettlebell overhead, consider using a lighter resistance to start. If you have a shoulder injury or limited mobility, do a regular swing without bringing the bell overhead. 

Goblet Squat (10 reps)
Follow the steps listed in the previous workout.

Russian Swings (10 reps, same as the two-hand kettlebell swing)
Follow the steps listed in the previous workout. 

Strict Presses (10 total, 5 on each arm)
1. Hold the kettlebell under your chin with one hand grasping the handle and the other hand under the body of the kettlebell.
2. Press the weight directly overhead. 
3. Lower in a controlled manner.
4. Repeat, switching hands at the half-way point (after 5 reps).

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