Five of my favorite single kettlebell exercises in one, challenging kettlebell cardio workout! From kettlebell swings to squats, cleans and presses, this at home kettlebell workout is quick (20-minute AMRAP) and EFFECTIVE!
*You can also view this Kettlebell Cardio Workout on Youtube here. Note, we’ve added a warm up and cool down to this at home kettlebell workout; making it a well-rounded 30-minute kettlebell workout. But if you want to skip to the 20-minute kettlebell AMRAP start at 7:44.
Are kettlebells a strength or cardio workout?
BOTH. Kettlebells can be a great strength training workout AND cardio workout.
Kettlebell exercises recruit several muscle groups at one time. The more muscles you use, the greater the demand on your cardiovascular system as it produces oxygen to power the movement.
Which is why kettlebell workouts continue to grow in popularity — they are quick and effective, 20-30 minute home workouts.
No kettlebell? No problem, you can do this single kettlebell workout with a single dumbbell. In fact, Rachel joined me in this kettlebell cardio workout demonstrating how to do each kettlebell exercise with a single dumbbell.
Kettlebell Cardio Workout (20-Minute AMRAP)
Five kettlebell cardio exercises designed to PUSH you in a 20-minute kettlebell AMRAP.
What is an AMRAP workout?
AMRAP stands for — as many rounds as possible. An AMRAP workout is designed to push you as much as possible in a set time frame (for 20-minute in this kettlebell workout).
How many rounds of these five kettlebell exercises can you complete in 20 minutes?
Note, we’ve added a warm up and cool down to this at home kettlebell workout; making it a 30-minute kettlebell workout. The warm up walks you through the five kettlebell exercises and prepares you for the movements, but if you want to skip to the 20-minute kettlebell AMRAP start the video at 7:44.
One medium-to-heavy single kettlebell or single dumbbell.
I suggest a 15-30 lb kettlebell or 10-30 lb dumbbell.
Rachel joined me for this workout using a single dumbbell and offering modifications for each exercise.
This is an AMRAP workout – which means you work at your pace.
Complete the number of repetitions listed next to each kettlebell cardio exercise before moving on to the next move. Repeat the entire kettlebell circuit “As Many Rounds As Possible” in 20 minutes.
If you stick with our pace in the video you’ll make it through four and a half rounds.
5 Single Kettlebell Exercises At Home
Kettlebell Swings (40 Reps)
Tap Back + High Pull (30 Reps, 15 Per Side)
Lateral Lunge + Narrow Squat (20 Reps, 10 Per Leg)
Kettlebell Squat Clean + Jack (10 Reps)
Burpee Pick Up + Kettlebell Press (5 Reps)
See how to perform each exercise below with a single kettlebell or single dumbbell.
1. Kettlebell Swings – 40 Reps
Targets: Entire posterior chain — glutes, hips, hamstrings, and all the stabilizing muscles in your back, shoulders and core.
Trainer Tip: If there’s a move to master, it’s the kettlebell swing. This single exercise builds muscle, burns fat, increases endurance and athleticism while improving posture to prevent low back pain.
How to do Kettlebell Swings:
Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart, both toes facing forward.
With a slight bend in your knees and weight in your heels, hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back towards the wall behind you. Grab the kettlebell in front of you and ‘hike’ the kettlebell back between your legs to start the kettlebell swing movement.
Drive through your heels to stand tall, pushing your hips forward as you squeeze your glutes to swing the bell up to shoulder height. Aim for shoulder height, with arms straight, extended out away from the body. Think long, loose arms (your arms are just a vehicle for moving the bell, your hips and glutes generate the power to move the bell).
As the kettlebell begins to descend, think of catching the weight with your hip hinge loading the glutes and hamstrings.
Perform 40 kettlebell swings.
How to do Kettlebell Swings with Dumbbells:
Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart, both toes facing forward. Holding a single dumbbell vertically with both hands (or one hand) between your legs.
With a slight bend in your knees and weight in your heels, hinge at your hips, pushing your butt back towards the wall behind you as the front head of the dumbbell hangs between your legs.
Drive through your heels to stand tall, pushing your hips forward as you squeeze your glutes to swing the dumbbell up to shoulder height. Aim for shoulder height, with arms extended out away from the body. Think long, loose arms (your arms are just a vehicle for moving the dumbbell, your hips and glutes generate the power to move the dumbbell).
As the dumbbell begins to descend, think of catching the weight with your hip hinge loading the glutes and hamstrings.
Option to keep both hands on the dumbbell at all times or alternate hands at the top of the swing.
2. Tap Back + High Pull – 30 Reps, 15 Reps Per Side
Targets: Hamstrings, glutes, hips, back, core, upper back and shoulders.
How to do Tap Back (Staggered Deadlift) + High Pull:
Start in a staggered-stance. Right foot slightly in front of left foot, kickstand on left back toe. Think 80% of your weight in your front right foot, and 20% of your weight in your back left toe. Hold the kettlebell in your left hand near your left hip, palm facing your body.
Tap your left foot back as you hinge your hips back to lower the kettlebell towards the ground (similar to a staggered deadlift).
Drive through your front right heel to push your hips forward; pulling your back left toe/hip forward, square and in line with your front right toe/hip. Use the momentum from your hips to pull the kettlebell up towards your left shoulder (high pull). Again your left hand is just a vehicle for moving the weight, the power comes from the hips, glutes and hamstrings.
With control, lower the bell back to the starting position and repeat. Perform 15 reps on the left side, then switch sides, performing 15 reps on the right side.
3. Lateral Lunge + Narrow Squat – 20 Reps, 10 Reps Per Leg
Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, inner thighs (adductors) and core.
How to do a Side Lunge or Lateral Lunge + Narrow Squat:
Start standing feet hip-distance apart, holding a kettlebell in your left hand near your left hip.
Sit your hips down and back into a narrow squat, keeping your chest up and core engaged to balance the uneven load of the kettlebell on the left side of the body.
Drive through your heels, pressing your hips forward to return to standing.
Then step your right leg out to the side as you push your hips down and back to perform a side lunge or lateral lunge. Bend your right knee while keeping your left leg straight. Think of performing a single leg squat with your right leg while your left leg remains straight. Knees and toes point forward.
Push off your right foot to reverse the movement, pulling your inner thighs together as you stand tall, back to the starting position.
Perform 10 reps on the right leg, then repeat on the other side, performing 10 reps on the left leg.
4. Kettlebell Squat Clean + Jack – 10 Reps
How to do Clean Squat Jacks:
Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward. Hold a kettlebell with both hands by the handle (aka horns) at your chest.
Perform a squat, bending your knees and sitting your hips back as you lower the kettlebell down towards the ground. Possibly tapping the bottom of the kettlebell on the ground, pending on your range of motion.
Then stand tall, driving your hips forward and jacking your feet together to bring the kettlebell up towards your chest (this is the ‘clean’ portion of the clean squat). If you’re using a kettlebell, slide your hands down the horns of the kettlebell. “Catching” the weight at your chest.
Then jack your feet wide, back to the starting position and repeat this movement for 10 reps.
5. Burpee Pick Up + Kettlebell Press – 5 Reps
Targets: Every muscle in your body from head to toe — legs and glutes, arms, shoulders, back and core!
How to do Burpee + Overhead Kettlebell Press:
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, or wider. Place your kettlebell between your feet in the center of your mat.
Engage your core and lower your hips down to the bottom of a squat as you plant your hands on the mat.
Step or jump both feet back to a high plank position. Making a straight line with your body from head to feet.
Pause for a moment, then in one explosive movement, step or jump both feet forward. Feet landing near your hands as you pop up into low squat position.
Pick up your kettlebell with both hands and drive through your heels to stand. Keep the kettlebell close to your body as you pull it up to shoulder level (again hands sliding down the horns similar to the kettlebell clean).
Once you reach a standing position, press the kettlebell overhead with both hands.
Lower the kettlebell with control back to the ground and repeat this complex, full body kettlebell exercise for 5 reps.
What are the best single kettlebell exercises?
This all depends on your personal fitness goals and fitness level (whether you are new to kettlebell training or an experience kettlebell athlete).
That said, the most popular single kettlebell exercises include:
Kettlebell Clean and Press
Is it worth buying a kettlebell?
“If your goal is to burn fat, increase power endurance, and get strong, then kettlebells are a great tool.” While traditional weights are all about low reps and more weight, kettlebell-specific exercises are designed for higher, faster repetitions performed for a minute or more.
Can you do kettlebell swings with a dumbbell?
Yes! You can use kettlebells and dumbbells interchangeable for most kettlebell exercises, like swings.
Follow Rachel in the video at the top of this post to see how to perform each kettlebell exercise with a dumbbell.
Is it worth buying a kettlebell? If so how heavy should my kettlebell be?
Again this all depends on your training goals. If you goal is to increase power endurance (higher and faster reps), thank I would suggest owning a kettlebell.
For example, kettlebells are great for runners because they target your power generating muscles — hips, glutes, hamstrings (same muscles using in your running stride).
If you’re new to kettlebells or fitness beginner, I suggest starting with a 15-18 lb kettlebell.
If you’re a more experienced athlete, I suggest a 25-35 lb kettlebell.
Pin this Kettlebell Cardio Workout (20-Minute Kettlebell AMRAP)
WOW!!! SURE GOT MY HEART RATE UP!!! THANK YOU!
WAY TO GO Theresa! This one is pure 🔥! Awesome work! -Lindsey
I am sweaty! First time I’ve had to pause a workout and I was happy my daughter interrupted for a bandaid she didn’t actually need. Bananas! 🍌🍌
Way to go Alison! I LOVE IT — especially the welcomed bandaid interruption, so great! Keep up the great work! -Lindsey
WOW! Thank you for sharing. I am glad your Mother is alive and will be around for years to come. God was watching over you and your mom that day. He knew your mom still had work to be done on this earth.
My dad’s side of the family has a history of heart disease. That is why I try to do my best and keep my heart healthy for me and my husband.
I remember that my uncle died of a heart attack when I was in the 6th grade and I was DEVASTATED. He lived with us for a while when working in our area and he was such a fun uncle. I remember after we found out about heart attacks, high fat, heart disease, etc., my mom changed our diets IMMEDIATELY (this was in the late 80s when fat free was all the rage). Now, mind you, I am 11 yrs old and having to eat fish instead of meat, what the?!?! Ground turkey in our tacos?!?! Nonfat milk?!!? What the what. Looking back, it was the best thing my mother did for us and our family. I honestly think that is why my Father is still alive today after all of his siblings and his parents passed away from heart disease and heart attacks.
Also, after learning about Bob Harper’s heart attack and realizing it can happen to ANYONE. I also got CPR certified. I could save a life some day.
Much love, xoxo
Amy! Thank you so much for reading this post and sharing your family’s story as well! I’m so sorry to hear about your Uncle. I love the interest you’ve taken in heart health and congrats on getting CPR certified; it really is a life skill everyone should have! Cheers to heart health! xo-Lindsey
Thank you for sharing this story Lindsay. You saved your Mother’s life. You are an inspiration to all of us who have the opportunity to know you and learn from you.
Rosanne! You’re so kind, thank you for your kind words and for reading today’s post. I feel so blessed that God had plans to keep my mom with us! Thanks again and have a great night! xo-Lindsey
You are an inspiration, Lindsey. I am adding “get CRP certified” to my immediate to do list. Also can’t wait to try this workout!
Really looking forward to watching you walk down the runway this Saturday in a one of a kind red dress that supports such an importance cause! You are such a rockstar!
Anna! I love it, CPR is a great life skill to have! I’m so excited you’re going to be there Saturday night; looking forward to it!!! xoxo-Linds
Thank you so much for sharing your very personal story!
Thanks so much for following along and checking out today’s post! It’s been a crazy year, but if sharing this story can encourage people to get CPR certified it’s serving a big purpose because CPR really does save lives! Thanks Brandi and I hope you’re doing well! xo-Lindsey
As someone who works in an ER, I know the benefits of good quality CPR. I can only imagine what it’s like to do it on a family member. I thank you for bringing attention to the life saving affect of CPR. I’m glad that your mom is doing well!
And happy early birthday to Brody!!
Mallory! Bless your soul, working in the ER takes an incredible amount of skill, patience and all sorts of stuff I don’t have. And I never thought I’d have to actually do CPR in my life, let along on my own mother; but I’ve never been so thankful for being CPR certified! CPR really does save lives and CPR education should be highly valued! Thanks so much for checking out today’s post and all that you do! And Brody says thank you! xo-Lindsey