The BEST full body kettlebell workout, pairing strength training exercises like deadlifts and back rows with powerful kettlebell movements like swings, cleans and high pulls. No kettlebell? We’ve included modifications so you can do the entire workout with a single dumbbell. Strength and cardio kettlebell workout (no jumping).
Don’t have a kettlebell? No problem substitute a single dumbbell (as shown throughout the workout video above).
Can you get a full body workout with kettlebells?
YES! This 30 minute full body kettlebell workout checks all the boxes:
Lower body (deadlifts, squats, lunges and swings)
Upper body (overhead press, back rows and push ups)
These 8 kettlebell exercises build strength everywhere from your legs, hamstrings and glutes to your shoulders, back and core. AND this kettlebell workout will raise your heart rate without jumping.
Making this a great low impact, strength and cardio, full body workout!
What are the benefits of full body kettlebell workouts (or single dumbbell workouts)?
Powerful Full Body Strength Training
Low Impact Cardio Conditioning
Constant Core Engagement
Increased Grip Strength
Improves Athleticism, Posture and Balance
Burn Calories and Burn Fat
If you want and efficient full body workout that builds muscle — kettlebell training is for you!
Kettlebell workouts strengthen dozens of muscle groups in a short amount of time.
AND, single kettlebell workouts (or single dumbbell workouts) are a great way to INCREASE your weights. When focusing on just one piece of equipment you can ‘lift heavier’ than you normally would with a set of dumbbells.
Ultimately, this is the whole concept of progressive overloading which allows you to increase weights to build muscle mass.
How heavy should your kettlebell be (or single dumbbell be)?
That said, you might be able to go even heavier for lower body kettlebell movements. Typically you naturally have more strength and power in the legs so you might be able to start with a 20-25 lb kettlebell for lower body exercises.
More Advanced Fitness Enthusiasts — a 25 lb kettlebell is a solid weight for full body movements (it’s what I’m using in this workout video).
That said, you might be able to go even heavier for lower body kettlebell movements; going upwards of 30 lbs for lower body exercises (like kettlebell swings).
30-Minute Full Body Kettlebell Workout (Or Single Dumbbell Workout)
A full body kettlebell workout pairing kettlebell strength training exercises like deadlifts and back rows with powerful kettlebell movements like kettlebell swings, cleans and high pulls.
Don’t have a kettlebell? No problem — following along with Rachel (on the left in the video) to use a single dumbbell for the entire workout.
This full body kettlebell workout is focused on total-body movements that require both strength AND cardio endurance.
These 8 full body kettlebell exercises will keep your heart rate high so you can get the most our of this quick and effective, 30-minute workout.
One medium-to-heavy single kettlebell or single dumbbell.
Here’s how to do these 5 kettlebell exercise (repeat exercises 2, 3 and 4 on both sides of the body):
1. Kettlebell Deadlift + Clean Squat Press
Targets: The deadlift works the posterior chain (backside of body) — hamstrings, glutes, back and core. While the clean squat press hits the anterior chain (front side of body) — quads, core, arms and shoulders.
Trainer Tip: Holding a heavy bell at the chest (shown here throughout the squat and press) is an effective way to strengthen the core, back, arms, and shoulders.
How to do a Kettlebell Deadlift Clean Squat Press:
Stand with feet hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward. Hold a kettlebell with both hands by the handle (aka horns) at your chest; palms facing your body. Engage your core.
Hinge at your hips with your knees slightly bent to lower the bell down towards your knees/shins. Think of pushing your butt back towards the wall behind you while keeping a flat back and neutral neck. This is the deadlift portion of the move.
Then stand tall, driving your hips forward to propel 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. Note, your heels might pop off the mat as you use your momentum to “clean” the bell up to shoulder height. Think about “getting under” the weight, catching it in a loaded position.
Once you “catch” the weight at your chest; hold the weight at shoulder height in a front rack position as you perform a squat. Lowering your hips down parallel to your knees.
Finally, drive through your heels to stand tall, and press the kettlebell overhead.
Return to the starting position and repeat this complex, full body movement for the timed interval.
2. Staggered Stance Kettlebell Swings
Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, core, and all the stabilizing muscles in your back and shoulders.
How is the Staggered Stand Kettlebell Swing Different from a Standard Kettlebell Swing: Your hip hinge becomes deeper on one side (the leg that is more forward). The leg that’s forward has to do more of the work — specifically slowing the weight during the hip hinge and then explosively pushing it back forward again.
How to do Staggered Stance Kettlebell Swings:
Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart, slightly staggered. Right leg slightly in front of left leg; both toes still facing forward. Engage your core.
Hinge forward at the hips to reach for the kettlebell in front of you. Place your hands on the horns, palms facing your body.
Then with a slight bend in your knees and weight in your heels, hinge your hips pushing your butt back towards the wall behind you. Reach for the kettlebell in front of you and ‘hike’ the kettlebell back between your legs to start the 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 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. The front right leg will have a greater hinge doing the majority of the work to control the weight.
Repeat this movement for the timed interval.
3. Single Leg Deadlift + Reverse Lunge
Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstring, hips, quads, core and back.
Trainer Tip: Kettlebell beginners should stagger their stance for the single leg deadlift (follow Rachel on the left). If you’re more advanced you can take this to a balancing single leg deadlift (like Lindsey on the right).
How to do Single Leg Deadlift + Reverse Lunge:
Start standing with feet spaced hip-width apart, left leg forward, right toe popped slightly behind the left leg. Most of your weight should be in your front left foot.
Hold the kettlebell in your right hand in front of your right hip, right arm long and palm facing your body. Left arm can be out at your left side for counter-balance. Engage your core for balance support.
With a flat back and neutral spine and slight bend in your left knee, hinge at your hips (hip flexors), extending the right leg behind you as you balance on your left leg. Option to keep your right toe as a kickstand on the ground for balance support. Keep your hips even, square to the mat, as you press them back towards the wall behind you.
Once you’ve reached the bottom (range of motion looks different for everyone) of your single leg deadlift; drive through your left heel, squeezing your glutes and hamstrings to push your hips forward and return to the starting position.
From here, step your right leg back into a reverse lunge, dropping your back right knee down towards the ground as you lower your hips until both knees reach a 90 degree angle, front thigh parallel to the floor.
Then squeeze your left leg glute, driving your back right leg forward as you stand up; back to the starting position.
Repeat for the timed interval.
4. Single Arm Back Row + Kettlebell High Pull
Targets: Back, upper back, shoulders, hips, glutes, hamstrings and core.
How to do a Single Arm Back Row + Kettlebell High Pull:
Start in a staggered-stance — 80% of your weight in your front right foot, 20% of your weight in your back left toe. Hold the kettlebell in your left hand near your left hip.
Hinge forward at the hips, pushing your hips back as you find a bent over row position — neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button pulled back towards your spine. Engage your core.
Perform a single arm bent over back row by pulling the kettlebell back towards your left hip (think of pulling from your elbow versus your wrist). Stop once your left elbow is in line with your rib cage, making a straight line from left shoulder to elbow. Hold at the top for a moment.
Then control the kettlebell back down to the starting position.
From the starting position, drive through your front right foot, to push your hips forward; pulling your back left toe/hip forward, square and in line with your front right toe/hip. Simultaneously using the momentum from your hips to pull the bell up towards your left shoulder.
With control lower the bell back to the starting position and repeat this movement for the timed interval.
5. Push Up + Reach (Kettlebell Tap)
Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, upper back and core.
Trainer Tip: To modify, perform the push up from the knees and then pop to high plank to perform the reach or kettlebell tap.
How to do a Push Up + Reach (Kettlebell Tap):
Place your kettlebell in the center of your mat, about 6 inches in front of you (or an arms length in front of you).
Start in high plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers; core engaged.
Hold this push up position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
Perform a push up by lowering your chest down towards the ground. Maintain a straight line with your body. Option to perform the push up with your knees on the mat.
Exhale to push you body back up (in one straight line) to high plank position.
Hold high plank as you brace your core and reach your right hand out towards the kettlebell in front of you. Tapping the weight with your right hand.
Repeat the push up and then reach for the kettlebell with your left hand.
Repeat this movement, one push up and one alternating reach for the timed interval.
Is this full body kettlebell workout pregnancy-friendly?
Yes, but follow these pregnancy-friendly modifications:
Take a wider stance and slow down the movements as needed. Drop weights or take additional rest breaks as needed.
Kettlebell Deadlift + Clean Squat Press — option to omit the overhead press.
Staggered Stance Kettlebell Swings — option to perform standard kettlebell swings versus staggered stance kettlebell swings.
Single Leg Deadlift + Reverse Lunge — option to perform a double leg deadlift versus a single leg deadlift (or use a staggered stance adding a chair for balance as needed).
Single Arm Row + High Pull — option to omit the kettlebell high pull and perform a single arm back row (add a chair or bench for balance support as needed).
Push Up + Reach (Kettlebell Tap)– perform push ups from an incline or from knees and omit the reach.
As always you know your body best. If you have questions, please check with your doctor or midwife.