One of the best things about training with kettlebells is that the dynamic nature of the moves means that they’re great for simultaneously improving your cardio fitness as well as getting the conventional fat-loss and muscle-building benefits of lifting weights. To make them even more effective we’ve arranged the exercises as supersets.
How To Do This Workout
Do one set of ten reps of the first exercise in a superset, then ten reps of the next exercise. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat. Complete four supersets in total. Rest for two minutes, then go on to the next superset. For one-sided exercises, do all the reps on one side for one set then swap sides for the next set. To progress, add a rep each set until you get to 15 then go up a weight and back to ten reps.
Why It Works
This workout involves three supersets, which are pairs of exercises done back to back without rest. The first superset works your chest, back and core. The second superset works your abs in a standing position while the third also targets your abs, this time from a horizontal position. The result is a high heart rate, which will help you burn fat, and bigger, stronger abs muscles.
You should aim to use a 16kg kettlebell for the first two supersets and a 12kg kettlebell for the final superset.
Superset 1: Compound benefits
Work your entire upper body with just two moves
1A Rolling thunder
Lie on your back and hold a kettlebell in each hand by your chest. Straighten one arm and push upwards so your shoulder leaves the floor and you twist your torso. As you lower, extend the other arm. Continue alternating with a smooth rhythm.
Expert tip “Lying on the floor reduces the instability, and therefore the risk, of the exercise,” says Turner. “I get people to think about ‘imprinting’ their lower back on the floor. That will help you to avoid overarching your lower back and switching off your abdominal muscles.”
1B Renegade row
Set yourself in a straight-arm plank position with hands on the kettlebells. Row one weight up, keeping your elbow moving back towards your hips. Lower and repeat on the other side. Keep your core tight to stop your hips rotating.
Expert tip “This is a fantastic core and back exercise which will help to build stability in your core and therefore power,” says Turner. “For a harder challenge, bring your feet closer together.”
Superset 2: Dynamic strength
Use your core to prevent the weight pulling you out of position
Start with the weight above your head and your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Your weight distribution should be biased towards the side that’s holding the bell. Keeping your eyes on the bell, lower your torso until your hand touches the floor.
Expert tip “Windmills look intimidating but they’re well worth doing – they’re excellent for building core and shoulder stability because they require a lot of control,” says Turner. “They also give you a good hamstring stretch.”
2B Figure of eight
Move the kettlebell backwards between your legs from one hand to the other. Take it behind and outside your leg to repeat the movement, this time passinag the bell back with your other hand. Aim to make the whole movement as smooth as possible.
Expert tip “This is a great core conditioning exercise, requiring you to stabilise the whole of your core using the ballistic movement of the kettlebell around your body,” says Turner. “This will have a beneficial effect during explosive movements.”
Superset 3: Core benefits
Finish your workout by frying your abs
3A Angel press
Start sitting down with your knees bent, holding two kettlebells overhead. Slowly lower towards the floor while bringing the kettlebells down to your chest. Contract your abs to raise your torso while simultaneously extending your arms.
Expert tip “Once you’re sitting up straight, tuck your pelvis under and, as you lower, ‘roll through’ your spine so you’re trying to make contact with the ground one vertebra at a time,” says Turner. “Going slowly on this move will make your abs work harder.”
3B Plank pass
Get into a straight-arm plank position with your body in a straight line from head to heels, having placed a kettlebell to one side of your body. Reach under your torso to drag the bell across to the other side. Switch hands and repeat the move.
Expert tip “This is great way of making the plank more interesting,” says Turner. “The wider you take the kettlebell, the harder it is to do. You can also try raising the kettlebell off the floor slightly to turn it into a modified reverse flye.”
Ashton Turner is the co-founder of Evolve 353 gym in London. He has worked with clients across multiple training disciplines including kettlebells, Olympic lifting, strength and conditioning, and Pilates.