If you’re short on time (that’s all of us, right?), pick up a kettlebell the next time you go to the gym. Why? You’ll get a cardio and strength session at the same time. In a study published in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research, subjects who performed a kettlebell snatch routine for four weeks experienced a 6% increase in their VO2 max score, which indicates the amount of oxygen your body can use when exercising at high intensity and is a reliable measure of cardio fitness.
In the same study, those who did a circuit training class over that period didn’t get a VO2 max increase. Meanwhile, multiple studies have shown that kettlebells are effective for increasing strength, with one finding that a kettlebell regime had a bigger impact than jump squats on one-rep max back squats.
Ashton Turner, co-founder of London’s Evolve 353 gym, says the beauty of kettlebell training – done properly – is its versatility. “With just one item of kit there are so many things you can do, including high-rep fat loss workouts and lower-rep strength sessions. They’re good for developing hip hinge power, which is useful for athletic power creation without the injury risk associated with the deadlift.”
Turner’s supplied five workouts to help you get the most out of this versatile piece of kit.
- Five-move workout to build muscle or burn fat
- Five-move kettlebell workout to get you abs of steel
- Kettlebell circuits to build strength and power
- Superset workout for quick results
- An advanced workout that uses two-kettlebells
But first, which kettlebell should you use?
How To Select A Good-Quality Kettlebell
1 Comp standard: “I like competition kettlebells [see picture above] because every weight is the same size,” says Turner. “That’s useful for getting a consistent feel, particularly when you’re doing complex moves like cleans and snatches.”
2 Cast iron: “I prefer cast-iron kettlebells over rubber-based ones because they tend to have a more stable base. That’s useful when you’re doing exercises like the renegade row, where you have to put all of your bodyweight on the kettlebell.”
3 Perfect weight: “For men, I’d suggest using a 16kg and a 20kg kettlebell. That’s heavy enough to provide a challenge but light enough to do high-rep sets and will allow you to do all of the key exercises, including the ones in this guide.”
RECOMMENDED: What To Look For When Buying Kettlebells
Continue down this page for Turner’s five workouts and even more kettlebell sessions.