Forget burpees — you only need one kettlebell, 3 moves, and 25 minutes to work your entire body

kettlebell workout: Man performing a kettlebell swing outdoors against a white wall
(Image credit: Getty images/ Unknown)

You can forget burpees — this three-move kettlebell workout is all you need to build strength and muscle in your legs, core, back, and shoulder muscles. Depending on your fitness level, this should take no longer than 25 minutes to complete and will hit most of your muscles and all major muscle groups. 

The workout is featured on the Kettlebell Kings (opens in new tab) YouTube channel and shared by @cameronharn on Instagram. The brand deserves its King status, supplying some of the best kettlebells on the market and uploading fresh and intelligent content and workouts. Kettlebell Kings said, “if you’re short on time today, this single kettlebell workout will cover all basis very quickly.” I couldn’t agree more. 

The workout forms a three-exercise circuit, but how you complete it is up for interpretation. Aim for 10 reps per side of the first and third exercises and eight reps per side of the second— complete four sets of each with 30 seconds between the movements and 90 seconds between sets. You could attack all reps and sets of one exercise for a more traditional resistance training workout.  

Try to spend no more than 90 seconds on each exercise to keep the intensity high, but if you want to spend longer on the workout, you should still be able to complete it within 30 minutes. Try to work your muscles through their full range of motion, squeezing and pausing at the top of each exercise to feel your muscles working at their maximum. 

If you enjoy working out with kettlebells, this kettlebell workout only takes 15 minutes to work your entire body, and you can fire up your abs using this beginner-friendly ab kettlebell workout. Check out the video below to see the exercises in action.  

Watch Kettlebell Kings' three-move single kettlebell workout 

Here’s a breakdown of the workout:

- Single-arm plank to row (10 right arm / 10 left arm x 4)

- Rotating press (8 right arm / 8 left arm x 4)

- Single-arm swing (10 right arm / 10 left arm x 4)

Kettlebells are by far my favorite way to train. Using a kettlebell regularly as part of your training plan could improve balance and coordination, build power and muscle all over, and even improve your maximal strength. 

For example, a study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning (opens in new tab) found that just six weeks of biweekly kettlebell training could increase maximum and explosive strength (think heavy squats and sprints). It even recommended including kettlebells in strength and conditioning training plans for coaches to train their athletes. 

Kettlebells require a certain amount of skill, so I recommend learning how to use them before beginning a new kettlebell program. For example, the weight should never smack against your forearm, and if it does, this indicates a lack of control over the move. There’s quite a lot of wrist action involved in more complex kettlebell exercises but try to keep a relaxed grip rather than squeezing too tightly. 

I recommend learning how to do a kettlebell swing with proper form before trying a single-arm swing if you’re not familiar with the exercise, as you’ll need even more control over the traveling weight. The video explains how to do each exercise, but focus your attention on controlling the entire range of motion. 

For example, during the kettlebell row, squeeze your lats and other back muscles as you drive your elbow back and pause for a second — this is the concentric phase of the movement as your muscles contract. As you lower the kettlebell (the eccentric phase), do so with control and count for three seconds. Here’s how to do a single-arm dumbbell row if you’re unsure. 

To spice things up (as if the workout needs it), set a timer and try to complete your reps within the same time limit every round. Just don’t blame me if you melt to the floor afterward!


Next: Find out how I got on when I tried this 30-day kettlebell challenge workout to build strength, and our fitness editor did 100 kettlebell swings a day for a week. Also read how this fitness writer did 100 dumbbell chest presses a day for a week — and here's what happened.

Sam Hopes
Staff Fitness Writer

Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and resident fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and workouts.

  • Crimsonfalcon07
    Kind of an odd title, considering that burpees don't require any equipment, and 25 minutes of burpees is a pretty decent full body workout that many people couldn't get through. Kinda like the Army, going from a fitness test that could be conducted with a stopwatch basically anywhere to one that requires thousands of dollars of specialized equipment and specific locations to administer. All of these "forget x" titles don't really make much sense. Pretty much all of them do exactly what the purported benefit of the alternative is supposed to be.
    Reply
  • LobsterKnifeFight
    I had the same thought. 100 Burpees for time is one of my favourite "low thought" Workouts.

    If I don't know what to train, want a break from a structured program for a day, have basically no time, am travelling etc etc - 100 Burpees for time.

    Whole body is toast, lungs are toast, and I can teach the Burpee to anyone in like 30 seconds.

    I don't know why or how 3 kettlebell exercises would be a replacement. Nothing wrong with the article, and I'm sure its a decent enough workout, but the comparison is weird.
    Reply
  • yeltommo
    “if you’re short on time today, this single kettlebell workout will cover all basis very quickly.”
    Reply
  • kep55
    admin said:
    It only takes one kettlebell, 25 minutes, and these three moves to build muscle and strength all over.

    Forget burpees — you only need 3 moves to work your entire body in 25 minutes : Read more
    Does this mean I don't need Beano any more?
    Reply