I just tried this 20-minute kettlebell workout — and it’s a full-body killer

a photo of a woman holding a kettlebell
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

One of the joys of a good kettlebell workout is you don’t need a lot of equipment to raise your heart rate and work your body hard. If you’re looking for a quick 20-minute kettlebell workout to try on your next visit to the gym, I’ve found one worth trying — read on to find out more. 

This 20-minute kettlebell workout by personal trainer Rhiannon Bailey uses one kettlebell, and four different exercises to work up a sweat. It’s worth grabbing a heavier kettlebell as you’re only using one weight. In order to select the right weight, look for a kettlebell that feels heavy by the final few reps, but not so heavy that you’re compromising your form. The format of the workout is 40 seconds of work, followed by 20 seconds of rest. 

Looking for more kettlebell workout inspiration? This seven-move kettlebell workout targets your legs hard, this kettlebell workout takes 15 minutes to work your entire body, plus this 15-minute kettlebell ab workout will torch your core.  

What is the 20-minute kettlebell workout? 

If you like to read your workout before you get going, here are the exercises: 

Squat clean: To do a squat clean, hold a kettlebell in both hands, with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Squat down, then as you rise back to your starting position, raise the kettlebell above your head, with your arms straight, but not locked out. Lower the kettlebell back down, and repeat. 

Kettlebell swings: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart (or slightly wider), toes pointed slightly outwards, and hold your kettlebell in both hands. Roll your shoulders back and down and engage your core. Hinge forward at your hips while maintaining a flat back and push your bum back, swinging the kettlebell back between your legs, then explosively drive it forwards, extending your hips. Swing the kettlebell above your head, then control the descent back down. 

Push-up transfers: For this exercise, start in a push-up position with one hand on the handle of the kettlebell and perform a push-up. As you rise up out of the push-up drag the kettlebell underneath your body to the opposite side. Then hold the kettlebell in your other hand and repeat. 

Russian twist extension: Holding the kettlebell in both hands, complete a Russian twist, lowering the kettlebell to the side of your body as you twist. Once you have completed a twist on each side, hold your body in a v-sit position and extend both legs out away from your body at the same time, before moving back to Russian twists. 

You’ll do each exercise for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest, and complete the circuit five times. 

I just tried this 20-minute kettlebell workout — here’s what happened  

Like all journalists working over Black Friday, I was short on time when I headed to the gym and grabbed a kettlebell for this workout on my lunch break. Aware I didn’t have long to get my heart rate up and get away from my desk, I grabbed a 10kg (22 pounds) kettlebell and got to work. 

I really enjoyed the format of working for 40 seconds, followed by a short rest. I’m often guilty of taking extended breaks during my workouts to scroll Instagram or reply to texts, but 20 seconds was just long enough to catch my breath, without feeling like I was wasting time. If you’re a complete beginner, you could extend the breaks and do 30 seconds on, and 30 seconds off. For those looking to really up the ante, you could work for 50 seconds, and rest for ten. 

Despite only being four moves, I felt like I’d worked my body hard during this workout. The Russian twist leg extensions really blasted my core, and I definitely worked up a serious sweat in just 20-minutes. This will definitely be one I’ll be repeating, but for now, back to the best Black Friday deals

Jane McGuire
Fitness editor

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.