This kettlebell workout takes only 15 minutes to work your entire body

a photo of a woman in the gym holding a kettlebell
(Image credit: Getty/Cavan Images)

If you’re looking for a workout that’ll get your heart pumping in just 15 minutes, we’ve found it. This kettlebell workout uses just five exercises to target most of the major muscle groups in the body. Want more of a challenge? Simply complete the circuit more times to make it longer. Grab a set of kettlebells, or two of the best adjustable dumbbells and get ready to sweat. 

The workout has been devised by Rhiannon Bailey, a yoga instructor and personal trainer. For the workout, she is using two 8kg kettlebells (about 17 pounds), but you should select a pair of weights that challenge you. As a guide, the dumbbells should feel heavy by the final few reps, but you should be able to complete the workout without having to compromise your form.

It’s also worth remembering that what works for Bailey might not be right for you and your body, and if you’re new to an exercise, or you’re returning to exercise from injury, it’s a good idea to get a personal trainer to check your form. 

If you opt for the shortest number of circuits, this workout is just 15-minutes long, and can easily be stacked with an ab workout as a finisher. Check out this 15-minute dumbbell ab workout here, as well as this 10-minute Pamela Reif ab workout.  

Rhiannon Bailey’s 15-minute full-body kettlebell workout 

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The workout follows a simple repetition of 45 seconds of work followed by 15 seconds of rest. If you’re a complete beginner, you can shorten the working sections to 30 seconds, with 30 seconds of rest. If you’re more advanced, you can opt to shorten the rest, doing 50 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. 

For a 15-minute workout, complete the workout three times through, for a 20-minute workout, do it four times, and for a 30-minute workout, opt for six repetitions of the circuit. This exercise style is known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves periods of intense exercise, followed by low-intensity recovery periods.

HIIT training has a number of benefits, one being it saves you a lot of time, but also that it can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time, raise your metabolic rate for hours after exercise, and help you burn fat.

The exercises used in the workout are as follows: 

Bent over row

To do a bent-over row, start by grabbing a kettlebell in each hand. Bend at the knees and the hips so you hinge your torso forwards, keeping your back straight and your core engaged. Keeping your elbows close to your body, row the kettlebells up towards your chest, squeezing your back muscles, then lower back to your starting position.

Single-leg reverse lunge

Holding a kettlebell in each hand, take a big step back with your right leg, bending your left knee until it is at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your spine perpendicular to the floor, lower your body to the ground until both legs are at a 90-degree angle. The front knee should be over the front ankle, and your back knee should be underneath your hip. Pushing from your back foot, step back into your starting position.

Bailey says to do 45 seconds on each leg, although this would make the workout a minute longer, so if you’re short on time, switch legs halfway through. Check out these five exercises that build your lower body using just dumbbells.

Sumo squat upright row 

For this exercise, hold a kettlebell in each hand, and stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing outwards. Pushing your hips back, lower into a squat position, keeping your core engaged. Push up from your feet to raise back into your starting position, and as you do so, row the kettlebells up to your head, bending at the elbow.

Thruster 

Starting in the same position as you did for sumo squats, holding a kettlebell in each hand, raise the kettlebells up to your shoulders. Squat down, and as your rise back to your starting position, raise the kettlebells above your head for an overhead press. Lower the kettlebells back to your shoulders and repeat. 

Russian twist 

To do a Russian twist, sit on an exercise mat and engage your core as you lean backward, lifting your legs off the floor, so you are in a V-shape position. Grasp the kettlebell with both hands and hold it in front of your body. Bracing your core, twist your torso from side to side, and think about lowering the kettlebell to the side of you as you twist. Continue to twist from side to side without dropping your legs to the floor. Read what happened when this writer did 50 Russian twists a day for a week here. 

Looking for more workout inspiration? Read what happened when our editor tried Chris Hemsworth’s 200-rep bodyweight workout and Jonathan Majors’ back and core workout

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.