You only need one kettlebell and this 10-minute finisher to build a strong core and burn calories

Woman holding a kettlebell in both hands during kettlebell workout performing an upright row close up
(Image credit: Getty images/ Unknown)

This quick and effective kettlebell finisher is perfect for torching calories, building muscle, and strengthening your core. You don’t need much gym equipment to execute it, and the routine can be tacked on to the start of a workout as a warm-up or as a finisher to finish off fatigued muscles.

The kettlebell finisher includes one kettlebell, four moves, and ten minutes to target several muscle groups effectively. Adopt a strong mindset, set a timer for 10 minutes, and grab a medium-heavy weight. 

If a kettlebell is a staple in your at-home gym equipment repertoire, these are the 5 best kettlebell exercises for beginners to try. No kettlebell? No worries, you can also grab a dumbbell instead. Roll out your exercise mat — I recommend one of the best yoga mats for at-home and gym workouts — and bookmark this fiery strength and conditioning kettlebell workout for later.  

Writer Sam Hopes performing a plank rotation using a kettlebell on the best yoga mats

(Image credit: Sam Hopes)

The short finisher features two kettlebell exercises — the kettlebell swing and single-arm kettlebell thruster — combined with two bodyweight exercises, including gorilla burpees and V-taps. 

While some of the exercises don’t look like out-and-out core exercises like some of the best ab exercises we swear by, each movement requires plenty of core activation to drive the movement and mobilize your body under load. Each exercise will help build a stronger core and strengthen muscles across your entire body, including your chest, shoulders, legs, and back muscles. 

The high-rep routine works best as an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), which will also ramp up your heart rate, helping you to burn calories fast. You can learn how to do a kettlebell swing here, but remember to keep your form tight and your core braced during each move. After all, you want quality over quantity. Rest briefly, only when you need it, and enjoy (afterward, maybe).  

Quick 10-minute kettlebell finisher  

Perform 8 to 10 reps of each exercise (per side for the thrusters) and repeat for rounds.  

First exercise is gorilla burpees, try to push these out as quickly as possible without rest. It's a testing bodyweight exercise designed to develop power. 

1. Gorilla burpees

Image of person performing a gorilla burpee by jumping feet forward and jumping into the air

(Image credit: Getty images/ Unknown)

Tip: Reps should be powerful and fast. Remember to use your breath, not hold it.  

How:

  • Start in a push-up position and activate your core
  • Jump both feet wide to land just outside of both hands, heels down
  • Drop your bum down and lift your chest to face forward, then quickly lift both hands to chest height, palms facing outward
  • Replace your hands, then jump your legs back to starting position and perform a push-up by lowering your chest and explosively pushing back up.

2. Kettlebell swings

How to do a kettlebell swing

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Without rest, move straight into your swings.  

Tip: It’s all in the hips — no squatting or sending weight into your arms and wrists. Exhale as you drive the kettlebell upwards.  

How: 

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outwards
  • Grip your kettlebell in both hands, keep a gentle bend in your knees, and set your shoulders back and down
  • Engage your core
  • Hinge at your hips and send your hips backward while keeping your back flat. The kettlebell should follow back between your legs
  • Explosively thrust the weight forwards to shoulder height as you extend your hips and squeeze your glutes
  • Control the weight back down and continue for 10 reps

3. V-taps

Woman performing a v tap exercise with legs in the air with legs extended in front of her arms reaching forward

(Image credit: Getty images/ Unknown)

Set your kettlebell down and get ready for V-taps.  

Tip:  Avoid rounding your spine or rolling your shoulders forwards. Keep a straight back and reach for your shins or thighs if necessary.  

How: 

  • Lay on the floor with your lower back supported on your mat, legs extended in front of you, and arms extended behind
  • Engage your core
  • Keep your arms and legs extended as you lift both legs into the air at 45 degrees. At the same time, lift your back and reach your hands overhead to touch your toes.

4. S/A kettlebell thruster

Man performing a single arm kettlebell thruster with the weight racked on his arm in a squat on a white background

(Image credit: Getty images/ Unknown)

Grab your weight and move straight into your last exercise. Keep the intensity high and avoid resting between sides where possible.  

Tip: Thighs should be parallel to the floor during your squat. These hip mobility exercises for hip flexor pain could help you achieve more squat depth.  

How:

  • Rack your kettlebell onto your shoulder using the kettlebell clean found in our kettlebell exercises for beginner’s guide
  • Once racked, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and brace your core
  • Lower into a squat and keep your chest proud
  • Drive upward through your feet to stand and press the kettlebell above your head, locking the elbow out at the top
  • Re-bend your elbow and re-rack the kettlebell as you lower into a squat for the second rep.

Complete 8 to 10 reps before switching sides. Once finished, take a quick breather and crack on from the top. For an extra challenge, try adding one to two reps per round.


Looking for more inspiration? Try this at-home Pilates workout with weights to strengthen your entire body and one writer did diamond push-ups every day for a week, here's what happened

Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III qualified fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. 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 not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.