Build full-body strength at home with this 16-minute kettlebell workout

Woman performing a single-arm kettlebell swing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re short on time but still want to fit in a full-body training session, this 16-minute kettlebell workout is the perfect match. 

Using one of the best kettlebells for home workouts and weightlifting, this three-move workout, designed by personal trainer and coach Gabe West, will help you raise your heart rate, build muscle, and condition your body from head to toe.

To complete this workout, West uses a 24kg kettlebell. However, the weight you choose will depend on your kettlebell experience and current fitness level. If you’ve got an adjustable kettlebell, play around with the weight until it feels right.

Or, if you’re yet to master how to hold a kettlebell properly, it’s a good idea to learn the right techniques. It's also worth rolling out yoga mat to help provide a stable surface and protect your floors from kettlebell damage. Then you're ready to go. 

Watch Gabe West's 16-minute kettlebell workout

This kettlebell workout uses three moves to help you build functional strength and muscle. It uses an every-minute-on-the-minute (EMOM) format, which is a form of interval training. The aim is to complete a certain number of reps inside 60 seconds and however many seconds you have left in that minute you’ll use it as rest. 

On the odd minutes of this workout (so the first, third and fifth minute, and so on) you’ll perform all three exercises on your left-hand side. Then on the even minutes of this workout (so the second, fourth and sixth minute, and so on) you’ll perform all three exercises on your right-hand side. 

“If you manage to complete all the moves inside the minute, you’ll have the remaining seconds to rest,” West explains. So, if it takes you 30 seconds to do all three exercises, you’ll get 30 seconds to catch your breath before you swap hands and complete the same three exercises on the opposite side.  

As is the case with all types of exercise, it’s a good idea to master the moves before you carry them out. To help you complete this workout with the correct form, be sure to watch West’s video demonstrations and listen to his tips.

1. Square stance single-arm row

This move follows the similar format of a single-arm dumbbell row, which you might already practice at home with a pair of adjustable dumbbells or in a gym. But in this workout, you’ll be using a kettlebell as your weight. 

  • Start by bringing your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell between your feet. 
  • Embrace your core and maintain a flat back with your shoulders parallel to the floor as you bend down to grip the kettlebell with your left hand and pull it towards your hip.
  • Lower the weight back down again for your first rep. Repeat. 

West says: “As soon as you complete your fifth rep, take a small step back away from your kettlebell and hike it in between your legs for your kettlebell swings.”

2. Single-arm kettlebell swings

Kettlebell swings might be a hip hinge movement, but they’ll target muscles from your head to your toes, hitting your hamstrings, glutes, pecs, traps, deltoids, core and back. 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell in front of you. Bend your knees and hold the kettlebell with your left hand. 
  • Brace your core as you swing the kettlebell back between your legs and then out in front of you to chest height, engaging your glutes and your abs as you do so. 
  • Now let the weight fall back down and swing it between your legs for the next rep. 

“Keep your hips and knees fully extended at the top of the movement with a nice flat back. If your kettlebell is passing below your knees, wait for your form to make contact with your hip as it falls from the top of the swing to maximize power output from your hips and keep your lower back safe,” notes West. 

3. Kettlebell snatches

The humble kettlebell snatch is one of the best kettlebell exercises for beginners — and for good reason. It’s a full-body exercise that will work all your major muscles, including your core, hamstrings, glutes, hips and quads. 

  • Have your feet hip-width apart and place a kettlebell on the floor between them. 
  • Grip the kettlebell with your left hand and send your hips back while keeping your back flat. In one movement, swing the weight between your legs, lifting your hips and straightening the knees.
  • As the weight comes forward, shrug the left shoulder and swing the kettlebell upwards, with your arm above your head. 
  • Embrace your core as you flip the kettlebell over your hand (so it rests on the back of your hand) with your arm locked above your head. 
  • Flip the kettlebell back to the front as you lower your arm back down. 

West says: “If you find that the kettlebell is slapping your forearm at the top of the movement, emphasize rotating your thumb backward on your backswing and rotating your thumb upwards towards the sky as you insert your hand through the handle on your upswing.”

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Becks Shepherd

Becks is a lifestyle journalist who specializes in writing about wellness and home products, from mattresses to weighted blankets and cooling comforters. She has tested a number of mattresses for Tom's Guide, putting them through their paces to see if they stand up to the brand's claims, and offering recommendations as to the type of sleeper they will (and won't) suit. 

  • MrMisterMan
    Snatch for beginners? You’re asking for banged up wrists and probably some lower back and shoulder injuries. A beginner would be better served doing 2-arm swings, goblet squats and cleans working to clean and press. I’ve never heard of snatches described as great for beginners to kettlebells.