You only need 1 kettlebell and 6 moves to build full-body muscle with this strength-training workout

Woman performing a kettlebell swing outside
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you want to build muscle, you might imagine that you need a gym full of equipment to see results. Fortunately, that’s not the case, as you can strengthen your whole body, develop your core, and boost your metabolism in just 30 minutes; all you need is a kettlebell.

While you can pick up any weight kettlebell that’ll challenge your muscles but won’t affect your form, it’s worth investing in one of the best kettlebells if you enjoy at-home workouts. These ‘bells have improved grip and some are adjustable too, combining several weights in one.

Then you’ll be ready to take on this short, intense kettlebell workout designed by TMAC Fitness. If you’re not sure what load to choose, the team recommends opting for a weight between 10 and 30 lbs to tackle the six-move session.

The aim is to do three rounds of the six exercises, and you’ll do each move for 45 seconds, take a 15-second rest, and then start the next exercise. It’s an intense session designed to work muscles all over your body, raise your heart rate, and boost your metabolism.

But to get the benefits, it’s vital to do each move with proper form. If you’re new to these exercises, like standing chest presses, swings, and Russian twists, you can follow along with trainer Lauren Donahue’s demonstrations to practice your technique.

Watch TMAC Fitness’ 28-minute kettlebell workout

The reason you can pack a muscle-building workout into just 28 minutes is the exercise style: high-intensity resistance training (HIRT). These sessions are designed to make you train intensely in short bursts with minimal rest, which works your muscles hard.

But there are other benefits, like a raised heart rate, which helps you burn more energy than during a slower repetitions-focused routine. Plus, keeping the breaks short sustains this high heart rate, which boosts your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn throughout the day).

This results in a muscle-building, fat-burning workout that you can do in less than 30 minutes with just a single weight. However, it’s not the only reason to choose this specific routine from TMAC Fitness, as Donahue closes the session with a short mindfulness practice.

It’s designed to help you bring your mind to the present moment, connect with your breathing, and develop the mind-muscle connection as you notice how your body feels at the end of the intense workout in a similar way to a Savasana pose at the end of a yoga class.

Mindfulness and meditation, which are generally seen as calming activities, might seem at odds with high-intensity exercise. However, one of our writers recently tried meditating before a workout and found that it helped her improve her form and recover faster.

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James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is Tom's Guide's Fitness Editor, covering strength training workouts, cardio exercise, and accessible ways to improve your health and wellbeing.

His interest in fitness started after being diagnosed with a chronic illness, and he began focusing on strengthening his core, taking regular walks around the city, and practicing meditation to manage the symptoms. He also invested in fitness trackers, home workout equipment, and yoga mats to find accessible ways to train without the gym.

Before joining the team at Tom’s Guide, James was the Fitness Editor at Fit&Well, where he covered beginner-friendly exercise routines, affordable ways to boost your wellbeing, and reviewed weights, rowing machines, and workout headphones.

He believes that exercise should be something you enjoy doing, so appreciates the challenge of finding ways to incorporate it into everyday life through short muscle-building sessions, regular meditation, and early morning walks.