I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the benefits of 10 minute workouts. I’m stoked they’re covering this topic. Doing so could help millions of people realize that you can get in a great workout with lots of benefits to your health without spending an hour at the gym.
I’ve written this article to show you the best type of 10 minute workout you can do pretty much anywhere. With just 1-2 pieces of equipment.
As you can probably guess from the title, I’m talking about kettlebells. In my humble opinion, I think kettlebell workouts are the best way to train when you only have 10 minutes to spare. Just as they are if you have 2 hours a day to train.
It may seem hard to believe if you haven’t done this type of workout before but it’s true. You can totally get stronger, leaner, build muscle, and increase your endurance with kettlebells. Doing workouts that take ½ the time it takes you to go to the gym.
Keep reading to learn what makes kettlebells the best way to do a 10 minute workout and what they need to to be effective. Then, give the workouts that are also included in this article to see for yourself how effective they are.
“A 10 minute kettlebell workout is enough time to activate every muscle in your body while at the same time challenging your cardio.”Greg Brookes
What Makes A 10 Minute Kettlebell Workout Effective?
You Can Do A 10 Minute Kettlebell Workout Anywhere
As long as you have enough room to do a kettlebell swing, squat, and press you can do this type of workout. I’ve done them everywhere from gyms, 400 square foot apartments, really small hotel rooms, and at the beach. Kettlebells really do make it impossible to say you don’t have enough space or need a gym to get in an awesome workout.
10 Minutes Is Long Enough To See Real Benefits
Studies show that exercising for as little as 10 minutes is very beneficial. It’s enough time to improve your cardio, get stronger and build muscle. You just need to make sure your workout pushes you hard enough. Let’s say an average effort of 7/10 or higher. This generally means doing exercises for 6-10 reps per set and resting less than 90 seconds between sets.
Kettlebells Are A Great Way To Do A Total Body Workout
When you only have 10 minutes to lift you want to do exercises that hit as many muscle groups as possible. Kettlebell workouts make this simple. Their design allows you to do all sorts of swings that train your entire body much more easily than dumbbells, barbells, and machines. Squats and presses are more challenging with kettlebells too. Group together swings with squats, presses, and rows and you’ve just done a total body workout that rivals any you’ve ever done with more equipment and space.
You’ll Build Muscle, Strength, Cardio, And Mobility
Kettlebell workouts enable you to build several aspects of your fitness simultaneously. In just 10 minutes. Even if you only do 1 exercise like swings, cleans, or split squats. Your heart will be beating out of your chest, your muscles will burn, and over time you’ll see for yourself that you have more endurance, are stronger, have more muscle and are leaner than ever.
10 Minutes Of Kettlebell Swings Burns More Calories Than Jogging
Neither are going to burn off the pint of ice cream you ate the night before but hey, over time small numbers add up to be pretty significant. Before you know it, you’ve lost 1-2 pounds you wouldn’t have.
How many calories do both burn in 10 minutes? Kettlebell swings use up 125 calories, jogging 97. A 10 minute walk is just 30 calories.. So we’re talking swings burn about 25% more calories than jogging at a moderate pace and 4 times as many as walking. Plus your kettlebell workout will do more for increasing your endurance, building muscle, and getting stronger.
Kettlebell Exercises Can Be Done By Anyone
The basic kettlebell exercises can be done by anyone. Even your mother in law who hasn’t exercised since her step aerobics classes in the ‘90s can quickly learn to swing, squat, and press a kettlebell in a single workout.
Finding a qualified personal trainer who uses kettlebells to train themselves and their clients is the best way to learn. If you don’t have that available, there are many great trainers to follow on Instagram and Youtube. A few I recommend are Samantha Ciaccia, Lauren Kanski, Adriell Mayes, and Cameron Martin. They’ll help take you from a beginner to advanced at kettlebell training in record time. I even recommend following them if you’re more experienced, I promise they’ll help you learn something new.
Here’s What A 10 Minute Kettlebell Workout Needs
Since these workouts are very short, you need to make sure they’re properly designed to be safe and effective. Here are 5 things every 10 minute workout must include.
Do exercises that train the major muscles of your body.
This means your legs, chest, back, shoulders. Example exercises include: kettlebell swings, cleans, snatches, goblet squats, overhead presses, floor presses, and bent over rows.
Don’t do too many exercises.
I recommend no more than 3. This is enough for a total body workout that’ll give you good results. Doing more doesn’t allow you to do enough sets of each exercise to get their full benefit. You can also just do 1 exercise for 10 minutes. Make sure to choose something like swings, snatches, or thrusters since they hit lots of different muscle groups and enable you to have an intense workout, which is what I discuss next.
Your workout should be done at a high intensity.
This means a circuit or HIIT style session that doesn’t allow much rest between exercises, if any, for 10 minutes. This way you will not only build muscle and strength but keep your heart rate elevated enough to get in a cardio workout too.
Do every exercise through its full range of motion.
Making sure to squat all the way to parallel, really stretch on windmills, and swing with great form will also help improve your mobility and flexibility. I promise, doing this regularly will give you more benefits than doing mobility exercises and stretches ever will. While saving you time.
Use a moderately heavy weight.
You’ll get the best results from 10 minute kettlebell workouts by using a weight that’s challenging to you. This means a kettlebell or bells that’re heavy enough to make doing 8-10 reps for each exercise relatively hard. Let’s say a 7/10 effort. Since you won’t be resting much, this 7/10 effort will ramp up to 10/10 within a few minutes.
“The key is to make sure that you are using the proper weight for your fitness level and really going all out during the 10 minutes. If you focus on quality over quantity, you will see results from your 10-minute kettlebell workouts.”Joe Wilson
Here Are 4 Workouts For You
Here are 4 kettlebell workouts for you to try. After you do, you’ll be sold on their benefits too. Make sure you adapt them to your fitness level. This typically means resting more, or less during the workout so that you can do the exercises safely and with good technique.
Kettlebell Swings EMOM (every minute on the minute)
EMOM workouts have been around forever and made popular by Crossfit. They’re also one of my favorite ways to get a great workout done in little time.
To do this EMOM workout you’ll do a set of swings at the beginning of every minute with a weight you can use for 10-12 reps. After your set is done, you’ll rest for the time left in that minute. You’ll repeat this for 10 minutes.
This usually means 20-30 seconds of swings and 30-40 seconds of rest per set. You should do between 10-15 repetitions in this time.
Here’s how it looks.
Minute 1 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 2 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 3 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 4 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 5 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 6 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 7 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 8 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 9 – 10 swings then rest for the remainder of the minute.
Minute 10 – 10 swings then workout is over.
If you’re not getting a hard enough workout you can do a few things differently. This includes: using a heavier kettlebell or adding in a second exercise such as overhead presses, goblet squats, or kettlebell rows.
When you’re really motivated, do this workout with 3 exercises per set. I like doing swings, goblet squats, and overhead presses. I get sore muscles just thinking about this workout.
10 Minute AMRAP Kettlebell Workout
Here you’ll be doing As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP) for 10 minutes straight. This means doing each exercise for the given number of reps one after the other without any rest. When you’ve done the last exercise of the workout, start over. Repeat this for 10 minutes.
Only rest when necessary. For as little time needed. I determine when I’ll rest based on one thing. When I notice my ability to do a rep of any of the exercises with good form is compromised, I take a break.
I try to rest no more than 15 seconds. 60 at the most.
Here’s the workout.
- Kettlebell swings – 10 reps per set
- Kettlebell standing overhead press – 10 reps per set
- Kettlebell goblet squats – 10 reps per set
- Kettlebell bent over row – 10 reps per set
Use a weight that you can do 12-15 reps with for each exercise. When you’re able to do more than 10 reps for an exercise on every set, move up to a heavier kettlebell.
In addition to being great for your cardio and strength-endurance, I also like doing AMRAP workouts because they’re easy to turn into a game, or challenge. Since I keep track of the total number of reps I do for the workout, I have a target to beat when I do it again. I find it’s easier to keep pushing even when my lungs and legs are burning when I have a number to try and beat. I think you will too.
15 Seconds On 15 Seconds Off Kettlebell HIIT
Here you’ll do a kettlebell exercise – swings, cleans, and snatches work great – for 15 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. This is repeated for 10 minutes. It may sound simple but it’s not easy. This means 20 sets of kettlebell swings, squats, or whatever else you want to do, in only 10 minutes.
This workout is backed by research. In one study using women who played for their college soccer team – so they’re already in great shape – did a 15 sec on/15 sec off workout with kettlebell snatches 3 times a week. Their endurance improved by 6% in just 4 weeks. This may not seem like a big increase but is given how fit the ladies were at the start of the experiment. Try this workout on yourself for a month and see how it helps you too.
If you really want a challenge, do this workout with 2 kettlebells.
Here’s how it looks.
15 seconds – swings
15 seconds – off
15 seconds – swings
15 seconds – off
Repeat for 10 minutes.
10 Minute Kettlebell Workout To Build Strength And Muscle
You can also do these workouts to build muscle and get stronger. You just have to make sure you use a kettlebell that’s heavy enough to do 5-8 reps per exercise. Once you can do sets of 10 reps for the entire workout it’s time to use a heavier kettlebell or do a harder exercise.
Here’s a workout for you to try when strength and building lean mass are your goals.
- 2 kettlebell front squats – 6-8 reps
- 2 kettlebell overhead press 6-8 reps
- 2 kettlebell bent over rows 6-8 reps
Rest for a minute or until you catch your breath after you finish the last exercise, in this case the bent over rows. Once you can do 10 reps per exercise throughout the workout, move up to a heavier weight.
10 Minute Kettlebell Workouts Are Very Effective
As you can see from the information listed in this article, 10 minute workouts are great for getting leaner, stronger, and in better shape, not just for doing when you’re pressed for time.
Falatic JA, Plato PA, Holder C, Finch D, Han K, Cisar CJ. Effects of Kettlebell Training on Aerobic Capacity. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Jul;29(7):1943-7.
Schoenfeld BJ, Peterson MD, Ogborn D, Contreras B, Sonmez GT. Effects of Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well-Trained Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Oct;29(10):2954-63.
Sultana RN, Sabag A, Keating SE, Johnson NA. The Effect of Low-Volume High-Intensity Interval Training on Body Composition and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2019 Nov;49(11):1687-1721.
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