What Is A Full Body Kettlebell Workout?

chicago kettlebell trainer Steven Koontz

I’ve been doing full body workouts for so long I sometimes think everyone knows what they are. After talking with some of the site’s visitors recently I realized that’s not true. 

I wrote this article to explain what a full or total body workout is and how to do them to reach your workout goals faster. 

Let’s get started by answering the main question…

Just what is a full body kettlebell workout? 

Full body kettlebell workouts train every muscle from head to toe. This is different from split workouts where you only  train 1-2 muscles. A full body kettlebell workout requires you to do four types of exercises- swings, presses, squats, and rows. One of each is enough. Every muscle, from your legs, back, shoulders and chest to your arms, calves, and core are trained. 

Now that you know what a full body kettlebell workout is, let’s get into the details to help you get the best results in the least amount of time. 

Click here for a free full body kettlebell workout

What You Need For A Full Body Kettlebell Workout

  1. Always Do A Squat/Lunge, Swing, Press, And Row 

A comprehensive workout can be achieved with just four types of exercises: swings, squats or lunges, presses, and rows. Do this and you’ll train every muscle from your toes to your head and out to your fingers. You can do this in as few as 3-4 exercises as long as you follow the next rule. 

  1. 90% Of Your Workout Should Consist Of Compound Exercises

This is because they train multiple large muscle groups – back, chest, legs, and shoulders. This  includes exercises like kettlebell swings, squats, overhead presses, and bent-over rows. 

That compound exercises make it possible to get in a full body kettlebell workout in as few as 3 exercises isn’t their only benefit. Since you can lift heavier weights than you can doing isolation exercises like leg curls and triceps extensions your body is forced to work harder. This is the real payoff. Sweating out rep after rep of swings, squats, and overhead presses will make you stronger and fitter faster. 

  1. Do The Hardest Exercise First

Start your workout with the most challenging exercises. This means exercises like squats, kettlebell clean and press, deadlifts, lunges, and swings. 

By doing the hardest exercise first you’re going to be able to use the heaviest weight for the  greatest number of sets and reps. This allows you to do more work and get better results. 

Here’s an example that moves from the hardest lower and upper body exercise to easiest.

  • Kettlebell front squats
  • Clean and press
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Alternating kettlebell rows
  • Kettlebell biceps curls/tricep extensions superset
  1. Only 1 Kettlebell Is Required

There are hundreds of compound exercises you can do with 1 kettlebell. Just make sure the weight is moderately heavy, enough for about eight repetitions per set. If it’s too light, you can make the exercises more challenging by adding resistance bands or doing a more challenging exercise. 

Examples are renegade rows instead of bent over rows, kettlebell snatches instead of swings, and kettlebell lunges instead of squats. 

  1. 8 Is Enough 

A kettlebell workout that trains every major muscle group only needs to have eight total sets. You can split them evenly across four exercises (a squat/lunge, press, row, swing), and for a workout that produces real results.

This doesn’t mean more than 8 sets is too much. Not all. The more work you can do the better. If you have the time, 12-18 set workouts are the way to go.  

  1. You Don’t Need Much Time 

Being short on time isn’t an excuse. You can achieve a full body workout in as little as 10 minutes with one kettlebell. Techniques like HIIT, supersets, or AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) help you do more in ½ the time. AMRAPs are my favorite short on time workout. 

Short for As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible, your goal is to do as many reps or rounds of each exercise in your workout over a set amount of time. 10 minutes for example. 

To create an AMRAP workout, choose 3-4 compound exercises that cover the four key movements: squat. press, row, and swing. Don’t rest until you have to. When you do rest, make it for as little time as you can. Then keep going. Your workout is done when the allotted time is up. 

  1. Adjust Your Workout To Fit Your Needs

Full body kettlebell workouts are versatile and can be tailored to different fitness goals, including strength, fitness, muscle building, power, and mobility. The number of sets and reps and the intensity of training should align with your specific goal.

  • Muscle Gain: 8-10 reps/set, 60-90 seconds rest, 2-3 sets per exercise.
  • Strength/Power: 2-5 reps/set, 3-10 sets per exercise, 1-5 minutes rest.
  • Strength Endurance: 10-15 reps/set, 3 sets/exercise, 0-90 seconds rest.

Here’s A Full Body Kettlebell Workout That Follows These Principles

Here’s a 3 day a week program that shows how each of these rules is applied. Each workout uses different exercises to give you some variety. I find this keeps the workouts fun over the weeks and months you are doing it. It’ll also ensure that every muscle is trained from every possible angle. 

Click here to get a free copy of this workout. 

You can use it as is, print as a PDF file or add to your favorite workout app or log. 

Workout 1

ExercisesSetsRepsWeightRest Between Sets
Kettlebell Front Squat388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Kettlebell Floor Press388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Alternating Kettlebell Swing388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Kettlebell Row388 Rep MaxAs Needed

Workout 2

ExerciseSetsRepsWeightRest Between Sets
Kettlebell Windmill388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Kettlebell Goblet Squat388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Push Ups With Hands On Kettlebell388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Lying Kettlebell Pullover388 Rep MaxAs Needed

Workout 3

ExerciseSetsRepsWeightRest Between Sets
Kettlebell Clean and Press388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Kettlebell Lateral Lunge388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Kettlebell Plank Pull Throughs388 Rep MaxAs Needed
Kneeling Kettlebell Halos388 Rep MaxAs Needed

Workout Guidelines

  • Start with kettlebells that you can do 3 sets of 8 reps for every exercise. 
  • Rest as long as you need to between sets to catch your breath. This will decrease as you become fitter and stronger. 
  • Take 1 day of rest between workouts. A popular way to do this type of kettlebell workout is to train Monday, Wednesday, Friday with the other days off. 
  • You can also do this workout plan 3,4,5, and even 6 days a week as your fitness and strength improve. 

How To Scale A Full Body Kettlebell Workout

Once you can do an exercise for 3 sets of 10 reps increase the weight or make the exercise more difficult. Ways to do this include: using a resistance band with the kettlebell, lowering the weight to a count of 5, or pausing for 2-3 seconds at the top of every exercise. 

You can also switch to a more complex version of the exercise. Doing lunges with the same weight as you did front squats, for example. 

Track Your Full Body Workouts For Better Results

One way to do this is with our workout tracker.  It works with your Google account, is easy to set up and creates new workouts with one click. 

Every aspect of your workout routine can be tracked. From the exercises you do to every rep, set, rest taken and pound you lift. 

This information is displayed for you on your own workout dashboard, which serves as a central hub for monitoring your progress over time. This visual representation of your fitness data provides valuable insights into your performance, helping you understand your strengths and areas for improvement. 

Click here to learn more.

All That’s Is For You To Get Started

Full body kettlebell workouts offer a versatile and efficient way to train every major muscle group in your body. Whether your goal is getting stronger, more fit, gaining muscle, or being more powerful and mobile, a workout that hits every major muscle group is a great way to go. 

Remember, whether you’re doing 8 sets or pushing for 12-18, the key is to stay consistent and challenge yourself within your current abilities. Do this and before you know it you’ll have built the body you’ve always wanted. 

Curt Pedersen
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