Like a magpie to a jewel, I can recall stepping into Virgin Active some years ago and looking around the gym floor to see what I might try for the session that day, and bee-lined for the colourful array of these strange ball-shaped weights in the freestyle zone. Instantly I picked up the pink one (of course – I’m an advertiser’s dream) and examined it like some sort of alien artefact. After a moment or two of trying to decipher what the hell it was and what I could do with it, I soon returned it to its rack and went over to my ‘rightful’ position on the cross trainer. Poor naïve gym newbie. Little did I know how versatile this bit of kit is and what it could do for my fitness! If you haven’t guessed what it is by now – it is, of course, the kettlebell.

It may have been a new shiny bit of equipment to my gym, but the kettlebell has been around for millennia! Its existence dates back to ancient Greece, but has been more associated with its role in the Russian agricultural industry, being used to weigh grains, crops and such. However, like every culture has their desired qualities and aspirational traits – that of the Russian Society of the time was the demonstration of strength and at all their festivals and fayres, there would be these ‘strongman’ shows and it was quickly recognised that these farmers that were lugging and chucking these kettlebells around day after day, were a lot stronger than your average Joe… (Or whatever the Russian equivalent name of someone called “Joe” would be...) Since then they have been used widely to trained armed forces, and exercising with the ‘Kettlebell’ has become a science, sport and competition of its own.

But, personally, I don’t particularly want to look like a Russian Farmer, so what exercises and workouts can I do with a kettlebell that are going to help me to be lean and toned?

Kettlebell exercises often involve a large number of repetitions, which is great for muscular endurance and this ‘toning’ effect we wish to see in our muscles. Most kettlebell exercises incorporate several muscles simultaneously so improves coordination, core stability and promotes balance in the body during your workout. You can do a kettlebell routine that’s more aerobically challenging, by having longer sets with lighter weights and fewer breaks, which is going to help assist that muscular endurance mentioned above and have a solid cardio element as well, or if you follow the HIIT principles, you have a slightly higher weight and do short, sharp, heart busting intervals, followed by short rest periods, to work on your explosive power, and accelerate fat burning process post workout. HIIT training is quite an advanced principle, and especially when you’re swinging weights around!! So, my advice would be to build up your muscular endurance with the Kettlebells, working on time under tension/ tempo control / eccentric work/ compound movements – just taking everything nice and slowly to begin with, focusing on technique, to build up your confidence and your muscular endurance, support your joints and prevent potential injury- ready to go and start swinging and getting a bit ballistic with the bells!!



Warm Up:

- 6-8 Plank to Dog
- 6-8 Loaded Beast to Lunge & Twist
- 6-8 Lateral Lunges
- 6-8 Squat Hand Slide lateral bends
- 6-8 Squat Shoulder Rolls
- 6-8 Press Up Plank Rotation 

Giant Set: 4 Exercises, 3 Rounds [60 seconds rest between sets, minimal rest between exercises]

- X6 3 Point Front Loaded Lunges
- X4 12-14 Front Loaded KB Goblet Squat (With Lateral kick) (6-7 Each Leg)
- X12-14 KB Push Up to Renegade Row (With Opposite Knee Tuck)
- X12-15 Halo Circles (Going up and down in squat Hold)

 (In the first 3 exercises, they can be progressed to have a little pulse at the bottom of the movement)


Abdominal Series: [3 Exercises, 3 Sets]

- X8 Turkish Get Ups (X4 Each Side)

- X8 Windmills (X4 Each Side)

- X10-15 Eccentric Sit Ups (3:1)

Final Circuit: 3 Exercises, 3 Rounds [60 seconds rest between sets, minimal rest between exercises]

- X12-14 Curtsey Lunge with Tricep Extension (6-8 Each Side)
- X12-14 Alternating Single Leg Deadlift With Narrow Row (6-8 Each Side) (Or one side and other in isolation, can use surface to support)
- X10-12KB Chest Press with Leg Lift

Cool Down & Stretch:
Repeat the following selections from the Warm Up Series, holding poses for 3 breaths in each position, inhale to lengthen, exhale to open and deepen the stretch.

 - 6-8 Loaded Beast to Lunge & Twist

- 6-8 Lateral Lunges

- 6-8 Squat Shoulder Rolls to Shoulder Roll Forward Fold

- 3 Legged Dog Hip Opener to Pigeon Pose

- Scorpion Hold

- 6 Seal Push Ups

- Needle Threads

-Roll Up to Standing


- Kettlebell Mountain Climbers Up & Down

- Kettlebell Burpee

- Kettlebell Swing Steps


-18 Kettlebell Straight Swings/ American Swings

- 16 Squat Thrusters

- 14 Alternating Clean and press

 In short:

 -Who is Kettlebell training for?

Anyone! If you wish to tone up, bulk up, slim down, build muscular endurance – it’s a versatile bit of kit and you just need to adjust your circuit, your weight load, your reps and sets to gear the kettlebell in the direction of your personal goals.

-Who is Kettlebell Not Suitable for?

People with weak shoulders and cores. They will improve these areas, but if these are weak spots for you, you may need extra attention to your muscular endurance phase.

-What muscles are most worked when using Kettlebells?

Core & abs get an absolute pounding with every exercise you do. To tame the swinging bell, you have to be rooted into the floor, with abs of steel! You don’t have to be crunching or planking to work your abs, a Kettlebell session will most certainly be a game changing ab workout.