The 20 Minute Beginner Kettlebell Workout: Try This Simple Workout at Home or Anywhere!

Kettlebells can provide a great full body workout.

This simple beginner kettlebell workout will blow your mind.

How do I know? Because ours will teach you how to handle a kettlebell using Mega Man and Mario references.

In today’s guide, we’ll go over the following (click to go right to that section):

These are the types of programs that we create for our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Clients, and we’re getting amazing results for people. 

And make sure you download our Kettlebell Worksheet!

The 20 Minute Beginner Kettlebell Workout (with Video Demonstration)

Once you’ve watched the video above (featuring Matt Shortis a lead trainer in our 1-on-1 Coaching Program) here’s a quick recap with repetitions for the workout here:

COMPLETE THE FOLLOWING CIRCUIT 3 TIMES:

  • 8 Halos (each side)
  • 10 Goblet Squats
  • 8 Overhead Presses (each side)
  • 15 Kettlebell Swings
  • 8 Bent Over Rows (each side)
  • 6 Front Rack Reverse Lunge (per side)

This Beginner Kettlebell Workout is what’s called a circuit (you can learn all about circuit training here). That’s just a fancy term for doing a workout like so:

  • 1 set of exercise A, go immediately to
  • 1 set of exercise B, go immediately to
  • 1 set of exercise C, and so on…
  • Repeat from the top!

Your long term goal should be to do 3 full circuits back to back for a complete workout.

4 if you’re in Berserker mode.

If you do the Kettlebell Workout 4 times, we'll dub you in "berserker mode."

If you can only go through it once or twice, that’s okay too!

And if you need to take a break at any time between sets or after a circuit, do it! You do you.

Prior to jumping into the kettlebell circuit, don’t forget to do some mobility warm up (you can see our warm-up routine here):

Nothing too crazy, just something to “grease the groove” and get your body used to movement so you don’t pull any muscles once you start swinging the kettlebell.

In other words, preparing your muscles and joints to move some weight around!

A few minutes of running in place, air punches and kicks, some jumping jacks and arm swings, should get your heart rate up and your muscles warmed for the Kettlebell Workout.

Coach Matt showing you how to rock the kettlebell swing.

You can do all of the workout with one single kettlebell, from anywhere.

We’ll go over each more in our next section, so you can perfect your kettlebell technique.

When you’re done, do some light stretching to cool down. A couple yoga poses would suffice. Make sure you drink water too.

Feel free to go through this routine at least once a week, and up to 2-3 times a week, with a day off between.

Remember, you don’t build muscle when you’re exercising, you build muscle when you’re resting.

This cat put his kettlebell away so he can rest and grow muscle.

Your muscles are broken down when you strength train, and then they rebuild themselves stronger over the following days of recovery!

If you just can’t sit still, feel free to do some fun exercises, go for a walk, or do one of these off-day activites.

Don’t forget to download our Beginner Kettlebell Worksheet, which covers the above sequence from Coach Matt.

You can print it out and track the amount of sets and repetitions you complete, which will help ensure you progress in your training.

You can grab yours free when you sign up in the box below:

The 6 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Beginners

One of the campers from Camp Nerd Fitness with a kettlebell!

Let’s go over each exercise in the 20 Minute Beginner Kettlebell Workout: 

#1) KETTLEBELL HALOS

Coach Matt showing you kettlebell halos.

  1. Grab the kettlebell with two hands on the handle.
  2. Raise the kettlebell above your head.
  3. Move around your head like you’re tracing a halo.

Tip from Coach Matt: with your halos, remember to keep the movement smooth. You don’t want to accidentally slam your head with the bell.

#2) KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUAT

  1. Grab the kettlebell with two hands “by the horns,” aka the handle.
  2. Keep your elbows in tight and your feet about parallel.
  3. Then lower down like you would in a bodyweight squat.
  4. Reverse the movement to raise back up.

Tip from Coach Matt: for the goblet squat, focus on depth. It’s more important to practice doing a full squat than to pump out reps. If you can’t make 10, don’t stress it. Do what you can.

#3) KETTLEBELL OVERHEAD PRESS

Coach Matt showing you how to do the kettlebell press.

  1. Grab the kettlebell with one hand, with the handle going down your palm (if the handle is too close to your fingers it’ll pull your wrist down).
  2. Press straight up with your fist driving the movement (your fist would be pointing up the entire time).
  3. Reverse the movement and bring the kettlebell back down. Then repeat.

Tip from Coach Matt: when doing the overhead press, get tight. Tightening your muscles will engage your core, offering a fuller body workout.

#4) KETTLEBELL SWING

Coach Matt showing you how to do the kettlebell swing.

  1. Get down into a bent-over, flat-back position and grab the kettlebell with both hands from the handle.
  2. Swing the kettlebell behind you, then get ready to jump up.
  3. Jump up (without leaving the ground) and swing the kettlebell up. You should be standing tall at the peak of the movement.
  4. Reverse the movement and bring the kettlebell back down and behind you.
  5. Repeat.

Tip from Coach Matt: during the kettlebell swing, focus on hinging your hips. The swing is like a deadlift movement, so you should feel it in your hamstring and glutes.

#5) BENT OVER ROW

And here is the kettlebell row!

  1. Get down into a bent-over, flat-back position and grab the kettlebell with one arm.
  2. Pick up the kettlebell by driving your elbow up into your rib cage.
  3. Lower the kettlebell back down by reversing the movement.

Tip from Coach Matt: try to keep your back straight and stomach tight during the row. This will help engage your legs for stabilization as you pull the kettlebell towards your stomach.

#6) FRONT RACK REVERSE LUNGE

And last but not least, here is the kettlebell lunge.

  1. Grab the kettlebell with one hand and rest the weight between your arm and chest.
  2. Step your leg back (the same side your kettlebell is on) and lower down until your shin is parallel-ish with the ground (or as low as you can).
  3. Spring back up to your starting position.

Tip from Coach Matt: for the lunges, again keep your back straight. By keeping your shoulders back, you’ll get a fuller body workout when you come in and out of your lunge.

Boom! There you have it.

The 6 best kettlebell exercises for beginners

If you want someone to review your form on any of these kettlebell movements, or you’re looking to level up your kettlebell game, our coaches can do just that! Our spiffy mobile app lets you send video of your exercises directly to your coach, who will provide feedback so you can perfect your technique.

In case you’re still on the fence about grabbing a kettlebell, let’s dig into them a little bit more.[1]

What Type of Kettlebell Is Best? What Is the Best Kettlebell Weight for Me?

What kind of kettlebell should you use?

So you want to buy a kettlebell, eh?

They come in all sorts of materials, in all sorts of shapes, and in all sorts of sizes.

Which one you pick will come down to personal preference, your budget, and your experience with kettlebells.

Let’s contemplate the following when picking the right kettlebell:

Standard vs.Competition. A standard traditional kettlebell will be cast iron, and as the weight goes up, the dimensions go up.

For example, a 16kg (35 lb.) bell will be larger than a 6kg (15lb) bell. This isn’t true for competitive kettlebells.

No matter their weight, competitive kettlebells will have the same dimensions for bell shape, base, and handle width.

So the 16kg will look just like the 6kg. This can be helpful to make sure you are consistent with technique.

Weight. In general, pick a weight that allows you to complete a workout with good form.

When in doubt, start with a lighter weight, as you can always increase the weight/size later. If you’re forcing me to pick one for you, knowing NOTHING about you, I’d say consider purchasing a 16kg if you’re a male or 8kg if you’re a female.

Now, this isn’t an exact science, and we are all unique snowflakes. If you think you’re stronger than average, go heavier. Not quite there? Go lighter.

Ballistic vs. Grind. You’ll often hear the terms ballistic and grinding in kettlebell workout discussions, for fast and slow movements respectively.

Ballistic movements would be quick, like the kettlebell swing.

Grinding movements would be slow, like the overhead press. For ballistic movements, you might actually want a heavier kettlebell, to help with momentum.

For grinding movements, less weight might be in order to help with control.

For now, if you are just starting out, go ahead and stick to one kettlebell. Branch out as you advance in experience.

Handle. This is where quality comes into play. You’ll be doing many, many repetitions with your kettlebell.

If the handle has rough edges, you’ll feel each and everyone of the movements scrap into your hand.

Ouch.

If you're not careful, the kettlebell handle can scratch your hand and hurt. Ouch!

Not fun.

Quality matters when it comes to handles. So we’ll chat about ideal brands in a moment. I’ll end our discussion on handles by saying they are generally standardized at 35mm for thickness.

Use this as your baseline for differences when comparing bell grips.

Okay, let’s talk about kettlebell brands:

#1) Cap Barbell. This would be an ideal first kettlebell. Not too expensive and decent quality, Cap Barbell kettlebells can be found on Amazon or at any Walmart.

The Cap Barbell is the most highly reviewed and reasonably priced kettlebell we have encountered. Do you have any experience with one?

Let us know in the comments if you like it!

#2) Kettlebell Kings. You see Kettlebell Kings ranked as some of the best bells out there. Not a bad price for the quality.

Plus, they offer free shipping in the US, which is nice since you’re essentially mailing a cannonball.

#3) Dragon Door. Some call Dragon Door the gold standard of anything and everything “kettlebell.”

I wouldn’t disagree, but expect to pay for it.

#4) Onnit. Onnit rocks, and they offer good quality bells that are quite popular.

And… they sell a Darth Vader one.

Onnit earns respect for selling a Vader kettlebell.

I know, I should have started with that.

OUR ADVICE: Before you go buy an expensive kettlebell, check your gym!

I bet it has kettlebells, and you can try out different brands/ sizes/ weights/ styles to see which one you like the best.

Afraid of going to the gym? Here’s how to train in a gym.

Don’t care about buying your bell new?

Check out Craigslist or a used sporting goods store like Play it Again Sports for a previously owned kettlebell from a person who no longer needs it.

A used kettlebell is still a kettlebell.

Crafty? Build your own! Here’s a video on how to make a kettlebell:

If you make your own kettlebell (be careful – you don’t want it breaking mid-swing!), please email me. I would be so pumped!

And if you need help with ALL of this and just want somebody to tell you how to train, I got you covered too.

Can You Lose Weight with Kettlebells?

Can a kettlebell help you lose weight?

If you’re trying to lose weight, a kettlebell and the workout routine above would be a great part of the plan!

The other part of the plan should be your nutrition.

As we lay out in our Coaching Program and our massive guide on “Healthy Eating,” we believe that proper nutrition is 80-90% of the equation for weight loss.

Yes, a kettlebell alone won't get you in shape!

No joke.

It’s by far the biggest factor for success.

So will you lose weight training with kettlebells?

Maybe!

If you fix your diet AND begin to incorporate our kettlebell routine a few times per week, you’ll will find yourself building muscle, losing fat, and getting stronger!

Wayne stoked that a kettlebell workout plus proper nutrition will help him get in shape.

So how do you fix your diet?

Great question.

Whether you choose to follow a Keto Diet, Paleo Diet, Mediterranean Diet, or something like Intermittent Fasting, the best path will be up to your goals, your situation, and your habits.

Here are some basic tips though (as we cover in our Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating):

  1. If your goal is weight loss, you have to eat less than you burn each day. This can be through eating less and burning more (from the kettlebell workout above)
  2. Processed foods and junk food make it really tough to lose weight: They have lots of calories and carbs, low nutritional value, don’t fill you up, and cause you to overeat.
  3. Vegetables are your friend. If you don’t like veggies, here’s how to make vegetables taste good.
  4. Liquid calories are sabotaging your efforts. Soda, juice, sports drinks: they’re all pretty much high-calorie sugar water with minimal nutritional value. Get your caffeine from black coffee or tea, fizzy-drink fix from sparkling water.
  5. Not losing weight? Track your calories and work on consuming slightly less each day. We tackle this point in depth in our article “Why can’t I lose weight?
  6. Eat more protein! Protein helps rebuild muscle, and can help you stay under your calorie limit because it’s satiating and filling. Here’s exactly how much protein you should be eating every day.

Those tips should get you started, but if you want more specific instruction and guidance, check out the NF Coaching Program – Your Coach will build a routine tailored to your individual needs and what equipment you have available:

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DoWnload the Kettlebell Worksheet!

A family playing in the San Fran Bay.

Like most things in life, the important aspect of any exercise regimen is starting it.

No matter what strength training program you choose, start TODAY.

This cat is ready to start his kettlebell workout! Let's hope he doesn't lose the shades.

You don’t need to get strong before you can play with a kettlebell. You can play with a kettlebell to get stronger!

Here’s that Beginner Kettlebell Workout one more time to recap:

  1. Halos: 8 reps each side
  2. Goblet Squats: 10 reps
  3. Overhead Presses: 8 reps
  4. Kettlebell Swings: 15 reps
  5. Bent Over Rows: 8 reps each side
  6. Front Rack Reverse Lunge: 6 reps each side

Here are the next two steps you can take with our community if you dig what we do! 

1) Check out our 1-on-1 Online Coaching program. Our coaches can work with you to pick up a kettlebell for the first time or to learn more advanced moves.

Whether you are brand new to your fitness journey, or ready to take it to the next level, we have your back!

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2) Join the Rebellion! Join our free community with a biweekly newsletter, and I’ll send you our Beginner Kettlebell Worksheet.

Simply sign up in the box below, and let us know what you think of it!

I’d love to hear how this goes for you! Simply leave a comment below.

Hell, leave a comment if there’s anything else we can help you with too.

For the Rebellion!

-Steve

PS: If you are using Kettlebells to get started with Strength Training, make sure you read the other articles in our Strength Training series! 

*All photo sources can be found in this footnote right here[2]

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