The Kettlebell Weight Loss Workout


If you want to minimize your time in the gym and maximize your calorie burn and results, grab a pair of kettlebells. Most exercises using the kettlebell are explosive, full-body movements, revving your heart rate and challenging multiple muscle groups at once. Need more proof? A study by the American Council on Exercise showed that an average user burned 400 calories in 20 minutes!

Perform this workout at a high intensity level to get the benefits of the EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) or “afterburn” effect in which your body continues to burn calories post-workout in an effort to get more oxygen, boosting your metabolism long after you’ve left the gym.

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What You’ll Need:
You’ll need two kettlebells of equal weight for this workout. Pick a weight that is challenging but allows you to finish a set of reps as prescribed for your experience level while maintaining proper form.

The Workout:
Perform the exercises and repetitions on the following slides as a 20-minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible). If the exercise is a single-arm movement, perform the prescribed number of reps on each side.

Beginner: Complete 6-8 reps
Intermediate: Complete 8-10 reps
Advanced: Complete 10-12 reps 

Alyssa Ages is a strength coach at CrossFit Metric and athlete with PowerNYC Training.

Kettlebell Swings

Begin with the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Your feet should be planted shoulder-width apart. Bend at the knees and hips maintaining a flat back and grip the kettlebell with both hands. Swing the kettlebell backwards between your legs, then squeeze your glutes and thrust your hips forward forcefully to swing the bell up to eye level. The bell returns on the same path and your hips pop forward explosively to continue the set of unbroken reps. It’s important to note that the work for this exercise is driven by the movement in your legs and hips, not your arms.

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Single Arm Cleans

With feet hip-width apart, place a kettlebell between your feet. With a slight bend in the knees and hinge at the hips, grip the handle so your thumb is pointing behind you. Press through your heels and extend your knees and hips to initiate the pull from the floor. Shrug your shoulder and allow your elbow to bend out to the side as the bell rises up, keeping it close to your midline (as if you were zipping up a jacket). Rotate your arm under the kettlebell to complete the movement with the bell ending up at shoulder height, elbow pointed down, the bell resting on the backside of your wrist. Return bell to starting position and repeat all reps on this side before moving to the opposite side.

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Single-Arm Push Press

Clean one kettlebell from the floor to prepare for this movement. Once the bell is racked at your shoulder, take a slight bend in the knees and straighten up explosively, pressing the kettlebell overhead at the same time. Carefully return the bell to the racked position at your shoulder and repeat all reps on one side before moving on to the opposite side.

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Double-Arm Thrusters

Clean both kettlebells at once to begin this exercise in the racked position. Lower into a squat, maintaining a flat back and an upright chest. Drive your heels into the floor and as you explode up from the squat position, press both kettlebells overheard. Lower the bells to the racked position and initiate the squat again to repeat. Most of the work for this movement should be coming from your leg drive from the bottom of the squat, not your arms; this should be a fluid movement.

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Sumo Deadlift High Pull

Take a wide stance and place the bell between your feet. As with the swing exercise, bend at the knees and hinge slightly at the hips to grab the handle with both hands. Pull shoulders back and down. Press your feet into the floor and as you stand up with the bell, draw your elbows up, pulling the handle to chin height. Return to the starting position.

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Bottoms Up Walk

You’ll want to use two light kettlebells for this one. With feet hip-width apart, place two kettlebells on the ground just outside your feet with handles pointed forward. Bring both bells to an overhead position with the bottom (the weight) of the bell pointed upwards. You’re relying on grip strength and a tight body position to keep the bells from flopping over! Once you’re steady, take a walk out across the room and back.

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