Kettlebell Circuit Workout

Hi friends! How’s the day going? Hope your morning has been lovely so far. <3 I’m a little later posting today -did get some Livi-isms up on the Family page- because I had an appointment and hit up the gym for an easy run. Now it’s time for a workout post–a kettlebell circuit workout!

But before that, I’ve gotta share my current snack fave: chia pudding! I make it with almond milk, cinnamon, and top with any fruit we have in the house. So so good! (PS Emily has an awesome tutorial here if you want to make a big batch for the week.)

chia seed pudding

So, as I was saying, today I have a fun new circuit workout to share, that uses one of my favorite pieces of strength equipment: the kettlebell.

kettlebell circuit workout

When I first started experimenting with the kettlebell, I thought it would be just like a dumbbell. WRONG. The center of gravity is different (the “bell” is weighted, while the handle is light), so you have to utilize your core to create movement with the bell -it seems to want to pull you back to where you started- and is especially beneficial for cardio blasts, like kettlebell swings. I would love to explore a kettlebell specialty certification in the future, but have been able to build up an arsenal of exercises from workshops and fellow instructors. (For a fantastic workout from my friend Brittany, check out this post!)

Here’s a circuit-style kettlebell workout that includes some of my very favorite moves. For this one, you’ll want to warm up for about 5-7 minutes with moderate cardio and then move through the exercises quickly, with little to no rest in between. When you complete the circuit, take a one-minute recovery, and then repeat up to two more times.

Kettlebell Circuit Workout

Kettlebell circuit workout

Some form cues and tips:

1) Kettlebell swing: ground into your feet and stand hip-width apart. Hold the kettlebell in between your knees and start to gently swing it so you can gain some momentum. When you’re ready, power through your hips, glutes and core to swing the weight up to shoulder height, then bend your knees, swinging it back to start. Remember that you are NOT using your arms to lift the weight; this is pure glute and core power. Every time the weight goes up, make sure you’re strongly exhaling. 

2) Squat to upright row: place your feet under your hips and hold the kettlebell in one hand. Keep a lifted chest as you sink your hips back and down into a squat (weight in your heels) and lower the kettlebell towards the floor. As you rise from your squat, lift up from your elbow (keeping your shoulder pulled down) into an upright row. Repeat on the opposite side after finishing your set for this arm. 

3) Lunge: step one foot forward and the other foot back, keeping your feet hip-width apart. Whatever leg is forward, hold the kettlebell in the opposite hand. Keep your core tight and chest lifted as you lunge and lower your back knee towards the floor (without touching it). After your reps one side are finished, complete on the opposite side.

4) Single leg row: step one foot forward and one foot back, keeping legs hip-width apart. Hinge forward from your hips, and bring all of your weight into the front leg to carefully lift your back leg off the floor. Whatever leg is lifted, be sure to keep that hip pointing DOWN, so your hips remain parallel to the floor. Holding the kettlebell just below your shoulder, exhale and squeeze your back to row. Lower and repeat on the opposite side after all reps on one side are completed. 

5) Kettlebell clean and press: here’s a great video tutorial. 

6) Twist: hold the kettlebell with both hands, elbows wide, and sit on the floor with your ankles crossed. Lean back slightly, keeping a straight spine and use your core to lift your feet off the floor. Contract through your obliques, and exhale as you rotate side to side. 

Let me know if you give this kettlebell circuit workout a try!

Do you work out with kettlebells? If so, what’s your favorite exercise? Current snack obsession? 🙂



All photos by Danny Chan

More kettlebell workouts:

9 killer kettlebell moves

Focus On: KB training

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  1. Masala Girl on March 3, 2015 at 11:17 am

    i love kettlebells! unfortunately, i cant do much with them now because i’ve been having back problems :/ the “point” like you talked about is why im avoidig KBs specifically, so no swings or deadlifts :/

  2. Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out on March 3, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I love kettle bells! So fun for switching it up!

  3. Alex @ True Femme on March 3, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I’ve never used kettle bells before but I have been doing some circuit training for the last few weeks. It’s such a challenge!

  4. Elle on March 3, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I love the kettlebell especially because its so easy to store. Swings are my favorite exercise because they target so many different muscle groups.

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      yes! love them 🙂

  5. Taca @ A Side Of Dessert on March 3, 2015 at 11:26 am

    My boyfriend bought me a kettlebell recently but I’ve still been too intimidated to try it out! I think I’ll have to give this a go tonight.

    I haven’t been able to get into Chia Pudding! I’ve tried and the texture just totally throws me off! I’ll have to give it another go before I totally write it off though. Enjoy the rest of your day!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      let me know how it goes! try blending the chia pudding; it’s not so seed-y that way 😉

  6. Erin @ Erin's Inside Job on March 3, 2015 at 11:31 am

    I definitely love KB swings. It took me awhile to get the actual movement correct because I ended up doing more of a squat and press with it than thrusting and using my hips/butt. That’s the biggest thing to take away from that movement for me.

    I don’t do a lot of KB work, but I love the swings and things like goblet squats!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      ohhh love goblet squats too 🙂

  7. Emma @ Life's A Runner on March 3, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I can’t wait to give this a try! I love that an entire full-body workout can be done with just one piece of equipment. It’s not always easy to get to the gym, so I’m definitely planning on purchasing an kettle bell and incorporating workouts like these ASAP. Thanks so much!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      no prob! hope you enjoy it!

  8. Cayla on March 3, 2015 at 11:42 am

    KB swings are the bane of my existence (am I doing them wrong or are they just so effective that it makes me hate them?!) but this workout look so fun and I want to try it so I’ll give them another chance. 🙂

  9. Nicole on March 3, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Yay! I love kettlebell workouts. My favorite moves are the swing and the single leg row.

  10. Leanne Winters on March 3, 2015 at 11:58 am

    this looks great, i really need to get on it xx

  11. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona on March 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I’m going to have to try this workout next week.

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      let me know what you think! 🙂

  12. Lee on March 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Gina – What kind of almond milk do you use? I have been trying to avoid carrageenan. Do you make your own or have you found a good brand in stores? Thanks in advance!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      hi lee! i use blue diamond here at home, but don’t drink it daily. i’m pretty sure that the whole foods 365 brand doesn’t have carrageenan

  13. Rachel on March 3, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    I love a good Kettlebell workout so I will definitely be trying this one! What KB weight did you use for your circuit?

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      i use a 35 lb for swings and 15 for everything else

  14. Ashley on March 3, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    This is such perfect timing! I was eyeballing the kettle bells and the gym this morning. Can’t wait to try this!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      awesome! hope you love it! 🙂

  15. Kaelene @Unlocking Kiki on March 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Kettlebell’s are my favorite strength workout right now, definitely will try this circuit out!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      thanks girl! let me know how it goes 🙂

  16. Kerry on March 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Ah I really need a kettlebell!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      they’re such a great home gym tool!

  17. Paula on March 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I was traveling this weekend and was lamenting that most hotel gyms haven’t gotten on board the kettlebell train yet. I feel like they’re so much more useful than dumbbells for many of my workouts!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      i agree! even if they just had one light and one heavy, it would be awesome

  18. Britt@MyOwnBalance on March 3, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I just found a great recipe for chia pudding and I’m excited to give it a try!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      link? 🙂

  19. Mo on March 3, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    Gina!! First off – you’re such a bosslady!! These photos of you are beautiful – you look so strong and bad a$$! Secondly – I love me a good KB workout and I can’t wait to incorporate this one into the mix, thanks for sharing :-*

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      wow, thank you, lovely! <3
      please let me know how the workouts goes. xoxo

  20. Emily Miner on March 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    How did you know I was looking for a chia pudding recipe?! I have bags and bags on hand that I ordered accidentally (because, #techproblems) and I haven’t quite figured out how to use them yet. Oh, and that pound cake from last night. I die. My parents come into town this weekend for a visit so I had to do a trial run. You know, because parents only deserve the very best. And #snacklife. Thanks for sharing!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      hahah so glad you give it a test run! 🙂
      hope you enjoy the chia pudding too!

  21. Sam on March 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    I love working with kettlebells! I typically use them for swings (and I like to switch hands mid-air) and for plie squats (either holding steady, or plie squat with upright row). I’m currently snacking on some quinoa, tomato, cucumber, shallot, feta and parsley salad that I made over the weekend. Delish!

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      that salad sounds amaaaaazing

  22. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on March 3, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Great workout! I’m a little intimidated by the kettlebell. I’ve been wanting to pick it up and do these moves, but it feels completely different and heavier than a dumbbell of the same weight. Hopefully I can get over my fear one of these days.

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      once you do i think you’ll love it!

  23. Allison on March 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I have been taking “barbell strength” classes (similar to body pump) 3x a week and boot camp classes 2x a week for about a month and a half. I used to only run on the treadmill with very little strength training. My current goal is to build muscle and lose some fat. I definitely feel stronger and am starting to see some definition. I’m wondering if I ‘m doing enough cardio. The boot camp class I take seems, fairly similar to HIIT. Does body pump keep your heart rate up enough to count as cardio?

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      how much strength training do they include in your bootcamp class? or is it mostly cardio?

      • Allison on March 3, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        In boot camp we have been doing strength training stations (squats, dead lifts, tricep extension, etc). After each station we do cardio for a minute or two (burpees, jumping jacks, sprints, etc.) The class is about 50 minutes long. Last week we did the 300 workout. I feel like I’m worked until exhaustion!

        • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 3:30 pm

          that’s what i was thinking. it sounds like you’re actually doing too much strength. if you’re doing pump, plus all of these strength moves in your bootcamp class, you’re not giving your muscles enough time to rest in between working them again.
          here’s how i would set it up:
          pump class + 10 minutes HIIT
          easy steady state cardio
          bootcamp class
          pump class or bootcamp class
          easy cardio

          • Allison on March 3, 2015 at 3:37 pm

            Wow! Thank you! I really appreciate your advice. I have been trying to figure out a good weekly game plan for my workouts. I’ve been really enjoying my classes but haven’t lost any weight (maybe even gained a pound or two?!?!); I didn’t realize I might be doing too much strength training. Then I was worried if I did too much cardio, I would lose any muscle I was building.

            When you say easy cardio do you mean jogging? About how long — 30 min?

  24. kristin | W [H] A T C H on March 3, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    i am always worried about my form when i do kettlebell work. these are really helpful tips!

  25. Kimberly || Life Alluring ? on March 3, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I love chia pudding!!! And thank you for the workout and tips! Time to go try some new kettlebell moves.

  26. Chrissy @Pink Polish and Running Shoes on March 3, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Do you feel like you get in as good of a workout when you use kettlebells instead of dumbbells? I’ve never tried kettlebells, but for some reason I’m always worried I won’t get in as good of a workout with them.

  27. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on March 3, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    These photos look great! I also love kettlebells, and the swing is my favorite, with the windmill a close second. I’m certified through Kettlebell Athletics, which is a good program. Happy Tuesday! 🙂

  28. Sarah on March 3, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I want kettlebells so badly! Favorite snack is an apple with 10 almonds. Just enough to give a small energy boost. Love chia pudding too! An acquired taste for me, but now I love it and love the health benefits even more. Hope to try this workout sometime!

  29. Lindsey on March 3, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for lately- something new and challenging! Thanks for posting, I will be trying it Wednesday afternoon!! 🙂

  30. Lindsey on March 3, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Also, I’ve been killing Kind bars during snack time 🙂

  31. milania dela cruz on March 3, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I love kettlebells but i’m always running out of things to do with them besides squats, snatch and swing… so thanks for this!

  32. Faye Holloway on March 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    I can’t wait to try the chia pudding and the workout – thank you! I just made your turkey meatballs from the book and was wondering how you’d pack them in a lunch? What side would you put with them?

    • Fitnessista on March 3, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      i would put them on a bed of spinach and quinoa! hope you enjoy 🙂

  33. Stacy @ Sweating Tulipz on March 4, 2015 at 5:18 am

    I love kettlebells. I need to use them more often. I average about only 1 x per month with an entire kettlebell workout, but work them into my workouts with 1 or 2 exercises on a weekly basis. It’s so bizarre how sore I am after a total kettlebell workout. I love it!

  34. jenna @ just j.faye on March 4, 2015 at 5:45 am

    This looks like a great workout! I don’t work much with kettlebells, because the gym in my condo doesn’t have them. I’m going to take a look at the office gym today to see if they have some, so that I can do this!

  35. Tristan on March 4, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Wow that was a great workout!! Saving it for sure! Thanks

  36. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on March 4, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing! I keep forgetting that I have a kettlebell and this is a great way to mix up my workout!

  37. Claire on March 5, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    I did this the very same night you posted and thought beforehand “this’ll be a nice little supplement” to the full workout I already had planned. It turned out to be PLENTY. It was perfection – efficient, challenging, and I was sweating buckets and feeling badass. I’ve been incorporating kettlebells for a while in my weight loss journey but this circuit was the tops. Thank you SO much!

  38. Amy on March 6, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Tried this workout last night and loved it! Thank you! 🙂

  39. Abigail on October 1, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Thank you for sharing this workout! I’ve been building up my confidence in the weight room at the gym, and I LOVE going in prepared with a plan for my workout. This workout was perfect!

    • Fitnessista on October 3, 2016 at 10:31 am

      so happy to hear!! <3

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