6 Fantastic Kettlebell Workouts for Burning Fat

These will get your heart rate up!

Kettlebells were used in Russia in the 1800’s as a weight to measure grains and other goods. But then Russian vendors started swinging and lifting these kettlebells to show their strength and quickly recognized they were on to something.

Maybe the Russians realized they didn’t have to torture themselves with jogging in the cold? And now you don’t either.

Because the kettlebell swing combined with squats, carries and bodyweight exercises is a fantastic way to improve your conditioning, help increase your grip strength and are a great tool for burning unwanted fat (1). And that’s not the only benefit that comes along with swings

Benefits of Kettlebell Swings

  1. Works your posterior chain muscles (back, abs, butt, hamstrings) in powerful joint friendly fashion.
  2. It allows you to develop better hip mobility, loosen your tight hips, and strengthen your entire backside.
  3. It will help strengthen your lower back because of the core stability benefits of the swing.

So, when you’re pushed for time or looking to spice up your cardio trainings, grab one kettlebell, a towel and get to work.

Author’s Note: Special thanks to Dan John who “supplied’ a majority of these trainings.

Fat Burning Kettlebell Workouts

Dan John’s 500 Swing Workout

The 500 swings and 30 squats (if you do 5 rounds) is not for the faint of heart, so be careful. This will test your grip strength and your conditioning. Which is a sure sign of a good time.

  • Swing 10 reps
  • One goblet squat
  • Swing 15 reps
  • Two goblet squats
  • Swing 25 reps
  • Three goblet squats
  • Swing 50 reps

Rest (as much as you need) and repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Swings and Get-Ups

Spice things up by doing the swings with Turkish get-ups, which will really get your heart pumping because getting up and down from the ground is one of the hardest things we do.

For example:

  • Swing 10 reps
  • One TGU, weight in left hand
  • Swing 15 reps
  • One TGU, weight in right hand
  • Swing 25 reps
  • Two TGUs, one left and one right
  • Swing 50 reps

Rest (as much as you need) and repeat for a total of 5 rounds.

Every minute on the minute sets

Holding yourself accountable to do the work in a minute acts as a great finisher to a training. Or if you have no time to train, this is a great stand-alone training.  Either way, it will improve your conditioning and mental toughness.

Swings/Push-up combos

  • 20 seconds of kettlebell swings
  • 6 push ups
  • Rest for the rest of the minute.

Do this for 10-20 minutes or until you collapse in a heap.

And if this isn’t a challenge for you, try this:

  • 20 swings, 10 push-ups, rest the remainder of the minute
  • 20 swings, 9 push-ups, rest
  • Make your way all the way down to 20 swings, 1 push-up

(200 swings 55 push-ups in 10 minutes if you want to do the math)

Author’s Note: Bodyweight squat variations will work well (instead of push-ups) too.

Countdown ladder sets

Countdown ladder sets with a single kettlebell and bodyweight are great way to finish your training or to add volume to a body part that needs working on. These are great stand-alone trainings when pushed for time also.

Dan John Humane Burpee (because real burpees suck)

  •  15 swings
  • 5 goblet squats
  • 5 push-ups

Then 

  • 15 swings
  • 4 goblet squats
  • 4 push-ups 

Then

  • 15 swings
  • 3 goblet squats
  • 3 push-ups 

Then

  • 15 swings
  • 2 goblet squats
  • 2 push-ups 

Then

  • 15 swings
  • 1 goblet squat
  • 1 push-up

Dan Johns “Hornees” 

  •  10 swings
  • 5 goblet squats
  • Bottoms Up carry or Suitcase carry for 40 yards. Do both sides.

Author’s Note: Descend by one on the Goblet squats until you get down to 1.

Kettlebell Workouts for Burning Fat
Photo Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Swing/Goblet squat combo

  • 10 swings
  • 10 Goblet squats
  • 9 swings
  • 9 Goblet squats

Continue this down to 1 of each and don’t let the kettlebell leave your hands for the entire set.

Wrapping up

Kettlebells will save your joints from the constant pounding of the treadmill and the rat in the cage mentality of the cardio machines. These single kettlebell trainings are a novel way to help improve your strength, conditioning and mental toughness.

Kettlebell FAQs

Are kettlebell swings safe?

Yes! Kettlebell swings are a great exercise that focuses on the posterior chain. When done correctly with proper hinge and swing mechanics, kettlebell swings are perfectly safe.

Are kettlebell swings good for beginners?

Beginners might take a little more time to learn proper swing mechanics, but once form is drilled down, kettlebell swings are fantastic training tools for beginners.

Can kettlebells really help me burn fat?

Yes. Similar to every exercise and workout, your adaptations will be based on the “how” and not the “what”.

Kettlebells when structured in workouts with variables like intensity, volume, and rest times are fantastic tools for elevating heart rate and accelerating fat loss.

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the author’s and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

References 

1. J Strength Cond Res. 2014 Oct;28(10):2793-800. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000474. The acute hormonal response to the kettlebell swing exercise. Budnar RG Jr1, Duplanty AA, Hill DW, McFarlin BK, Vingren JL.

Feature image from Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Shane McLean

Shane McLean

Shane McLean is a Certified Personal Trainer who’s worked with a wide variety of clients, from the general population client all the way to ex-Navy seals and college athletes.

Shane is a big believer in seeing exercise as a gift for the body and never a punishment — exercise should be as enjoyable as possible and never just a “work” out.

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