Fat Burning Kettlebell Circuit Workout
If you’re short on time and want a great workout with minimal equipment, check out this fat burning kettlebell circuit workout. Each of the exercises is compound movements, so you’ll be building strength and power. But, even more importantly, you’ll be burning a ton of calories in a short amount of time. Additionally, these exercises are great for functional fitness programs because they involve motions for activities of daily living (squat, pull, hinge, press). There’s not much you don’t get from this workout. Three exercises, one bell, less than 20 minutes. Get it all right here.
Hang Clean To Push Press
Not going all the way to the ground, just going to a slight hinge. Then explode up, bringing the bell to a catch position. From here, do a partial squat (activating the quadriceps and hamstrings) and push the kettlebell up. This should be a powerful, explosive push- especially if you’re using a heavy enough weight. After the press, catch the kettlebell by your shoulder before bringing it right back down into the hang clean. That full motion, from the hang clean to catch to push press, is one full repetition for this exercise. As you repeat the exercise during your circuit workout, don’t rest by placing the bell back down on the ground. Instead, continue into the hang clean each time.
Sometimes, especially with a heavy enough kettlebell, the weight might jerk you down from the push press and catch as you lower down to the hang clean position. If this is the case, of course, you can use the other hand to control the movement better as you decelerate to the bottom. However, make sure you’re able to safely control the weight as it comes down. This is the eccentric part of the contraction (where muscle fibers lengthen out) and important for developing strength and functional capabilities.
For your fat burning circuit, you’ll be performing this exercise five full times on one side. Then you’ll complete five repetitions on the other side. Do this with no rest and before moving onto the next exercise. Each repetition will take you about six seconds to complete, which means the entire exercise (on the right side and left) will take a total of about one full minute.
Bent Over Row
The next exercise in the kettlebell fat burning workout is a single arm bent over row. To perform a proper row you’ll be doing elbow flexion (biceps), shoulder extension (rear deltoid and lats), and scapular retraction (middle traps and rhomboids). For a bent over row, tip forward at the hips (hip hinge) with the knees slightly bent. This hip hinge will isometrically contract your hamstrings and glutes, so it’s not just an upper body exercise. Then, draw your navel into your spine to create a rigid torso. This activates muscles of the core (transverse abdominis and rectus abdominis). Keep your spine neutral, so your gaze will be toward the floor rather than up. Then, holding the kettlebell in one hand and next to the outside of your leg, row the bell up and back. This means using your biceps to initiate the movement and your rear deltoid, lats, rhomboids, and middle traps (upper back).
As you can see, this row is great for fat burning because of the amount of muscles it recruits- your legs and glutes, core, upper arms, and back. For our circuit, you’ll perform five repetitions on the right side and then another five repetitions on the left before moving onto the next exercise. The tempo is one count up and one count lowering the weight back down to the outside of the leg. Therefore, the exercise will take less than 30 seconds to complete on both sides.
Dead Stop Swing
The dead stop swing is the next and final exercise in the fat burning kettlebell circuit workout. It’s a simple movement where you hinge to grab the bell, hike it (swing back), swing, then hike back again before placing the bell back to the ground to stop (before starting again).
Start with the feet hip width apart and the bell slightly in front of you, so that when you bend down to grab the weight, your hands are slightly in front of your shoulders. Before you lift the bell, pull your shoulders back and down (scapular retraction and depression) so you get a solid framework to lift from. From here, you’ll hike the kettlebell into the back swing (between and slightly behind your legs). Then you’ll continue the swing as you normally would, engaging the glutes, hamstrings, and shoulders (minimally). After the upswing, allow the bell to go back to the back swing. But instead of repeating the swing again, reset and put the kettlebell back on the ground (without releasing it). Stopping after the swing gives you an extra lower body activation as you isometrically contract through the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Don’t forget, on the upward part of the swing to keep your spine rigid and avoid moving into spinal extension, or leaning back.
During this exercise, you’ll perform 10 repetitions. It’s another excellent full body kettlebell exercise that’s great for building muscle, strength, and power. After performing the 10 reps, go back through the circuit three to five times with minimal rest.
Mahoney, E. A. (2021), Anatomy of a squat. EMAC Certifications. https://www.howtobeapersonaltrainer.com/s/stories/anatomy-of-a-squat
About Erin Mahoney, MA, CPT