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Simple Kettlebell Strength Circuit

This simple kettlebell strength circuit will have you feeling the burn and can be completed almost anywhere in 30 minutes or less. 


Equipment You’ll Need

The ideal kettlebell weight for circuit training should allow you to perform at least 3 reps of the most challenging exercise in the circuit with proper form. In this case that will be the s

For smaller athletes, I recommend starting out with a 15-20 pound kettlebell. Larger athletes should start with a 25-35 pound kettlebell.

The Kettlebell Circuit

Make sure you perform a solid warm-up before starting.

Here is a solid warm-up routine you can do before any ride or strength workout. 

This is a full-body circuit that starts by getting your HR up with kettlebell swings, then moves to unilateral exercises that challenge strength & stability.

The ideal rep ranges will depend on your strength with each movement. I’ll provide a goal for each exercise.

Try to move through the entire circuit without stopping. Rest for 3-5 minutes between rounds. Aim for 2-4 rounds total.

#1 Kettlebell Swing (10-20 reps)

Starting with a kettlebell swing will elevate your heart rate at the beginning of the circuit. Since you’re using a lighter weight that is more appropriate for the remainder of the circuit you’ll likely find this part isn’t very challenging.

Use this opportunity to work on your kettlebell swing form. Pay attention to how you start the movement, how you use your hips to initiate the swing, and how you align your body throughout.

Stop the exercise if you feel form breaking down or hit 20 reps. If you are unable to complete at least 10 proper reps then the weight is too heavy or your form need improvement.

#2 Unilateral Lunge (8-15 Reps) into Single-Arm Overhead Press (3-8)

Start by bringing the kettlebell into the rack position (tucked into your armpit, resting on your wrist, chest, and shoulder).

Maintain the kettlebell tight in the rack position and perform 8-15 lunges on the same side. You’ll know it’s time to stop a set if you’re losing balance on multiple consecutive reps due to fatigue or struggling to use a full range of motion. When it doubt stop 1-2 reps early.

Next, move directly into the single-arm overhead press and aim for 3-8 reps. Using a small amount of leg drive to get the weight moving is okay, but you should strive to keep your body still and use your arm/shoulder strength to move the weight.

This is a challenging movement and you might skip it entirely if you’re struggling to maintain proper form or feel any pain in your shoulder.

#3 Single-Arm Bent Row (10-20 reps)

Start with the kettlebell on the ground just in front of your feet. Hinge forward at the hip to grab the handle and begin rowing. A little upper body movement is okay here, but you should maintain a stiff lower back and only move from the hips if at all.

Focus on getting a small stretch in the back of your shoulder at the bottom of the movement by reaching slightly forward, then drive your elbow up for a big contraction in the back of your shoulder at the top position.

I really love this variation because it challenges rotational stability (your ability to avoid letting your torso twist while moving the kettlebell). If you find yourself struggling to stay tight then make it easier by placing your non-working hand on a bench or exercise ball in front of you.

Aim for 10-20 reps and stop if you feel yourself using too much movement to keep the weight moving or can no longer bring your arm/shoulder back for a full contraction.

Wrapping Up

Warm-up, knock out a few rounds, done. 25-30 minutes circuits like this done consistently over time is all it takes to start getting stronger and seeing results. What are you waiting for?!

Kent Woermann

Kent Woermann is the owner/operator of Move Up Endurance Coaching. He is currently a certified personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and holds a category 1 license in road, mountain bike, and cyclocross disciplines.

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