Strengthen your full body in just five moves with this trainer’s kettlebell workout

These five kettlebell moves will challenge your body from head to toe

Woman does kettlebell workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

For those who are low on time, a full-body workout is a great way to squeeze training in between other commitments. Whether you exercise at the gym or at home, kettlebells are a versatile piece of equipment that you can employ for quick, full-body sessions. They also store away neatly once you’re done. Bonus.  

These five moves are functional, compound exercises, which means they activate multiple muscle groups and strengthen your body in a way that replicates everyday movements. For instance, the weighted squat move will strengthen the muscles that are involved whenever you sit down or stand up from a chair.

Sam Quinn
Sam Quinn

Sam is a personal trainer at Nuffield Health in Devonshire, UK. He has over 10 years of experience in personal training and strength and conditioning coaching. He has worked with a wide variety of clientele, including professional athletes as well as stroke, cerebral palsy, and oncology rehabilitation patients, and he has two undergraduate degrees in strength and conditioning and health and fitness.

How to do this workout

  • Goblet squat
  • Sumo deadlift to upright row
  • Reverse lunge
  • Shoulder press
  • Plank pull-through

Perform three sets of 12 repetitions of each exercise with a 60-second rest between sets. Alternatively, you can do the exercises as a circuit, performing the moves consecutively and doing each one for 30 seconds, then resting for 30 seconds and starting the routine again from the top.  

The exercises

1. Goblet squat  

 Targets: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and core 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell with both hands on the horns, keeping the kettlebell at chest height, close to the body.
  • Take a deep breath and hold it, then slowly squat down, keeping your chest up and knees tracking out. Make sure you initiate the movement from your hips. At the bottom of the movement, your hips should be lower than your knees (or at least parallel).
  • Exhale, drive through your heels, squeeze your glutes and stand back up to complete the move.

2. Sumo deadlift to upright row 

Targets: Hamstrings, back, shoulders, core and arms.  

  • Start in a wide-legged stance with toes pointing out. Grab the kettlebell on the ground, between your legs with an overhand grip using two hands. Keep your chest up and your back flat.
  • Squat down, pushing your hips back and lowering yourself to the ground until your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower. 
  • Row the kettlebell to the jaw with both elbows flaring up high beside the head.
  • Reverse the sequence and slowly lower the kettlebell to the floor before performing the next repetition.

3. Reverse lunge 

Targets: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core. 

  • Stand up straight holding the kettlebell by the horns in front of the chest. 
  • Step back with one leg placing the load through the back foot, aiming for a 90° angle at the front and back leg while maintaining an upright torso.
  • Step back to an upright position before swapping legs and repeating the process on the alternate leg.

4. Shoulder press  

Targets: Shoulders and core 

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your chest open and back straight. Grab a pair of kettlebells with an overhand grip, one in each hand. Bring the kettlebells to the shoulders holding them in the front rack position.
  • Maintaining a straight back, press the kettlebells overhead locking the arms out, then return to the front rack position.

5. Plank pull-through  

Targets: Pecs, shoulders, triceps, quads, glutes, hamstrings and core.

  • Start in the plank position with your weight spread evenly between your feet and hands. Position the kettlebell to your side.
  • Holding yourself up on one hand, reach the kettlebell with the opposite hand and pull it beneath the body placing it on the other side.
  • Switch hands and repeat the process.

Need help finding a new weight for your workouts? Our guide to the best kettlebells can help

Lou Mudge
Fitness Writer

Lou Mudge is a Health Writer at Future Plc, working across Fit&Well and Coach. She previously worked for Live Science, and regularly writes for and Pet's Radar. Based in Bath, UK, she has a passion for food, nutrition and health and is eager to demystify diet culture in order to make health and fitness accessible to everybody.

Multiple diagnoses in her early twenties sparked an interest in the gut-brain axis and the impact that diet and exercise can have on both physical and mental health. She was put on the FODMAP elimination diet during this time and learned to adapt recipes to fit these parameters, while retaining core flavors and textures, and now enjoys cooking for gut health.