A trainer shares his favorite five-move kettlebell workout for building full-body functional strength at home

Use these moves in a 30-minute routine to build a 'robust, pain-free and well-functioning body'

Personal trainer Ollie Thompson demonstrating a kettlebell workout
(Image credit: Ollie Thompson / WellToLead)

If you want a great workout you can do at home, slip on your sneakers and step this way. 

Certified-trainer Ollie Thompson has shared a five-move routine you can do with just a couple of kettlebells. The aim? To boost your energy levels and build a fit, functional body for the long haul. 

Thompson’s exercises will challenge every major muscle group, develop stability, mobility, coordination, and even work your core, all in 30 minutes, making it an efficient way to work out

Personal trainer Ollie Thompson demonstrating a  three-way lunge
Ollie Thompson

Ollie Thompson is a personal trainer and health coach with almost 10,000 hours of coaching under his belt, working with industry-leading clients ranging from chief executives and bankers to stage performers, actors and doctors. Previously named one of London's top personal trainers by the Evening Standard newspaper, Thompson offers both in-person and virtual personal training. 

How to do PT Ollie Thompson’s kettlebell workout

  • Three-way lunge: 5x6-8 on each leg
  • Gorilla row: 5x8-10 on each arm
  • B-stance Romanian deadlift: 5x10-12 on each leg
  • Half-kneeling press: 5x8-10 on each arm
  • Suitcase carry: 5x20 seconds on each side

Perform the exercises listed above as a circuit, resting 20 to 30 seconds between each move. Repeat this circuit for five rounds to finish the workout in roughly 30 minutes.  

1. Three-way lunge

Sets: 5 Reps: 6 on each leg Rest: 20-30 seconds 

  • Stand upright with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Hold a kettlebell in both hands in front of your chest. 
  • Step forward with your right foot and, keeping your torso upright, lower your hips towards the floor until both knees form a rough right angle. 
  • Drive through your right foot to return to the starting position. 
  • Step your right foot out to the side and, keeping your chest up and your left leg straight, bend your right knee until your thigh is parallel with the floor. 
  • Drive through the right foot to return to the starting position.
  • Finally, step backward with your right foot and, keeping your chest up, lower your hips towards the floor until both knees form a rough right angle. 
  • Drive through your left foot to return to the starting position. Switch legs and repeat. 

Trainer insight

"A three-way lunge is great as it targets all the major muscles of the legs and enables us to explore a range of positions at the hip, challenge stability, coordination and improve mobility," says Thompson.  

2. Gorilla row

Sets: 5 Reps: 8-10 on each arm Rest: 20-30 seconds 

  • Assume a wide stance behind two kettlebells shoulder-width apart.
  • Hinge at the hips, keeping a flat back, to lean on the handles. Your arms should be vertical and your feet should be in line with your hips. 
  • Row the right kettlebell up to the bottom of the right side of your rib cage, so your weight is spread between your feet and your left hand on the stationary kettlebell. 
  • Slowly lower the right kettlebell back to the starting position, then repeat on the other arm. 

Trainer insight

"The gorilla row is a favorite of mine because it offers great bang for your buck. The unilateral [one-sided] pulling and pushing nature of this movement is great for building rib cage and thoracic [mid-spine] mobility, challenging your core muscles to resist rotation and building a powerful upper back," says Thompson. 

3. B-stance Romanian deadlift

Sets: 5 Reps: 10-12 on each leg Rest: 20-30 seconds 

  • Stand upright with your arms by your side and a kettlebell in your left hand, then place your weight on your right leg and take a small step back with your left foot so only the ball of the foot is touching the ground for support. 
  • Brace your core and hinge at the hips to lower the kettlebell as far as you can towards the ground while maintaining a flat back. 
  • Squeeze your glutes (butt muscles) and reverse the movement to return to the starting position. 

Trainer insight

"The B-stance deadlift is a great move for the lower body, especially targeting the glutes and hamstrings. By using this split stance, we also challenge the core as we load only one side with the kettlebell. This exercise ranks among the best for hip hinge movements and can be performed with just a single kettlebell or dumbbell," says Thompson.

4. Half-kneeling press

Sets: 5 Reps: 8-10 on each arm Rest: 20-30 seconds 

  • Assume a half-kneeling position with your left knee forward and both knees at roughly 90°. Hold a kettlebell by its handle in your right hand in the front rack position (pictured), with the bell resting on your upper arm. 
  • Keeping your torso upright and stable, push the kettlebell directly overhead until your arm is fully extended. Your biceps should finish by your right ear, and your fist should punch upwards throughout. 
  • Lower the kettlebell back to your shoulder. 

Trainer insight

"The half-kneeling press is an overhead press variation that also places tension on the core and challenges stability. It works the shoulder, triceps and core all together," says Thompson. 

5. Suitcase carry

Sets: 5 Reps: 20 seconds on each side Rest: 20-30 seconds 

  • Stand upright with your arms by your side and a kettlebell in one hand. 
  • Keeping your torso stable and upright, walk for 20 seconds, resisting the kettlebell pulling you to one side. 
  • Repeat with the kettlebell in the other hand. 

Trainer insight

"The suitcase carry is just one of many carry exercises that I love to use with clients. The suitcase variation in particular, as the weight is on just one side, challenges your core laterally. 

"This helps build spinal stability and improve the relationship between the shoulders, rib cage and pelvis, which is important for a robust, pain-free and well-functioning body," says Thompson.  

Looking for more workout ideas? Try these strength training exercises for weight loss, or have a go at this full-body dumbbell workout.

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.

Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.