You might imagine you need to spend hours at the gym to build practical lean muscle. Fortunately, that's not the case, as you can use this high-intensity kettlebell workout to build full-body strength in just 30 minutes, even when you're tight on time.
All you need to get started is one of the best kettlebells (opens in new tab). These off-center weights work your whole body but are also ideal for working your core, a section of mid-body muscle responsible for balance, stability, and exercise performance.
If you're unsure which load to choose, use these beginner strength training tips (opens in new tab) to get started. The aim is to find a weight that'll challenge you but won't affect your form. Once you've found your ideal weight, you're ready to take on fitness YouTuber DanielPT's (opens in new tab) routine.
The session lasts just 30 minutes, but in that time you'll pack in two sets of 14 exercises, working for 40 seconds with a 15-second rest between moves. It's designed to work muscles all over your body and target your abs and core.
To get the most out of your training and avoid injury (a particular concern when working with weights) it's essential to focus on your form. Helpfully, you can follow DanielPT's demonstrations throughout to practice your technique.
Watch DanielPT's 30-minute kettlebell workout
This exercise style is known as high-intensity resistance training (opens in new tab) (HIRT), which combines short bursts of intense work with minimal rest. This helps you pack a muscle-building workout into a short amount of time. But there are other benefits.
Keeping the rest to a minimum raises your heart rate, meaning you burn more energy than during an equivalent steady-paced routine. Sustaining this higher heart rate also boosts your metabolism (the amount of energy you burn at rest) for all-day fat-burning.
In this way, it's similar to a HIIT workout for fat loss (opens in new tab) but focuses on strength training moves rather than cardio-based exercise. Adding a kettlebell can also strengthen your core - the area around your trunk that includes your rectus abdominis six-pack abs muscle.
Part of the reason this routine is so effective is the use of compound exercises (opens in new tab) that work multiple muscles simultaneously. Moves like kettlebell swings (opens in new tab) are an extremely efficient way to work your whole body, raise your heart rate, and build core strength.
Training your muscles causes small tears, which your body needs to repair to get stronger. You can support your recovery by investing in some of the best protein powders for weight loss (opens in new tab) and using the best blenders for protein shakes (opens in new tab) to make a muscle-building post-workout drink.
James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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