One kettlebell and four moves is all you need to build strength all over

Build muscle in your upper and lower body, boost your strength, and develop your core with this quick session

Woman performing a kettlebell swing
(Image credit: Getty / PeopleImages)

You don’t need an entire gym at your disposal to build muscle and boost your fitness; this workout will challenge your upper and lower body using just one kettlebell.

Designed by husband and wife coaching team Andrew and Kate Bustos, the session uses four moves to strengthen your legs, arms, shoulders and back, as well as activating your core throughout.

To give it a try, perform the four kettlebell exercises as a circuit with minimal rest in between. Complete two full rounds of this circuit for a quick beginner workout, or finish four rounds to increase the length and difficulty of the session. 

The movements in this session are all compound exercises, meaning they work multiple muscle groups at once. For example, the bent-over rows will work your back and biceps, while the deadlifts hit your glutes, hamstrings and back muscles. 

They will also act as core strengthening exercises, challenging your midsection muscles to stabilize your spine and help you stay balanced during unilateral (one-sided) moves like the tactical lunges. 

To find out which exercises you'll need to learn, watch Kate Bustos' demonstrations in the video below. You can also see the prescribed number of reps for each movement in the caption.  

Watch Bustos Training's full-body kettlebell workout

To get the most out of this workout, you need to use a kettlebell heavy enough to make the last few reps of each set feel difficult. This will harness the progressive overload principle, challenging your muscles and triggering strength adaptations as a result. 

If the kettlebell you have at home feels too light, try increasing the number of reps for each exercises or performing them more slowly. Both of these changes will increase your muscles' time under tension, making the movements more challenging. 

However, it’s also important to choose a weight light enough that you are able to maintain good technique throughout all sets, as compromising on your form can leave you more susceptible to injury.  

If you’re looking for other ways to use your kettlebell, check out our kettlebell guide for beginners, which includes a workout to get you started. You can also try using this core-strengthening kettlebell workout as a finisher after a strength training workout.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.