Crunches and sit-ups are classic ab exercises for a reason, but you do have options if you're after a more varied mid-body workout. This six-move kettlebell routine works your core, strengthens your abs, and boosts your metabolism in less than 30 minutes.
All you need is one of the best kettlebells to get started. These off-center weights challenge your balance, help raise your heart rate, and build full-body muscle. You can also find adjustable varieties if you want to use progressive overload training.
According to Rhiannon Bailey, the personal trainer and yoga instructor behind this routine, to get the most from your workout, "all you need is [one] kettlebell & a timer and you're good to go!"
You'll train for 40 seconds, take a 20-second rest, then start on the next exercise. Each round last six minutes, so Bailey suggests repeating the routine up to five times for a 30-minute muscle-building, fat-burning session.
If you're new to kettlebell training or could use a refresher, you can practice your technique with Bailey's demonstrations before you start to make the moves as effectively as possible and avoid injury, a particular concern with working with weights.
Watch Rhiannon Bailey's four-move kettlebell workout
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The exercise style on show in Bailey's routine is known as high-intensity resistance training (HIRT), where the aim is to pack a muscle-building workout into a short amount of time by training in quick bursts with minimal rests.
It's similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) but focuses on strength-building moves rather than cardio-based exercises. Both keep your heart rate high to promote energy burn during the session, but there are longer-term benefits too.
Sustaining an increased heart rate for the whole workout also boosts your metabolism, the amount of energy you burn at rest, leading to all-day fat-burning results. This is why many people turn to a HIIT workout for fat loss.
Bailey makes the routine even more effective by including compound exercises that work multiple muscles simultaneously, like kettlebell swings. Learning how to do kettlebell swings is an effective way to build full-body muscle and strengthen your core.
Alternatively, squats are an excellent bodyweight alternative that work several muscles in your lower body. Plus, you can always grab one of the best adjustable dumbbells for your squats if you want to increase the resistance.
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James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor 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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