You only need 10 moves and 10 minutes to strengthen your upper-body with this one-kettlebell workout

Build a strong, balanced upper body with trainer Oli McCann’s 10-move kettlebell workout

A man completing a kettlebell workout
(Image credit: Getty Images / SDI Porduction)

I’ve been training consistently for over a decade, experimenting with different exercise styles, equipment and environments. But, however many new moves I try, I find myself returning to the same few staples, as well as this rule of thumb: If you don’t have long to train, keep things simple. 

This workout from personal trainer Oli McCann does just that. It takes just 10 minutes and only uses one kettlebell, but manages to hit every major upper-body muscle group with a series of rock-solid exercises. 

How to do Oli McCann’s 10-minute kettlebell workout

The routine is broken into 10 one-minute intervals, each focusing on one exercise. In each interval, you’ll perform a move for 40 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, then move onto the next exercise. 

McCann also says you can repeat the routine for a 20-minute workout if you fancy an added challenge and have some extra time to train. 

Why I like this workout

I like this workout because it's not unnecessarily complicated. There’s no smoke and mirrors, just 10 moves in as many minutes to strengthen your arms, back, chest, shoulders and core. 

I also like that McCann kicks things off with two unilateral and compound exercises.  

Compound exercises recruit and activate multiple muscle groups at once, making them an efficient training option. For example, McCann’s first exercise (the single-arm kettlebell bent-over row) uses your back and biceps muscles to move the kettlebell. Compound moves also allow you to lift more weight, making them ideal for building strength.

Unilateral exercises work one arm or leg at a time, helping you identify and even out muscular imbalances by working each side equally. Holding the weight off-center during unilateral moves also pulls you off-balance, calling your core into action. Your mid-body muscles need to work hard to maintain your posture, keeping you balanced and upright. 

Looking for some weights for your home workouts? Check out our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells

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.