You only need one kettlebell and 20 minutes to build full-body strength

Work your legs, arms, chest, core and more with this time-efficient session

A man performing kettlebell swings
(Image credit: Future)

You may think you need two hours in a state-of-the-art gym to get a great full-body workout, but in reality all that's required is 20 minutes and a single kettlebell. 

The best kettlebells are our top choice for these sorts of workouts as their easy-to-grip handles and ergonomic shape lend themselves well to compound exercises like the squat clean. However, any weight (whether that’s one of the best adjustable dumbbells or even a full water bottle) will do the trick in most cases. 

Yes4All Powder Coated 31lb Kettlebell | was $46.99, now $45.51 at Amazon

Yes4All Powder Coated 31lb Kettlebell | was $46.99, now $45.51 at Amazon

The powder coating on this Yes4All kettlebell improves your grip and improves the durability of the weight. The color-coded handles make it easy to see which load you're about to lift, especially if you invest in a few from the range (from 9lbs up to 71lbs). Save 5% right now before the deal ends. 

Now you’ve got your equipment sorted, it’s time to introduce you to our featured workout from fitness trainer Rhiannon Bailey. As mentioned above, this session only uses one kettlebell and takes a mere 20 minutes, but it will still work your upper and lower body while spiking your heart rate and boosting your metabolism.  

Keeping things simple, it is also made up of only four moves – the squat clean, kettlebell swings, push-up transfers and Russian twist extensions. If any of these exercises are new to you, watch Bailey’s video below to see how each one should be performed. Then, when you’ve nailed down the technique, give the workout a go. 

Bailey challenges participants to complete the four exercises as a circuit, performing each movement for 40 seconds before resting for 20 seconds. Repeat this five times to take yourself to the 20-minute mark, and consider the workout complete.

Watch Rhiannon Bailey’s full-body kettlebell workout

Bailey’s workout is an example of high-intensity resistance training or HIRT, a twist on the popular HIIT (or high-intensity interval training, to give its full title). 

It shares the minimalist, time-efficient traits of its predecessor, using high-intensity bursts of activity followed by short rest periods to burn calories and build fitness. However, it adds weighted elements (like a kettlebell or dumbbell) to bolster its muscle-growing credentials. 

This is a great session if you’re short on time and can’t make it to the gym, or simply want a comprehensive home workout to get a sweat on while hitting multiple muscle groups. Due to its intense nature, we would recommend using this as your daily session, and potentially opting for a less demanding activity the following day to allow your body to recover. 

If you’re looking for inspiration for a slightly less strenuous follow-up activity, you could try a session from our cycling fitness plan or give some of these anti-ageing yoga moves a go.  

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.