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Kettlebell Cardio Workouts, Circuits, and Exercises

kettlebell cardio workout

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When it comes to pumping up your heart rate, there’s a lot that can be done while exercising. Kettlebells are considered to be one of the finest options as they allow you to have great cardio sessions that build strength and muscle, while also enhancing your endurance and coordination. 

But there’s a lot that can be done with kettlebells as they are versatile pieces of equipment. There are many exercises, circuits, and workouts available for you to choose from. The following piece gives you a gist of them and tells you a bit about doing cardio with kettlebells. 

kettlebell cardio workout

5 Beginners Kettlebell Cardio Workouts

There are many types of kettlebell cardio workouts out there and you have to pick one that works best for you. Remember that even the best workout may not have an effect on you because of the size of your kettlebell or the rep ranges/times given.

This is why you may have to change the workout based on your needs. That being said, the following are five examples of great kettlebell training regimens to pump up your heart rate: 

  1. AMRAP Kettlebell Cardio Workout 

  1. Single Kettlebell Cardio Workout 

  1. HIIT Kettlebell Cardio Workout 

  1. Timed Kettlebell Cardio Circuit (20 seconds for exercise; 40 seconds rest; 4 rounds)

  1. Kettlebell Cardio Workout (w/No Swings) – 10 to 20 reps per exercise 

Why Use Kettlebells for Cardio?

Kettlebells are considered a great alternative to your regular cardio workouts as they offer a couple of extra benefits. When you undergo a kettlebell cardio workout, it burns more calories in a shorter timespan so it’s more efficient in terms of cardiovascular benefits. 

You get to switch effortlessly between the various kettlebell exercises due to the versatility of the equipment which improves the intensity and flow of the workout – advantageous for your cardiovascular system. On top of that, your grip strength is also enhanced. 

Kettlebell workouts also enhance your body’s balance and coordination due to its construction. This is because you are constantly shifting the center of mass of the kettlebell, which challenges the stability of your body and works your muscles.   

Experts also praise explosive kettlebell exercises for the lack of eccentricity. This is why they don’t lead to muscle soreness due to minimal damage to the muscles. You also don’t mess up your joints as you would while constantly doing cardio. 

kettlebell cardio workouts, pick a weight

What Kettlebell Weight Should I Use?

Gyms tend to have a variety of kettlebells of different weights. But if you don’t go to the gym and plan to work out at home, then you have to settle with one or two kettlebells. No matter your situation, it is imperative that youpick the right weight kettlebell.

Experts recommend that women start with 10-25-lb kettlebells and males with 25-45 lbs. The key is to pick a weight that challenges you enough to push your body, but you should be able to use it with proper form. When it starts becoming easy to handle, increase it. 

Thankfully, the guys over at Kettlebell Kings have got you covered. You get to buy a high-quality, stylish-looking kettlebell that’s got a great grip. On top of that, you can upgrade the weight via the “Level Up” magnetic chip plate instead of buying a new kettlebell altogether. 

Selecting the Best Kettlebell Exercises for Cardio

There’s a variety of exercises that you can do with the Kettlebell Kings option. The highlights of the brand’s catalog are the versatility of the kettlebells as well as the quality. Both are approved for usage in IKO Competitions but there are some differences in design. 

If you pick the kettlebells from kettlebell kings, go with larger and more similar-to-competition kettlebells. This means that you’ll have a great time doing technical exercises like the clean, snatch, and jerk. Adding these kettlebells will make it easier to focus more on building your core and balance. 

You’ll have a blast doing one or double kettlebell movements which can build more strength and muscle, while also improving coordination. 

kettlebell cardio workout, as many reps as possible (AMRAP)

What is an AMRAP workout?

If you’ve grown tired of regular cardio workouts, try switching to an AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) regimen. In this, the aim is to dish out the maximum number of reps possible in a short time, but do it with perfect form and a challenging weight. 

You can do this based on reps alone, or even better, based on rounds. Pick an exercise and a short timespan (at least 30 seconds) and then blast it until the timer stops. You can change the exercise and the timespan after a breather. A round system might work better though. 

Simply pick a group of 4-6 exercises and a longer timespan to complete them in (5-30 minutes). Choose how many reps you want to do for each of the exercises, per round. After completing the reps and exercises, repeat them for the next round before the time ends. 

All the Benefits of AMRAP

There are several advantages of AMRAP workouts, the major one being its versatility – you basically get to build your very own workout – choosing everything from the exercises to the rep range based on what your goals are. The workout caters to your pace. 

AMRAP is also great for tracking your progress. Your last workout will be the benchmark for what you can achieve with the set of exercises and reps that you picked. There’s a fair chance that you’ll try to beat your personal record in the next training session. 

kettlebell cardio workout

Kettlebell Cardio Workouts

There is no doubt that kettlebell exercises make for great cardio workouts. Recently kettlebells have been gaining some serious popularity amongst beginners and even athletes because of their wide range of cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory benefits.

So if you own even a single kettlebell that weighs enough to challenge you, you can do an awesome AMRAP workout to burn fat. 20 minutes is a popular timespan for AMRAP training and there are many different workouts available catering to this. 

Add the following kettlebell exercises to your routine to take your cardio workouts to the next level!

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

We begin with a lower-body kettlebell exercise. The kettlebell goblet squat is your way to burn calories, build leg muscles and improve the body’s alignment. Grab the kettlebell and hold it in front of your chest to perform goblet squats. 

Ensure that you have a wide stance with your feet just outside shoulder-width with your toes pointing outwards. Then you drop into a deep squat, but keep your heels on the floor – also, make sure that the kettlebell is static. 

Your knees should be pointing outwards at the bottom before you start getting back up. You should pick a rep range between 10-15 reps per round. 

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell swings are considered a full-body kettlebell exercise that works your posterior chain and builds explosive strength. But most importantly, this is a great exercise for the cardiovascular system that burns a lot of calories. 

To perform the two-handed kettlebell swing, hold the KB and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge your hips, bend your knees, and keep your back straight. Contract the glutes, get back in the standing position, and use your arms to swing the kettlebell as far as possible. 

Then you lower the kettlebell between your legs by once again hinging the hips and bending the knees. Rhythm is key here as you don’t want to depend too much on your arms. 10-20 reps per round should do the trick for most people. 

Kettlebell High Pull

The KB high pull is a sort of deadlift combined with an upright row movement. So, it works the posterior chain plus the traps and shoulders. 

To do the high pull, bend your knees into the squatting position with the kettlebell between your feet on the floor. Ensure that the feet are at shoulder-width and pick up the kettlebell by pushing with your legs until it reaches your knees. 

Then you use your back to help you lift it up further and raise it (with your elbows pointing outward) until the handle reaches your chin level as you get into a standing position. Then you lower the kettlebell and get back into the squatting position and repeat.  

A rep range of 10-15 should be the target in every round. 

cardio workout, kettlebell cardio workout, kettlebell swings

Kettlebell Circuits

Circuits are a killer way to work out, and kettlebells are excellent tools. These circuits usually contain at least 6 exercises, with a set period of time or number of reps for each exercise. You get to have short rest periods in between exercises. 

You can make your own kettlebell circuit or pick from the many available online. They’ll each recommend a different set of exercises, the time spent on each exercise, or the number of reps for each one, along with the number of rounds. 

You need to pick a set that works best for you. Doing this can get you numerous benefits such as enhanced strength, greater muscular endurance, and better overall health. 

Kettlebell Clean and Press

With the kettlebell clean and press, you’ll be able to not just have an intense workout but also fix any sort of asymmetrical imbalances. Doing this will assist you in other exercises, but more importantly, it’ll help you in your daily life. 

Keep the feet shoulder-width apart, with the kettlebell between them. Bend down to grab it with your core engaged. Then you lift the kettlebell while straightening your legs; drive the hips forward when the kettlebell reaches the knees. 

Then pull the shoulders back and perform a clean to the front of the shoulder/rack position. Once you’re stable, press the kettlebell overhead. Then you bring it back to the rack position and lower it to the ground slowly. You then switch sides and repeat for 10-12 reps. 

Kettlebell Squat Clean and Jerk

With your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell on the floor in front of you, hinge your hips and bend your knees to grab the kettlebell. Then use your hips to explosively stand up and use the momentum to lift the kettlebell.  

When it passes your core, bring it to the rack position and lower it into a squat. Then you return to the standing position, following this up by lowering the kettlebell slowly down to the floor. 10-12 reps are recommended per round. 

Kettlebell Cardio Circuit

Many kettlebell circuit choices are available online that help you burn fat and may even push you enough to build muscle and strength. If you cannot find a suitable cardio circuit online, you can group together a variety of exercises for a circuit that burns fat. 

There are many upper body exercises to pick from here, including the push press, rows, push-ups, and the list goes on. For lower body movements, you can choose from swings, squats, goblet squats, Romanian deadlifts, lunges, etc. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some important frequently asked questions in regard to kettlebell training for cardio:

Are kettlebells a strength or cardio workout?

Kettlebells are primarily used for building strength as you lift heavy and challenge your muscles. Like dumbbells, you can load them up and progress to build strength. The heavier they are, the more strength-oriented your workout becomes. But there’s more to kettlebells than just that. 

Because kettlebells – the moderately heavy ones – use a variety of muscles, they need a source of energy that’s your cardio system. The harder you push, the more your heart rate will increase to provide the muscles with energy. Hence kettlebells also fall into the cardio category. 

What are the best single kettlebell exercises?

There’s a lot you can do with one kettlebell that is moderately heavy. You can do presses, swings, squats, situps, deadlifts, lunges, and bent-over rows. These exercises should work wonders for your body, helping you build muscle, enhance strength, and burn fat

It is always recommended that you challenge yourself when you work out. In the case of single kettlebell workouts, it is always a great idea to incorporate other exercises along with your kettlebells like push-ups, burpees, and air squats. They’ll increase the intensity of the workout.

Is it worth buying a kettlebell?

Yes, it sure is. The main reason is the high versatility of the kettlebell. Kettlebells are primarily strength-based but they also help burn fat and build muscle. They also improve your body’s coordination and balance and are considered an effective tool for correcting your posture. 

If you don’t have the time to go to the gym and want to work out in your humble abode, then a kettlebell or two should definitely be something you buy. Just make sure that it’s not too light as it won’t do you much good and you’ll have to upgrade it just to work out properly. 

Is 20 minutes of kettlebells enough?

Yes, in fact, there are many who say that it’s a bit much for beginners. The intensity of the workout – how hard the body is working is the main factor here. If the workout is intense enough, then even 10 minutes is enough if you’re starting out. 

Once you get used to it, try to make the training more difficult by increasing the duration of the workout by 5 minutes. Once you eventually get to doing 20-minute kettlebell workouts regularly, you’ll find that doing them thrice a week is enough to keep your body in shape. 

You can always make your workouts better by upgrades such as changing the tempo, switching between exercises, and focusing on the eccentric and isometric portions of the movement. If all you have during the day is 20 minutes, then these updates should always ensure progress.

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