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10 of the Best 5-Move Kettlebell Workouts for Muscle

One piece of equipment provides endless opportunities for growth whether you're working out in your basement or stuck in an overcrowded gym.

To go from skinny to shredded à la Zac Efron or Nick Jonas, you don't need a gym membership or a fully stocked home gym to slave away in for three hours at a time. "In fact, those types of workouts can actually be counterproductive and catabolic (meaning muscle breaks down)," says Liz Lowe, C.S.C.S., head program designer at Scorch Fitness, a high-intensity interval training gym in Sarasota, Florida. 

"An efficient 45-minute workout where you're lifting (even with just a kettlebell) to failure is the perfect amount of time under tension to stimulate growth and optimal growth hormone production at rest," she explains. This gives your body plenty of time to recover, which is when muscle actually grows. 

With these 10 5-move kettlebell routines, you'll only need one kettlebell and a 30-45 minute window of free time. (Choose a challenging weight, but one that allows you to go through the prescribed reps and sets; go heavier over time as you grow stronger.) Give this protocol a shot if you're looking for a new program to do at the gym; it'll be a life saver when all the resolutioners flood in after the holidays. And if you're working out at home, arm yourself with these tips to overcome the common hurdles (i.e. give yourself an added dose of will power).

Prescription: Perform the 12-day training split for a total of 4 cycles for optimal muscle growth. 

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The Training Split

Day 1 - Total Body 1
Day 2 - Upper Body 1
Day 3 - Lower Body 1
Day 4 - Core 1
Day 5 - Total Body 2
Day 6 - Rest
Day 7 - Total Body 3
Day 8 - Upper Body 2
Day 9 - Lower Body 2
Day 10 - Core 2
Day 11 - Total Body 4
Day 12 - Rest

Total Body 1
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 10 x Kettlebell Squat and Press
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Single-Arm Snatch
- 15 x Kettlebell Goblet Pulsing Squat
- 6 each x Kettlebell Turkish Getup
- 8 each x Kettlebell Reverse Lunge and Bicep Curl

Upper Body 1
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 12 x Kettlebell Floor Press
- 10 x Kettlebell Pushup
- 10 x Kettlebell Bicep Curl to Shoulder Press
- 12 x Kettlebell High Pull
- 12 x Kettlebell Overhead Triceps Extension

Lower Body 1
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 8 x Kettlebell Clean
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Single-Arm Overhead Squat
- 8 each x Lateral Lunge Kettlebell Swing
- 8 each x Kettlebell Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
- 8 each x Kettlebell Curtsy Lunge

Core 1
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with no rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Single-Arm Situp
- 20 x Kettlebell Bicycle Passthroughs (How to do it: Pass the kettlebell through your legs with each "bicycle" revolution.)
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Windmill
- 6 each side x Kettlebell Plank T-Raise (How to do it: In a side plank position, keeping your arms straight, rotate one arm up while holding kettlebell to make a “T,” then return slowly back down to plank.)
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Kneeling Woodchop

Total Body 2
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 8 x Kettlebell Clean and Press
- 6 each side x Kettlebell Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift + Row
- 8 x Kettlebell ManMakers (How to do it: With kettlebells under each hand, come into a plank position. Do a pushup, single-arm row on both sides, jump your feet toward your hands, stand, then repeat.)
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Split Squat and Press
- 10 x Kettlebell Sumo Squat to High Pull

Total Body 3
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 10 each side x Kettlebell Single-Arm Squat to Press
- 6 each side x Kettlebell Single-Arm Snatch to Lunge
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Goblet Squat to Side Leg Raise
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Pistol Squat (Note: If you can't do a full pistol squat from standing, sit-to-stand on a box or bench.)
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Tactical Lunge (How to do it: Pass the kettlebell through your legs with each lunge.)

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Upper Body 2
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 8 each side x Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing
- 10 x Kettlebell Overhead Press
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Renegade Row
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Figure 8 (How to do it: Pass the KB through your legs, while standing in an athletic stance, to mimic a figure 8.)
- 10 each side x Single-Arm Kettlebell Row 

Lower Body 2
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 15 x Kettlebell Swing
- 12 x Kettlebell Goblet Squat
- 10 x Kettlebell Deadlift
- 8 each x Kettlebell Overhead Walking Lunge
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Single-Arm Suitcase Squat

Core 2
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with no rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 30 x Kettlebell Russian Twist
- 12 x Kettlebell Straight-Leg Situp
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Woodchop
- 12 each side x Kettlebell Side Plank Hip Lift (How to do it: In a side plank on one forearm, extend the kettlebell into a ‘T’ position. With your arm locked out, raise and slowly drop the same-side hip.)
- 10 each side x Kettlebell Slingshot (How to do it: Pass the kettlebell around your waist, switching hands in the back and front of your body. Switch directions after set number of reps.)

Total Body 4
Directions: Complete 4 rounds with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds rest between sets.
- 8 x Kettlebell Split Jerk
- 6 each side x Kettlebell Bulgarian Split Squat
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Lunge and Rotation
- 8 each side x Kettlebell Single-Arm Overhead Reverse Lunge
- 12 x Kettlebell Wall Sit with Front Raise

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