Easy-to-follow HIIT kettlebell workout for beginners

When you are new to working out and unsure how to use all the equipment in the gym, a kettlebell can be one of the easiest to use. Grab a single kettlebell for a HIIT kettlebell workout, and you can get a full-body workout quickly.

Kettlebells are versatile, allowing you to use them for lots of different exercises regardless if you are new to strength training or an advanced lifter.

woman in black leggings doing HIIT kettlebell workout kb swing

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Why the kettlebell?

Kettlebells are perfect for HIIT workouts because they are very good at building strength and endurance while also burning a lot of calories.

What makes a good HIIT workout? Since HIIT workouts are meant to be intense and fast-paced, kettlebells are perfect because they allow you to perform multiple exercises quickly without switching equipment.

The top-mounted handle makes it the ideal tool for ballistic, swinging movements, giving workout options that are hard to replicate with dumbbells or a barbell.

You also get to work your entire body, making them a great way to get a workout quickly.

Kettlebell for workout

Kettlebell supports a wide range of strength training exercises including upper body and lower body making it the perfect piece of equipment for all fitness levels.

kettlebell on floor square

What is the purpose of HIIT workouts?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of exercise involving short bursts of intense activity followed by rest periods.

They are designed to work your muscles and elevate your heart rate quickly.

High-intensity workouts can be tailored to different fitness levels and can improve your cardiovascular health, burn fat and increase your strength.

You can change the length of work periods and rest period intervals to meet your needs or change the intensity of the workout.

What are the benefits of HIIT training?

Minimal equipment

It only requires one piece of equipment – a kettlebell, making it an ideal workout at home, when traveling, or when the weather is nice and you want to head outside.

Builds strength

Kettlebell HIIT training can help you build strength in your muscles, which can make everyday activities easier.

Increases endurance

HIIT training with kettlebells can also improve your endurance, allowing you to exercise for longer periods of time without getting tired.

Burns calories

Kettlebell HIIT workouts are great for burning calories, making them a good choice if you want to lose weight.

Time saver

High-intensity interval training usually is shorter than other types of workouts, so you can get in a good workout in a shorter period of time.

Kettlebell exercises

Kettlebell swings

woman in black leggings doing HIIT kettlebell workout kb swing
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing.
  • As you lower, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back.
  • When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward, swinging the kettlebell up.
  • Don’t worry too much about how high the kettlebell gets – the snap at the hips and drive through the glutes is more important than air time.
  • Repeat.

Tip: Focus on hinging your hips. The swing is like a deadlift movement, so you should feel it in your hamstring and glutes.

Variations: Single-arm kettlebell swings, alternating kettlebell swings

Turkish getups

  • Lie on your back with a kettlebell in one hand. Roll slightly away from it as you press it upwards, coming up to support yourself on your opposite forearm. 
  • From here, plant the foot on the same side as the kettlebell on the floor and use it to take your weight as you sweep your other leg underneath you into a half-kneeling position.
  • Stand up with the kettlebell overhead.
  • Reverse the whole movement to go back to the floor.

Kettlebell thrusters

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Start with the kettlebells in the rack position. 
  • Do a squat, then drive upwards quickly, using the momentum to help you press the weights overhead.
  • Keep your torso braced during the squat, loosen up during the drive, then brace again as you lock out the kettlebells at the top of the move.

Goblet squats

HIIT kettlebell workout goblet squat
HIIT kettlebell workout goblet squat standing
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grab the kettlebell with two hands “by the horns,” aka the handle.
  • Keep your elbows in tight and your feet about parallel.
  • Lower down like you would in a bodyweight squat until your knees are touching the inside of your legs
  • Reverse the movement to raise back up.

Tip: Focus on your depth in a full squat.

Overhead press

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend down and grab the kettlebell with one hand, with the handle going down your palm.
  • Press straight up with your fist driving the movement (your fist would be pointing up the entire time).
  • Reverse the movement and bring the kettlebell back down.

Tip: Engage your core throughout this movement.

Front squats

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell in your left hand.
  • Hold the kettlebell at shoulder height.
  • Lower yourself into a squat position until your thighs are parallel with the ground.
  • Keep your core tight and your chest up.
  • Your heels should stay in contact with the floor and your weight should be centered, mid-foot.
  • Reverse the motion until you return to the starting position.

Bent over row

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Get down into a bent-over, flat-back position and grab the kettlebell with one arm.
  • Pick up the kettlebell by driving your elbow up into your rib cage.
  • Lower the kettlebell back down by reversing the movement.

Tip: Keep your back straight and your stomach tight during the row. 

Variation: Single-arm row

Reverse lunge

HIIT kettlebell workout lunges
  • Grab the kettlebell with one hand and rest the weight between your arm and chest.
  • Step your leg back (the same side your kettlebell is on) and lower down until your shin is parallel-ish with the ground (or as low as you can).
  • Bring your leg back up to your starting position.
  • You can do all the reps with one leg or alternate your legs for desired reps.

Variation: Forward lunge

HIIT kettlebell workout for beginners

Three sets for the workout. FIRST set 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest; SECOND set 30 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest; THIRD set 30 seconds and no rest.

Goblet squat

Turkish get up

Kettlebell thrusters


Reverse lunge with extended arm overhead

Single arm row (left)

Single arm row (right)

FAQs about kettlebells

A good range is 20-30 minutes. You probably aren’t working hard enough during the ‘working segments’ if you can go longer than 30 minutes.

Your kettlebell weight is determined by your fitness level and the muscle group you are working. You will typically use a heavier weight for lower body exercises and a lighter weight for upper body and some compound kettlebell movements.

Cast iron kettlebells are the best to buy. They are durable and great for home and gym workouts.

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