try it out tuesday: total body toning kettlebells
- The Workout: Total Body Toning Kettlebell Workout from Women’s Health magazine
- Type of Workout: Strength
- Equipment Required: Kettlebells
- The Nitty-Gritty: Eight classic kettlebell moves are combined into a fat-burning and muscle-working interval workout that tones your whole body in about 20 minutes.
One of my favorite things about kettlebells is that thanks to their dynamic motion, using them builds muscle and burns calories. So I can get two workouts in half the time! I loved that this workout covered nearly all the major muscle groups in the body in a flash. It also includes a lot of what I consider the “fun” kettlebell moves—the ones that let you swing and swoop and use the momentum and kinetic motion of the bell to workout your muscles.
- Calories Burned: 236 calories*
- Total Time: 31 minutes*
- Next Day Soreness: 3/5 (0=no soreness, 5=holy crap nuggets, I can’t walk)
*Includes 5 minutes of walking warm-up and 5 minutes of walking cool-down.
- Speed, speed, speed. In about 20 minutes, I got a full body strength workout and a decent calorie burn. Is it enough to build bulging biceps? No, you’ll need to still do more targeted strength training, but it’s a great well-rounded workout for when you’re in a rush.
- It’s fun. I think it is so fun swinging around big, heavy kettlebells! There are a lot of kettlebell moves that aren’t so fun and dynamic (I’m looking at you squat), but this workout combines some of those more stagnant moves with a bunch of more explosive moves (like the Figure 8 and the Swing).
- It’s adaptable. As a beginner, you can start off easy with a lighter kettlebell and progress to heavier and heavier weights as you get stronger. It seems like it’d be a great workout for kettlebell beginners and old pros (with heavier bells).
- Terrible move descriptions. I’m not sure who wrote the move descriptions, but some of them are so wrong, it hurts. Literally! You’d hurt yourself! And some of them are so far off from kettlebell form, it’s pretty much just like you’re using a barbell. For example, the write-up for the swing makes it sound like it’s a choppy motion, when it’s really very fluid. And performing a deadlift like a squat pretty much defeats the entire purpose of a deadlift. To get proper kettlebell form, there are tons of great YouTube videos. Rely on those instead of the descriptions in this write-up.
- Low weight suggestion. The write-up suggestions a 10 or 15 pound kettlebell. Unless you have very little strength or are a super beginner, that is way too light. I’m not insanely strong or anything, and the lowest weight I was using was a 20 pounder. Using a 10 pound kettlebell on a deadlift isn’t going to get you much muscle gain.
- Single weight suggestion. The write-up only suggests the use of one weight of kettlebell for the entire workout. That’s like saying you’re going to use a spoon to eat your soup and shovel the driveway! Some of the moves require a much heavier weight (like the deadlift) and others you’ll need to go lighter (the get-ups). I ended up using four different weights for the workout.
The Final Word
Even thought I thought the actual write-up of this workout was rubbish, I loved the balance and combo of moves, and that alone gives it high marks in my book. I was interested (and actually having fun!) throughout the whole workout, and I managed to work up a nice sweat in the amount of time it normally takes me to warm-up in a long-form workout. Recommended (but do your own research for how to do the moves properly).