Cardio-Boosting Kettlebell Combos
Gain more than strength and stability from your next swing session.
Kettlebells aren’t always the first tools that come to mind when planning a cardio workout. But in a 2016 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, people who completed a high-intensity kettlebell session actually burned more calories than people who did a high-intensity cycling workout of the same length, and both workouts triggered similar cardiorespiratory and metabolic responses in the body.
The exercise combos below will raise your heart rate and work every muscle from head to toe.
Kettlebell Swings + Cardio
In each minute, complete 20 seconds of kettlebell swings (with a kettlebell that you can confidently swing up to 20 times), followed immediately by 20 seconds of air bike, ski erg, or rower, and 20 seconds of rest. “The work period here will be just longer than 40 seconds, and the intensity will be high, leading to incomplete recovery before the next minute,” says Joseph Sigismondo, former Tier X manager at Equinox Columbus Circle. “This trains your cardiovascular system to be more efficient at both low and high intensities, as well as increases the amount of calories burned.”
Superman + Kettlebell Snatch to Windmill
Superman: Lie face-down on a mat with arms extended in front of you, legs extended behind you. Keeping shoulders down and gaze forward, squeeze glutes and inhale as you lift your upper and lower body towards the ceiling. Exhale as you release and lower back down; repeat. Do 4 to 6 reps.
Kettlebell Snatch to Windmill: Begin by performing a single-arm kettlebell snatch. Pause at the overhead position, keeping wrist, elbow, and shoulder stable. Rotate feet slightly as necessary to perform a single-arm kettlebell windmill on the same side. Keep eyes on the bell throughout the windmill skill. Return the kettlebell to the floor before resetting and performing the same two skills on the opposite side to complete one rep. Do 4 to 6 reps.
Kettlebell-Loaded Lateral Lunges + Dumbbell Wood Chops
Kettlebell-Loaded Lateral Lunges: Begin with feet together, holding the kettlebell as you would for a goblet squat. Lunge to the right side, bending your knee at least 90 degrees. The kettlebell should stay stable in the center of your chest. Push off of the right foot to return to starting position with feet together. Perform 4 to 6 reps; switch sides and repeat.
Dumbbell Wood Chops: Begin holding a dumbbell on either end with both hands. Rotate to the left, pivoting the right foot and hip, and aim the dumbbell down to knee or shin height. Maintain a neutral spine with chest tall. Rotate back through center and to the right, pivoting the left foot and hip, aiming the dumbbell upward and diagonally. Try to keep arms as straight as possible throughout the exercise. Switch sides and repeat. Do 4 to 6 reps.
Goblet Squat + Superman
Goblet Squat: Stand with feet more than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly out to the sides, gripping a kettlebell in front of chest, palms facing you, elbows bent by sides. Squat straight down, keeping back tall, weight in front of chest, and knees behind toes, until elbows are in between thighs, and then squeeze glutes as you return to start. Do 8 reps.
Superman: Lie face-down on a mat with arms extended in front of you, legs extended behind you. Keeping shoulders down and gaze forward, squeeze glutes and inhale as you lift upper and lower body toward ceiling. Exhale as you release and lower back down; repeat. Continue for 45 seconds.