A recent study by the American Council on Exercise found that every minute of a kettlebell cardio workout burns 20 calories. Because of the uneven distribution of weight in a kettlebell, the constant tweaking, pivoting, and swinging motions elevate your heart rate and sculpt your muscles. Kettlebells are a proven workout tool to burn fat, and we want to share with you the best kettlebell exercises for weight loss.
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Working Out for Fat Loss
First, lets do a (very) quick overview of how to burn fat and lose weight while you work out. Generally speaking, carbohydrates supply your body with really quick energy, and fats provide your body with a longer term energy.
As such, when you first start to exercise, your body calls on its carbs for energy first, burning those off until it needs to tap into the fat stores. The longer and harder you exercise, the quicker you start burning fat, and the more fat you burn.
While it varies quite a bit based on your specific body, nutritional and supplement intake, and how good of shape you are in, you can generally expect to start burning fat at around 15 minutes into a moderate workout.
You will also need to get your heart rate up to burn fat. While a leisurely stroll is great for stretching your muscles, you need to elevate your heart rate to burn fat. A quick way to do this is by starting on a vibrating plate for 5-10 minutes before your kettlebell workout.
Once again, it varies quite a bit based on your age, sex, fitness level, etc. But, generally speaking, getting your heart rate above 90-100 beats per minute will get you into a fat burning zone.
Ok, lets get started on the best kettlebell exercises for weight loss and fat burning:
Best Kettlebell Exercises for Weight Loss
There are hundreds of different exercises you can perform with a kettlebell, but we’ve selected the 5 best kettlebell workouts for burning fat. These exercises also work great as kettlebell workouts for beginners.
We also highly recommend using an adjustable kettlebell for your workouts. While a little more expensive, an adjustable kettlebell allows you to change weights for different exercises, and add weight as you become more adept and experienced.
It will allow you to customize your workout, and thus increase its effectiveness. We’ll be referring to adjustable kettlebells in our descriptions, but all of the exercises can be performed with a regular kettlebell.
- Do the same number of repetitions for each exercise. Depending on your level of fitness, this could be anywhere from 3-7 reps to start with. To make it easier, we broken down each exercise into time rather than repetitions.
- Move as quickly as you can from one exercise to the next, with as little rest in between as you can stomach! This is where you burn fat – by keeping your heart rate elevated throughout the kettlebell workout!
- Perform the entire circuit at least twice, which should take around 12-14 minutes or so (depending on your breaks). Three circuits is perfect, as you’ll be exercising for around 20 minutes. The more circuits you perform, the better your workout!
Here are the top 5 kettlebell workouts for burning fat:
- Gunslinger Lunge
This one is pretty simple, and that’s why we start with it. The gunslinger lunge will work out both your upper and lower body at the same time. Start with your feet together (are you noticing a trend here?) and the adjustable kettlebell in your left hand. Keep your balance by wearing proper workout shoes to avoid hurting your feet.
Step back with your left leg and lower into a lunge position, while you lift the adjustable kettlebell into a bicep curl. Simply repeat this for 30 seconds, switch to the right side, and repeat for another 30 seconds.
- Step Out Swing
The swing is one of the most common kettlebell exercises, and there are quite a few variations. The Step Out Swing varies because it involves some foot movement in addition to the swing exercise of your arms. This will also work your legs out, as you’ll be moving back and forth in the same motion that you would have for a squat. Any version of the swing is arguably the best kettlebell workout exercise of all.
Start with legs together and the kettlebell held in front of your legs. Step out with your right foot, moving it away from your body to the right of you (not in front of you). Swing the kettlebell between your legs, and then back up to your chest, maintaining a straight back the entire time.
Step your right foot back together with your left. You’ll want to do this for 30 seconds with your right foot, and then switch and perform the same with your left foot for 30 seconds
- Squat Rotator
Once again, start with your feet together. This time, the adjustable kettlebell should be in the rack position in your left hand, up against your chest. Step out to the right (similar to the Step Out Swing) and lower your hips into the squat position.
While you are doing this, push your right hand onto the ground, while reaching with your left hand (and kettlebell) to the ceiling. You’ll be in a very unique position – one hand touching the ground, with the other raised high with the kettlebell along with it. You want a straight line across your arms (or as straight of one as is possible).
The temptation is to perform this exercise fast, but there is no need to! Go slow and steady, performing the exercise for 30 seconds, and then switch sides to the adjustable kettlebell in your right hand.
- Push Press
Start with your feet set apart at about shoulder length (finally they aren’t starting together!). You’ll have the adjustable kettlebell in the rack position, with your other hand next to it against your chest.
Move your hips out and lower your body into a squat position. Then, quickly press your body upward and shoot your arm straight up over your heard with the kettlebell. Return the arms to the rack position and repeat this for 30 seconds with one arm, and then another 30 seconds with the other arm.
Unlike the slow, methodical movement of the Squat Rotator, the Push Press is best performed fast. When you move your body out of the squat position, you’ll want to “explode” upwards with as much intensity in your legs and arms as possible. This is where the best workout comes.
- Bumper Burpee
The name “burpee” has become a bit of a cultural phenomenon on its own, at this point. Most everyone has heard the term burpee, but far fewer know what it means. A burpee is a sequence exercise, starting in a standing position.
Adding a kettlebell to the workout increases the intensity and effectiveness. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, and the adjustable kettlebell located on the ground in front of you. For exact position, read ahead to see what the exercise entails.
Quickly go from the standing position to a push-up position, with your hands on the adjustable kettlebell rather than the traditional shoulder width apart (you’ll want to leap into the push up postion, rather than just slowly lower yourself into it).
Do a push up, and then leap back to your feet with the adjustable kettlebell still in your hands. With both arms, raise the adjustable kettlebell above your head in a press, and then lower the adjustable kettlebell back down.
You’ll perform this bumper burpee for 60 seconds, going back and forth from the push up position to the press position.
Its amazing what a simple 15 minute kettlebell workout will do for your health. With how busy so many of us are these days, you can still watch kettlebell exercises at home or download workout apps on your phone. Using kettlebells to burn fat and lose weight is really an effective and efficient method. These kettlebell exercises for beginners are the best and fastest fat burning workout you will find. Enjoy!