Lions & Tigers & Kettlebells, oh my!

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Looking for ways to spice up your fitness routine? Try this full-body kettlebell conditioning workout. All you need is kettlebell and an exercise mat.


  • Cat/Cow pose x 5 breaths
  • Birddog static hold x 3 breaths each side (don’t let you low-back sag!)
  • Body weight squats x 10 reps
  • Body weight split squats x 5 reps each side

Perform 1-2 rounds


A1: Turkish Get-Up x 1 each side (Focus more on the movement and less on weight for this one)

Tip: Pause each step of the motion and make sure you are continually pressing straight up to the sky while keeping your eye on the kettlebell.

A2: Single Arm Rear Lunge x 8 each side

A3: Single Arm ½ Kneeling Overhead Press x 6 each side

A4: Kettlebell Swings x 15 reps

Tip: Before my clients graduate to the swing, I make sure they have mastered the basics such as squats, planks, push-ups, split squats, and the kettlebell deadlifts. Remember, don’t rush into a movement you don’t feel comfortable with. You can also practice the mechanics of the swing by using your hands to mimic the bell.

Complete A1-A4 in a circuit style fashion with minimal rest between exercises. Rest about 2 minutes between rounds. Aim for 3-5 rounds.

Cool down:

10 minute walk around the block.

How do I choose the appropriate weight?

As a general rule of thumb, I suggest that you choose a weight which allows you to complete the prescribed amount of repetitions while leaving 2-3 reps in the tank. For example: If the exercise calls for 8 reps, use a weight you think you could complete 10-11 reps if you maxed out.

Also… No trash reps! Stop the exercise once you start to feel the rep speed slow down significantly or if form starts to break.

What if I only have access to a Kettlebell that is too heavy or light for the prescribed reps?

In a perfect world we would have a whole garage full of Kettlebells ranging from light to heavy which would allow us to use the “appropriate” weight for a given exercise, however, our world is imperfect which makes it so beautiful!

Keep it simple: Is the weight too heavy to complete the prescribed amount of reps? Drop the rep count. Too light? Up the reps or increase the time-under-tension by lifting the weight slower on the way up and down.

No kettlebell? No problem!

If you don’t have access to a kettlebell, a dumbbell makes a great substitution. Or, if you want to get really creative, a gallon water jug or soup cans will work for most exercises.

There you have it! Give this routine a try for a quick, full body blaster.

About the Author:

Ryan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Science from Wright State University.  In addition, he is a certified personal trainer through the National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT), CrossFit Level 1 Coach, USA Weightlifting Specialist Level 1 (USAW SPC L1), Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 1 (CHEK) and he stays on the cutting edge of fitness programming through workshops and peer communications. He has enjoyed working with his clients to enable them to perform better, feel better, and live better for many years.  His background focuses on sports performance training, corporate wellness, CrossFit, and Olympic weightlifting.  Ryan’s hobbies include Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, lifting weights, yoga, reading, stand-up paddle boarding, and exploring Austin!

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