05 May 3 Simple Kettlebell Workouts For Fat Loss

Are kettlebells really that good for fat loss?

You bet.

To my surprise, this question actually comes up.

It’s like asking if barbell training will make you stronger.

In my opinion, kettlebells are easily one of the most effective tools for fat loss (*when programmed properly and combined with good nutritional practices, of course).

It comes down to fundamentals.

Fundamentals are the key for fat loss, not all the other “stuff.”

All the other “stuff” is great but for fat loss, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi spoke about how success in football always came to down to executing fundamentals.

Run, block, tackle, catch, and throw.  These are fundamentals.

Kettlebell training for fat loss comes down to a few fundamentals, as well.

They are:

  • Swing
  • Squat
  • Get-up
  • Snatch

These are fundamentals for fat loss.

Yes, of course, there are other exercises, combinations, and programming to achieve the goal of fat loss.

I’m not saying this is all you should do, but remember the 80/20 rule.

80% of your success comes from the most important 20%.

These fundamentals are the 20%.

Actually, you could focus on just one of these exercises and achieve incredible fat loss with the kettlebell swing.

I think that Tracy Reifkind has proved that point in her fantastic book, The Swing.

Don’t forget that your nutrition MUST be in order or the training in the world won’t mean anything.

So, let me give you 3 simple programming ideas for fat loss with kettlebells, using just the fundamental exercises.

1.  METABOLIC CONDITIONING WITH COMPLEXES.

This is one of my favorites.  What you are doing here is simply performing a series of exercises together without rest and repeating for a certain number of rounds, with rest in between each round.  Very challenging, excellent for conditioning, and will tax your energy systems.  Complexes are a very effective training method. There are many hormonal and metabolic benefits to performing complexes for fat loss because this type of training involves significant work in a short amount of time.

An example of a simple, effective Met-Con Complex would look like this:

  • 2 Turkish get ups each side
  • 20 swings
  • 10 snatches
  • 10 racked squats

This is performed with one moderate weight kettlebell and moving from exercise to exercise without rest.

How many rounds do you do?

This depends on where your conditioning level is, but a good starting point is to aim for 3 to 5 rounds with this complex.

2.  INTERVALS

Interval training is excellent way to torch body fat. We all know that.

This is where kettlebell swings or snatches are perfect.

A proven and tested interval example is the well known Tabata interval.

The original Tabata was not done with kettlebells, but done on a bike ergometer.

However, this “method” has been extrapolated to many different types of training approaches.

Just to review, the Tabata is done with 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds (4 minutes total).

Now, there a few different ways to use this, as well.

You could keep the exercise the same in the first Tabata interval or you could rotate different exercises within it.

Let me show you what I mean.

Example 1 (with ONE exercise)

  • Swings 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • REPEAT 8 rounds,
  • then REST and repeat again or perform with a different exercise.

Example 2 (with multiple exercises)

  • Snatches 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Planks 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Swings 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Goblet Squats 20 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • REPEAT THIS SEQUENCE AGAIN TO COMPLETE 8 ROUNDS.
  • REST and repeat.

These a just a couple of examples of how you can use the Tabata.

Let’s not forget that there are endless opportunities with intervals and the variables can be changed to make things easier or harder, depending on what you want and where you are.

Interval training is highly effective for fat loss (with abundant research to back it up).

The double whammy of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning with the kettlebell make this one killer combination.

3.  DENSITY TRAINING

And finally, density training.

Density training is how much volume you do in a given time period.

This is simply a way to progress your training in a specific time period.

You can do this is 2 ways.

1-REDUCE YOUR TRAINING TIME.

What this means is less rest between exercises or sets.  However, this is NOT rushing through your exercises in an “unsafe” manner.

2-ADD MORE VOLUME IN A GIVING PERIOD.

An example would be simply attempting 100 reps of a kettlebell snatch, instead of 90, in a 5 minute time period, aka the ‘snatch test.’

In the interest of keeping things very simple here, the easiest way to use density training is by adding more volume in the same time, as in the snatch test example.

As you get more conditioned, your volume will increase.

Keep the given time period short, say 5 to 10 minutes, depending on what you’re doing.

Here’s an example of a 5 minute density training sessions with a few exercises:

  • Swings x 15 reps
  • Goblet Squats x 5-10 reps
  • Snatches x 10 reps each side
  • Rest as needed, then repeat the round again.

You will rest approximately 5 minutes before you do the next phase of your training session.

Record the number of rounds you did here and the total number of reps.

This is what you’ll try to improve on when you do the next density session.

I want to stress again, do NOT sacrifice technique for time.

That is a trade-off that you do not want to make.

You want something even more simple, but equally effective?

Here’s another example with only kettlebell swings.

  • Kettlebell swings for 10 minutes.
  • Rest as needed.
  • Record the total number of reps in 10 minutes.

Next time you do this, you’ll try to best your rep count in the 10 minute time period.

Think this is easy?  Give it a go and get back to me…

Simple and effective.  And, there are many ways to use a density training approach.  Many ways.

Personally, I wouldn’t do density training more that twice per week.

I think it serves the purpose best by not doing it too often or for too long.

Like other training approaches, use it for a specified time period (a periodized approach) and then adjust your program as necessary to meet your changing training goals.

SUMMARY

The 3 examples are of using kettlebells for fat loss I covered here are:

  • Metabolic conditioning with complexes
  • Interval training
  • Density training

Explore each to see what works best for you and strategically apply the principle of training variety.

They all work.

You have to use them strategically and intelligently.

Spread the word! Please share this on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere you’d like.

Scott Iardella, MPT, CSCS, CISSN, SFG-TL, USAW, CACWC

Scott’s background as a strength coach, athlete, and former clinician are the basis for his one-of-a-kind approach to teaching strength, human movement, and peak performance. Scott is dedicated to helping serious fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and lifters all over the world, regardless of age, background, or training experience, become the best version of themselves through improved strength and skill development for a lifetime of health, happiness, and high-performance.

Scott is the passionate host of The Rdella Training Podcast, a leading weekly fitness podcast in Apple Podcasts where he interviews the most brilliant minds in the industry. Finally, he is the author of The Edge of Strength, available in Amazon and currently working on his follow-up book. To learn more about Scott, please visit our About Page.

Get stronger, perform better, and evolve into the athlete you were meant to be.

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3 Comments
  • Kenny
    Posted at 14:12h, 09 May

    I like the MetCon complex. Will try it out in the near future when I’m done with my current program. Not a big fan of interval exercises though for some reason… I tend to avoid them (is that a bad thing?) and go for a complex instead…

    Anyway, I was wondering if you plan on bringing out other (free) workout programs like the Shock & Awe protocol? I like it a lot by the way! I was thinking about buying fish oil for a while, and then read in your SAP pdf you bought them off PurePharma along with the Vitamin D. Glad I saw that before I bought them off some other company that sells it along with countless of other products -and probably of less quality then-.

    • Scott
      Posted at 22:06h, 15 May

      Kenny,
      They are all good options, just depends on what you like and what you find works for you. All about experimentation.
      Glad you like the SAP, it’s a tough, tough program and definitely have to have the skill set to do it though.
      Pure Pharma makes excellent products, which is why I recommend them.
      Yeah, look for more stuff coming…
      Thanks, Scott

  • Aline Lohmann
    Posted at 12:45h, 03 January

    Hi there !

    Thanks for sharing these workouts !

    By the way, am I supposed to do them every day or every other day?

    Thanks,

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