Over the past few months, we’ve all adapted to a lot of new challenges – including working out from home. While we’ve shared a number of bodyweight workouts to help you keep active, it’s definitely nice to switch things up and incorporate some simple equipment. So I asked Zach to put together a program to get you into the swing of things – using just a simple and versatile kettlebell.
This week-long plan will help you get moving and feeling strong! I’ve split it up into a day of upper body, lower body, full-body, and then core and conditioning. That means you’ll get a little bit of everything with this plan. The 4 days give you a manageable goal while being able to work in some active rest days, but if you want an extra challenge you can double up whichever day fits your goals best.
I also wanted to keep the equipment needs simple. All of these workouts can be done with just one kettlebell. It’s important to stay safe if you’re back at the gym, so by minimizing how much equipment you’re touching we can minimize the risks. Just grab your kettlebell, find a space where you can socially distance, and get to work!
5 Rounds, rest as needed
This workout will hit all the different upper body muscles. The goal here is quality movement, not a fast pace. Take plenty of rest and focus on form.
20 Bent Over Rows
Bend over so that your torso is parallel to the floor, or as close as possible. Grab the top of the kettlebell and pull in into your chest while remaining bent over. Lower until it’s just above the ground and repeat.
Make sure you keep your back straight and shoulders back the whole time. Don’t let your back round during this movement.
Start standing up holding a kettlebell by the side handles down by your waist. Keeping your elbows at your side, curl the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Lower down back to your waist.
Don’t let your elbows come up as you curl. I like to keep them in contact with my sides so that I can feel if they start to drift away.
15 Upright Rows
Stand tall holding the kettlebell from the top down by your waist. Keeping the kettlebell close to your body pull it up toward your chin while raising your elbows up and out. Lower back down the same way.
At the top think about pulling your shoulder blades back and squeezing them together to fully engage your back muscles.
15 Overhead Presses
Grab the sides of the kettlebell and hold it up by your chest with the bottom pointing away from you. Press it straight up overhead and slightly back until your arms are fully extended.
Don’t let your elbows flare out as you press. They should stay about shoulder width apart with your forearms staying vertical.
10 Floor Presses (per side)
Lay on your back with your feet flat and the kettlebell in one hand. Your forearm should be vertical and your knuckles pointing up.. Press the kettlebell straight up until your elbow is locked out. Lower all the way down until your elbow touches the ground, but don’t fully rest it before the next rep.
I like to extend my other, non working arm straight out. It helps me stay balances and keep everything engaged..
Lay on your back holding the kettlebell straight up over your chest by the sides. Keeping your arms as straight as possible lower it back behind you until it lightly touches the ground behind your head. Raise back up over your chest keeping your arms straight.
Your butt and shoulder blades should stay in contact with the ground, but not your lower back. That arch in your back will give you the mobility you need to stretch and then engage the lats properly.
5 Rounds, rest as needed
Just like with the upper body workout, you should prioritize quality movement here. Take as much rest as you need to keep good form.
10 Split Squats (per side)
Stand with one leg forward and the other back keeping your toes pointing forward. Hold the kettlebell on the same side of the leg that’s back. Lower your back knee toward the ground. Press your front foot into the ground and you come back up to the starting point.
Keep your chest up and torso upright. I usually find a spot on the wall to keep my eyes on and not allow my head to drop, which usually ends up in your chest dropping as well.
15 Stagger Stance RDLs (per side)
Stand with one leg forward and the other back keeping your toes pointing forward. Hold the kettlebell on the same side of the leg that’s back. Keeping your front leg straight bend at the hips until the kettlebell is an inch or two above the ground and your torso is about parallel to the ground. Return to the top.
With the previous exercise, split squats, you want your feet pretty far from each other. For these you don’t need as drastic of a split stance. It should be about half the distance of split squats. You should feel this in the hamstring of your front leg and maybe some lower back. Focus on a slow, controlled descent and not letting yourself lean to one side.
20 Sumo Deadlifts
Stand with your feet a little wider than hip width and your feet turned out close to 90 degrees. Hold the kettlebell from the top with your arms straight down. Bend the knees and open your hips as you lower the kettlebell to the ground. Press your heels into the ground and stand back up.
Do your best to keep your feet flat and not let your toes come up. That might mean turning your feet in a little bit to ease the mobility needs.
25 Single Leg Hip Thrusts (per side)
Lay on your back with one foot flat and knee up and the other leg extended straight out. Press the flat foot into the floor and press your hips up. As you do raise the straight leg until your thighs are about parallel. Lower back to the ground.
Pause at the top for a second and focus on squeezing your glutes to make sure you get the most out of this exercise.
20 Minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible)
This workout is meant to work a bit of everything and get your heart rate up. Set a timer for 20 minutes and get as much done as you can. Try to find a manageable pace and keep the rest short. Then if you can, turn the pace up those last few minutes. This is the workout where I really want you to push yourself! Write down how many rounds you get and then give yourself something to beat when you do it again.
5 Inch Worms
Start standing tall. Bend over at the hips, keeping your legs at straight as possible, and put your hand in front of your feet. Walk your hands out until you are in a plank position. Walk them back and stand up.
If you need to bend your knees a bit at the start of the exercise, but make sure to straighten your legs all the way as you reach the plank position.
10 Up Down Planks
Starting in a high plank position lower one elbow down to the floor. Then lower the other so that you’re in a low plank position. Press one arm back up to your hand then the other. Down then up equals one rep. If you need you can also perform these on your knees.
Keep your glutes and abs tight and try not to let your hips sway side to side. A stable core is a strong core!
15 Sumo High Pulls
Put the kettlebell on the ground between your feet. Place your feet in a wide stance with your toes turned out (a sumo stance). Pushing the knees out and squatting down, grab the top of the kettlebell. Stand up and using the momentum pull the kettlebell up to your chest. Keep the kettlebell close to your body and pull the elbows up high.
Don’t pause when the kettlebell gets to your hips. The momentum you create with your legs should help the kettlebell get up to your chest without having to use all upper body.
Stand with your feet hip width apart and toes pointed forward. Hold the kettlebell by the side handles up by your chest with your elbows under your fists. Squat down keeping the kettlebell by your chest. As you come up from the squat press the kettlebell overhead. Bring it by down to your chest and without pausing go down into the next squat.
String together thrusters without a pause. Use the momentum on the way up to press the kettlebell and then as you bring it down use that downward momentum to squat.
Core & Conditioning
30 seconds on, 30 seconds off x 4 Rounds
This workout is a mix of abs and some high-intensity movements. The scheme is meant to give you plenty of rest between sets so that you can really push yourself for the full 30 seconds. If you feel like your form is slipping as you tire out, then give yourself longer rest in between each round to really recover. If you want an extra challenge you can try going 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off.
Plank Pull Throughs
Start in a high plank with the weight set just left of your body in line with your chest. Reach your right hand across your body, being careful to keep your hips low and back straight. Grab the kettlebell with your right hand and slide it across to the right side of your body. Put your right hand back on the floor and repeat with your left hand.
Your feet should be wider than in a regular plank. That wider base will help keep you balanced and prevent your hips from shifting too much.
Sit on your butt with your feet off the ground. Hold the kettlebell by the sides in front of you and twist until it touches the ground next to your hips. Twist to the other side and that’s one rep.
If you find yourself losing balance put your heels on the ground. You can also put a weight on your feet to keep them down and prevent you from falling to the side. Do it without the weight if necessary until you used to the movement.
Lie on your back with the bottoms of your feet together and knees out to the side (like in a butterfly stretch) and arms extended. Press the bottoms of you feet together and knees toward the ground as you swing your arms up and bring your back off the ground until your hands touch your feet. Lower back down while keeping your feet in contact with the ground.
If you’re struggling to keep your feet on the ground place a weight or heavy book on top to weigh them down.
Starting in a standing position, jump to your left landing on your left foot only. Bring your right leg behind your left lightly touching your right foot to the floor, at least a few inches past your left. As you land, let your left leg bend to absorb the impact and you step your right foot back. Bring your right foot up as you drive off the left foot and jump to the right. Land the same way you did on the left, only opposite.
For an extra challenge try to balance as you land without touching your back foot to the ground!
Start standing tall with your hips extended. Reach your hands toward the ground as your kick your feet back until you’re in a high plank position with your feet wider than hip-width. Lower your body to down so that your hips and chest are resting on the floor. Press back up and kick your feet forward, under your hips. Stand back up and hop at the top, just enough for your feet to leave the ground.
This doesn’t have to be a full pushup at the bottom. From the plank position lower your hips to the ground first, then your chest. Then push your chest up first and use your hips to explode off of the floor.