If You Don’t Like Running, Try This Abs and Legs Cardio and Strength Kettlebell Workout

Training with kettlebells can be slightly intimidating, but once you nail the technique and get comfortable with the movements, you’ll never want you put your kettlebell down. Not to mention, kettlebells don’t take up much space and you can do all the exercises (and more!) that you do with dumbbells and barbells with your kettlebells.

If you’re new to working with kettlebells or you’ve been meaning to pull your kettlebell out of retirement, Pierre Armand, NASM certified, Fitness Education Institute Kettlebell 1, Kettlebell Athletics Level 1, and Fhitting Room instructor, created this exclusive abs and cardio kettlebell workout for you.

“Working on your core, especially in the beginning of your workout, gives you the added benefit of not only stabilizing the hips and reducing back pain, but it also allows you to prime your abs to stay activated throughout the rest of your movements in your workout,” Armand told POPSUGAR. The cardio component will improve your cardiovascular system and can potentially help you burn more calories, which can improve your metabolism, Armand added.

If you don’t like running or you’re looking for a workout that will target your major muscle groups, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and strength, grab your kettlebell and get ready to move!

Abs and Cardio Kettlebell Workout

Equipment needed: one medium-weight kettlebell (we recommend the Kettlebell Kings brand).

Directions: Before getting started with the workout, Armand said to complete a dynamic warmup to prepare your muscles for more intense movement and to elevate your heart rate. Complete jumping jacks, air squats, inchworms, hip openers, squat thrusts, and high knees for 20 seconds each, and then repeat for a total of two rounds.

The workout is broken up into three segments: the pre-fhix elimination chipper, a circuit, and a finisher. The pre-fhix targets your core and should be done in an as many rounds as possible (AMRAP) style. For the first round, you’ll work for four minutes, performing kettlebell plank pull throughs, weighted flutter kicks, weighted toe touches, and weighted straight-arm sit-ups. For the second round, you’ll eliminate the plank pull throughs and perform the remaining three exercises for three minutes. On the third round, you’ll eliminate the weighted flutter kicks and perform the remaining two exercises for two minutes. For the fourth and final round, you’ll eliminate the weighted toe touches and perform the straight-arm sit-ups for one minute.

After the pre-fhix, you’ll progress to the circuit. The circuit consists of four blocks that should be done as a superset (performing two exercises back-to-back with little to no rest in between each exercise), and each exercise will be done for 30 seconds. After you finish each block, take 20 seconds of rest and then advance to the next block. Complete three rounds of the circuit.

Once you’ve completed the circuit, you’ll conclude the workout with a finisher/burnout. The finisher/burnout consists of hand-to-hand swings, push-ups, and mountain climbers and should be performed in an AMRAP style for four minutes.

If you’re a beginner, you can do fewer rounds or increase your rest time. If you’re more advanced, you can increase the weight of your kettlebell and/or decrease the amount of rest to further challenge yourself, Armand said. Reference the table below for a detailed list of exercises, rep/sets, and rest time.

After the workout is completed, make sure to cool down with five to 15 minutes of stretching, focusing on your hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors.

Exercise Reps/Time
Warmup five to 10 minutes
Pre-fhix, exercise 1: kettlebell plank pull through
10 reps
Pre-fhix, exercise 2: kettlebell flutter kick 10 reps
Pre-fhix, exercise 3: kettlebell toe touch 10 reps
pre-fhix, exercise 4: kettlebell straight-arm sit-up 10 reps
Circuit: block 1, exercise 1: frogger 30 seconds
Circuit: block 1, exercise 2: kettlebell swing 30 seconds (followed by 20 seconds of rest)
Circuit: block 2, exercise 1: kettlebell toe tap 30 seconds
Circuit: block 2, exercise 2: kettlebell goblet squat 30 seconds (followed by 20 seconds of rest)
Circuit: block 3, exercise 1: kettlebell dead clean to thruster (right) 30 seconds
Circuit: block 3, exercise 2: kettlebell dead clean to thruster (left) 30 seconds (followed by 20 seconds of rest)
Circuit: block 4, exercise 1: kettlebell Romanian deadlift 30 seconds
Circuit: block 4, exercise 2: kettlebell sumo deadlift to high pull 30 seconds (followed by 20 seconds of rest)
Fhix finisher, exercise 1: hand-to-hand kettlebell swing 10 reps
Fhix finisher, exercise 2: push-up 10 reps
Fhix finisher, exercise 3: oblique mountain climber 10 reps (double count)
Cooldown five to 15 minutes

Love trying new workouts? Want a community to share your fitness goals with? Come join our Facebook group POPSUGAR Workout Club. There, you can find advice on making the best out of every sweat session and everything else you need to help you on your road to healthy living.

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