Onnit Kettlebells

Getting your cardio with kettlebells builds strength and endurance simultaneously, and you can do it anywhere.

Cardio is only boring if you do it the way everyone else does—on creaky machines next to old ladies in a Globo gym. But it still plays an important role in your fitness, so the question isn’t whether to skip it, but rather how do you make it challenging, motivating, and fun? Think outside the box—hell, GET outside the box—by taking this workout out of the gym to your backyard, a park, or any place else you’d rather be. All you need is a kettlebell (or two) and a timer.

There are three reasons you’ll love this routine.

One, it’s got you lifting weights, which is always more fun than jogging on a treadmill to nowhere, and it strengthens your muscles too (particularly your core and your grip, since this workout uses only kettlebells).

Two, it’s fast. You’ll be done in less than 25 minutes, which is plenty of time to burn fat when you’re working hard.

And three, research from the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse shows that kettlebell training is about as effective for increasing aerobic capacity as a cycling program.

Now are you excited to do cardio?

Kettlebell Cardio Directions

Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set of each in sequence without rest in between. When you’ve completed the entire circuit, rest 1 minute, and then repeat for 5 total rounds.

1. Chest-Loaded Swing

Reps: Perform reps for 30 sec.

Stand with feet between hip and shoulder-width apart and hold the kettlebell by its horns, pulling the bottom of the bell into your lower sternum. Draw your shoulder blades together and down (“proud chest”) and cast your eyes on a spot on the floor approximately 15 feet in front of you.

Take a deep breath and root your feet. Then bend your hips back, imagining being able to touch your butt to the wall behind you. Keep a long spine with your tailbone tilted slightly up. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, extend your hips and squeeze your glutes, tucking your tailbone under as you lock out.

2. Farmer’s Walk

Reps: Perform reps for 60 sec.

Use two kettlebells if you have them or just one for a greater core challenge. Try to choose a weight that you can hang on to for at least 60 seconds. Stand with feet hip-width apart and bend your hips back to reach down and grasp the kettlebell handles. Take a deep belly breath and, keeping your shoulders down and back with a long spine, drive through your heels to lift the bells and extend your hips to lockout. Now walk as quickly as you can, keeping your shoulders back (think “proud chest”) and head neutrally aligned. Go for 60 seconds.

3. Chest-Loaded Swing

Reps: Perform reps for 30 sec.

Stand with feet between hip and shoulder-width apart and hold the kettlebell by its horns, pulling the bottom of the bell into your lower sternum. Draw your shoulder blades together and down (“proud chest”) and cast your eyes on a spot on the floor approximately 15 feet in front of you.

Take a deep breath and root your feet. Then bend your hips back, imagining being able to touch your butt to the wall behind you. Keep a long spine with your tailbone tilted slightly up. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, extend your hips and squeeze your glutes, tucking your tailbone under as you lock out.

4. Goblet Half Get-Up

Reps: Perform reps for 60 sec.

Lie down on your back on the floor, holding the kettlebell by the horns. Take a deep belly breath and brace your abs. Perform a situp and then tuck your right foot in toward your butt while you slide your left foot behind you so you form a “shin box” position on the floor. Both knees should be bent about 90 degrees with feet facing opposite directions.

Extend your hips as if coming up to stand tall and then bring your left foot in front of you again and plant it on the floor with the knee bent 90 degrees. Turn your rear leg so the foot points straight behind you and you finish in a lunge position. Reverse the entire motion to return to lying on the floor.