The Best Full-Body Kettlebell Circuit Workout (And How to Customize It)

Both competitive athletes and everyday athletes often search for ways to build muscle and get strong, whether at the gym or at home. But when the gym is packed and no racks are available, the most effective workouts don’t need to be complicated. Kettlebells give you the versatility of training for power, strength, and endurance — all at once. 

Using just one bell, you can build a kettlebell circuit workout for at-home or gym sessions alike. Why a circuit? With circuit training, you will train your entire body at a high intensity at peak efficiency. At any fitness level, the best kettlebell circuit workout will quickly get your heart rate up and engage your entire body. Here’s how to get it done.

Editor’s Note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. When starting a new training regimen and/or diet, it is always a good idea to consult with a trusted medical professional. We are not a medical resource. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. They are not substitutes for consulting a qualified medical professional.

Try This Kettlebell Circuit

Weight selection is the key to this circuit workout. You want something moderately heavy in the overhead press. Don’t short-change yourself, but don’t use more weight than you can handle, either. Remember, just because you can swing a certain weight doesn’t mean you can press it overhead. 

Kettlebell Swing: 3 x 5

Kettlebell Thruster: 3 x 5

Bottoms-Up March: 3 x 5 

Front-Rack Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 5

Perform each exercise on one side of the body then repeat on the opposite side. That’s one total set. 

Complete the full circuit three to four times. Take two to three minutes of rest between rounds.

Kettlebell Swing

Why Do It: Ballistic exercises like kettlebell swings require full-body strength and coordination to pull off. You’ll feel your hamstrings and glutes fire up with each kettlebell swing. Your grip strength, lats, and core will also fire up. As a hip hinge, this move has great carryover potential to the barbell deadlift, serving to grease the groove of your ever-important hinge.

How to Do It

Set up in a hinge position with your feet shoulder-width apart and the kettlebell about arm’s length in front of you.

Grab the kettlebell by the handle, leaning it towards you before you hike it back, high between your legs. (Make sure the bell stays above your knees.)

Stand tall, pushing your feet through the ground and swinging the kettlebell forward to chest level.

Reverse the steps by hinging at your hips while pulling or hiking the kettlebell back between your legs. Flow right into your next rep.

[Read More: 10 Benefits of Double Kettlebell Swings for Strength Athletes]

Kettlebell Swing Sets and Reps

For Strength: Do three to five sets of three to five reps with a heavy kettlebell. Rest two to three minutes between sets.

For Endurance: Perform five to 10 sets of eight to 10 reps with a moderate-sized kettlebell. Rest 30 to 90 seconds between sets.

For Hypertrophy: Do three to five sets of five to eight reps with a moderate to heavy kettlebell. Rest for one to two minutes between sets.

Kettlebell Swing Modifications

Make it Easier: If you’re not ready for ballistic swings, use kettlebell deadlifts instead. You can “raise the floor” to you by placing the bell on a yoga block, making this a great move for learning the hip hinge during your beginner kettlebell workout.

Make it Tougher: Perform power or dead-stop kettlebell swings. In between each rep, set the kettlebell back on the ground in front of you where it started. This will add a dead stop to the movement. You’ll re-load your hips, glutes, and upper back without an assist from momentum between each rep.

Kettlebell Thruster

Why Do It: There’s no better way to give yourself a challenge than to combine the best upper-body exercises with their lower-body companions. The kettlebell thruster is a dynamic movement that combines the front-rack kettlebell squat (not to be confused with the goblet squat) with the kettlebell press. Using momentum, you’ll drive the kettlebell from the bottom of your squat to the overhead press position.

How to Do It

Holding the kettlebell on one side with a straight wrist in the rack position, set your feet about hip-width apart.

Squat down to at least parallel to the floor with your chest up. Keep your elbow close to your side.

In one fluid motion, drive the kettlebell up by using leg power.

Stop your ascent when the kettlebell is in the full lockout overhead press position. Maintain a straight wrist throughout the thrust.

[Read More: 10 Kettlebell Exercises Every Athlete Should Master]

Kettlebell Thruster Sets and Reps

For Strength: Do four to six sets of four to six reps with a heavy kettlebell. Rest for two to three minutes between sets.

For Endurance: Perform three to four sets of 10 to 12 reps with a light to moderate kettlebell. Rest 30 seconds to one minute between sets.

For Hypertrophy: Aim for three to five sets of eight to 12 reps with a light to moderate kettlebell. Rest for one to two minutes between sets.

Kettlebell Thruster Modifications

Make it Easier: Perform kettlebell goblet squats. Rest, then reset and perform push presses. Separating these two strength training movements will decrease the cardiovascular demand while taking your muscles through similar stressors.

Make it Tougher: Try the kettlebell thruster with double kettlebells, using a lot more total weight. 

Bottoms-Up March

[Read More: 7 Undeniable Benefits of Kettlebell Training]

Why Do It: Perfect if you’re working in a small space, the bottoms-up march challenges your grip, shoulder stability, and core strength. The anatomy of the kettlebell makes it naturally unstable, and the nature of this exercise makes it even more so. You’ll notice improvements in your coordination and overall body awareness, which is great for athletes whose sports require more agility and quick footwork.

How to Do It

Start in a deadlift position with the kettlebell about an arm’s length in front of you.

Grab the handle and crush it tightly while you clean the kettlebell to the bottoms-up position (with the bottom of the bell facing the ceiling).

With a tight grip, keep your forearm in line with the base of the kettlebell.

While balancing the kettlebell, start a slow march in place by driving one knee up to hip height and tightening your glutes on the standing straight leg. Start with a single kettlebell in your right hand and switch it up from there.

Bottoms-Up March Sets and Reps

For Grip Strength: Do two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps per leg. Rest one to two minutes between sets.

For Stability: Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps per leg. Rest one to two minutes between sets.

For Warming Up: Do one to two sets of six to eight reps per leg, resting 30 seconds between sets.

Bottoms-Up March Modifications

Make it Easier: Set yourself up next to a squat rack or other stable surface. With your free hand, touch or hold onto the rack for added stability during your marches.

Make it Tougher: Bring your thigh up as far as possible. During each rep, aim to pull your knee up a little closer to your chest than you did last time, all while maintaining core and grip stability.

Front-Rack Bulgarian Split Squat

Why Do It: The front-rack Bulgarian split squat is a compound exercise that targets various muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. Your split squat is your path to strength gains, improved mobility, better coordination, and balance. You’ll boost single-leg strength for more power and explosiveness.

How to Do It

Find your starting position by stepping one to two feet in front of the plyo box or weight bench where you will be elevating your back foot.

Standing with your feet between hip and shoulder-width apart, bring the kettlebell to the front-rack position on the side of the forward leg, keeping your elbow down.

Reach one leg behind you, placing your foot laces-down stably on the bench or box. Adjust as needed to make sure that when you go into your split squat, your back knee can approach the ground while your front knee reaches a 90-degree angle.

Maintaining your balance, lower yourself down until the quad of your front leg is parallel to the ground.

Drive through the heel of your front foot to return to the starting position. Reset and repeat for reps.

[Read More: 3 Kettlebell Workouts to Help Powerlifters Build Stronger Glutes]

Front-Rack Bulgarian Split Squat Sets and Reps

For Strength: Do four to six sets of five to eight reps per leg. Rest for two to three minutes between sets.

For Endurance: Perform three to four sets of 12 to 15 reps per leg, resting 30 seconds to one minute between sets.

For Hypertrophy: Aim for three to five sets of eight to 10 reps per leg, resting one to two minutes between sets.

Front-Rack Bulgarian Split Squat Modifications

Make it Easier: Perform a split squat without elevating your back foot. Simply have both feet on the floor. Alternatively, elevate your front foot instead of your back foot.

Make it Tougher: Perform 1 ½ reps, meaning that you’ll sink down into a full rep, rise halfway up, then sink back to the bottom of the rep again. Press up to standing, and all of that will count as a single rep.

The Benefits of Training with Kettlebells

From cardio and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) to spicing up your warm-up, kettlebell training comes with a wide array of benefits.


The shape of the kettlebell creates nearly limitless options for grip and positioning. Each time you reposition the kettlebell, you engage multiple muscle groups and stabilizers. This makes kettlebell training unique in its capacity for programming for strength, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and functional strength. 

[Read More: 3 Muscle Building Kettlebell Circuits You Need to Try]

You can have a full-body workout all packed into a short amount of time, or you can supplement your barbell or bodyweight training with kettlebells. It’ll pack your program with variety from all angles.

Improved Balance and Mobility

You’ll boost your balance with ballistic exercises like the kettlebell swing, bottom-up march, and front-rack Bulgarian split squat. The first and last of these will also help improve your lower body mobility and flexibility. These are dynamic movements that control momentum against the forces of gravity. With each deep hip hinge, you’ll also improve flexibility in your hamstrings.

Ideal for Small Spaces

With only one kettlebell (or even two), you can perform a full-body kettlebell workout with very little space. Your kettlebell training doesn’t need more than an arm’s length in front, above, or behind you. With a small room, apartment, or just a corner of the gym, beginners and elite athletes alike have tons of training options with kettlebells.

Get Into the Circuit

Kettlebell circuit workouts will jack up your heart rate and get your muscles tingling with that pleasant burn all at the same time. Make the most of your rest periods — take deep, slow breaths — and get after each rep with precision. Your entire body, from your cardiovascular system to your muscles, will thank you.


You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers. Here are a few of the most common questions about kettlebell circuit training:

What is a good kettlebell circuit workout routine for beginners?

Keep it simple. The instability of the kettlebell brings plenty of challenges, so there’s no need to drive up volume or complexity. A good kettlebell circuit workout for beginners will include upper body exercises, lower body exercises, core involvement, and mobility training. 
Your posture will benefit from exercises that target your posterior chain while compound kettlebell exercises will give you that full-body conditioning. 
Try moving through this circuit three or four times, modifying each exercise as needed:

Kettlebell Swing: 3 x 5
Kettlebell Thruster: 3 x 5
Bottoms-Up March: 3 x 5 
Front-Rack Bulgarian Split Squat: 3 x 5

How often should I perform a kettlebell circuit?

Kettlebell circuits are fun, so it makes sense you may want to do them all the time. But the repetitive nature of kettlebell training can tire you out pretty quickly and leave you feeling sore — to say the least. 
Avoid adding too much volume too soon. Start out with two full-body kettlebell circuit training days per week. After three to four weeks, amp it up to three days. You can include kettlebell circuits four to five days per week if you slowly progress your way there.

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