Turning The Best Total Body Exercise into The Best Total Body Workout

The best total body exercise is...
The best total body exercise is…

To fully maximize the benefits of today’s article, I suggest you go back and do a little required reading.  Last month we highlighted the single best total body exercise and received more than just a little response from you guys.  The recurring theme was; awesome article but not enough practical info – give us a full workout using this exercise!

So I heeded this advice and went to work on a full workout centered around the wonderful, fabulous, kettlebell swing.  If you aren’t sure why many consider this the ultimate total body exercise, I kindly suggest you check the link above and read up on why the kettlebell swing can help you do everything from burn that stubborn belly fat to help improve your posture.  It really is a killer total body exercise that will work wonders for you if you consistently make it a part of your full routine.

To help you include this movement into your total fitness plan, whatever it may be, I put together the workout you’ll see below.  After several rounds of trial and error, I think we’ve got something that is very effective at pushing the muscles in both your upper and lower body, while maintaining a quick enough pace to really push your cardiovascular system.  The end result?  A killer workout that will help shred you up, improve your endurance, AND may even help increase your flexibility.  Sound too good to be true?  It’s not.  Did you really expect any less from the best total body exercise?

Three Key Elements…

This workout has two, potentially three, key elements.  First, and perhaps most obviously, we’ve got the strength side of things.  Kettlebell swings are a great way to target your lower and upper body with a functionally dependent movement.  By utilizing a variety of different weights, we’re going to really throw a curve ball at your body here and leave you feeling the (good) soreness for days.

As anyone who has tried kettlebell swings is aware, the “up and down” nature of the movement can really tax your cardiovascular system.  The fast pace and quick intervals will help keep the pressure on your heart rate, ensuring it stays elevated and helping you burn serious calories.

Of course this total body exercise in and of itself could be fashioned into a pretty killer workout.  But you guys wanted a real-deal, legit, total body transformation workout, so I took things one step further.  Instead of solely relying on kettlebell swings, we’re going to incorporate some quick plyometric movements.  While playing around with this workout, it was clear the combination of explosive plyometrics and kettlebell swings was brutal; a trail of sniffling, crying, and down right exhausted guinea pigs were left in its wake.

The Best Total Body Exercise…..The Best Total Body Workout

Proper form is vital with the kettlebell swing.
Proper form is vital with the kettlebell swing.

Doing 3 sets of 10-12 reps of kettlebell swings is all well and good, but we REALLY want to unlock the full benefits of this total body exercise.  For this reason, we’ve developed an entire workout surrounding this exercise.  The great part is, you only need a little bit of a room, a few different kettlebells of varying weight, and a healthy dose of mental toughness.  If you’re without kettlebells, a dumbbell turned lengthwise could be a good substitute…..or if you really want to get creative, you could always try our homemade water jug “kettlebell”.

How it Works: You’re going to alternate between combo 1 and combo 2 for 20 minutes (use a timer or be mindful of the clock).  Once you’ve finished this half, you’ll move on to combo 3 and combo 4 for the final 20 minutes.  That means 40 minutes of near non-stop work – if you’re not ready for that kind of challenge, feel free to scale things back to something more appropriate.  Do your best to only rest where indicated – this is important because maintaining an elevated heart rate is the key to maximizing your fat burning potential.

Combo 1 – Using lightest kettlebell.  Move to combo 2 after completing combo 1…

  • 15 kettlebell swings/5 burpees/15 kettlebell swings/rest 30 seconds, followed by
  • 12 kettlebell swings/5 tuck jumps/12 kettlbell swings/rest 30 seconds

Combo 2 – Using lightest kettlebell.  Back to combo 1 after completing combo 2…

  • 15 kettlebell swings/5 hindu push ups/15 kettbell swings
  • 12 kettlebell swings/8 mule kicks/12 kettlebell swings

Cycle between combo 1 and 2 for 20 minutes.  If the indicated 30 second rest breaks are too long for you, more power to you – cut them down and complete more total combos.

Combo 3 – Use middle weighted kettlebell.

  • 10 kettlebell swings/10 jumping jacks/10 kettlebell swings/rest 30 seconds, followed by
  • 8 kettlebell swings/5 Russian lunges/8 kettlebell swings/rest 30 seconds

Combo 4 – Use both the middle and heavy kettlebell.  Start with the heavy kettlebell and move to the light kettlebell when you can’t complete another kettlebell swing with the heavy kettlebell.  It’s important that you’re using a weight heavy enough that fatigue settles in right around the 5th or 6th rep.  If the weight is too light you defeat the purpose of this style of “strip set” training.

  • 5-8 kettlebell swings with heaviest,  followed by 10-15+ kettlebell swings with lightest/5 burpees/rest 30 seconds
  • 5-8 kettlebell swings with heaviest, followed by 10-15+ kettlebell swings with lightest/5 180 planks/rest 30 seconds

You’ll do the same with combo 3 and 4; repeat for 20 minutes total.  At the end, you’ll have just completed 40 minutes of one of the best and hardest workouts of your life.  By making what many consider the best total body exercise the focal point of this workout, you’ll give yourself a serious metabolism boosting, fat shredding challenge that easily assimilates with almost any workout plan.

Feel free to throw this workout into your total routine 1-2x a week for max effectiveness.  If you’ve got any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to get back to you.  Happy lifting!






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