This 12-Minute Upper Body Kettlebell Workout Will Quite Literally Destroy You

This brutal upper body and core kettlebell HIIT workout will burn body fat and build muscle like nobody's business.

Image: @primal.swoledier

If you’re not already aware of HIIT workouts, then where have you been? These High-Intensity Interval Training workouts sure do burn when you’re performing them, but they bring serious rewards. They help you to burn a shedload of calories and can help you build muscle at the same time. And the best part? You only need to perform one for around 20 minutes.

That said, this upper body and core kettlebell workout, courtesy of Onnit athlete Eric Leija, takes only 12 minutes and will quite literally destroy you… In a good way.

Eric’s circuit comprises just four movements, but you need to perform them for 40 seconds each for a total of 6 sets. Don’t worry, you get 20 seconds of rest in between each exercise and a further 60 seconds rest in between sets. So there’s plenty of time to catch your breath.

Eric’s upper body kettlebell workout includes the following moves:

  • Push up to bear crawl renegade row: Get into a push-up position and grip a kettlebell in each hand. Perform a push-up as normal and when back in the starting position, bring your feet forward and slightly bend your knees to get into a bear crawl pose. Now, row each kettlebell (separately) up towards your chest. Focus on dragging your elbow up towards the sky to help.
  • V-sit to elbow to knee: A serious core burner, perform a V-sit – lie on your back and raise your upper body and legs into the air so that you perform a V shape, keeping your arms and legs straight. To help, inhale before you perform the V-sit and exhale as you perform. Once you have done this, bring one knee to a right angle and raise your upper body off the ground. With your hands behind your ears, twist your body so that the opposite elbow meets the knee.
  • Double arm kettlebell American swing to push press: This is a serious full body exercise. Holding a kettlbell in each hand, bend your knees slightly and hinge at the hips. Drive yourself forward to swing both kettlebells up and above your head, with your arms straight. The power should come from thrusting your hips forward, as opposed to using your arms to drag the kettlebells up.
    Return to the starting position and perform a push press. Bend your knees again to get into a slight squat position. Hold the kettlebells at around shoulder height and as you push up with your legs to get into a standing position, drive the kettlebells up above your head.
  • Sit throughs: Sit throughs may look easy, but they’re actually rather difficult. Eric performs his by keeping just one hand planted on the ground, but if you’re new to them, you can perform them whilst keeping both hands on the ground. Essentially, with a hand on the ground, you want to twist your body so that it’s facing away from that hand. Eric’s version is more advanced in that he twists his entire body round, as opposed to just kicking a leg through, so just perform yours to a level you’re comfortable with.

Complete all four exercises for a total of 6 sets and you’ve got yourself a serious muscle-building HIIT workout. Well, if you survive, that is. Good luck.

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