Simple and Effective 15-Minute “Ladder” Kettlebell Workout for Beginners

Kettlebells offer the chance to work several muscle groups at the same time. Combine a few exercises together in a circuit, and you have yourself an easy way to burn calories and tone muscle.

The following kettlebell workout routine incorporates low-impact movements for a quick muscle-toning workout that can be done nearly anywhere. As long as you have a kettlebell or two handy!

The beauty of this uncomplicated 15-minute workout is that it’s anything but easy. You’re going to work through a series of 5 different exercises combined in a circuit.

The beginner’s kettlebell routine described below is going to incorporate a ladder approach to training. A ladder is where you start out with low reps on your first round of the 5 exercises. Then, with little rest, you’ll progressively increase the reps as you move up the ladder.

The Exercises:

Here are the movements you’ll be incorporating into the ladder and a basic description of how to perform each.

Kettlebell Deadlifts

Kettlebell Deadlifts

  1. Spread your legs shoulder-width apart with a kettle in-between them.
  2. Bend at the legs, back straight and grab the kettlebell with both hands.
  3. Lift the kettlebell to the top position using your legs.

Kettlebell Swings


  1. Assume the same position as you did in the first step of the deadlifts.
  2. Lift the kettlebell to knee height with your back straight. Then swing the kettlebell back between your legs until your forearms touch your inner thighs.
  3. Next, with arms straight – swing the weight up to eye level.

Goblet Squats


  1. Lift the kettlebell up to chest level by placing your hands on the side of the handle. Keep the weight tight to your chest to avoid back strain.
  2. Squat down below parallel with your feet shoulder width or slightly shoulder-width apart
  3. Return to the starting position without allowing your knees to lock out.

Bent Row

Kettlebell Bent Row

  1. Hold the kettlebell with both hands on the top of the handle, bend your knees slightly and bend your torso to a 45-degree angle.
  2. With your arms extended to the bottom position, lift the kettlebell until the handle touches the bottom of your chest.
  3. Lower the weight slowly and repeat.

Push Presses


Note: If you can, hold a kettlebell in each hand to work both sides evenly. If this isn’t possible, alternate from one arm to the next to get your total reps (i.e., 4 reps with one arm, then 4 with the other).

  1. Hold the kettlebell or kettlebells at shoulder level with legs spread at shoulder-width.
  2. Bend knees slightly into a quarter-squat then push the weight overhead as you come up.
  3. Return to bottom position without resting and repeat.

Incorporate the Exercises into the Ladder

  • Round 1: Complete 4 reps of each of the 5 exercises described above.
  • Round 2: Rest for no more than a minute, then double the reps on each exercise to 8 reps each.
  • Round 3: Once again, with little rest, complete 12 reps of each exercise.
  • Round 4: Finish climbing the ladder by performing another circuit of 16 reps this time.
  • Round 5: Now it’s time to descend the ladder, go back down to 12 reps for each exercise this round.
  • Round 6: Scale back to 8 reps for an entire circuit.
  • Round 7: Tired yet? You’re almost there. Just 4 reps for each exercise this round and you’re done!

Until you actually do it, the workout might seem easy. After this 15-minute workout is finished, you’ll not just be glad you did it, but also relieved you’re done for the day!

Recommended Weights:

  • 10 – 20 pounds for women.
  • 20 – 40 pounds for men.

Use too much weight too soon and you’ll regret it the next day!

Make Each Workout a Challenge

Choose weights that are challenging, but that also allow you to get through the entire workout. As you progress, don’t be afraid to raise the poundages appropriately and/or add in different exercises as you learn them.

Simple and Effective 15-Minute “Ladder” Kettlebell Workout for Beginners

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