Whether you’re planning to train to build muscle, burn fat, hone your athleticism and movement, or all of the above, you really only need one tool: a kettlebell. When some gym implements are specialized to the point that they have just one single use, versatility is an invaluable trait for those looking for the most bang for their buck. That’s one of the reasons why kettlebells were one of the most sought after pieces of fitness gear when gyms shut down for the Covid-19 pandemic. You can do a whole lot with just one tool.

The kettlebell has risen from a post-Soviet curio and cult fitness item in the late ’90s to the strength and conditioning staple it is today because of that wide range of uses—and because you can make your workouts more of a free-flowing affair than a staid regimen of standard lifts. Swings, cleans, snatches, and more are readily available after only a little technique work, all thanks to the kettlebell’s unique design and placement of the handle and weight.

We don’t think you should totally ditch your barbells, dumbbells, and machines for good to replace them with kettlebells, but if you want to add some more fun and versatility to your workout plan, try the Men’s Health 30-Day Kettlebell Challenge. The unique characteristics of the implement make it the perfect candidate for an extra-focused program, and whether you’re a kettlebell master or you’re just picking up a bell for the first time, you’ll find it worth your while.

If you have a single kettlebell, that’s all you need to build total-body power and core strength and add muscle where you want it. The key to all of this is learning the right moves. You’ll spend this month learning and mastering a handful of exercises that can easily be combined into total-body workouts, and you’ll do it in a few minutes every day.

Tack these moves onto the end of your workouts each day—or even use them as a standalone routine—for 30 days to explore movement patterns and build strength, power, and more mobility than you think. Need a kettlebell? Check our picks for the best available here.

Half-Kneeling Exercises

Single-Arm Swing

▼ Clean

▼ Snatch

▼ Windmill

▼ Snatch to Windmill

▼ Swing to Snatch

Lower Body Focus

▼ Kettlebell Swing

▼ Staggered-Stance Swing

▼ Step-Change Swing

▼ Swing to Squat

▼ Swing to Squat to Alternating Reverse Lunge

Core Focus

▼ 3-Step Getup

▼ 3-Step Getup to Hover

▼ Hover Windmill

▼ Hover Windmill to Double-Tap

▼ Windmill

▼ Snatch to Windmill

The Program/Weekly Structure

WEEK 1:

Master the Kettlebell Swing to build lower-body power and core strength. Start with the swing and progress to swing-and-squat combos.

Day 1: Kettlebell Swing:

3 sets of 10 reps, rest 40 seconds between each. For hip power.

Day 2: Staggered-Stance Swing:

4 sets of 10 reps, rest 40 seconds between each. Hip/glute power from a more athletic position.

Day 3: Staggered-Stance Swing:

4 sets of 10 reps, rest 40 seconds between each. Hip/glute power from a more athletic position.

Day 4: Step-Change Swing:

3 40-second sets. Rest 40 seconds between each. Introduce more coordination.

Day 5: Step-Change Swing:

3 40-second sets. Rest 40 seconds between each. Repeat to continue mastering the pattern.

Day 6: Swing to Squat:

3 sets of 8 for the whole flow. Rest 40 seconds between each. Blending Squat and hinge patterns.

Day 7: Swing to Squat:

3 sets of 10 for the whole flow. Rest 40 seconds between each. Continue grooving pattern.

WEEK 2:

Build upper-body strength (and core strength too) with these half-kneeling moves. And yes—your glutes will still work.

Day 1: Half-kneeling single-arm swing:

3 sets of 10 per side. Rest 30 seconds between each set.

Day 2: Half-Kneeling Clean:

3 sets of 10 per side. Rest 30 seconds between each set.

Day 3: Half-Kneeling Clean:

3 sets of 10 per side. Rest 30 seconds between each.

Day 4: Half-Kneeling Snatch:

3 sets of 8 per side. Rest 30 seconds between each.

Day 5: Half-Kneeling Snatch:

3 sets of 8 per side, rest 30 seconds between each.

Day 6: Swing to Snatch:

3 sets of 6 per side, rest 30 seconds between each.

Day 7: Swing to Snatch:

3 sets of 6 per side, rest 30 seconds between each.

WEEK 3:

Explore kettlebell core moves that will challenge your abs, shoulders, really your entire body. After two weeks of power, this week is about body control and tension.

Day 1: 3-Step Getup:

3 sets of 8 reps per side. Rest as needed between sets.

Day 2: Windmill:

3 sets of 8 reps per side. Rest as needed between sets.

Day 3: Windmill:

3 sets of 8 reps per side. Rest as needed between sets.

Day 4: Hover Windmill:

3 sets of 6 reps per side. Rest as needed between sets.

Day 5: Hover Windmill:

3 sets of 6 reps per side. Rest as needed between sets.

Day 6: 3-Step Getup to Hover:

3 sets of 6 reps per side. Rest as needed between sets

Day 7: Snatch to Windmill:

3 sets of 6 reps per side. Rest as needed between sets.

WEEK 4:

Combination Flows. Take the kettlebell moves you’ve been working for the last three weeks to the next level with these flows.

Day 1: Swing to squat:

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 40 off

Day 2: Swing to Squat to Reverse Lunge:

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 40 off

Day 3: Swing to Squat to Reverse Lunge:

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 40 off

Day 4: Snatch to Windmill:

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 40 off per side

Day 5: Snatch to Windmill:

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 40 off per side

Day 6: Hover Windmill to Double Tap:

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 40 off per side

Day 7: Hover Windmill to Double-Tap:

3 sets of 40 seconds on, 40 off per side

WEEK 5:

Challenge Flows. For the last two days, we’ll combine several flows from the last few weeks, creating total-body flows that deliver muscle-building, conditioning, and coordination challenges.

Day 1: Staggered Stance Swing to Swing to Squat:

3 sets of 30 seconds on, 30 off per side

Day 2: Half-Kneeling Swing to Snatch to Hover Windmill Double-Tap:

3 sets of 3 reps per side. Rest as needed

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