Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, working with kettlebells can be a game changer for your strength, muscle, and cardiovascular health.
Implementing a strategic workout training split can optimise your kettlebell training sessions for maximal efficiency and the best results.
This blog post explores the best workout training splits for kettlebell training to assist you in designing the ideal regimen.
Choosing Your Kettlebell Training Frequency
When deciding upon a workout split for kettlebell training, a critical aspect to consider is how frequently you can realistically commit to exercising on a weekly basis.
Your availability, fitness level, and personal health needs are all factors that contribute to deciding your weight training session frequency.
Firstly, assess your weekly schedule and ascertain the number of days you can dedicate to your workout program, considering the importance of rest days for muscle recovery and growth.
Be realistic with your estimation, and remember it’s better to start with fewer sessions and add more as your fitness progresses.
Secondly, consider your current fitness level. As a beginner, you might find a full-body workout to be sufficient for your needs and choose a full-body split that requires 3-4 weight training days per week.
More advanced fitness enthusiasts might opt for a Push-pull-legs split that covers 6 days a week, allowing more volume for the different muscle groups or body parts.
Lastly, remember to factor in flexibility. Life’s unexpected demands might require altering your training program schedule from time to time.
Choose a split that you can adhere to most consistently, even if your schedule becomes a bit unpredictable.
Adopt a workout split that balances fitness goals, recovery time, and life demands. Whether you’re resistance training three days a week or six, consistency is the key to reaching your fitness goals with kettlebell training.
1. Full-Body Split: Ideal for Beginners
The full-body split is an excellent choice for individuals new to kettlebell training or those seeking a 3-4 times per week workout schedule.
By incorporating kettlebell exercises targeting the major muscle groups, you’ll efficiently engage your whole body in each session.
This workout split focuses on major multi-joint movements promoting muscle tissue growth and cardiovascular fitness.
Full-Body Kettlebell Routine
Perform this routine on alternate days, e.g. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, allowing for rest time and recovery.
Here’s a straightforward example that uses the four different movement patterns:
- Two-handed Kettlebell Swing: A key exercise that targets your posterior chain, including the glutes, hips, hamstrings, and back.
- Single Arm Row (each side): Develop back and rear shoulder strength by supporting your body weight on a sturdy surface like a bench and rowing the kettlebell towards your ribcage.
- Goblet Squat: Holding a kettlebell close to your chest, you’ll engage your legs, hips, glutes and core with this powerful conditioning move.
- Overhead Press (each side): Press the kettlebell overhead with control to focus on the shoulder and triceps muscles.
2. Upper-Lower Split: Train Different Body Parts Individually
Perfect for those who can dedicate 4-6 workouts per week, the upper-lower split alternates between targeting the upper and lower body.
This method allows for more detailed attention to individual muscle groups, leading to balanced muscle development.
Upper-Lower Kettlebell Routine
Split your training program into either 6 days per week, alternating and taking one day off, or 4 days like the following:
Upper Body Day (Monday and Thursday)
- Kettlebell Halos: Encircling your head with the kettlebell, this dynamic movement strengthens the shoulders and improves joint mobility.
- Kettlebell Overhead Press: This exercise enhances shoulder strength and stability when pressing the kettlebell overhead.
- Kettlebell Bent Over Row: By rowing the kettlebell towards your chest, you’ll target the major muscles in your back and biceps.
Lower Body Day (Tuesday and Friday)
- Kettlebell Lunge: Strengthens the legs, hips and glutes and requires good balance, flexibility and coordination.
- Kettlebell Squats: Holding one or two kettlebells at your chest, this variation of the classic squat emphasises your lower body muscle groups.
- Kettlebell Deadlift: Mimicking a traditional deadlift with either one leg or one arm, the kettlebell version strengthens your hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
Note: On Upper Body days, you will want to include horizontal and vertical pulling and pushing exercises.
So the addition of some bodyweight exercises, including Pull Ups and Push Ups, would contribute to a more rounded program.
3. Push-Pull-Legs Split: For Intermediate to Advanced Kettlebell Users
The push-pull-legs split is an effective workout structure for experienced kettlebell enthusiasts.
This layout splits the workout sessions into push, pull, and leg days, which allows for even greater muscle group focus and overall volume.
Push-Pull-Legs Kettlebell Routine
Organise your workouts into a 6-day split as follows:
Push Day (Monday and Thursday)
- Overhead Push Press: Perform the overhead press with a slight bend of the knees to enable you to avoid the bottom sticking point.
- Kettlebell Floor Press: Lying on the floor, press the kettlebell up to engage your chest and triceps muscles.
- Push-up with Kettlebell Transfer: Add an extra challenge to traditional push-ups by placing one hand on the kettlebell and alternating sides.
Pull Day (Tuesday and Friday)
- Renegade Row: Strengthen your back, biceps and core all in one exercise.
- Kettlebell High Pull: By pulling the kettlebell up to your shoulders, you’ll focus on the muscles in your upper back and shoulders.
- Single-Arm Row: Develop back and bicep strength with this rowing movement.
Legs Day (Wednesday and Saturday)
- Kettlebell Swing: This dynamic movement is excellent for developing lower-body strength and cardiovascular fitness.
- Kettlebell Pistol Squat: Intensify the squat by holding a kettlebell near your chest for added balance and performing a one-legged squat variation.
- Kettlebell Lunge: Perform lunges while holding a kettlebell to work on your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Best Workout Training Splits for Different Fitness Goals
Each workout split has unique attributes and advantages, making some more appropriate for specific fitness goals than others.
a. Muscle Gain
For those building muscle mass, you have a few options depending on how many times per week you can exercise.
Most importantly, you should focus on proper form and progressive overload, adding more reps and heavier weights over time.
Always allow enough time for recovery between muscle groups.
- Push-Pull-Legs Split: Provides the opportunity to use isolation exercises to target individual muscle groups with higher volume and intensity, ensuring hypertrophy and muscle growth. (6 workouts per week)
- Full-Body Split: Perform full body workouts 3-4 times per week, altering exercises within each session. This approach allows you to provide adequate stimulation for muscle growth while maintaining sufficient rest periods between workouts for recovery.
- Upper-Lower Body Split: Schedule 4-6 workouts per week, alternating between upper and lower body exercises. Rotating between exercises within each session prevents overtraining and allows the muscles to recover properly.
If your goal is to increase overall strength, a combination of upper-lower body split and full body is one of the most effective ways.
Both splits offer focused training on large muscle groups, allowing you to prioritise areas needing improvement.
Care must be taken not to overload the nervous system, and active recovery days or total rest days are vital.
- Upper-Lower Body Split: Enables a concentrated strength training session on individual upper and lower body muscle groups. (4 workouts per week)
- Full-Body Split: Focusing on the big compound exercises, which translates to strength gains. (3-4 workouts per week)
c. Fat Loss
To lose body fat, burning more calories than you consume is essential. Kettlebell workouts can effectively achieve this weight-loss goal thanks to their compound movements and cardiovascular elements.
Full-body splits offer high-intensity sessions that can initiate fat-burning. You should eat a healthy diet with proper nutrition and maintain a calorie deficit to achieve your weight loss goals.
- Full-Body Split: Engages your entire body in each session, emphasising multi-joint movements that elevate your heart rate and burn calories. (3-5 workouts per week)
d. Overall Fitness
The full-body split is an excellent choice for those focusing on improving their overall fitness.
The full-body workout maximises functional strength, muscle balance, and cardiovascular fitness by engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
The best way to organise your workout session is by using circuit training and different types of exercises.
- Full-Body Split: Offers full-body workouts that promote general fitness, strength, and a balanced physique, making it suitable for beginners and those looking for a well-rounded exercise routine. (3-4 workouts per week)
Whether you want to increase strength, tone up, or enhance your fitness, implementing kettlebells into your workout schedule can help you achieve your goals.
By following these training splits, you can get the most out of your kettlebell workouts, ensuring a balanced exertion of effort while encouraging rest and recovery.
Remember, always listen to your body and adjust your routine as needed.