Full body workout with just TWO moves: Top trainer with SPETZNAZ knowledge reveals kettlebell technique

Minimalist full body workout = 1 kettlebell + 2 exercises + 3 gallons of sweat

2-move full body workout kettlebell
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Believe it or not, this probably is the simplest full body kettlebell workout ever: you'll only need one kettlebell and some willpower to complete this routine. Much like the 10,000 swings kettlebell workout, this 2-move full body kettlebell workout uses compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously to cut down on workout time and maximise efficiency. Ready to get fit fast?

• The best kettlebell exercises you are NOT doing

The idea for this 2-move full body kettlebell workout came from Pavel Tsatsouline (opens in new tab), the man behind StrongFirst. He introduced SPETSNAZ training techniques from the former Soviet Union to US Navy SEALs workouts, as well as those of the Marines and other armed forces in the US. In an interview with Joe Rogan (opens in new tab), he mentioned his workout routine only consists of two exercises: kettlebell swings and dips.

How to do kettlebell swings correctly

Working out at home can save you lot of money but even the best home workout can take up time. This full body kettlebell workout uses only two exercises and one piece of home gym equipment. Use this 2-move wonder to get fit for 2021 and build muscle at home or in the gym, using only the best kettlebell you can find, and perseverance. 

What makes this 2-move full body kettlebell workout effective?

Why those two exercises? First of all, both of them are compound movements and use many muscles at the same time, unlike bicep curls, for example. They also work most muscles in your body: the kettlebell swing is essentially a barbell deadlift alternative that uses more explosive movement, while the bodyweight dip compliments the kettlebell swing perfectly as it works the triceps and the shoulders most.

• The best push up workouts for a big chest AND big arms: level up your press up workout with these tips

These two exercises also make Pavel's workout a super-simplified push-pull workout; it combines a pull movement, the swing, with a push movement, the dip. Our version puts a twist on this because not only we all want big arms and pecs, we also want to use the least amount of equipment and having a multi-gym equipped with a dip station is not considered minimalist, in our books anyway.

• 10,000 swings kettlebell challenge TESTED

So, instead of dips, we'll do push ups as they work the triceps, the core and the pecs perfectly, maximising the results in the shortest amount of time. In case you need to polish up your knowledge on pushups, take a look at out how to do push ups guide. Push ups are also just as good as bench press anyway, according to science.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite | Buy them for £110 at Vivobarefoot (opens in new tab)

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite | Buy them for £110 at Vivobarefoot (opens in new tab)
Minimalist workout shoes for a minimalist workout! The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite shoes puts you in control of the movement and stabilisation of your body. They are super flexible, breathable and ideal for workouts and walks too. More advanced users can even try running in them. Ross Edgely is a big fan of them (just sayin').

Warm up, cool down and nutrition

Efficient muscle building very much depends on eating correctly. During workouts, you overexert your muscles and in order to help them repair quickly, you'll need protein. This constant cycle of damaging, resting and repairing your muscles will eventually lead to muscle growth.

Protein should be supplied from a variety of sources including lean meat, fish, eggs, green vegetables, tofu, nuts and so on. Additionally, you can use protein powder shakes, beef/vegan jerky and protein bars to have some protein on the go or post-workout.

Neither kettlebell swings, nor push ups are beginner exercises so you'll need to warm up at least a little bit before you start your workout. You'll need your core to be engaged for both exercises so doing a few core exercises in advance can help. Doing a couple of the best core exercises is not essential but recommended. Shoulders definitely need warming up: resistance band lateral raises and squats are a great way to your heart pumped and joints mobilised.

After the workout, do some stretching to relax the muscles. Adding on a few cool down exercises are also a great way to burn extra calories: your heart rate is higher after working out so even stretching burns more calories than just being done on its own. Using a percussion massage gun, such as the Hyperice Hypervolt (opens in new tab), can shorten down the cooldown period significantly.

Theragun Elite Percussion Massager | Buy it for £375 at Theragun (opens in new tab)

Theragun Elite Percussion Massager | Buy it for £375 at Theragun (opens in new tab)
Theragun massagers have an ergonomic handle that lets you apply pressure to all areas of your body with ease. The Elite is also Bluetooth enabled, has an OLED screen and customisable speed range too. The Elite also has a 120-minute battery life. Deep tissue massage at its best!

How to perform this 2-move full body kettlebell workout

Depending on your fitness level and time you would like to spend exercising, do one exercise for 30-60 seconds with 15-30 seconds break in between exercises. For a good burn, try to do 3-4 rounds back to back plus a little warm up and cool down: that takes roughly 10 minutes.

If you want to make this workout time-efficient, perform the exercises back to back for 60 seconds (30 seconds of kettlebell swings followed by 30 seconds of push ups) then rest for 15-30 in between sets. Do it as many times as you can before fatigue sets in. Drink plenty of water before, during and after the workout.

To introduce some structure, you can try the ladder-method: gradually increasing the length of the exercising while reducing the length of the breaks.

(Image credit: Future)

Kettlebell swing

Start with your legs a little bit over shoulder with apart, kettlebell resting in between your legs, spine neutral, core engaged. Reach down and grab the kettlebell with both hands, keeping the back straight, bending the knees and holding your body balanced with your core, glutes and quads.

Swing the kettlebell back in between your legs and pull it up about chest high, keeping the back straight all the way through. It's paramount to keep your shoulders open as much as possible throughout the movement. Your hips function as a hinge and you rock back and forth on this hinge while the spine stays neutral. Let Eric Leija (opens in new tab) demonstrate this:

When you finished with the swings, set the kettlebell down correctly by swinging it back in between your legs one last time and as you swing it forward, you lean back slightly and place the bell down as the momentum stops. This takes some practice and be careful not to lean back too much as you can fall on your butt.

(Image credit: Future)

Push up

Starting position is arms extended and shoulder-width apart whilst you are facing the floor. Make sure your palms are directly under your shoulders on the floor. Core and glutes engaged, back straight. It is very important to keep the core engaged all the way through the full motion. Don't let your hip drop and 'sag in the middle' or push your bum out as you bend your elbows.

Another very important aspect of doing push ups is the position of the elbows. Don't let them stick out, keep them tucked in a 45-degree angle. Bringing them closer would work the triceps more, flaring them out is just bad form.

Focus on the muscles you want to work throughout the exercise, not just on the way up but also as you lower your body. Keeping the muscles under tension for longer means they are worked harder and harder work, as we all know, will deliver results quicker.

T3's how-to exercise guides

Matt Kollat
Fitness Editor

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other content creators in the past, such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab). When he isn't working out, he loves roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment, including microphones, cameras and more.