Beginner’s Workout Class – Kettlebells and Body Weight

by Marianne  - May 23, 2011


As promised I am returning to the class-style format for my video today. Following the feedback from the last one, I am focusing only on making this a beginners workout with kettlebells and body weight. That means that all instruction will be geared towards the one level. The only modifications will be how to regress the exercises, which is also important to note 🙂

The exercises are pretty straight-forward and should be practiced before you begin the workout to ensure you understand the movements. Then, when you are happy with the exercises, you may participate in the workout. I reinforce the teaching points and direction throughout the workout and, I made a whole separate video to clarify what my points mean. It wasn’t meant to be a long video, but I clearly have no sense of time – especially when I start talking LOL! Anyway, I hope you will take the time to watch the first video just so you all understand the importance of my repetitive cues.

Remembering back to when I was a beginner and now by observing others, it is clear that one of the main issues, beyond issues with strength, are problems co-ordinating basic movements when exercising.  Having clear direction and reinforcement throughout this video should go a long way in helping you improve this and remember them the next time you perform the exercise.

In a bid to keep things simple, I decided on 5 basic exercises that will allow you to get a full body workout experience and keep the workout between 10 – 20 minutes (depending on how many rounds you choose to do).

Workout Breakdown

Warm up first for 5 – 10 minutes.

Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 5 cycles of 30 seconds rest and 30 seconds effort. Aim to complete one full round of the following 5 exercises before having a longer break (maybe while you reset the video), then repeat the workout the desired amount of times for your fitness level. The exercises below use a mixture of body weight and Kettlebells:

  1. *Kettlebell Goblet Squat to Press
  2. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing
  3. Diagonal Knee Tuck
  4. Kettlebell Bent Over Alternating Row
  5. Dynamic Squat

After you have finished, then please remember to cool down.

* For those who are completely new to exercise, I would recommend doing either a body weight squat or only the Goblet Squat for this exercise, as the Combo of the two exercises requires a lot more core stability. Just build this exercise up.  It is a good beginners exercise, but requires some exercise experience.

What is this workout good for?

As a beginner it is important to practice a foundation of movements before progressing the weight or the difficulty.  By ingraining good movement patterns, you will become better at moving day to day and become stronger.  Each exercise will in some way help you to improve mobility, strength, posture, core stability, flexibility, while building your speed, co-ordination and cardiovascular fitness.  As a result you will end up burning more calories and have more energy and stamina for other activities. Adding this type of workout into your weekly routine can potentially help you burn unwanted fat.  I say “potentially” burn fat, as this factor is highly dependent on how much you eat.

What weight should you start with?

If you have never used weights before then:

Females – 6kg – 10kg

Males – 8kg – 12kg

If you have used weights before:

Females – 8kg – 14kg

Males – 12kg – 16kg

This is just a rough guide. I would actually recommend trying a weight before buying, so you have realistic expectations of how it feels.

As always, I appreciate any feedback you have on this workout, this set-up and your progress to date. veterans are also welcome to join in this workout 🙂 As I said, I did this same workout myself, 6 rounds of 20/40 intervals, and it was just what I needed, after feeling very run-down and coldy all week.

Remember the competition… let this inspire you

Enjoy this workout and I’ll be back soon.




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Gina, Gee You Challenged ME! Kettlebell Workout | Body Weight Workout

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  1. Hi Marianne,

    I recently just discovered your website and I learn a lot from your blog posts and articles. I just stopped taking formal KB lessons and your website is a big help in polishing what I have learned then and learning new techniques to aid in my workouts. For this workout, what will be a good number of reps per move as a beginner? I’m trying to plan out my exercises per day so it will be a great help if could answer my question. Thanks!

    Much love from the Philippines,


    1. Hey,

      I recommend doing as many good reps as you can. If you find that your reps (except in the swing) are always higher than say 15, then I would consider an increase in the weight you use.

      Each time you do the workout, simply try and beat your score. Eventually you can play about with intensity and advancing the exercises, but trying to do more reps is good for now 🙂

      Hope this helps.


  2. Hello Marianne

    I am very over weight, and have just bought a Kettle BEll. I love this work out, as it is simple and I can do most of the excercises.
    I want to improve me core strength and also burn fat. How many times a week should I seriously be working out and for how long? I have been doing at least 20 mins each day- but could do more.

    Thank you for all the time an effort that you put into your blog and videos, I really appreciate your warmth and sincerity that shines through.

    best wishes

    1. Hi Jo, thank you for you comment 🙂

      I would say that for a beginner, you could start with 3 x 30 minute workouts like this and 2 days of moderate activity like hill walking, cycling or yoga, then 2 days recovery (active recovery, like housework etc). The thing to remember when you are just starting out is not to do too much too soon. Even though you are keen, you need recovery time for your muscles in between days doing a new type of training. Gradually you can increase the intensity of the KB workouts and increase the weights that you use, but recovery is always important. Just go on how you feel. Some weeks I can train every day and be fine, but other times (depending on other stresses) I need more time to rest. These weeks do me the world of good 🙂

      It’s great that you have started this journey, and I am sure you will notice great changes in yourself 😀

  3. Hi Marianne,

    Thanks so much for this. I’ve followed your site for a while now. However I was only ever able to do your body weight workouts. Kbs are finally available at the sporting goods store (happy dance) and I bought my first one today. This workout I shall attempt tomorrow first thing. Hopefully after a few sessions with a trainer here to perfect my form, which I kinda think is everything with kbs, I will finally be able to fully incorporate your workouts into my schedule. I just completed a full-on cardio programme yeah and while I am liking the changes it’s brought me, I think kb training will take me to that next level of more functional strength. So cheers to you for providing this forum for me to follow.


    1. That’s great Ana!! You are absolutely right that form is EVERYTHING, when it comes to training of any sort. One you master the Body Weight basics, then adding extra resistance is the key to pushing your strength, conditioning and perfomance forward and seeing great changes to your body and mind 😀

      Look forward to hearing how you get on!


      1. Hi Marianne,

        Just did 3 rounds jogging in between exercises and I am pouring. Thanks for this. Shall aim for 5 rounds next go round. Going to do some yoga now to stretch.


        1. Good thinking to jog for active rest! 5 rounds will be a great goal for next time. I think if you keep setting daily or weekly short-term goals, they are stepping stones to your destination and make it all more fun 🙂


    2. Hi Marianne,

      3 passes through the above circuit today. I am going to build up to 3 times per week and 6 passes through. So for this week it will be 2 workouts with 3 passes through. Kettlebells are a big change from bands. They feel so different, I can’t really put my finger on it only that I like the feeling. Can you activate my forum handle,tech1960ps, please.


      1. Hey Paul, it’s great to see you are really getting into it 😀 Just what I like to read !

        Your forum account is now active btw, thanks.


        1. Hi Marianne,

          3 times through today, tried 15 seconds of jumping jacks between sets with 1 min and 45 rest. I am aiming for 30 seconds of rest between sets. The other 1 min and 30 secs will eventually be active rest, jumping jacks or high knee running in place with up to 6 passes through the circuit. I think I should be able to do 6 passes through in 6 months.

          My other workouts are going to be tabata or minute drills. I am going to drop the slow cardio. I hope to see better results with my fat loss.


  4. Hi Marianne,

    Thanks for posting your videos. As a new guy to kettlebell training I find them very useful.
    Today was my first day using a 35lb kettlebell for your beginner workout. I only managed 2 passes through and really enjoyed it.
    It is great for me to use while I am learning more lifts and to help me build up my strength and fitness.
    I can only learn lifts from vids and youtube as I only live in a small town in a isolated part of Canada.
    I am learning the lifts from Steve Cotter’s encyclopedia of kettlebell lifting which will take me some time to work through and your youtube vids.
    I am looking forward to progressing with my fitness and working through more of your videos.


    1. Thank you Paul, glad you for stopping by 🙂 Steve’s series is excellent, what a guy!!

      Well done for using the 35lb for this, glad you had fun! I really must add another Class-Workout soon 🙂


  5. Marianne,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. Just got done, followed your directions exactly. Set the timer at 30/30, used 15 lbs ( about 7 kg I guess) and did 5 rounds with no breaks. I went low on the KB weight because I am just starting to get into the swing again and wanted to be able to concentrate on form. I have been struggling with some off the others and always have to make some modifications. This routine gave me some confidence back. I loved it! No problems felt like a good work out after it was done. So my question, I know I have more in me. So do I increase the effort time/decrease rest first or increase the weight? Trying both for weight loss and to increase strength and tone the glutes.
    Again thanks, this is going to be my wake up routine a few times a week for a few weeks because it is so easy to squeeze it in before work in the morning.

    1. You’re welcome Fran, I am glad that this worked for you and you are feeling more confident.

      The best thing for you to do, to see which progression you are ready for is to try a round with the same time but heavier weight and a round with the lighter weight but longer time. If both are still too easy, then increase the weight and the time and find that “place” where you feel challenged. Because you have already done this workout, you will be familiar with it and will have more confidence to increase the weight now with these exercises. At this stage, there is no “better way” to progress as you will need to build on your strength and endurance, so find that level where you get enough of a challenge. Play about with it and see. Also, I think it depends on your mood – because sometimes I want heavier weights, but other times I just want a conditioning burn without having to put more strength effort in.

      I hope hope hope this helps 🙂


  6. Dearest Marianne

    Thank you so much for the time you have taken to do this beginner style workout programme. This is my very first time leaving a comment even though I have been following your workouts for some time. Well…I say follow but most often I choose a few of your kettlebell exercises to slot into my workouts. Mostly though I just end up feeling completely intimidated by your workouts as I just can’t keep up…I know I am a complete wimp…I’m a naturally lazy person and have to really work hard to get myself motivated. I just wanted to let you know that since I began to workout using your advise I have seen a definate increase in my upper body strength – especially shoulders and I have been able to do pushups also…its taken me two years to get strong enough to do just one! (I was very unfit and quite overweight when I first started my fitness journey) I still can’t even do a single pullup! Thank you so much for putting up these simple style workouts for a fitness dummy like me.



    1. Hey Harry,

      Thank you for commenting. Never feel like a fitness dummy or be intimidated by my other workouts, everyone starts out as a beginner and very few beginners are lucky enough to have the correct advice and support to make any sustainable progress. Laziness may just be lack of confidence – so stick with it and you will soon make that pull up 🙂 Just look back at how far you have some, not how far you still have to go.

      I am glad that it workout appealed to you and got you to comment. If you need any assistance, just give me a shout 🙂


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