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Interval Training With Kettlebells

Updated on November 1, 2011

Interval Training with Kettlebells

The kettlebell can be a beast of a training implement and lends it’s self perfectly to interval training for building supreme physical endurance.

There are many kettlebell exercises that are great for interval training, the king of all of these is the kettlebell swing a close second is the kettlebell snatch. The reason is quite simply that the swing is the most simple to execute of the 2 exercises, but great gains can be made using both.

Also, the clean and press or clean and jerk can also be utilized to great effect. Whichever kettlebell exercise (or exercises) you decide to use for your interval training, only hard consistent work will see you benefit and push through plateaus in your physical fitness.

Kettlebell Training by itself with no other physical exercise is a very valid form of exercise. If you only did kettlebell snatch or kettlebell swing you’d have a fairly well balanced workout.

Below are some examples of interval training using kettlebells

Kettlebell Interval 1

Intervals for reps – intervals don’t have to be for time they can also be for reps and time. If you have some idea of your fitness levels and capabilities with your chosen exercise then you should know what you cadence should be.

There are unlimited formats that you could choose to perform here are some ideas:

5 reps on 10 secs off/15 secs off/20 secs off/30 secs off (choose one rest period)

10 reps on 10 secs off/15 secs off/20 secs off/30 secs off (choose one rest period)

As you can see there are endless options, choose your rep range and rest period, you also need to decide on the amount of rounds you’re doing. 5, 10, 15….. if your fitness is low then 5 rounds would be a good starting point. Make sure you note down your performances in a log (or on a blog if you wish to publish and make your training more meaningful)

Note also that the weight of the kettlebell doesn’t have to be light to do intervals you can do low rep/high weight intervals.

Kettlebell Interval 2

A classic kettlebell interval is 15 secs on 15 secs off for as many intervals as possible, again progression is the key here. Aim to increase duration over a period of weeks. This type of interval would be best timedwith the superb Gymboss Interval Timer to ensure accuracy of your interval workout and generally make it easier to concentrate on your interval and not worry about timing it!

Other variations could be 20:20, 25:25, 30:30, 36:36 60:60 (use your imagination, you could also reduce the rest times if you so wish)

Kettlebell Interval 3

One word – TABATA.

The tabata workout is a much dreaded interval workout and potentially one of the hardest you may ever do. Simply put, Tabata involves doing 20 secs of work (all out/no pacing yourself just 100% effort) followed by 10 secs of rest - done for 4 minutes. So that would be 8 sets of work.

The basis of the tabata interval is all out effort. Kettlebell snatch and kettlebell swing are perfect for this type of interval (you could apply this to any exercise such as squats, the original exercise this was invented for was the stationary bike, so use your imagination if you need some variance)


20:10, 20:10, 20:10, 20:10, 20:10, 20:10, 20:10, 20:10 (4 mins)

If you are struggling for time available to train and have the guts, tabata intervals could be just the ticket for you. You could even do double, triple or quadruple sets if you are mad enough.

Although we have only covered some simple kettlebell intervals here, you could put these ideas to good use and create your own by adding exercises, alternating exercise and playing around with work, rest and volume of your session.

Any kettlebell exercise could be used, here are a few to whet your appetite




Clean and press


Turkish Get Up



Goblet Squats


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