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The Top 10 Kettlebell Tabata Workouts To Build Muscle, And Endurance

 Written by 

Mauro Castillo

 Last updated on 

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Tabata training was popularized in the late ’90s by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata. After it was presented to the world, everything about intermittent training changed for the better and forever. Up to this date, it remains one of the most utilized training methods for different sports and conditioning programs.

Tabata training is effective on its own, but when you add weights (i.e. kettlebells) to the exercises, it becomes a fantastic tool for fitness. This article will show you the top 10 kettlebell Tabata workouts to build muscle and endurance, so make sure to bookmark this one because you might come back several times!

A man at the gym preparing himself for his kettlebell tabata session
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What Are Tabata Workouts?

Tabata workouts are intermittent training (like HIIT, and Fartlek), first created in the late ’90s by the Japanese exercise scientist Izumi Tabata (1.) Tabata training is defined as training at the intensity that exhausts subjects during the 7th or 8th sets of 20-s bicycle exercise bouts with a 10-s rest between the exercise bouts (2.)

Although it was originally designed for bicycle training, it became a method for various exercises due to its practicality and low time consumption. Today you can find these 4-minute workouts in training methodologies like CrossFit, Bodybuilding, and Sports and Conditioning programs.

A man lifting kettlebells during his kettlebell tabata sessions
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Top 10 Kettlebell Tabata Workouts For Muscle And Endurance

Kettlebells are fantastic tools for full-body, fat-blasting workouts. They are easy to learn, safe, and fun to mix into multiple variations. Before we dive into the kettlebell workouts, consider these tips:

– Choose a weight you can handle with a proper technique.

– Adjust the intensity to your fitness level. If you feel you can go harder, go harder, and vice versa. 

– Maintain a proper form. Keep a tall chest, and be explosive with your hips.

– Honor the work/rest intervals. 

– Each workout format has a total duration of 4 minutes, which equals eight 20s/10s intervals.

Use this timer to keep track of the time automatically. 

And without anything further to add, let’s give these quick-yet-brutal workouts a try! 

1) Kettlebell Swing + Core

This Tabata will focus on building your core muscles’ endurance. The kettlebell swing will work on your posterior chain muscles (low back, glutes, hamstrings, and trapezius), while the hollow rocks will target your rectus abdominus, obliques, and transversal abdominus.

Expect the muscle fatigue to build up quickly with this one.

1Kettlebell Swing20s
2Hollow Rocks20s

Repeat this sequence until you hit the 8th interval. If you feel like you can give it a second round, wait a few minutes and go at it. After you’re done, spend some time cooling down properly to minimize the risk of injury. 

2) Kettlebell Goblet Squat + Yoga Push-Up

A woman doing yoga push-ups during her kettlebell tabata training
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This intense workout will focus on building your quads, glutes, shoulders, and chest. The combination of the goblet squat + push-ups will quickly take your shoulders to the limit. Remember to set your feet shoulder width or wider for the squat and keep an upright torso.

1Kettlebell Goblet Squat20s
2Yoga Push-Up20s

Remember to continue until you get to eight intervals. Feel free to repeat the workout a couple of times if you feel like it. Enjoy the pump! 

3) Kettlebell Snatch + Shoulder Taps

The kettlebell snatch + shoulder taps workout is perfect for shoulder conditioning. Both movements require shoulder mobility and stability to yield better results. If you’ve recently experienced any type of shoulder pain, try to adjust accordingly. Choose a lighter weight, and avoid hitting muscle failure. 

You don’t want to risk hurting your shoulder joint because of incorrect form or heavier loads. Having said that, these kettlebell exercises should be part of your routine if you’re healthy and want to build that shoulder endurance. Have fun!

1Alternating Kettlebell Snatch20s switching arms between reps.
2Shoulder Taps20s

Repeat these two intervals four times until you finish the 8th, and stay true to the rest periods! 

4) Kettlebell Deadlift + Biceps Curl

This Tabata workout is terrific for strengthening your pulling muscles like the hamstrings, spinal erectors, and biceps! Since both exercises require gripping the kettlebell, expect your forearms to get some heat too. 

Enjoy it!

1Kettlebell Deadlift20s
2Kettlebell Biceps Curl20s

Double down on your technique here. Keep a neutral spine and neck, and extend your hips at the top for the deadlifts. Remember to repeat these intervals until you hit the 8th. Stay safe!

5) Kettlebell Overhead Press + Kettlebell Row

This combination of pressing overhead and kettlebell rowing is fantastic for developing a healthy and strong upper body. Having solid back musculature is imperative for growing functional shoulders. This kettlebell workout targets this dynamic perfectly. 

Choose a manageable weight, and have a roll with it!

1Kettlebell Overhead Press20s
2Kettlebell Row20s

If you want an advanced kettlebell exercise, pick two kettlebells for both movements, and get ready for a fitness party! Make sure to use a timer to keep track of time through the entire eight intervals.

6) Kettlebell Floor Press + Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up

The kettlebell floor press and Turkish get-up is a challenging full-body workout. This combination will yield additional benefits for your core muscles and midline stability. 

Your shoulders will be leading the way through the entire workout. The Turkish get-up has a movement pattern that can confuse many, but it will do wonders for your shoulders’ stabilizer muscles and thoracic range of motion.

For this one, you can pick different weights for the kettlebells. Stay light for the get-ups, but go heavy on the press. 

1Kettlebell Floor Press20s
2Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up20s

Keep the movements slow, controlled, and explosive, and your body will be super-charged within 4 minutes. Have fun with this one!

7) Kettlebell Thruster + Mountain Climbers

The combination of thrusters + mountain climbers make for a tough kettlebell HIIT workout. You should expect your quadriceps, shoulders, and heart rate to run at max capacity. We recommend doing the thrusters with two kettlebells, so make sure to choose a comfortable yet challenging weight.

1Kettlebell Thruster20s
2Mountain Climbers20s

You’ll be tempted to take more rest time than the prescribed four minutes, but don’t give in! Remember to keep your elbows up and tall chest, and don’t forget to enjoy it!

8) Kettlebell Clean + Burpees

If you thought burpees were horrible, wait until you mix them with kettlebell cleans. These two movements will give you a super-charged workout that will target every muscle of your body, including your heart! 

Burpees are intense exercises that increase your mental and cardiovascular endurance and build solid shoulders. Try two kettlebells for the cleans, and if that seems too much, you can switch to 1-arm and alternate between reps.

1Kettlebell Clean20s

For this workout, you’ll be exposed to high-intensity movements, so if you’re a beginner, aim for lighter weights and prioritize intensity and safety. Good luck!

9) Kettlebell Lunges + Triceps Extension

If you’re into regular strength training workouts, look no further. A classic combination of reverse lunges (quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings) and triceps extension (upper body movement) will put your body to flames in under 4 minutes.

Feel free to use one or two kettlebells for the lunges, but keep the triceps extension to one heavy kettlebell for better muscle recruitment.

1Alternating Kettlebell Lunges20s
2Kettlebell Overhead Triceps Extension20s

This type of kettlebell training makes for an efficient workout when you’re running low on time.  Expect your triceps and quadriceps to be screaming from the first two intervals! 

10) Kettlebell High Pulls + Kettlebell Good Mornings

Get the most out of your core and hip muscles with this high pulls + good mornings combination. On top of building endurance on your pelvis and posterior chain, it will also develop your trapezius and shoulder muscles.

This duo can be hard on your low back, so double down on your technique and aim for a weight you can safely manage. 

1Kettlebell High-Pulls20s
2Kettlebell Good Mornings20s

After you’re done with the 8th interval, spend some time cooling down. Stretch your back and glutes to minimize any risk of injury.

Cool Down

The smartest thing to do after these killer workouts is a proper cool down. This will allow your heart rate to return to baseline, and your muscles will relax. Focus on walking slowly while breathing exclusively through your nose. Research says it can lower your systolic blood pressure by 13mmHg (3.)

You can also do light stretching with an emphasis on the main muscles you worked. This can help the muscles lower their tone.

A group of people at the gym doing a kettlebell tabata session
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Is Tabata With Weights Effective?

Tabata alone is very effective. Add weights to it, and it becomes a superb combination for burning fat and building muscle. The load can be light, moderate, or heavy if you keep the intensity up. It won’t matter.

Which Is Harder, Tabata Or HIIT?

By definition, HIIT workouts are meant to be high-intensity from beginning to end. Tabata training can be intense, but it doesn’t have to be, which is the main difference. It all boils down to your training intention. If you want to ramp up intensity using a Tabata, you better buckle up because your heart rate will skyrocket before you notice.

Is Tabata Good For Belly Fat?

Tabata can help you with belly fat as long as you double down on your nutrition. Burning fat is a multidisciplinary goal that requires balanced nutrition, proper water intake, and resistance training + cardio.

If you nail those elements and learn to be patient, your belly fat will leave you eventually.


I've been in the world of CrossFit since 2016. Started as a client, later became a coach, and eventually bought an affiliate with two friends from January 2020 to January 2022. In 2018 I won 1st place at a local competition in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. After I sold my shares in January 2022 I moved then to another city to run as the general manager of another affiliate STI CrossFit.

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