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Barbell and Kettlebell Workout Plan

Real iron kettlebell for workoutsIf you want to get stronger by building bigger muscles and also improve functional strength, then one option is to combine kettlebell training with traditional weight training using free weights. This plan also allows you to do a daily workout with weights.

This workout schedule is 6 days per week, with 3 sessions performing upper body weight training exercises, and 3 sessions performing kettlebell swings. Alternate the routine each day. If over training becomes a problem add a rest day after each second session, i.e. 2 days training then 1 day off.  The weight training element is based on the beginners weight training routine which sets the same exercises each session with a reduction in weight lifted. The kettlebell routine is the beginners kettlebell workout with the lifts removed (i.e. just swings).

Barbell Training Days

  • Bench Press: 3-4 sets of 8-12 
  • Bent-Over Rows: 3-4 sets of 8-12 
  • Seated Shoulder Presses: 3-4 sets of 8-12 
  • Barbell Curls: 3-4 sets of 8-12 
Descriptions of each of these exercises can be found on our Beginning Weight Training article.

For each of these exercises use a weight that allows you to perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 exercises. You should adjust the number of repetitions based on your goals, i.e. muscle size, strength or power. You should feel challenged, and also aim to progress over the course of a few months by increasing the weight.

If you prefer to take a simpler approach then just perform 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise and keep a log so that if the 3 sets becomes too easy just increase the weight in the next session.

Kettlebell Training Days

  • 20 Kettlebell Squats
  • 20 Kettlebell Deadlifts
  • 20 Double Hand Swings
  • 20 Single Arm Swings on Left
  • 20 Single Arm Swings on Right

The squats and deadlifts are light exercises and designed to get you warmed up before the swings. Perform them slowly and steadily and ensure that you maintain good form. You can perform this as a circuit and cycle through a few times if you are using a lighter weight.

In time the kettlebell swings will become easier and you will be able to increase the weight used, or increase repetitions / time training.


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These two sets of exercises should compliment each other well. The weight training works the upper body with one directional push and pull exercises and the kettlebells work the thighs, glutes and hips as well as supporting muscles which will aid the weight training.

If you need more leg strength then add barbell squats to your weight training routine, but be prepared to reduce kettlebell swings on the following days.

This combination of weight training with free weights (or you can also use resistance machines) and kettlebell exercises will help you develop a lean a athletic form of muscle development. These exercises are often performed by athletes to build power and strength.

Another advantage of this form of weight training is that you can still go running or play other sports on the free weights days as you are not exercising your legs, so if you enjoy jogging / running you can easily build a weekly workout plan which combines functional strength training with cardiovascular fitness.

More like this in the Strength Training section

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