The One Piece of Workout Equipment You Need in Your Dorm Room (+A Workout)

The best piece of workout equipment for a dorm room (+ a workout!)In all fairness, you could argue that this could be a lot of things. In fact, at the end of the day the only piece of equipment you really need to workout is your own body. But if I were to recommend one exercise tool for your home or dorm it would have to be a kettlebell (whatever weight you swing).

My rationale behind the kettlebell is that it offers you quiet cardio, which is important when you’re sharing space with a roommate or on a top floor with people living below you. With bodyweight moves, most exercises that get your heart rate up involve jumping around. With kettlebell swings, on the other hand, your feet are stationary on the floor while getting a killer cardio (and strength) challenge.

Heart-pumping swings aside, you can do countless exercises with a kettlebell that will work your entire body, and it doesn’t take up much space so you can easily store it in the smallest of dorm rooms. I know most campuses have student gyms, but it’s still great to be able to mix in quick workouts between studying and writing papers (or socializing–let’s be real here). Here’s a workout to get you started–it’s perfect for dorm rooms, apartments, your home, or even the gym!

20-Minute Kettlebell HIIT Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • 25-lb kettlebell (use whatever weight you’re comfortable swinging)
  • Interval timer

Set an interval timer for 20 rounds of 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest. You’ll go through the following five exercises four times. 20-Minute Kettlebell HIIT Workout (great one for small spaces/apartments)

  • Kettlebell Swings | Start with kettlebell on the floor between your legs and lift it up to starting position with both hands, flat back, using your legs to lift. With kettlebell hanging between your legs, use your arms as a pendulum, and swing the bell to chest-to-eye level by thrusting with your hips while keeping your core tight as you stand up straight. Swing back down and repeat. Your knees should remain slightly bent, but the main source of movement is hinging at the hips—not so much squatting.
  • Halos | Start standing with your feet about hip’s width apart, a soft bend in your knees and tailbone tucked (hold in your lower abdomen) so that you have a supportive base. Hold the kettlebell upside down with your hands around the bottom at the base of the handle. Start with the kettlebell in front of your face, elbows bent at about shoulder height. From here, circle the bell carefully around your head, keeping it at roughly the same height. When it’s to the right side of your head, your right hand is the main support of the weigh; when it’s to the left, your left arm bears the brunt of it. Use your core the entire time; try not to wiggle your hips to counter the movement of the kettlebell—you’re not hula-hooping!
  • Goblet Squat | Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes angled slightly outward. Hold a kettlebell in both hands, cradling it at the base of the handle at your chest. Keeping your torso as upright as possible (you don’t want to hunch forward with the weight of the bell), squat down, trying to get your bum lower than your knees. As you bend the knees, they should track in line with the angle of the toes and not jut forward of them. Once you reach the bottom of your squat, weight in your heels, power up to standing, thrusting the hips forward slightly at the top as you squeeze those glutes.
  • Russian Twist | Start seated, holding the kettlebell in both hands at your chest, feet lifted off the ground with your knees bent. Lean back slightly, core engaged, balancing on your tailbone. Twist to one side, bringing the kettlebell to the outer side of that hip; then repeat in the other direction. Really twist at the waist—you want your chest to be totally facing whatever side you’re bringing the bell.
  • Single-Leg Squat (alternating legs each round) | As far as upper body goes, I want you to think “deadlift.” Lower body, think “single-leg squat/curtsey lunge.” Start standing on your right leg holding the kettlebell in both hands in front of your body. Start to squat down on your right side, sending the left leg behind you into a hover. Make sure your right knee doesn’t jut out farther than your toes by thinking about sending your hips and butt back and down. Weight should be in your right heel at the bottom of your squat. Lower until the kettlebell lightly taps the ground and then stand back up. As you do this, make sure you’re engaging your abs to avoid undue stress on the lower back.

20-Minute Kettlebell HIIT Workout (great one for small spaces/apartments)

WEARING | Nike sports bra, Fila leggings & Nike sneakers c/o Kohl’s

Do/did you have any workout equipment in your dorm room? How do you plan to #MakeYourMove back at school?


This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.

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  1. Great workout, and you look totally awesome/beautiful here. I have jump ropes, a foam roller, and light weights. But they are too light!

  2. Yes yes!! My kettlebell came with me to school!

  3. I feel like I need to go out and buy a kettle bell now!

  4. where’s your rug from?!!

  5. I need to do more kettle bells! Thanks for the reminder!

  6. In my experience of shopping for kettlebells Sear’s has the best prices on high quality kettlebells. What is a high quality kettlebell?? One that you can grib both your hands on top and all metal.

  7. Your abs are on FIRE, Nicole!

  8. This looks like another good workout. I’m loving kettlebells these days!

  9. I know I should be paying closer attention to the exercise portion of the post but that space is so great. Where’s your light from?

    • I WISH it was my room! I shot this in a Breather room (they let you rent space by the hour in Boston), so I’m not sure where any of the awesome decor is from. :/

  10. Nicole, I have a few questions. Did this workout today with a 15 lb kettle bell (that’s all they had at my gym) and loved it. I have a 25 lb kettle bell at home and will try going heavier next time. Do you switch the direction of your halos each round? And with the single leg squat, do you try to keep all the weight on one leg for the entire 45 seconds, only tapping the other leg to the floor for balance? I feel really clumsy doing these and lose balance easily. How many reps would you say you complete in 45 seconds? And I’m assuming you switch legs each set? Thanks!

  11. Love this! Posted onto my blog with a link to here! I want to share the wealth! I hope you don’t mind!

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