The King of Full Body Exercises / The One-Arm LongCycle

From push ups, to squats, to Olympic lifting, to kettlebells, I've been asked many times in my career in the fitness business, what is the BEST full body exercise. In other words, if you only had to perform one move, what would it be? Hands down, my answer is the Kettlebell One-Arm LongCycle.

While there may be many functional fitness option that we employ at KBNY, today we're going to take a look at the One-Arm LongCycle by starting off with a video illustration of a recent LongCycle set. Then we'll take a closer look at why this particular movement provides such a well-rounded, customizable workout for just about any healthy individual. 

The Kettlebell One-Arm LongCycle

Benefits of 1-Arm LongCycle 

BENEFIT ONE: LongCycle is a genuine full body movement, in that it uses not only the typical primary movers (anterior muscles), but the clean aspect of the exercise is a big pull, necessitating proper use of the posterior chain. From the heels through the calves, hamstrings, glutes, and the entire back, the posterior chain must explosively contract to get the job done. And when performed with proper technique, that's exactly what happens.

BENEFIT TWO: Develops explosive force throughout the entire body. The big pull of the clean element of the LongCycle is complimented perfectly by the big push that's known as Jerk. The Jerk is a plyometric-like explosive thrust of the kettlebell, using mostly your hips and legs, with the quads being the primary mover. But every muscle in your body gets involved to some degree, from calves to forearms.

BENEFIT THREE: Highly caloric, but sustainable cardiovascular workout. The LongCycle has a way of shifting the workout intensity around the entire body, allowing for a high level effort to be sustained for a longer time than most other movements. It's not uncommon in our gym for members to perform 20-minute LongCycle sets. It's a mainstay of our daily programming. The lifter rides the edge between aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, generating extreme intensity, with total control of the set. Proficient lifters learn many tricks to manipulate this system to deliver their perfect workout.

BENEFIT FOUR: Tones upper body, legs, and core simultaneously. The LongCycle brings every muscle of your body into play on every rep, and when combined with the right diet, develops that long, lean, toned muscularity versus bloated hypertrophy.

I could list many other benefits of kettlebells in general, but the main focus of this article is the King of full body exercises, the One-Arm LongCycle. The LongCycle stands out as our gym's go-to movement when the lifter is simply burnt out, or not sure what approach to take. On August 18, we're hosting a LongCycle competition at KBNY, offering two events, the 20-Minute LongCycle where the lifter is allowed to switch hands at will (but not put the bell down), and StrongSport LongCycle, which features a heavier kettlebell. For more information on kettlebells, the One-Arm LongCycle, or the upcoming competition, click through to our website at

The 1-Arm LongCycle plays has a major role in my High Intensity Kettlebell Trainers Course, and is one of the 8 core lifts. If you'd like learn more about High Intensity Kettlebell Fitness or my new eBook: CLICK HERE