The Power of the Kettlebell
I still remember being introduced to kettle bells. It was back when I first started out as a personal trainer and an older guy at the gym I was working in at the time had a couple. I wasn’t convinced at first but the more I read and watched on youtube the more I started to become convinced of the benefits. Way back then I easily weighed just over 13st and was in pretty decent shape for a 23/4 yr old. I remember that Keir (My business partner) had taken a kettlebell training course and was getting quite into them. Back then we had a lot more time on our hands. The gym was still fledgling, its a shadow of how it looks now, we had almost no equipment, and kettle bells were relatively cheap compared to other kit. So we invested in a few. Starting low we soon had a range of different weights and I was well into the swing and using them almost daily.
At the time I was training MMA up in the city and had not been able to train for a while due to getting the gym up and running. First day back at training, and I basically had to convince my coach at the time that I wasn’t on steroids. It hadn’t occurred to me but consistent constant kettlebell use ( I still have the brutally simple program) had changed my body shape completely. I was leaner, bigger and very strong. Not only that but we had started a friday night KB class and all the attendees (all male at the time) were reporting the same thing. So from then on I was sold on the power of the KB.
For those of you who are already using them, you will know the KB swing is the most ‘used’ movement generally. Its dynamic swinging motion works all the posterior chain (bum, back of legs, lower back) and is a killer on the cardio. Once you have mastered this move, you can pretty much jump right in to some great kettlebell workouts. Try some of these below:
20 on the minute
Set a clock at one minute intervals. At the start of the minute do 20 swings. The remaining time on the clock is your rest. Do this 10-20 times. Its a great cardio workout and will work all your muscles on the back of your body.
Burped swing ladder
Do 10-8-6-4-2 swings alternated with 2-4-6-8-10 burpees. You can thank me later.
Bells n Bars
Set a 20 minute time limit, do as many rounds as you can of 10 swings and 10 push press. Choose your weights carefully.
The best thing about the KB other than the price is its versatility. Cleans, squats, presses, rows snatches you name it you can do it with the KB. After a small amount of time you will be ‘in flow’ and have a smooth technique. Don’t stop there though, try some of these exercises:
Turkish Get Up
I’m not even going to try and explain this exercise on paper. Watch this LINK but basically the TGU is getting up and down on the floor while holding a KB. Sound simple? It isn’t. It challenges pretty much every muscle in your body. Try something like this for a workout:
Run 400m then 5 TGU each arm. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Farmers walk, rack holds, waiter walk…
Remember the blog on why you should be carrying heavy loads in in your training? Well KB’s are great for this. Farmers walks are obvious, but rack holds are incredibly difficult and challenge your core posture as well as your breathing. I think they are a good test of staying calm under pressure too.
Balance and stability training:
Going a little of piste but if you have some resistance bands and some KB’s – try these…
The total body KB workout (our original program)
So this is the most simple but brutal KB program that I have ever done. It got me great results and I would be keen to do it again. Any takers let me know and hopefully we can set up a time to train together.
All exercises are 3×12 reps.
Two handed KB Swing (heavy as possible)
Superset the next exercises:
A: Double Cleans
B: Double Squats
A:Double Clean & Press
B: Double Bent Over Row
B: High Pulls
I know this may seem simple to some of you but actually its a great workout and really did get me super fit. Maybe add in some pull ups or other bodyweight exercises as you see fit. Take a strict 90 seconds rest after supersets and a strict 60 seconds after the swings and other single exercises.
Give it a go and let me know how you get on.