Kettlebell Fat Blast Workout

Here’s one of my ‘standby’ kettlebell fat loss workouts – if I have about 45 minutes and want a fast-paced, challenging, full body workout, I’ll knock this one out. It includes a joint mobility/dynamic warm up portion, a circuit with Pull Ups, TGU’s, Swings, and high intensity cardio, and finishes with a static stretch. Let’s get going!

1. Joint mobility

There are tons of ways to integrate joint mobility exercises into your routine – here’s a nice series called the ‘Daily dozen’ on from kettlebell expert Steve Maxwell:

2. Dynamic Warm Up

Follow your joint mobility series with a dynamic warm up. Now you’ll take your major muscle groups through a full range of motion at speed and literally increase your body temperature. Check out this dynamic warm up video from Craig Ballentyne, creator of Turbulence Training (a killer workout program/philosophy, by the way – I use workouts from Craig’s Turbulence Training workouts literally every day with training clients and myself):

3. Pull, TGU, Swing, Cardio Giant Circuit

  • Start by doing Pull Ups – go to two reps short of failure. So, if you could do 10 Pull Ups if you had to, do 8. If you can’t do Pull Ups, you can do Beginner Pull Ups or Inverted Rows instead.
  • Follow the Pull Ups with a single TGU on each side. Pick a weight that challenges you, but one that you can use impecable form with. Here’s a refresher on the Get Up:

  • Follow the TGU’s with 20 Swings – do two hand, single hand or hand-to-hand – your choice.
  • Finish the circuit with 60 seconds of high-intensity cardio – you could hop on a treadmill for 60 seconds, do 60 seconds of jump rope, or even high knees and butt kicks for 60 seconds continuously.

Repeat that circuit 3-5 times with no rest between individual exercises and about one minute of rest between circuits.

4. Static Stretch

Finish the workout with a static stretch.  Ideally, you don’t want to just arbitrarily stretch – you want to focus on your tight muscle groups. For a very in-depth and totally free guide to flexibility, click the link below:

That’s it for this week’s Kettlebell Fat Blast workout. This is one you can bust out any time for a quick and efficient total body strength, conditioning, flexibility and core training workout. Enjoy!

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Build Your Own Kettlebell Gym: 3 Essentials

I just opened my new personal training studio/fitness boot camp facility/kettlebell gym here in Sacramento, CA, and I’ve had to put a lot of thought into the perfect equipment set up for the new space.  I think that when it comes down to it, you don’t need a whole lot of equipment to get into fantastic physical condition – and one of the coolest things about kettlebells is that they reduce that need even more.

So if you’re looking to set up your own kettlebell gym or training space, here are three essential items for your ‘to-buy’ list:

1. Dragon Door kettlebells

My favorite kettlebells hands-down.  Yes, I’m an RKC instructor and might be a bit biased 🙂 – but I use them myself and love them, and that’s why I recommend them to others.  They’re very well built, well balanced, have smooth handles that save your hands when it comes to high-rep KB work, and just have a better ‘feel’ than other kettlebells I’ve used.  You might be able to find cheaper ‘bells out there, but you usually get what you pay for – so do so at your own risk.  FYI, my new studio is stocked exclusively with Dragon Door ‘bells.

RCK Authentic Kettlebells on SALE

2. A pull up bar

A few kettlebells – or even a single ‘bell – will allow you to work most all of your major muscle groups.  However, it’s tough to get a real, solid pulling movement without a bar or machine of some kind – and Pull Ups are one of the best ‘big pulls’ you can do.  If I had a super-strict budget, this is probably the only other piece of equipment I’d invest in for my kettlebell home gym.

If you’re just training by yourself at home, a door-pull up bar like the Iron Gym will work fine:

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

Something slightly more heavy duty would be a free-standing pull-up bar like this one:

All-in-one Stand Alone Pull up Bar

Or, if you want something super sturdy (and that can be used for a variety of other purposes as well) you might go with a Squat Cage like this one (this is the option I went with for my own training facility):

Champion Power Rack Gym Equipment

3. Enter the Kettlebell Book and DVD set

Enter The Kettlebell

This is a kick-ass book and DVD that will teach you everything you need to know about getting started with kettlebell training.  Alternatively, if you prefer something in digital format that’s instantly downloadable, you could go with my Quick Start Guide.  The idea is that you want a guide to help you learn how to train with kettlebells the right way from the start.

It’s also worth mentioning that having good in-person instruction when you’re learning how to use kettlebells is invaluable and highly recommended.  If you’re in the Sacramento, CA area, stop by and take advantage of our ‘test out a trainer’ promo and a free kettlebell training session!  Train and train smart – would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Wait!  Make sure to sign up for my newsletter to get your free Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell training while you’re here – just drop your name and email into the box at the upper right of the page.

Unique Kettlebell Exercise Videos

kettlebell video screenshot

My feeling is that, aside from in-person instruction, video is one of the best ways to learn new kettlebell exercises and perfect your form. Different people learn best through different mediums, but learning with video is great because you can actually see someone performing the movement correctly in action, vs. just relying on written description or pictures.

Here are five unique kettlebell exercise videos for ‘ya – remember, mastering the basic moves – the Swing, Get Up, Squat, Clean, Press, and Snatch – should come before you move on to more advanced exercises. But these are great to add into your routine as your training progresses to that next level:

The Cross Legged Kettlebell Press

Here’s a unique one demonstrated by Anthony Dilugio. Crossing your legs helps you keep your back flat while doing seated presses.

The Kettlebell Ribbon

Ken Black shows the Kettlebell Ribbon – it’s a Halo with an extra range of motion and rotation added in. Pretty cool.

The Step Up Press

Here’s a kettlebell step up press from Lisa Schaffer. She shows the regular Step Up Press, plus the Clean, Step Up and Press.

The Alternating Clean

Anthony Dilugio shows the Alternating Kettlebell Clean.  Make sure to use a lighter weight than normal. This is not the RKC Swing-style Clean – but it’s a cool variation, none the less.

The Side Lever

Steve Cotter demonstrates the Kettlebell Side Lever – an isometric kettlebell exercise. Make sure you use a light kettlebell for this one as well.

Again, mastering the basics of kettlebell training should come before trying these moves – if you need a basic, comprehensive guide (that now includes video corrections for each of the basic kettlebell exercises), make sure to check out my Quick Start Guide here:

Incorporate these moves into your kettlebell workouts for additional variety, to hit some different training angles and muscle groups, and just for fun. Train hard and train smart!

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How To Get The Most Out Of A Single Kettlebell

The majority of folks get their kettlebell training started with a single ‘bell.  As they master the basics and move forward with more advanced exercises and workouts, they’ll likely look to start training with a heavier ‘bell, training with two kettlebells at a time, etc.

The truth is, however, with a little creativity and know-how, one can get a lot of mileage from a single KB.  There are lots of ways to make training with a single kettlebell more challenging –  for example, increasing reps, slowing down the tempo (on selected lifts), and decreasing rest periods are methods that will make a workout more challenging without having to increase weight or move to training with two kettlebells at once.

Reading through some of my old Hardstyle magazines, I actually found a great article by Geoff Nupert, Senior RKC that provides a great – and very specific – answer to this question of how to get the most out of your single kettlebell.

You do get the Hard-Style magazine from Dragon Door, don’t you?

Geoff offers the example of the Rite of Passage program from Enter the Kettlebell! by Pavel. Pavel recommends that you be able to perform five Clean and Press ladders of (1,2,3,4,5) before you move up in weight. Pavel puts no time restrictions on this program. So, according to Nupert, an easy way to adjust the intensity of your workout would be to adjust the rest periods.  Knocking them down just slightly can make your workout a lot harder – and will keep you from having to bump up to a bigger ‘bell.

Nupert also details several different ways to manipulate and keep track of rest periods in the article, like using specific rest intervals between sets, using a density training approach, etc.

To check out the full article, download a digital version of this copy of Hard-Style magazine below:

Hard-Style Magazine Spring 2008 – Digital Version

(Hard-Style is actually a full magazine that comes out quarterly and is published by Dragon Door.  The hard-copy version carries a retail price of $6.95 – but I’ve made special arrangements to provide you with this back issue for free. This issue has actually got several more great articles in it – enjoy!!)

So the advice from this kettlebell pro on moving up to a heavier ‘bell/progressing to double kettlebell training/etc.?  It’s great – but make sure you’ve gotten the most out of your single KB!  Keep training hard!

Grip Tip: Cloth Gloves For Kettlebell Training

I’m not a fan of wearing gloves of any kind when training with kettlebells.  But I also know ripped up hands don’t make kettlebell training very easy.  And some of you just want to protect your hands.  I was actually  re-reading Enter The Kettlebell for about the 100th time last night, and I came across a great solution to this common problem:  Fingerless cloth gloves.

Jared Savik, a kettlebell sport national champion and RKC, came up with this solution – according to him, it allows for 80-90% max rep range (he talks about using gloves in the context of high-rep snatching; but this is one big reason why I don’t like using gloves – it makes you weaker) and forces a little extra grip work.  The idea is that the gloves allow the kettlebell handle to rotate and not tear up your hands, while still allowing your fingers to catch the handle. 

The other cool thing is that you can pick up a pair of these gloves for just a few bucks at the local home improvement store.  If they’re the type with rubber dots on the palms, no problem – just flip them around.  They’re generally not right or left specific.

All this being said, here’s something to keep in mind:  If you’re tearing up your hands, you’re probably doing too much too fast, or you’re gripping the ‘bell too tightly at the wrong times.  If you slowly increase the length and duration of your kettlebell workouts and you pay attention to using perfect kettlebell training technique, your hands should be totally fine.

So if you’re trying to save your hands but you love training with kettlebells, try out the fingerless cloth glove solution – it could be a life saver for ‘ya!  Let me know what you think in the comments section below.  Oh, and if you haven’t signed up for the Newsletter, be sure to do so now!  You’ll get a free training video and my Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training when you sign up – just drop your name and email into the box at the upper right hand corner of the page.