Basic Kettlebell Strength Workout

Here’s an interesting story (that I’ve gotten permission to share) about a client who recently started my kettlebell boot camp.  It does a great job of illustrating why you need to include some heavy/strength – oriented lifting in your kettlebell workout programming:

This client – we’ll call her Sally for the sake of the story 🙂 – thought she was in pretty good shape coming into my kettlebell boot camp class. She had been running consistently a couple of times per week, in addition to attending a boot camp that relied almost exclusively on bodyweight exercises …

At her first kettlebell class, I could see that she had a great base of conditioning to start. But when it came to any kind of heavy lifting, it was game over.  Her ‘strength base’, as they say, was nearly non-existent.

After about two months of integrating some heavier lifting into her workouts, she’s not only gotten stronger, but improved her conditioning-based body weight exercises as well – she can do almost twice as many push-ups, can hold her planks much longer, and can do some impressive lower body plyometric moves that were previously impossible.

This is a great story to illustrate the importance of heavy training in your workout program. You can’t rely on only doing conditioning workouts if you’re after balanced development.  And building that strength base will have positive carry-over to all other aspects of your training program.

So today I’ve got a basic kettlebell strength workout for you (this workout is actually part of my newly updated PreHab Revolution program). Start by watching the video and then read the recap below for all the workout details:

Video Recap

* Remember … heavy is a relative term. Meaning heavy for you is likely much different than heavy for the next guy/gal. The main point is that you’ll need to pick a weight that’s challenging for the prescribed set and rep range.

Heavy press – barbell bench press, barbell military press, double kettlebell press, etc. – 5 reps

Heavy squat – barbell back squat, double kettlebell front squat, etc. – 5 reps

Heavy pull – weighted pull up, double kettlebell swing, etc. – 5 reps

Perform exercises as a circuit, but rest 30 to 90 seconds between each exercise; rest 60 seconds and repeat sequence total of five times.

This basic kettlebell strength workout is great if you’re trying to ‘cover all your bases’ and mix some needed heavy lifting into your existing program. Performing this workout even once or twice a week will make a big difference in boosting strength levels and improving your overall fitness level. Train hard and talk soon –


Oh – and if you liked this workout, I think you’ll be interested in my new and improved PreHab Revolution program – click the link below to learn more about it:

Halloween Kettlebell Workout

Today, I have a special Halloween kettlebell workout for you … but before you check it out, it’s very important that you read the story of the crazy kettlebell man.  You’ll learn about the history of this crazy kettlebell and body weight circuit session.

Oh – and happy Halloween!

– Forest

It’s Halloween night. You’re on the way back from a costume party when your friends decide it’d be a good idea to drive to the outskirts of town to check out a haunted mansion …

You pull off the road and park the car at the back of the property. The house itself is on the top of a hill, still quite a distance away … it’s a dark and cloudy night and the road is pitch black with no streetlamps.

You shiver as you follow your friends into the woods …

It’s a long and spooky walk. You finally arrive at an overgrown lawn that looks up at the house.

You glance up at the third story and the windows gape at you like dark eyes.  Suddenly, a ball of light appears in the window … you’re sure your friends told you the house was abandoned!

The light seems to float, and before your eyes, it forms into a hulking giant. You gasp in shock … and the figure begins to swing a giant ball-shaped object.

“Let’s get out of here!” You cry … your friends apparently saw the figure, too, and the group sprints to the car and speeds away.

“What was that?” You ask.

“Don’t you know?” Says your buddy.  “It was the crazy kettlebell man!”

You shriek. “The crazy kettlebell man?”

“Yep. A team of kettlebell lifters lived in the mansion. They were Girevoy sport world champions … until the team captain went mad and killed them all.  They say he still haunts the mansion to this day and tries to lure visitors in to join his crazy kettlebell circuit workouts.”

Shivering, your friends drop you off and you head home. For the rest of the night, your dreams are filled with images of the crazy kettlebell man trying to lure you to his mansion, swinging his giant kettlebell …

P.S. Check out the video below for the crazy kettlebell man’s favorite kettlebell and body weight circuit workout:

Kettlebell Workout for Firefighters

Today’s post is, like last week’s, a response to reader requests for specific content.  I appreciate all the feedback I’ve been getting via email, blog comments, on Facebook, etc. Keep letting me know what you want to hear more about, and if I get enough requests, I’ll cover it in a future blog post!

This article is about why kettlebells are a great training tool for firefighters. I’ll start by giving some specific reasons why firefighters should use kettlebells in their workouts, and I’ll also give you a sample kettlebell workout for firefighters.

In their daily jobs, firefighters do things like:

  • Handling / raising heavy ladders
  • Rescue and removal of trapped victims
  • Advancing high pressure hose lines
  • Forcible entry operations
  • Overhaul / removal of walls and ceilings
  • Hauling heavy hose and equipment
  • Operating with 50 lbs of thermal protective gear

And so a workout designed specifically for firefighters should be focused on the qualities needed to do these things well. For example:

  • Building the cardio system- specifically with high intensity interval training, because this is much like the work that is done in the above mentioned tasks
  • Focusing on multi-joint exercises – because firefighters never perform a task where they only use a single joint movement
  • Focusing on developing not only strength but power – the ability to lift maximal loads, but also to do so quickly
  • Improving balance and core strength – because these are qualities that are involved to a large degree in the above-mentioned tasks

Circuit – style workouts using explosive kettlebell movements is great general physical preparedness training for firefighters. This type of workout builds your cardio system, is highly functional and multi-joint in nature, develops not only strength but explosiveness, and utilizes core and balance to a large degree.

So here you go –

Kettlebell Workout For Firefighers

Start by performing the following warm up circuit three times at a low-to-medium intensity:

  • 10-15 goblet squats
  • 10-15 push ups
  • 6-8 single leg deadlift (each leg) (like a traditional deadlift, only performed balancing on one leg)
  • 3-5 Tactical pull ups

Then, perform the following combination 5-10 times on each arm, taking just as much rest as needed to use good form:

  • 1 clean
  • 2 squat to overhead presses
  • 3 snatches

So you’ll do one clean on the right side, immediately follow that with two squat to overhead presses on the right, and immediately follow that with three snatches on the right. Switch sides and repeat.

Finish by static stretching tight muscle groups.

In summary, kettlebells are a great training tool for firefighters because they help develop specific qualities needed in their everyday job duties. Try this sample kettlebell circuit workout for firefighters to get you started!

Thanks for reading –

Forest Vance, RKC II

P.S. If you liked this post, please make sure to sign up for the newsletter. You’ll get a free copy of my beginner’s guide to kettlebell training when you do so – just drop your name and best e-mail into the box at the upper right of the page get it now!

Two Easy Exercise Modifications for Kettlebell Beginners

I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately from folks that are just getting started with kettlebell training …

And I’m realizing that a lot of the kettlebell routines I’ve put up over the last couple of months are geared towards intermediate or even advanced kettlebell enthusiasts.

So I thought I’d shoot a quick video to show you a couple of modifications I use every day with my training clients who are beginners, are still learning and perfecting their form, are dealing with an injury, etc.  You can use these mods with many more ‘advanced’ kettlebell workouts to get more out of them (or even be able to attempt them in the first place).

The two modifications I cover in the video are for the two ‘base’ HardStyle kettlebell moves, the swing and the Turkish get up.  I hope the video helps you out, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below the post:

P.S. The Kettlebell Basics Swing Manual is a great place to get started if you’re looking to learn the basics of kettlebell training the right way.  In it, I go over the sumo deadlift progression I discussed in the video above, along with a ton of additonal technique tips like it … it also takes you through a 12 week program designed for fat loss, lean muscle gain, and kettlebell swing mastery.  Learn more about it by clicking the link below: