Kettlebell Training – Where to Start

New to kettlebell training?

Intrigued by the dynamic, often ballistic KB movements that work the entire body and include elements of both strength and cardio – but not quite sure where to start?

This article is for you.  It may seem simple on first read – but don’t let that fool you.  Follow this simple plan and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your ultimate fitness goals with kettlebell training …

Kettlebell Basics – Where to Start

1. Get kettlebell(s)

Make sure you’re getting the right size and selection of KB’s for your specific goals, starting fitness level, etc.  It’s very important that you choose the right KB to start – and the process might not be as straight-forward as you think.

I shot a video on this exact topic a few months back – check it out by clicking the link below to help you make your decision:

What Size Kettlebell to Use


2. Learn the basic exercises

Kettlebell training is more like learning a new sport skill than an exercise routine in many ways.  A kettlebell swing is FAR more technical that, say, a bicep curl or push up.  And the more advanced moves all hinge on two basics in the HardStyle system – so you MUST get a grasp on them first …

The two basic HardStyle kettlebell exercises are the swing and the Turkish get up.  Spend time learning them.  Practice them.  Get someone who knows what to look for to check out your form.  Master them.  And have the discipline to do so before you move on to more advanced exercises.

This article will teach you the basics of the Swing and the Turkish Get Up.  It includes both video instruction and a sample workout incorporating the two moves:

The Best Kettlebell Exercises For Beginners


3. Next Steps

Once you’ve “earned the right” to move on to more advanced kettlebell training moves (by mastering the Swing and Get Up!), you can learn the clean and press and the snatch.

This article will teach you the next movements in your progression:

The Best Kettlebell Exercises For Beginners (revisited)


In summary, learning the basics of kettlebell training is simple – but not easy.  It takes patience and mental discipline to stick with the basics and master them before moving on to more interesting and exotic movements.  But trust me – you’ll be glad you did in the end.

Train hard, and talk soon –

Forest Vance, RKC II

PS – If you like hard copy (vs. digital) books and DVD’s, I have a great special for you this weekend … we’re holding this one at my Sacramento training studio, and have decided to pass the opportunity for savings online.  It’s a somewhat unique chance to get in-hand, PHYSICAL copies of a few different products of mine at a great price … check it out here:

2012 FVT Summer Clearance Sale

Kettlebell and TRX Workout

I’ve had a TRX and’ve used it for basic things like body rows, chest presses, etc. in workouts for the last couple of years … and to be honest, I always thought it was cool, but wasn’t completely sold on it as a training modality …

But it wasn’t until I went through the TRX Suspension Training Course a couple of months ago that I realized the power of suspension training and just how well it compliments working out with kettlebells.

The TRX picks up where KB’s leave off – a few reasons why:

  • KB training is largely stable in nature, while the TRX adds an element of instability to your training
  • The TRX’s strengths – like horizonal pushing and pulling and single leg movements – are some of KB training’s weaknesses
  • The TRX uses your own body weight as resistance while the KB is an external resistance tool

SO – here is a great kettlebell and TRX workout to get you started (I just did it myself the other day, try it at your own risk, it’s a smoker!):

Do three rounds of the first pair of exercises as fast as possible.  Rest for one to two minutes, complete the second and third exercise pairs in the same fashion.

  • 20 KB goblet squats
  • 10 TRX atomic push ups
  • 12 kettlebell goblet lunges (ea side)
  • 15 TRX inverted rows
  • 20 KB swings
  • 10 TRX burpees

In conclusion, TRX and kettlebells are a great training tool combination. They compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses perfectly and make for an efficient, effective, and flat out tough workout routine.

Train hard and talk soon –


PS – When you pick up a TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack, you’ll get three DVD workouts detailing the moves I’ve listed above, a 35 page workout guide, and a whole lot more … get more info (and the best price on the package) by clicking here:

TRX Suspension Training Pro Pack

Kettlebell and Resistance Band Workout

Kettlebells are a tool that can be used to reach almost any fitness goal – from fat loss to muscle gain to improved total body conditioning.

HOWEVER – I’m NOT one of those folks who trains exclusively with kettlebells.  I incorporate a wide variety of training implements into the mix with my training clients and in my own workouts … and one of my new favorites is the continuously looped resistance band.

Bands are awesome and incredibly versatile.  They are also somewhat unique in that they provide increasing resistance as the band stretches – quite different than a free weight implement like a kettlebell where the resistance curve is controlled by gravity.

So – by combining kettlebells and resistance bands together, we can get the best of both worlds!  Try this kettlebell and resistance band workout to add some variety to your existing routine and accelerate your results:

Video Recap

Kettlebells and resistance bands are a perfect combination for a lot of different reasons. The resistance bands are a good compliment to kettlebell training because they provide a different type of resistance. With a kettlebell you have ballistic movements, you have slow and controlled movements which are controlled by gravity. Whereas with a band, the resistance actually increases as you stretch. So it’s great for increasing athleticism, reactive time, all different types of stuff.

I’m now just going to demo a quick kettlebell and resistance band workout. This is going to be categorized into three different pairs. Your first pair is going to be a push up and a squat. The push up is going to be done with your band. By the way, this is a continuously looped band. There’s a difference between these and the typical bands with the handles which are just ok although I’ve never been a huge fan of them. The continuously looped bands go way up higher in resistance. You can get a wide range of bands, all the way from very small up to very big ones. They’re a lot more heavy duty, you can go up to 150 to 200 lbs of resistance if you want to. This is a medium to large size band, I believe it’s about 1 inch thick.

So here’s what you’re going to do for the pushup. Hands through the band, thumbs down, bring the band over your head and around your back under your arms and do a push up. You’re going to do ten of those and then hop up and do a goblet squat with the kettlebell. Do 12 and that’s the first pair. Do three rotations- three sets of each exercise.

Our second pair is going to be a lunge and a row. So for a lunge with the kettlebell, come back up to the goblet position and take a giant step back. Ten each side. Then do a bent over row with the band. Double up the band and stand on it, back nice and flat. Then do a bent over row with the band. (Do 12 repetitions of the rows)

Last pair, we’re going to do a squat jump with the band. Stand on the band like you’re going to do a squat, bring it up to a rack position underneath your neck. Do a squat jump with the band. Super set that with a one arm kettlebell swing. So do 8 one arm swings each side, 12 total squat jumps with the band. The whole workout should take you maybe 20 minutes. It hits every major muscle group. You get a nice resistance and cardio workout all in one.

Get kettlebells here === >> Dragon Door KB’s

Get bands here === >> Continuously Looped Bands

Thanks, and talk soon –

– Forest Vance, Level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor

PS – Getting the newsletter? You’ll get two free gifts – my Kettlebell Rx video and my Beginners Guide to Kettlebell Training – as my way of saying thanks when you sign up.  Just drop your name and best email address into the box at the upper right of the page to do so now!

Double Kettlebell Workouts

As I’ve mentioned several times over the last few weeks, we currently have a mud run event prep program going on at my Sacramento – Land Park kettlebell training studio.  Well,  it’s starting to get really fun, because we’re doing some cool and different stuff  – like unique exercises/workouts designed around getting better at specific obstacles, using new and different training equipment, etc.

The weekly program includes one long run, two interval/hill runs, two total body conditioning days, and one heavy lifting day every week.  And one of the big challenges I had in designing the 12 week program was figuring out the best, most effective, most efficient way for folks doing the program to get in a “heavy day” during the week – without advanced periodization schemes, 90 minute workouts, and just generally making things too complex to follow …

Well, one of the best ways to dynamically load the body and to do it in a maximally time efficient way is with double kettlebell workouts!  This is because, in less than 30 minutes, with a double kettlebell workout you can:

  • Hit every major muscle group
  • Put the muscles under a relatively high load
  • Increase your functional strength at a rapid pace
  • Shoot your total body conditioning levels through the ROOF

So this is what I’m using for the max strength days in our mud run prep program.  And if the goals listed above apply to YOU, double kettlebell workouts are great for your goals as well.  Here are two for you to get started with:

Double Kettlebell Workouts

Double squat/press/swing complex workout

  • 5 double kettlebell press
  • 5 double kettlebell squat
  • 10 double kettlebell swing

Move directly from one exercise to the next without setting the kettlebells down.  Repeat complete circuit five times, resting 60 seconds between rounds.

Renegade row/clean/squat/press/swing complex workout

  • 2 double kettlebell renegade rows (with push up) each side
  • 4 double kettlebell clean, squat, and press
  • 6 double kettlebell swings

Move directly from one exercise to the next without setting the kettlebells down.  Repeat complete circuit five times, resting 60 seconds between rounds.

Oh – and if you need additional coaching/technique tips/a simple demonstration on any of the above kettlebell exercises, check out this video from last week’s double kettlebell exercises post:

In conclusion, if you’re looking to hit every major muscle group, increase your functional strength, and shoot your conditioning levels through the roof, double kettlebell workouts are a great place to start. Incorporate these two into your existing kettlebell workout programming for increased results today!

– Forest Vance, Level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor

PS – Getting the newsletter? You’ll get two free gifts – my Kettlebell Rx video and my Beginners Guide to Kettlebell Training – as my way of saying thanks when you sign up.  Just drop your name and best email address into the box at the upper right of the page to do so now!