Crazy Kettlebell & Body Weight Mud Run Workout

We recently put together a team at my Sacramento training studio and completed the (currently) biggest and most popular mud run event. It was an awesome physical and mental challenge, but also a lot of fun … and most importantly, a great success!

We had been training together as a group weeks before the event, working off of a specific training program I prepared.  So I thought I’d post up one of the group’s favorite workouts here on for your “enjoyment” and training benefit!

** I just put the finishing touches on a complete six-week training plan to prep you for your next mud run – and you can get a killer deal on it when you grab a copy before this Sunday night.  Click here to check out the full program:

=== >> The Mud Runner’s Manual

Crazy Kettlebell & Body Weight Mud Run Workout


You’ll do :45 seconds of cardio (jog, bike, jump rope, step ups, or jumping jacks) between each exercise.  Perform each of the following exercises continuously for :45 seconds:

•t push up
•kettlebell (or dumbbell) squat
•pull up (or body row)
•box jump (or step up)
•bear crawl
•farmer’s walk
•diagonal lunge

Do two to three rounds of this circuit total.

Give this kettlebell and body weight mud runners’ workout a try this weekend – and keep training hard!!

Forest Vance, RKC II

PS – Whether you’re prepping for a mud run or not, I think you’ll love my new program – check it out here:

=== >> The Mud Runner’s Manual

Kettlebell Exercise Alternatives

It’s really important to 1) be aware of and 2) know exactly how to “scale” a kettlebell workout for different fitness levels.  It gives you the ability to perform nearly ANY routine you find – no matter your ability and/or kettlebell training skill.

For example – in my kettlebell boot camp, I give folks an extreme version, a regular version and a beginner version of every exercise we do.  So folks that have been training hard for months or years can pick the hardest version, intermediate-level folks can pick the medium-intensity version, and beginners can pick the “entry level” version.

So, I thought I’d put together a simple list of kettlebell exercise alternatives for all the basic kettlebell drills for your reference.  Hope it helps –

Kettlebell Exercise Alternatives

1. Kettlebell Swing Alternatives

If you’re just getting started, out of shape, have injury issues, etc., you can do the sumo deadlift instead of the kettlebell swing.  You’d then work to the 1/2 swing and finally the full swing.

I outline the full learning progression for the kettlebell swing – including how to do the sumo deadlift and 1/2 swing – in this post:

=== >> The HardStyle Swing


2. Turkish Get Up Alternatives

If you can’t do a full Turkish Get Up, start with the 1/2 TGU.

See a video on how to do it here:

=== >> The Turkish Get Up


3. Kettlebell Squat Alternatives

The squat is a movement that, IF done correctly, the vast majority of people CAN do.

It KILLS me when folks say “my doctor told me not to squat, I have bad knees!” … and then when I have them do a squat, their heels come up and their knees shoot out over their toes.  Here, it’s not the movement itself, it’s HOW YOU’RE DOING IT.

You have to squat multiple times throughout the day – sitting in a chair, getting into your car, sitting on the toilet, etc.  If you can do these things, you can squat!!

BUT – if you truly want to regress this exercise – do it without weight first.  Try the box squat.  Get a weight bench or other object of similar height.  Stand about 12-18 inches in front of it.  Sit your hips back on to it and tap it with your butt.  It’ll teach you how to hinge at the hips, get into a proper squat position … and you’ll be squatting using your KB in no time.


4. Pressing Alternatives

If you can’t press overhead for whatever reason (injury, etc.), pressing in the horizontal plane can be a good work-around.

Check out this post on another one of my blogs on one of the best all-around pressing moves ever – the push up:

=== >> How to Do More Push Ups


5. Kettlebell Snatch Alternatives

If you can’t do a kettlebell snatch, substitute a one hand swing.  Learn the swing PERFECTLY and get it down cold … then progress to the snatch.


6. Kettlebell Clean Alternatives

The squat clean is a great alternative if you can’t do the kettlebell clean.  It’s a two-hand, simpler variation of the standard clean.  Here’s how to do it:

=== >> The Kettlebell Squat Clean


7. Pull Up Alternatives

Though not a PURE kettlebell move, still a very important one.

Many kettlebell workouts call for pull ups.  But a lot of folks can’t do them.

A great alternative for the pull up is the body row.

Learn 5 ways to do more pull ups here:

=== >> How to Do More Pull Ups


In summary, just because you can’t do a kettlebell exercise, it doesn’t mean you can’t do workout that includes it … you just need the right kettlebell exercise alternatives.  Use this list next time you’re in a pinch, do what you can with what you got and keep training hard!



PS – If you liked this post, you’ll love this program – it starts from the very beginning, works you through many of the kettlebell exercise alternatives we covered here and puts you on the right track to long term kettlebell success:

=== >> Lifetime Kettlebell Fitness

Kettlebell Workout “Finishers”

“Finishers” are an AWESOME way to end a kettlebell workout.  I use them on a weekly, if not daily basis at my Sacramento, CA KB boot camps.

Mike Whitfield of is the go-to guy in the fitness industry these days for crazy effective workout finisher programming … I recently did an interview with him and wanted to post up the transcript for your benefit here on the blog!

In the interview, you’ll learn exactly what a “workout finisher” IS, how it fits into your overall kettlebell workout programming, type of results you can expect with these workouts, and even a couple of sample finisher sequences to try for yourself.

– Forest

1. Mike, your workout finishers program is very cool – kind of revolutionary really. I currently use your concepts in my personal routine and with training clients on a weekly, if not daily, basis. What first drove you to create your workout finishers system?

It’s funny you ask that because I’ve been using finishers for years with my clients, but I never did make it accessible for everyone else.

I’m a big believer in consistency. When you’re consistent, you get results. It really is that simple. Sometimes, when you hit a plateau or you get bored with your workout routine, you get frustrated and quit, so I decided to solve both of those issues with finishers.

My clients were getting great results with intervals and metabolic resistance training, but they wanted something different for their intervals. So, I gave them some finishers to do instead.

The next thing you know, they were getting addicted to working out, looking forward to their sessions and blasting through plateaus.

Finally, after thinking about it for over 2 years, I finally released Workout Finishers to help more people get out of their rut and break through plateaus. There were lots of early mornings, but it’s been so cool to see thousands of people use this program.

2. What exactly is your program all about? How does it work and/or fit into an individual’s overall routine?

My program’s theme is to kick cardio to the curb once and for all and get addicted to working out again. The Workout Finishers program is designed to be used with ANY program. It’s like a 3-8 minute “add-on” at the end of your workout to burn more calories with metabolically demanding exercises and short rest periods. Really, it’s like interval training on caffeine.

What’s great is that you can use these finishers to improve your conditioning, which translates to better workouts, break a plateau, but more importantly, keep you coming back for more. The biggest thing to remember is that you don’t have to quit your favorite workouts; you simply plug these in at the end.

To find out more about Mike’s complete program, click here === >> Workout Finishers

3. Your workouts incorporate all different forms of training – body weight, kettlebells, metabolic conditioning – and they’re HARD! What exercise methods have you studied and how do they influence your work?

Without a doubt, the biggest influence on my program design has been Craig Ballantyne, the author of Turbulence Training. Alwyn Cosgrove has been a large influence as well. I’ve been following both of those guys for years, along with other amazing coaches like Jason Ferruggia and John Romaniello.

I’ve been such a fan of Craig’s methods, that is why I decided to get certified as a TT Trainer. I strongly believe in the system because it works and it doesn’t take a lot of time.

4. What type of results have individuals experienced with your program? Could you provide a few examples?

The results have been amazing. My biggest accomplishment has been me losing 105 lbs, but then there is a client named Chris who lost 70 lbs, along with others.

I’ve had people in Craig’s Transformation Contest win a combined $4,500 in contest money, which is really cool to see. People like Philip lost 34 lbs in just 12 weeks, and the most gratifying part is that they did this without any cardio. It works for females, too. Amber won $1000 and Leslie won $500.

5. Would you be kind enough to provide a sample workout finisher or two for my readers to try out at home?

Absolutely – I’d love to. Let’s do 2! First, understand that the name of my finishers are as unique as the finishers themselves. There’s no reason I do it other than I think it’s hilarious.

Finisher # 1 – “The Climbing in Prison 4X4″

Do the following circuit as many times as possible in 5 minutes, resting only when needed. For an added challenge, record the number of reps you complete and the next time you perform this finisher, try to beat your previous record.

Prisoner Lunge Jumps (4/side)
Spiderman Climb (4/side)
Alternating Prisoner Lateral Lunge (4/side)
Mountain Climbers (4/side)

Finisher # 2 – “The Decline of the Bulgarians” (one of my favorites of all time)

Do the following superset, resting only when needed. In the first superset, you will perform 8 reps of each exercise. In the next superset, you will perform 7 reps of each. Continue in this fashion until you complete 1 rep of each exercise.

Bulgarian Jump Squat (8/side…down to 1/side)
Decline Pushups (8… down to 1)

Good times.

Thanks for having me Forest,
Mike Whitfield, CTT

To find out more about Mike’s complete program, click here === >> Workout Finishers