Story of the Crazy Kettlebell Man (and a body weight/KB circuit workout)

Happy Halloween!

I’m feeling extra inspired – because Haloween is one of my favorite holidays 🙂 – so I have TWO things to share with you today:

1. A scary kettlebell story
2. A special Halloween body weight and kettlebell circuit workout


Story of the Crazy Kettlebell Man

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 …


10-31-12 Halloween Body Weight and Kettlebell Circuit Workout

– start with a five minute warm up – like this one

-then do:

(circuit 1)

10 pull ups or inverted rows
31 kettlebell swings
12 close grip push ups

(circuit 2)

10 plank-to-push ups
31 jumping jacks
12 goblet squats

– Perform exercises in each circuit back-to-back without rest. Rest 30-60 seconds, and repeat each circuit three times.

– For some tips on how to do more pull ups, click here

– To check out a video with some kettlebell swing form tips, click here

That’s it for now!

Talk soon –


PS – If you haven’t grabbed your free Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training yet, make sure to do so now!  Just drop your best email address into the box at the upper right of the page.

PPS – If you have family or friends who would enjoy today’s article(s), please feel free to forward them along!!

Getting Back in Shape in Your 40’s and Beyond (with kettlebells)

If you:

  • Wonder if your best years of being fit, feeling great, being strong, and looking good are behind you …
  • No longer see a lean physical specimen with muscle definition when you look in the mirror, but instead a doughy, middle-aged body that you feel disappointed in …
  • Feel sluggish, and no longer have the energy and vitality you used to …

Today’s post is for you.

Fellow KB fan David Lee from HumanNature @ Work shares with us his personal story of getting back into shape in his 50’s … and how kettlebells helped him do it.

– Forest

Getting Back in Shape in Your 40’s and Beyond

by David Lee of HumanNature @ Work

Along with a bunch of bodyweight exercises, this morning’s workout included:

1. Six chin-ups with a 24Kg (54lb) kettlebell on a weight belt
2. Two rest pause chin-ups with my 16kg and 24kg kettlebells (88lb) on a weight belt.
3. One arm push-ups, 4 per arm

I’m a 55 year old guy and could barely do a single chin-up four years ago.

If you’re above 40, I’m writing this post for you.

If any of the following sound familiar, I’m writing this for you:

1. You wonder if your best years of being fit, feeling great, being strong, and looking good are behind you.

2. When you look in the mirror, you no longer see a lean physical specimen with muscle definition.  Instead, you see is a doughy, middle-aged body that you feel disappointed in.

3. You no longer feel strong and sturdy. When you bend over, you brace your lower back with your hand. You hope doing this will keep you from “throwing out your back” or pulling a muscle.

4. You feel sluggish. You don’t have the energy and vitality you used to.

5. You “want to want to” work out. You wish you liked working out, but you don’t. You wish you could force yourself to go to the gym, but it bores the hell out of you. You wish you had the discipline to work out at home, but that just isn’t happening.

If any of the above rings true, I feel your pain.

I was there.

I also remember the day things turned around, the day I stopped feeling disappointed and became
determined to do something about it.

Here’s what happened….

I was slogging along on a treadmill in a hotel gym in Austin, Texas while on a business trip. Bored out of my mind, I kept punching up new channels on my TV, looking for something to help me escape the monotony.

That’s when I came across an infomercial with a bunch of people doing some kind of extreme fitness program with a really enthusiastic, humorous guy leading the pack. He was only a little younger than I and was in amazing shape. In case you can’t guess who it was, it was Tony Horton of P90X fame.

Even though I had never worked out at home and questioned whether I had the discipline to do so, I was sick of how I looked and felt. I wanted to look just half as fit and be half as fit as Tony. So when I got home, I bought the program.

I can remember my first time putting in one of the DVDs (it was Core Synergistics) and struggling through about half of it. For the chest and back workout, which included chin-ups and pull-ups, I ended up getting rubber bands because I couldn’t do reps of chin-ups or pull-ups. When I finally graduated to being strong enough to do them, I would max out on 4-5.

I have to confess, I’m not a real structured guy, so I never did the program in the systematic way they map out. I didn’t read the instructions and didn’t do the different cycles they recommended. I just varied the workouts.

But I could see the changes. I was losing flab and putting on muscle.

I can still remember the day when I looked in the mirror and—this feels a little strange to admit—I was startled by what I saw. It was actually like “Woah! Who’s this dude?”

Again, this feels strange to say, but maybe you can relate to that primitive reptilian brain response that gets triggered when you come across a guy who is much bigger and stronger looking. No matter how civilized you think you are, or how confident you feel, there’s this reflexive alertness that comes out of nowhere.

That’s kind of how I felt when I looked in the mirror. Now, it wasn’t like I looked like Arnold or Dorian Yates by any stretch. We’re talking 6’2” and about 180 lbs. But… where before there was no definition and only this doughy, tubular body, I saw decent sized delts with definition and more muscle mass than I could remember ever having.

It truly was a strange phenomenon, almost like I finally woke up to the fact that I had changed. It actually took a while for my self-image to catch up to this new reality. I was no longer the over-the-hill doughy middle-aged guy.

I continued on with P90X for about six months when one day I was talking with a friend about how much I loved my fitness program and the difference it made, when she shared how much she enjoyed using something called kettlebells.

She asked me if I had ever heard of them. I hadn’t.

Although I could see she was really into them, I wasn’t. I thought they were some kind of girly thing.  (Man, how wrong could I have been?).

The image I had was some little bell shaped weight thing that women swung around, one per hand, while they did some kind of aerobic dance workout. Again…how wrong could I have been about that?

I can’t remember what triggered me to finally go online and do some research, but after a little reading, I knew that kettlebells were going to become part of my program.

Once I started using them and learning about functional fitness and exercising movements and not individual muscles, I became even more of a hard core fitness fanatic.

So, now, almost four years later, I feel and look like a different person. Interestingly enough, what I used to find incomprehensible—working out in the morning—is now a habit. Now the following may sound weird, but sometimes if I wake up at say, 3 or 4 AM, I can’t get back to sleep because I’m so stoked about my upcoming morning workout. So I get up, and “bring it!”


About the Author:

David Lee is the founder of HumanNature @Work. He is a speaker, consultant, and writer in the areas of employee motivation; resilience; and storytelling for entrepreneurs, leaders, and coaches. He works with individuals and leadership teams interested in maximizing their effectiveness. His websites are:,, and

Kettlebell Combos for Fat Loss (part two)

Last time, we talked about the concept of using kettlebell combos for fat loss.

(If you missed that post, you can check it out by clicking here.)

Now, I want to give you an outline of how you’d set up a complete “kettlebells for rapid fat loss” routine.

But before we get going … it’s critically important to remember that having a specific plan for your workouts in place WILL maximize your results.

I’ve talked about this concept many times before … and I’m still honestly convinced that most people just kind of surf around online, think about what kind of stuff they like, and then pick a workout for the day and do it … without regard for specific goals, appropriateness of exercises for fitness level, etc.

This is NOT the best way to go about structuring your workouts!!

The main problem with changing too frequently is that you never really focus on one thing and get good at it.  Instead, you end up doing lots of different exercises … getting in decent shape … … but never really reaching your full potential with a specific exercise or strength skill.

Now don’t get me wrong.  This is much better than not working out at all.  It’s moving, and burning kcals, and getting some activity in.  But the thing is, if you’re reading this post, chances are that you’re past that stage.  You’re working out more or less consistently.  It’s just a matter of exactly WHAT to do … and how to set it up … to maximize your results.

Okay, on to the program outline …

1) Do a kettlebell combo – like the one I outlined last time – about three days per week.  Make sure that you’re hitting all of your major muscle groups evenly, and that you’re combining the exercises in a way that makes the workout flow smoothly and minimizes the need for rest.

Also, make sure you’re using great form in all of your kettlebell exercise to 1) prevent injury and 2) get the most benefit out of them possible.

2) Do high intensity, interval-based cardio workouts two to three times per week.  “Long” cardio – like 35 minutes plus – is just okay … but it’s not ideal.  And we’re in it to win it … so we want ideal. 🙂

3) Follow a meal plan specifically designed for rapid fat loss.  You might not want to hear this, but … you can workout as hard as you like … but if your diet isn’t on point, it’s all to waste.

That’s it.  Do those three things, and you will lose body fat – fast!  I have faith in you.  You can do it.  Take your own personal fat loss challenge starting NOW … and keep me posted on your progress!

‘Till next time –


PS – Would love to hear your thoughts on these concepts!  Please post your comments below.

PPS – I have a complete and  done-for-you program based around the concept of using kettlebell combos for rapid fat loss coming to you very soon … make sure to keep an eye on your email inbox for details.  And if haven’t signed up yet – what the heck are you waiting for? 🙂  I’ve got all kind of cool free stuff for you when you do … just drop your name and best email into the box at the upper right of to sign up now.

PPPS – 10/25 update!  The 30 Day Rapid Fat Loss Kettlebell Solution is now available.  Click here to learn more.

Kettlebell Combos For Fat Loss (part one)

As you may or may not know, I lost 64 pounds in a roughly seven month period immediately after my pro football career came to an end.

Now I hadn’t yet discovered kettlebells at this point … but I sure wish that I had.

See, I’m NOT a naturally skinny guy. I have to work hard to not blow up and get fat 🙂  And fortunately, I DID discover KB’s shortly after I lost all the weight … and I’ve never looked back!!

One of the keys to using KB’s for maximum fat loss effect is using them in a special way … combining KB exercises into what we call kettlebell combos.  This is a concept that I’ve talked about a little bit on this blog, but not a lot – so I’m going to do a two part post series explaining it in detail, and showing how you can use KB combos in your own program for accelerated fat loss results.

Kettlebell Combos for Fat Loss

One of the really cool things about kettlebells is that once you learn the basic moves (swing, TGU, squat, clean, press, and snatch), you can combine these moves together into almost infinite combinations.

HOWEVER – part of the secret lies in HOW you put your workouts together. You can’t just half-hazardly throw some exercises together expect to get results.

No. You have to carefully design your KB fat loss combo workouts for maximum effect.

Here’s a quick sample workout to show you what I’m talking about:

EXTREME Fat Burning KB Combo Workout

(start on the right side; complete reps as prescribed; then repeat on the left side)

  • 1 KB clean

straight to

  • 5 KB squat to presses

straight to

  • 10 one arm KB swings

Once you finish this sequence on BOTH sides – making sure to rest as little as possible – move directly to –

  • Pull ups OR body rows – max reps minus one
  • Repeat this combo five times with about sixty seconds of rest between rounds
  • THEN finish your workout with ten rounds of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off high intensity cardio


In summary, kettlebell combos are an amazing way to lose fat and stay in peak condition.  In this article you have a nice little fat-burning kettlebell combo workout to go after this weekend. I hope it helps … talk soon.


PS – Would love to hear your thoughts on this workout!  Please post your comments below.

PPS – Keep an eye out for part two of this series coming in the next day or two … I’ll have an outline for you of exactly how you’d set up a complete “kettlebells for rapid fat loss” routine yourself.

PPPS – 10/25 update!  The 30 Day Rapid Fat Loss Kettlebell Solution is now available.  Click here to learn more.

Quick Tip to Fix Kettlebell Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain is something that has hindered my training on and off for the last decade.

During my college and pro sports career (I played college football and had a ‘cup of coffee’ in the NFL), I had MANY injuries. I also lifted really heavy weights for more than a decade.  This is when it all started.

Shortly after my sports career ended, I lost a bunch of weight (I played offensive line and was around 300 pounds when I was playing … now I hover between about 246 and 248) and got into kettlebell training  (by the way, I have an AWESOME project in the works with a new and updated rapid fat loss kettlebell system coming your way next week … say tuned for that).  And for a while, my shoulder pain kind of just went away …

And then, during training for my first RKC certification about four years ago, my shoulder started to bother me again. One of the RKC testing requirements, as you may know, is 100 snatches with a 24k ‘bell in five minutes … so I did a LOT of KB snatching in preparation … and I did great at the cert weekend … but my shoulder was hating me afterwards.

Now, any time I do a lot of snatches, pressing, or any kind of repeated overhead work (like we were doing in training for a mud run we completed about a month ago) – my shoulder KILLS me … and to be honest, it sucks!

If you suffer from shoulder pain like I do, I’m betting that you’re looking for any solution you can find.

So a couple of weeks ago, my friend and colleague Rick Kaselj provided me with a review copy of his new Fix My Shoulder Pain system. And I have to say, this is some good stuff. The shoulder issues I was having from the mud run training are MUCH better. And it’s due to some simple tips. I want to share my favorite one with you here today …

** Rick’s Fix My Shoulder Pain System is on a 50% sale for the next couple of days, btw … and I’ve put together a special kettlebell complex program that you’ll get as a free bonus when you grab a copy … just click here to grab your copy of the FMSP program … and forward me your email reciept when you get it … and I’ll hook you up!**

So … the quick fix to your kettlebel shoulder pain is (and this tip is straight from Rick) …

Warm Up The Muscles & Not Just The Joint

When it comes to warming up prior to a kettlebell workout, most people are not doing anything to prevent a shoulder injury – which we’ve learned is the most commonly hurt body part. You’ll see guys that are doing arm circles and arm crosses before their workout which is fine, but this does not hinder an injury. The circles and crosses help lubricate the joint but does nothing to prime up the actual muscles in the  shoulder – which is what you need to do.

Quick Fix: During your warm up add resistance to wake up the muscles of the shoulder, rotator cuff and shoulder blade so they are ready to protect and prevent a shoulder injury. There are several exercises you can pick from but my favorite is the elbows back full range of motion bodyweight push-up with feet elevated on something.

Click here and scroll down a bit to see a demo of what I’m talking about:

=> Quick Fix Shoulder Warm Up

Now – this is obviously just one quick tip, and not a complete solution – but it is a great start. Try it before your next KB workout and let me know what you think.

(Also – the full Fix My Shoulder Pain System is on a 50% sale for the next couple of days, and I’ve put together a special kettlebell complex program that I’m going to give you as a special bonus when you grab a copy … just forward me your email receipt when you get it (you can do that here) and I’ll hook you up!)

Thanks for reading, and talk soon –

Forest Vance
Level 2 Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor

The Low Kettlebell Windmill

The Kettlebell Windmill is a great exercise.  It just looks cool … it’s of those moves that attracts one to KB training in the first place …

BUT … the KB Windmill is also an advanced drill.  It requires a lot of shoulder, hip, and hamstring flexibility/mobility to perform properly.  And the truth is, if you’re just starting out, you probably shouldn’t be doing it – yet.

Today’s post is about a great alternative exercise that I use in my training almost every day – the low kettlebell windmill.

** The low kettlebell windmill can be a key part of your kettlebell fat loss and conditioning plan – IF you know how to program it into your workouts properly.  Click the link below to learn how: == >> Extreme Fat Loss and Conditioning with the Low Kettlebell Windmill 

Watch this video for a quick demo of the exercise – and a few important coaching points:

Video Recap

The kettlebell windmill is a great exercise.  But most folks – especially when just starting out – lack the shoulder, hip, and hamstring flexibility to do it right.  So I always start with the low kettlebell windmill … master it FIRST … and only THEN progress to the full version.

Start with the ‘bell even with the instep of your lead foot.  The feet are going to be turned at about a 45 degree angle.

Note that ALL the movement in this exercise comes from the hip, and not the spine.

Poke the hip out, reach it back behind you as you decend and reach towards your foot.

There’s a straight line from the shoulder to the hip, and the abs are braced tight like you’re doing a plank.


In summary, the kettlebell windmill is a great exercise … but if you’re just starting out with KB training, the low windmill variation is a great place to start.

Train hard and talk soon –


PS – The low kettlebell windmill can be a key part of your kettlebell fat loss and conditioning plan – IF you know how to program it into your workouts properly.  Click this link to learn how:

= > Extreme Fat Loss and Conditioning with the Low Kettlebell Windmill 

24 Minute Kettlebell Workout

When it comes to obstacles that keep folks from reaching their ultimate kettlebell training goals …

Time is always on the top of the list.

“Back in the day”, you probably had time to workout for an hour or two.  And given that the average adult gains about one pound of fat per year, odds are that you were in better shape back then, too.

But it ain’t that way no more 🙁  Whether it’s career, family, your social calendar, or a combo of all three – lack of time is something that keeps you from getting your workouts in as consistently as you’d like.

Good news.  I have a solution for you.  It’s my 24 minute kettlebell workout.  And if you got 24 minutes, you got enough time for this!!  Check it out in the video below:

(FYI – this is a video version of the mud run workout I posted last week.  It’s an awesome one and can be used not only to prep you for a mud run event – but for total body conditioning and fat loss as well.)

Video Recap

Strength/ Cardio Hybrid Mud Run Workout Circuit

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 squat
  • pull up (or body row)
  • box jump (or step up)
  • bear crawl
  • kettlebell farmer’s walk
  • diagonal lunge
  • plank

Do two rounds of this circuit total.  Each round should take you about 12 minutes … so two rounds = 24 minutes.

If lack of time is a major obstacle for you when it comes to reaching your ultimate kettlebell training goals, this 24 minute kettlebell workout will solve your problem.  It’s a total body conditioning circuit that’ll help you get in great shape and burn tons of fat at the same time.  Enjoy, and talk soon –

Forest Vance, MS, RKC II

PS – If you’re looking to learn more about the basics of kettlebell training, here’s the resource I recommend to get started:

=> Learn the Kettlebell Basics