Kettlebell Strength Q&A

Hope you are having a FANTASTIC weekend. The weather is great here in Northern California, perfect for an outdoor workout.

I am about to head out for a quick KB session and bike ride, but before I do –

I have been getting a lot of questions about my new Hybrid Kettlebell Strength program. So, I thought I would go throug,h and answer some of the ones we are getting over and over. I think these will help you out, whether you are doing Hybrid KB Strengh, or any other strength-based program.

Let’s go –


Q: How do I bump up the weight(s) I am using in my workouts?

A: Incorporate strength work into your overall routine, and use the principle of progressive overload.

Simply put, you need to strive to use more weight in your workouts over time. If you are pressing a 12k today for three sets of eight reps today, try to get nine, eight, eight with it next time. Then nine, nine, eight. Then nine, nine, nine. Then maybe ten. Then maybe bump up the weight. Etc.

THIS is why we want to stick with the same workout and exercises for at least four to six weeks, BTW. PARTICULARLY if gaining strength is our goal. If we change things up more frequently than that, there is no way to measure progress and see if we are getting better at specific exercises.

Q: How often should I change up my workouts?

A: Every four to six weeks.

If you are not the type that gets easily bored with your workouts, you could actually probably do the same workout even eight, ten weeks, or more. As long as you are making progress on the routine you are doing, you can (and should) keep doing it.


Q: How to I scale up or down, and adapt things for a more basic – or more advanced – fitness level?

A: Here are some progressions for some basic exercises included in the Hybrid Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning program. I have listed them in order from easiest/most basic variation, to hardest/most difficult variation:

  • split squat-bulgarian split squat-bulgarian split squat with weight
  • inverted row-band assisted pull up-standard pull up-pull up with kb on foot
  • burpee with hands elevated, no jump at top – burpee with no jump at top – burpee with jump at top – burpee with jump at top, push up on the floor
  • hands elevated push ups-knee push up-standard push up -feet elevated push up


Q: What if I travel often, and don’t have access to any equipment?

A: Plan ahead, and work around it.

For your real strength days, it is best to have access to your KB’s. So plan those one to two days per week for when you are home, or will have access to kettlebells.

Then, you can do body weight – based workouts for your metabolic conditioning days when you are on the road.

You can also do interval cardio when you are on the road – running is the simplest way, or just using simple body weight – based movements (jumping jacks, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.)

I travel about once a month or so – in anywhere from three to seven day stretches – and this system works great for me. I am able to stay on track with my workouts and even make progress while I am away.


Q: What if I only have three days per week to train? Can I still make progress?

A: Follow this template:

Day 1 – Metabolic conditioning + interval cardio
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Heavy strength + Recovery/LSD cardio
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Metabolic conditioning + interval cardio
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off

This will allow you to get all the work you need in three 45 -60 minute sessions.
Alright! Hope this Q&A has helped you out. If you have any other questions, I am here to help – feel free to ask them. Now I’m off to hit my kettlebell workout for the day!

Train hard, and take care –



PS – Hybrid Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning is on sale for just one more day. Check it out and grab your copy at a great discount here:

=> Hybrid KB Strength and Conditioning

Hybrid Kettlebell Strength Workout

I have a workout for you today I’ve created in the ‘style’ of my new Hybrid Kettlebell Strength program.

(I actually did this one last night myself – and whoa! I was SHOCKED at how tough it was.)

The important thing to keep in mind, to get the very most out of this one, is to use the heaviest weight you can handle with perfect form. NOT so heavy that you get sloppy. But, you gotta challenge yourself. Otherwise, it won’t be nearly as tough.

Here we go – let’s get right to it:


Hybrid KB Strength Workout


First, do:

Turkish get ups – 5 each side, switching sides each rep

Do one or two TGU’s on each side with no added weight first – ‘naked’, as they say – and increase the weight progressively each set, until you’re really challenging yourself on reps 4 and 5.


Then, on to:

(Pair 1)

Double KB squat to press – 6 to 8
Band pull apart – 12 to 15

Repeat for a total of three sets each.

Go for it on the kb squat to press. Use as much weight as you can handle with perfect form. Try increasing the weight on the second and/or third set.

For the band pulls, hold a resistance band in front of you, with your arms straight and the band at about eye level. Pull the band apart, keeping your arms straight.


(Pair 2)

Kettlebell crush curl – 10 to 12
Feet elevated close grip push up – 8 to 10

Repeat for a total of three sets each.

Grab a heavy kb and ‘crush’ the ball part of the weight, while you do bicep curls with it. Superset this with a foot elevated close grip push up.


Finish with:

High Intensity Interval Cardio (optional)

30 second sprint
30 second recovery
Repeat 10 times

Run or bike are the preferred modalities for the high intensity cardio. The ‘sprint’ portion should be HARD – like 9 out of 10 intensity. The ‘recovery’ portion should be EASY – like 3 out of 10 intensity.


Whew! Give that one a try, and let me know how it goes.

And – if you like it – be sure to check out my brand new Hybrid Kettlebell Strength program here:

=> Hybrid KB Strength

Have a great Saturday, and talk soon –

Forest Vance, MS, CPT, RKC II

PS – If you are looking to:

  • Slash your body fat
  • Get a lean, athletic looking build
  • Bump up your current weights
  • “Tighten up”
  • Get STRONG – WITHOUT lots of expensive equipment
  • Do it QUICK – with a workout that can fit into your crazy schedule
  • Seamlessly integrate kettlebells and body weight, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your KB routine

You NEED to check this program out:

Hybrid Kettlebell Strength <= save over 50% this weekend

The New Rules of Hybrid Kettlebell Strength

Today’s article is about the new rules of hybrid kettlebell strength.  It’s MY take on what I see as a big problem in the fitness world today … and what you can do about it.

But real quick before we get started, I want to share a quick personal story with you …


I still remember it like it was yesterday.  My first high intensity, REAL metabolic conditioning style kettlebell workout.

See, during the first seven or eight years of my lifting career, we only really did it one way.  We lifted heavy weights.  We rested plenty between sets. Weights were for getting STRONG – and that’s about it.

This type of heavy training ROCKS actually, and is a super important part of your overall training program … but when you are used to training a certain way, and you throw in one of these high-intensity, full-body, mixed-strength-and-conditioning workouts, your world gets turned upside down 🙂

Me and my training partner – a guy I worked with at the big box gym where I was employed at the time – hammered out a less-than-10 minute, SUPER high intensity, kettlebell and body weight – based circuit workout.

I remember lying on the floor afterwards, feeling like I was going to puke … and because of the exercises in the workout, having what they call “monkey claw” (it’s where your hands kind of curl up into balls, due to a fatigued grip) … and thinking – “Man, that was awesome.  I gotta do workouts like this more often!”

Sick, I know.  But, I’ll bet you have similar thoughts yourself after a good workout.  It’s just how us crazy fitness peeps roll 🙂

NOW … the point of this article … is that these kind of workouts can be almost addicting, in a way … but that really, you can’t let that “suck you in”, and get away from doing basic, heavy, effective strength work.

You NEED to include some max strength work in your overall scheme as well. You will not have the core, pre-requisite strength to perform your body weight/kettlebell/etc. movements at a high intensity and with great form, if you don’t.

This is so hard for me to get some of my clients to understand.  They feel like they MUST be smoked after EVERY workout.  That a day where you focus on heavy, basic, compound lifts, and don’t feel trashed afterwards is waste of time or something.

To make continued progress in your training, you must get this idea out of your head.


Sample Strength + Metabolic Conditioning Template

All this being said, I wanted to illustrate exactly what I am talking about here, with a sample week of workouts – using the “undulating periodization” model. I have used this template myself, and with hundreds, if not thousands, of in-person training clients, over the years with great success.

This basically means that you hit different training modalities – both heavy/max strength training and higher rep/conditioning-style work – not in specific, dedicated phases, but rather all over the course of a single week.

It allows most folks to make solid, continuing gains – in both strength AND conditioning. Which is a tough feat 😉

Day 1 – Metabolic conditioning day
Day 2 – Interval cardio day
Day 3 – Heavy strength day
Day 4 – Recovery/LSD cardio day
Day 5 – Metabolic Conditionoing day
Day 6 – Interval cardio day
Day 7 – Off

OR – if one only has three days per week to train, they could also set it up like this:

Day 1 – Metabolic conditioniong + interval cardio
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Heavy strength + Recover/LSD cardio
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Metabolic conditioniong + interval cardio
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off

And probably get pretty similar results.


In conclusion, I love high – intensity, conditioning – style kettlebell workouts.  I always will.  But I think it is also very important to take a step back, look at your programming as a whole, and make sure you lift HEAVY, too – it’s the foundation that much of your other training is built upon.

Thanks for reading, and talk soon –


PS – I will be back VERY soon with a full workout program, based on the theories discussed in this article. Stay tuned. AND – if you haven’t signed up for my free email newsletter, and grabbed your free copy of my Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training, make sure to do that now – you’ll get very first notice of the program’s availability when you do.

NEW Kettlebell Challenge Workout (includes video)

I have another free kettlebell challenge workout for you today.

Just change into your workout clothes, grab your KB and give this one a go!

Video Recap

  • 2 Clean and Presses on each side
  • 4 Snatches on each side
  • 12 Goblet Squats
  • 16 Hand to Hand Swings

Repeat this circuit 5 times as fast as possible.


Additional notes

Official KB weight for this challenge is 24k (men)/16k (women).

That being said, do NOT attempt the workout with the official weight unless you have an adequate level of strength and conditioning. Meaning, quite simply, that you must be able to handle the load safely and under control for the duration for the workout. If you’re not ready yet for the official weight, no worries – do the workout with a lighter weight that you know you can handle, but will still challenge you.

Bottom line, use good judgement, and work out safely. Enough said :)


Time standards

Done with good form, non-stop, each round/circuit will take you approx 1:30 to 1:45 to complete. With that in mind, here are some general guidelines for time:

14 mins or less = good
12 mins. or less = great
10 mins. or less = elite

Enjoy the workout – and the rest of your weekend!

Oh – and would love to hear how you do, in the comments section below.



PS – I originally wrote this workout for my kettlebell juggling expert friend Logan Christopher to share with his readers … and he actually ended up taking the challenge himself and catching it on video.  He smoked it 🙂  Check it out:


PPS – Logan and I met in person a couple of months ago at a business conference … we got to talking, and given that Logan is actually in the Santa Cruz area – only a couple of hours drive from where I am (in Sacramento) – we thought it would be great to collaborate on a kettlebell workshop. We could bring our own unique viewpoints and talents to share, for an awesome experience.

So, if you are interested, good news.  The workshop is on, for sure. The date is set, and the sign up page is almost ready.

I will have more details about that workshop coming for you early next week. Stay tuned 🙂  And make sure to sign up for my email newsletter to be the first to find out when it’s open, if you haven’t done that yet.  Just drop your best email address into the box at the upper right of the page to do that now.  Thanks!