Abbreviated Kettlebell Training

Lack of time seems to be one of the most common excuses for missing workouts. But in reality, almost everyone can find a little extra time in their day to train. It’s partially a matter of priority (is watching this week’s Jersey Shore episode or getting your workout in more important?) and partially a matter of knowing exactly how to get the most efficient workout in the shortest time possible.

One of the great things about kettlebell training  is that 15-20 minutes of work is, in many cases, all you need.  You can get great results with literally less than one hour per week of kettlebell workouts.

The abbreviated kettlebell training program of choice

When it comes time to design an abbreviated kettlebell routine, I know of none better than the Program Minimum from Pavel’s Enter the Kettlebell. Without giving away too many details, it consists soley of a few mobility movements and stretches, Turkish Get Ups and Kettlebell Swings done in four to five weekly sessions of about 15 to 20 minutes each.

I’ve personally gotten amazing results with this exact program – less than one hour per week in total of training.  I’ve also put countless kettlebell clients on the program and it’s worked great for them, too – no one believes that it’s enough work to get decent results, but everyone is converted into a believer after trying the PM for a few weeks.

You can check out this post on the Kettlebell Man Maker – which is part of the Program Minimmum – on my Fitness Monster blog to get a more detailed idea of what this program is like:

The Kettlebell Man Maker

And you can order a copy of Enter the Kettlebell by clicking the banner below:

Enter The Kettlebell

New option for abbreviated kettlebell training

If you’ve completed the Program Minimum and are looking for a new, more advanced program, the new Kettlebell Muscle book by Geoff Nupert, Master RKC is worth checking out. It’s a book all about building muscle with kettlebells – the workouts are short and efficient kettlebell complexes that are perfect for folks wanting maximum results from minimum time investment.  Click the image below to learn more about Kettlebell Muscle and to order a copy:

Kettlebell Muscle

In short, kettlebells are the perfect tool for building muscle and losing fat with minimum time investment.  I know that when my schedule gets crazy, I rely on kettlebell training to keep me in shape.  If you’re tight on time but are looking for a very effective way to train, I highly recommend abbreviated kettlebell training.

Keep training hard!


P.S. If you haven’t signed up for my weekly newsletter, make sure to do so now – you’ll get a free Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training just for signing up! Just drop your name and email into the box at the upper right of the page.

A Day At My Kettlebell Boot Camp …

I keep getting emails asking about what one of my kettlebell boot camp workouts actually looks like. So I thought that, from the standpoint of helping you put your own workouts together, I would walk you through a typical day:

1. We usually start off with a dynamic warm up of some kind … something like the warm up I talked about in this post: How To Warm Up For Your Next Kettlebell Workout In 3 Minutes Or Less

2. Then we move on to a ‘strength circuit’ – this is sometimes kettlebells only, sometimes kettlebells and body weight or dumbbell exercises mixed together.  It’s usually a combo of two exercises, performed for a specific amount of reps each and rotated back and forth for 5 minutes non-stop.  This is a great set up that allows folks of various fitness levels to all get a great workout in a group setting.  Here’s a video of one of my favorite combos (this is actually a sample video from a brand new workout program I have out – I’ll give you more details about it at the end of this post):

3. Then, we do two ‘conditioning circuits’ – this might be something like:

10 Kettlebell Squat Cleans

5 Kettlebell ‘Renegade Rows’ each side

10 Walking Overhead Kettlebell Lunges

And we’ll run through these sequences in the same fashion as many times as we can for 7-10 minutes.

4. I then take about 5 minutes to do core and/or corrective work – Planks, Hip Bridges, stuff like that.

5. To finish, we do a simple static stretch at the end.

In 45 minutes you get resistance training, conditioning work, core work, exercises for injury prevention, and flexibility – and that’s tough to beat 🙂

That’s the structure of a typical kettlebell boot camp workout at Forest Vance Training, Inc.  Hope that helps you design your own boot camp workouts in the future!

Oh, and the video above is from my new 30 Day Rapid Fat Loss Challenge total transformation plan … if you’re trying to lose body fat, it’s for sure at least worth checking out.  Heck, I’m giving away bonuses with it for the next few days (3 days to be exact) that are worth more than the actual product, including a free copy of the Quick Start Guide … and on top of that, the package is over 50% off.  Get the details here:

The 30 Day Rapid Fat Loss Challenge

Advanced Body Weight Methods To Compliment Your Kettlebell Training

Kettlebells are a fantastic tool for building strength endurance and shooting your conditioning level through the roof. But for balanced development, you do need to include other types of training in your overall programming scheme. Using your own body weight as a workout tool is a great solution. Here are three advanced body weight exercise methods that should make a great compliment to your existing kettlebell training program:

1. Static holds

Here’s a somewhat unorthodox technique for building strength your own body weight.  A static hold is, at it’s most basic level, where you simply hold an exercise at a particular point in its range of motion. It’s a great way to make exercises that are easy when you reach a certain fitness level – like Push Ups – more difficult.

As an example, to use this technique with a Push Up, you could do three static holds of 30 seconds each at the bottom, middle, and top of the range of motion of the exercise.

2. Tabata Intervals

The ‘Tabata’ method, just for a quick review, is a simple interval protocol. It involves twenty seconds of all-out work, ten seconds of rest, and is repeated eight times. Then puke, fall down, pass out, etc. 🙂 I wrote more about the Tabata method in this post:

The Advantages Of HIIT Cardio

It works great with a variety of bodyweight exericses, like Squats, Push Ups, and Sit Ups.

3. Using Body Weight Exercises For Cardio

In the same vein as Tabata intervals – if you hate doing traditional cardio (like I do), you can do a body weight circuit instead. You simply need to string together a series of body weight exercises and make sure that they:

  • Keep you moving non-stop for a period of time
  • Keep you heart rate up
  • Aren’t overly intense – you should be able to maintain the flow for at least 15-20 minutes

Here’s a cool video to give you an example:

So there are three advanced body weight exercise training methods to compliment your current kettlebell training program. Build them into your workouts today!

If you’re looking for even more advanced body weight training methods, check out my book and DVD all about how to get an awesome workout anywhere in 30 minutes or less, No Gym? No Excuse! And if you’re interested in a top-secret package deal on all of my products, check out the checkout page of that very same website:

No Gym? No Excuse!

Kettlebell Video – Teaching The Swing

The Swing is a movement that can almost always be refined.  I’ve said this many times before, but mastery of the other basic balistic kettlebell moves (like the Clean and Snatch) all starts with the Swing.  In this video with Senior RKC David Whitley and RKC Matt McBryde, you’ll learn:

  • Background and history of the kettlebell
  • Why ‘cushy’ shoes are a no-no for your kettlebell training
  • How to learn the ‘hip hinge’ and the proper swing movement pattern from the KB deadlift

And much more!  Check it out for yourself:

Kettlebell Basics Combo #4

For the forth installment of the Kettlebell Basics Combo series … The Super Full Body Attack!!

This one is really just a single exercise, but I’m calling it a combo because it’s a bunch of kettlebell moves all mixed together … it’s truly a smoker. I challenge you to find a muscle group in your body that this exercise doesn’t work.

Here’s the video:

Start this one in a standing position with the kettlebells about six inches in front of you. The first trick is to make sure the KB handles are placed in such a way that your palms can face each other when you jump back to your Push Up.

Jump your feet back to a Push Up position – like a Burpee. Do a Push Up. Now, jump the feet forward in one motion and make sure your feet land outside of the kettlebell handles.

Clean the ‘bells up, do a Front Squat, and move straight from the Front Squat to an Overhead Press. Rack the KB’s, return them to the ground and you’ve done one rep.

For a quick, incredibly tough full body blast, do 50 of these for time. You must pay very close attention to your form with this combo. Especially as the rep count starts to climb, your form can easily break down.

If you’re just starting out, you can of course scale the workout down and do maybe half the amount of reps. You could also do more if 50 is too easy.

(BTW, I got the idea for this one from the ‘original’ full body attack – I’ve just added a Push Up and Front Squat to make it tougher.)

Here’s a video of the original for reference:

That’s it for kettlebell basics combo #4! Enjoy and keep training hard.

Still strugling to learn the basics of kettlebell training? Your first move is to read through the archives and check out the videos on this blog – there’s a ton of great info here. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter, and you’ll get a free Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training – you can do that by simply inputing your name and email into the form at the upper right of the page. For a more complete and in-depth guide that teaches you basic kettlebell exercises and workouts, check out my Quick Start Guide. And last but not least, visit the recommended resources page of this blog to order kettlebells and all the other stuff you need to make your kettlebell training a great experience!

My Favorite Kettlebell Training Resources

Quality kettlebell training advice can be hard to come by- here’s a short list of resources I’ve used to build my kettlebell knowledge over time – I hope you find it useful:

The premier source of kettlebell training info. Pavel Tsatsouline, the man behind The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, Enter The Kettlebell, Return of The Kettlebell and lots of other books from Dragon Door, is largely responsible for popularizing kettlebell training in the U.S.

Enter The Kettlebell by Pavel

The best book, in my opinion, on getting started with kettlebell training. Keeps things basic for you, and Pavel has a both highly effective and highly entertaining way of teaching.  A must have for your KB training library.  The Enter The Kettlebell DVD is also a great tool.


A good resource with a lot of good stuff – and a lot of bad. I might sound a little like I’m condradicting myself after this post – the rule is to use YouTube at your own risk and, after looking at all the other resources I recommend here, use your knowledge as a ‘filter’ and decide what’s good and what’s not.

The CrossFit Journal

This is, at $25 a year, one of the best investments you can make in furthering your general training knowledge.   I know the jury is out on CrossFit (I wrote a post about this recently on The Fitness Monster, in fact – you can check it out here), but I think their journal is an awesome resource. There’s not only a lot of kettlebell info here – much of it from Jeff Martone, a former RKC guy – but lots and lots more on every imaginable topic.

Viking Warrior Conditioning

This is a killer book if you’re looking to improve your conditioning.  A word of warning: the program is hard 🙂  But if you can survive, you’ll probably get into the best shape of your life.

Another cool thing is that Kenneth Jay, author of Viking Warrior Conditioning, has extensive research that he’s performed himself to back up what he’s saying.

Return of The Kettlebell

What to do once you’re done with Enter The Kettlebell.  Covers advanced kettlebell training methods, most notably double kettlebell drills in detail – again, don’t even think about it until you’ve completed the Rite of Passage!

Another former RKC guy, has an awesome free e-book on kettlebell training you get for signing up for his newsletter. Also has a ton of training dvd’s and holds various workshops across the country. Highly recommended.

Great YouTube channel, Art of Strength and Punch Kettlebell Gym is headed by Anthony DiLugo, who got his start with the RKC – seeing a common theme here?

There you have it – a short list of kettlebell training resources that should keep you busy for a while! This list is by no means exhaustive – in fact, feel free to leave links to your favorite places to find kettlebell training info in the comments section.

Keep training hard!!

Kettlebell Swing Styles Part 2

I’m betting, off the top of my head, that most of you are doing two hand swings exclusively. I know I did for about the first six months of my kettlebell training.  Although the two hand swing is great, so are the variations of it – especially for increasing involvement of your grip and your core muscles, for fixing side-to-side imbalances, and more. And plus, two hand swings day in and day out just get a little boring after a while.  Let’s quickly cover some common variations – and a few you may not have heard of.

The One Hand Swing

A fundamental variation on the two hand swing.  Mechanics on this exercise are identical to the two hand swing, except for the fact that you’re obviously only using one hand, and that you’re turning the hand in slightly  as you bring the kettlebell down – this ‘pre-stretches’ the rotators.  The one hand swing certainly works your grip more and your core muscles -the abs, obliques, hips, glutes, etc.

The Hand To Hand Swing

Here, you simply perform a one hand swing and switch hands mid-air on each rep.  The key is to make the kettlebell float and simply ‘pluck’ it out of the air with the opposite hand at the top of each repetition.  Make sure you practice this one outside to begin with 🙂

The Traveling Swing

You can perform the traveling swing a lot of different ways – check out the first video below for some inspiration.  A couple of tips for two of the basic variations – if swinging side to side, the key is to step with the back foot first – otherwise you might be in for some disasterous results 🙂  On the forward walking swing, make sure to take quick steps.  

Here’s a couple of cool videos with even more swing variations:

There are a lot of swing variations to play around with – focus on learning one at a time to master your form, stay safe, and get the most you can out of your training. Did I miss any swing variations? What are your thoughts?

P.S. If you need a guide to help you learn the basics of kettlebell training the right way, check out the Quick Start Guide here:

Perfecting Your Swings: Kettlebell Training Basics

Perfect swing form builds the foundation of more advanced kettlebell work.  Perfecting your swings should be a continual process in your kettlebell training.

A recent email from Dan, a faithful reader of , provided some great feedback re: a recent training session we did.  I’d like to share (with Dan’s permission, of course) a little of what he had to say with you today – these three tips will help a lot if you’re having trouble with your swing form:

“Btw, for your clients that are struggling with unlocking the hips (this is a key to being efficient with your swings) … these (three things have been the most helpful):

1. The Wall Squats. You told me to do two sets of ten and I have been doing those before the 15 minutes of swings on swing day. I have not even started picking up a ‘bell yet but the process of really pushing how low I can get without banging my face into the wall, my knees or failing backwards over my heels has helped a TON. It acts as a stretch too for that lower back/hip area.”

The wall squat is performed by facing a wall with your toes touching it, or least getting them as close as you can, and doing a squat. The key is to stay square, to make sure you don’t twist your body in any way, and to take care that your knees don’t shoot out and bang into the wall.

“2. The visualization of having the bottom of the ‘bell point straight behind you at the lowest point of the swing. Really helps get momentum for the upward swing.”

Think about getting the bottom of the kettlebell to face the wall behind you as you hike pass it back. This will also help you keep the ‘bell closer to the body throughout the movement, which makes for a more efficient and safer movement.

“3. The back definitely has to go forward, but it is straight and not rounded. I don’t look like this, but you should make sure your clients see something like this to help them visualize. With the stressing that the butt goes back and hips bend, its easy to forget that the back has to go forward at an angle. It was weird to watch you do your swings up close because it seemed so violent and quick. When the back is locked and pivots over at 45 degrees and back, it’s a quick violent motion. Definitely was eye opening.”

The main point here is don’t be afraid to let your body come forward; just don’t confuse a straight back with a flat back. In my experience, when people think ‘straight’, they think their body has to be straight up and down. Flat simply means this:


(Thanks for the screenshot from YouTube, Dan)

Just for a refresher, here’s a video I posted a while back about how to do a swing – take note of the things we’re talking about in this post happening during the exercise:

Keep working on your swing technique – it’s the foundation that much future training will be based upon.  I hope these tips help accelerate your progress!

Want even more great tips and tricks like these to improve your kettlebell training technique? Pick up a copy of the Quick Start Guide – today’s your last chance to grab a copy at 50% off! Click here to order today.

Two Part Interview At

Jeff over at was nice enough to have me do a two-part interview about kettlebells on his blog over this last week.  Thought these interviews might be of interest to some of you – a few of the topics we covered:

-How the site got started
-My own personal kettlebell ‘mentor’
-Lessons I’ve learned from training with kettlebells
-Favorite kettlebell workouts
-Perfecting the snatch and clean
-What size KB to start with
-Proper length of a kettlebell workout
-The best brands of kettlebells

And a lot more! You can check out Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.

Another quick heads up – if you’re on the fence about purchasing the Quick Start Guide, you’ve got until Friday night at 11:59pm PST to grab it at the promo launch price of 50% off – you can order it now by clicking here.

Enjoy the interview and let me know what you think!

Troubleshooting The Turkish Get Up

The turkish get up is a move that, by comparison to some of the other kettlebell drills, is actually pretty easy to learn – one of the biggest issues seems to be figuring out the ‘proper’ way to do it.  Do a quick YouTube search and you’ll get hundreds of videos and dozens of different get up ‘styles’ – everyone seems to be doing it a little differently.

While I’m not convinced there’s one ‘right’ way to do a get up, breaking the movement down into steps does seem to make the learning process a lot easier.  Here’s one of the best YouTube videos I’ve found on doing  just that:

To re-iterate (I’ve broken it down to 10 steps although the video only mentions 5):

Step 1: Safely bring the kettlebell to the shoulder and press it up over the chest.

Step 2: Right knee comes up if the KB is being held in the right hand.

Step 3: ‘Punch’ towards the sky with the kettlebell.  Use your obliques on the right side and drive through the right heel for leverage.  As you can see in the video, the movement is more like a roll than a sit up.

Step 4: Continue the movement and come up to the left elbow.

Step 5: Straighten the left elbow.  The KB should now be at arms length in front of your body and the left arm should be straight – you’re resting on the left hand.  You should be able to hold this postion for a while if you’re doing it right.

Step 6: Pick the body up.  I like to do the RKC-style bridge here – but that’s not the version being done in this video.

Step 7: Swing the leg through.  Keep looking at the KB.

Step 8: Come up to a knee.  Go back and forth through these positions a few times while you’re practicing your form.

Step 9: Stand all the way up.

Step 10:  Reverse the entire movment and finish laying on the floor.

This is a great demo of how to do the turkish get up.  Breaking the movement down into steps is the best and fastest way to learn it – I know it helped me a lot when I was getting started.

Anthony DiLugo of is demoing the exercise – find out more about him on his website.  You can also check out his DVD’s and other info products on by clicking here: The Art of Strength:Providence.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter – just drop your name and email into the box in the upper right hand corner of the page.  You’ll get a free KB training video just for signing up!