As you know, interval training is superior to traditional steady-state cardio for fat loss (check out this post on my Fitness Monster blog to learn more).
The Tabata Protocol is a very specific interval workout developed by Japaneese scientest Izumi Tabata. To be exact, it’s 20 seconds of all out work, 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times in a row. It’s a super effective, super tough, and super popular interval protocol used commonly as both a stand alone workout and a end-of-workout type smoker.
Kettlebell training and Tabatas are kind of a match made in heaven (or maybe hell, depending on how you look at it :)) Put together, they’ll give you a heck of a workout in a very short amount of time. In the video below, I talk about and demonstrate two kettlebell exercises that work great with the Tabata Protocol:
Keep training hard and see you next time!
P.S. The GymBoss interval timer I mention in the video is a must-have tool if you’re doing any type of interval training – check out the full description and review of it (and a bunch of other cool kettlebell-related products) here: Kettlebell Basics Recommended Resources
Here’s one of my ‘standby’ kettlebell fat loss workouts – if I have about 45 minutes and want a fast-paced, challenging, full body workout, I’ll knock this one out. It includes a joint mobility/dynamic warm up portion, a circuit with Pull Ups, TGU’s, Swings, and high intensity cardio, and finishes with a static stretch. Let’s get going!
1. Joint mobility
There are tons of ways to integrate joint mobility exercises into your routine – here’s a nice series called the ‘Daily dozen’ on mikemahler.com from kettlebell expert Steve Maxwell:
Follow your joint mobility series with a dynamic warm up. Now you’ll take your major muscle groups through a full range of motion at speed and literally increase your body temperature. Check out this dynamic warm up video from Craig Ballentyne, creator of Turbulence Training (a killer workout program/philosophy, by the way – I use workouts from Craig’s Turbulence Training workouts literally every day with training clients and myself):
3. Pull, TGU, Swing, Cardio Giant Circuit
Start by doing Pull Ups – go to two reps short of failure. So, if you could do 10 Pull Ups if you had to, do 8. If you can’t do Pull Ups, you can do Beginner Pull Ups or Inverted Rows instead.
Follow the Pull Ups with a single TGU on each side. Pick a weight that challenges you, but one that you can use impecable form with. Here’s a refresher on the Get Up:
Follow the TGU’s with 20 Swings – do two hand, single hand or hand-to-hand – your choice.
Finish the circuit with 60 seconds of high-intensity cardio – you could hop on a treadmill for 60 seconds, do 60 seconds of jump rope, or even high knees and butt kicks for 60 seconds continuously.
Repeat that circuit 3-5 times with no rest between individual exercises and about one minute of rest between circuits.
4. Static Stretch
Finish the workout with a static stretch. Ideally, you don’t want to just arbitrarily stretch – you want to focus on your tight muscle groups. For a very in-depth and totally free guide to flexibility, click the link below:
The majority of folks get their kettlebell training started with a single ‘bell. As they master the basics and move forward with more advanced exercises and workouts, they’ll likely look to start training with a heavier ‘bell, training with two kettlebells at a time, etc.
The truth is, however, with a little creativity and know-how, one can get a lot of mileage from a single KB. There are lots of ways to make training with a single kettlebell more challenging – for example, increasing reps, slowing down the tempo (on selected lifts), and decreasing rest periods are methods that will make a workout more challenging without having to increase weight or move to training with two kettlebells at once.
Reading through some of my old Hardstyle magazines, I actually found a great article by Geoff Nupert, Senior RKC that provides a great – and very specific – answer to this question of how to get the most out of your single kettlebell.
You do get the Hard-Style magazine from Dragon Door, don’t you?
Geoff offers the example of the Rite of Passage program from Enter the Kettlebell! by Pavel. Pavel recommends that you be able to perform five Clean and Press ladders of (1,2,3,4,5) before you move up in weight. Pavel puts no time restrictions on this program. So, according to Nupert, an easy way to adjust the intensity of your workout would be to adjust the rest periods. Knocking them down just slightly can make your workout a lot harder – and will keep you from having to bump up to a bigger ‘bell.
Nupert also details several different ways to manipulate and keep track of rest periods in the article, like using specific rest intervals between sets, using a density training approach, etc.
To check out the full article, download a digital version of this copy of Hard-Style magazine below:
(Hard-Style is actually a full magazine that comes out quarterly and is published by Dragon Door. The hard-copy version carries a retail price of $6.95 – but I’ve made special arrangements to provide you with this back issue for free. This issue has actually got several more great articles in it – enjoy!!)
So the advice from this kettlebell pro on moving up to a heavier ‘bell/progressing to double kettlebell training/etc.? It’s great – but make sure you’ve gotten the most out of your single KB! Keep training hard!
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:
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 KettlebellBasics.net Quick Start Guide … and on top of that, the package is over 50% off. Get the details here:
Today I’m going to give you two sample double kettlebell workouts that utilize the exercises we went over last time; one circuit-style workout that’s oriented towards fat loss and another one that’s designed with a muscle gain goal in mind.
1. Double Kettlebell Circuit Workout For Fat Loss
This one combines each double kettlebell drill into a circuit workout:
10 Double Snatches
15 Double Squats
10 Double Clean + Presses
15 Double Swings
Repeat circuit five times. Take as little rest as possible. Make sure to include a kettlebell warm up beforehand.
Double Kettlebell Workout For Muscle Gain
This workout is designed with a muscle gain goal in mind. I’ve added Pull Ups for a pulling exercise – you can hang a KB from your foot if five Pull Ups with your own body weight is too easy.
Perform exercise ‘A’ in each sequence, move directly to exercise ‘B’, rest 60 seconds, and repeat each pairing three more times for a total of four sets of each exercise.
Again, make sure to include a short warm up before your workout.
1A. 5 Double Clean and Presses
1B. 5 Pull Ups
2A. 10 Double Swings
2B. 10 Double Front Squats
Now you have an overview of the basic kettlebell exericses, how they can benefit you and help you reach your goals, a short description of how to perform five double kettlebell drills and two workouts using two kettlebells designed with different fitness goals in mind. Enjoy and keep training hard!
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A proper warm up can make all the difference in your kettlebell workout. It not only prepares your body physically for the punishment it’s about to receive, but it gets your mind right, too.
But what if you’re pressed for time? After all, I know a lot of you like kettlebell training because it’s so efficient – you can get a great workout with kettlebells in a really short amount of time. And when you’re in a hurry, often the warm up is the first thing you skip.
I recently found this YouTube video that provides a great solution: It’s a quick kettlebell warm up that takes about three minutes to do. It includes three exercises:
1. The Halo
2. The Slingshot
3. The Figure Eight
Check it out:
So next time you’re rushing to get your workout done, throw this kettlebell warm up in and get ready to go in about three minutes!
P.S. Looking for a complete warm up plan? Check out the Functional Flexibilty Secrets bonus in my comprehensive workout, diet, and lifestyle program, the Ultimate Fitness Resource Toolkit by clicking below:
Last time, we talked about how circuit-style kettlebell workouts (like the ones you’ll find in the KettlebellBasics.net Quick Start Guide) are great for fat loss and general conditioning. And the truth is, if you’re training regularly with kettlebells, burning fat and gaining lean muscle is a natural consequence.
But I know many of you want to take your training to the next level; you want to strip that final layer of body fat and get flat-out ripped. So we also covered how some small tweaks can make your circuit training even more effective with regards to losing body fat.
Today, I’m going to give you the second kettlebell workout for fat loss:
KB Fat Loss Workout B
*Just as in Workout A – do the first exercise in each pairing. Without rest, move to the next exercise. Complete the prescribed number of reps in the second exercise, rest :30 seconds, and complete the sequence two more times. Rest one minute before moving on to the next pairing.
1A. KB Renegade Row 3 x 16 each side
1B. KB Overhead Lunge 3 x 15 each side
2A. Pull Up (hang kettlebell from feet if additional resistance is needed) 3x 15
2B. Double KB Front Squat 3×15
*You can substitute Body Rows for Pull Ups if you can’t get all 15
Here’s some articles that should help you with the workout:
Here’s how you put these workouts together: Perform workout A and some steady-state cardio on Monday. Do some interval training on Tuesday (I’ll talk about the cardio specifics again in a second). Do Workout B on Wednesday with some light cardio. Do intervals again on Thursday. Do workout A on Friday with some light cardio. Do intervals again on Saturday. Take Sunday off.
Repeat this same routine again the next week, except you’ll do workout B on Monday, workout A on Wednesday, and workout B on Friday. Then start the whole cycle again the next week.
With regards to cardio, if you’re serious about fat loss, I believe you need to do six days per week of cardiovascular activity. Three interval days and three steady-state, lower-intensity days is a great set up – for some ideas on interval training, check out this post: The Magic of HIIT Cardio For Burning Fat
You can do this workout for about 4-6 weeks until you’ll need to switch it up.
And one last thing: Your diet is more than 50% of the equation when it comes to fat loss. You can have the best designed workout in the world, but if you’re not eating properly, it won’t do a thing for your fat loss efforts. If you’re looking for a done-for-you, effective and client-tested fat loss program, check out my very own Best Fat Loss Diet here: The Best Fat Loss Diet
So there you have a complete workout for losing fat with kettlebells. Apply the principles we’ve covered in the last two articles about using kettlebells to lose fat and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fat loss goals. Keep training hard!
While your ‘prototypical’ circuit-style kettlebell workout is great for fat loss already, we can make some small tweaks to really optimize our fat loss results.
The main focus is going to be on burning as many calories as possible during our workouts. We’re moving back to a total body routine; no more splitting up body parts. We want to work all of our major muscle groups over the course of a single training session to maximize calorie expenditure. We’re also going to be focusing on exercises that work lots of muscles at once (which all of the five basic kettlebell exercises do already) and keeping our rest periods to a minimum.
If you’re truly dedicated to fat loss, I believe that you also need to be doing lots of cardio: Six days per week of cardiovascular activity at a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Three days of steady-state cardio and three days of interval cardio is a great set up. Here’s a nice article on my Fitness Monster blog about HIIT cardio if you need some ideas for your interval training: HIIT Cardio For Fat Loss
Also, keep in mind that fat loss has a lot to do with your diet. Losing fat is, at its most basic level, about burning more calories than you expend. You can have the best designed workout in the world, but if your diet isn’t in check, you’re going to have trouble losing body fat. If you need some specific guideance with your meal planning, you can check out my own top-rated fat loss diet plan here: The Easiest, Fastest Fat Loss Meal Plan Ever
*Do the first exercise in each pairing. Without rest, move to the next exercise. Complete the prescribed number of reps in the second exercise, rest :30 seconds, and complete the sequence two more times. Rest one minute before moving on to the next pairing.
1A: KB Thruster (Squat To Overhead Press) 3 x 15
1B: Body Row 3 x 15
I’ll be back soon with a workout B for ‘ya … keep training hard!!
P.S. Kettlebell gear from KettlebellBasics.net is in the works and coming very soon … we’ll have T-Shirts, Tank Tops, Sweatshirts, Hats, and more … you’ll be able to share with the world your passion for kettlebells! Stay tuned for more info in the near future …
As we touched on last time, kettlebells are typically used for lung burning, conditioning-style workouts …. but what most people don’t know is that they can be a great tool for building muscle, too. For pure mass gain, utilizing a body part split is ideal. So to compliment our workout from last time, this is a back, biceps and legs workout that can be done with a single kettlebell and your own body weight:
Do 50 total, switching hands every 5-10 reps. Men should use a 24k ‘bell, women 16k. Time yourself and do all 50 reps as fast as you can. As your conditioning level improves, strive to improve your time. You can also start with a lighter weight or less reps and work your way up if you’re out of shape.
Goblet Squat/ Pull Up Superset
Start by doing 15 Goblet Squats. Here’s how to do the Kettlebell Squat:
So how do you put these muscle-building kettlebell workouts together into a routine that makes sense, gives you the right amount of recovery, etc.? Simple – do the chest, shoulders and triceps workout (we’ll call it workout A) on Monday. Rest or do some light recovery work (walk, ride your bike, swim, etc.) on Tuesday. Do the workout detailed in this post (workout B) on Wednesday. Again, do some light recovery work, flexibility/mobility, etc. on Thursday. Do workout A again on Friday. Take the weekend off.
The next week, you’ll follow the same schedule, except you’ll do workout B on Monday, workout A on Wednesday, and workout B on Friday. Rest for the weekend and start all over again the next Monday. You can do this routine for 4-6 weeks until you’ll need to change it up.
Now you have a basic plan for using kettlebells and your own body weight to build muscle. If you’ve been working towards fat loss and/or conditioning for a long period of time, this routine could be just what you need to mix your workouts up. Give it a go and let me know what you think!
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