Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Jim Smith, CSCS.
You are a busy man.
You’re swamped at work, you’re swamped at home with the kids and you never have time for yourself, let alone getting to the gym. Those 1 hr – 1 ½ hr workouts that you used to do are a distant memory.
The time of foo foo workouts and long training sessions is OVER.
It is time to get back to real world, hard-core man training that is effective and can be done on a busy schedule.
Enter the kettlebell.
Kettlebells were used to develop strength, flexibility and endurance by physical culturalists, strongmen, wrestlers and weightlifters like Klein, Krylov, Poddubny and Alexeyev respectively. These guys were not only leaders in their respective disciplines, but they were strong as hell! I have always been fascinated by the strongmen of old and how they developed their super strength.
So, what is a kettlebell and why is it so effective? Imagine a cannonball with a handle.
Benefits of Kettlebell Training
“I have always found the kettlebell to be one of the most useful and fascinating pieces of weight training apparatus. It can be handled in so many diverse manners that its application in the field of body-building exercises is almost without limit. You will have to hunt for a long time to find a more versatile piece of training equipment.” – Sig Klein
Kettlebells are unique in that no other implement can be used for such a vast array of exercises. Kettlebells will help you develop:
- A solid strength foundation
- Greater flexibility (and strength through that increased range of motion)
- Accelerated recovery
- Increased grip strength
- Balanced musculature, which will eliminate weaknesses
- Increased power and explosiveness
- CRAZY conditioning
- Jacked muscle mass
Because kettlebells are so versatile and portable, you can take them with you to the gym or anywhere that has a small open spot.
That is why kettlebells are such a great training device. You can keep them in the trunk of your car and you can get a workout wherever you’re at; in a park, in the parking lot or in your yard.
Imagine taking a set of kettlebells into your gym, farmers walking them past reception and doing a killer workout while everyone else is struggling away on the elliptical.
So what exercises are we going to do and how do you structure your kettlebell workout?
The Kettlebell Workout
We are going to link several kettlebell exercises together with little to no rest, so that we can get the benefits of a high intensity workout in little time.
We will structure our workout as a strength building circuit:
1. Lower Body Exercise
2. Upper Body Exercise
3. Full Body Exercise
4. Bodyweight Exercise
5. Core Exercise
We will move between each exercise with little to no rest – maximum 30 seconds. This will keep the intensity high, shorten the workout and build muscle fast!
As you get stronger and better conditioned, you can complete the routine more than once, up to three times if you want.
1. Kettlebell Pullthroughs, 15 reps, 30 seconds rest
2. Beyond the Range Push-ups, 20 reps, 30 seconds rest
3. Kettlebell Clean & Press, 12 reps each arm, 30 seconds rest
4. Lunge and Reach, 15 reps, 30 seconds rest
5. Russian Kettlebell Twists, 15 reps
You can repeat the workout if you still have some “gas” in the tank or some extra time.
Listen to our podcast on all things kettlebells:
Kettlebell Pullthroughs (lower body)
How to Perform: Position your feet in a slightly wider than shoulder width stance. Grab the two kettlebells and get them moving in a pendulum motion. As the kettlebells move back between the legs, you have to bend the knees and absorb the momentum before reversing the movement with a powerful hip extension.
Benefits: Strengthen posterior chain and build explosiveness in the legs.
Beyond the Range Push-ups (upper body)
How to Perform: Perform a normal push-up while holding on top of the kettlebells. Really squeeze the handles to make sure the kb’s stay in place. Squeeze the glutes and remain rigid in a straight line position while you lower (eccentric) and drive (concentric) throughout the movement.
Benefits: Strengthening the shoulders, chest and triceps in a full range of motion (ROM)
Kettlebell Clean & Press (full body)
How to Perform: Perform a one arm kettlebell swing to get the kettlebell into a racked position. Once in place, drive the kb overhead and lock it out. Return the weight to the racked position and back down into the swing. Repeat.
Benefits: Strengthening the entire body including the legs, core, shoulders and back.
Lunge and Reach (bodyweight exercise)
How to Perform: Lunge forward while keeping an upright torso. The reach should be done toward the side where the lead leg is forward. Drive back to a standing position and repeat.
Benefits: Activating the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes while stabilizing the core and knee. The reach of the movement stretches the same side IT band, lats and shoulders.
Russian Kettlebell Twists (core exercise)
How to Perform: Sit upright with your knees bent and legs together. Grab the kettlebell and rotate it back and forth touching the ground on your left and right sides.
Benefits: Strengthening the core, shoulders, biceps and upper back.
There’s nothing more manly than throwing around chunks of iron. So get some kettlebells and get to work, anywhere and at anytime. Change up the routine and throw in some more bodyweight exercises for variety or if you need to build up to use kettlebells.
Jim Smith, CSCS is a highly sought after lecturer, author, consultant and renowned strength coach. Jim is an expert for Men’s Fitness and a member of the Elite Fitness Q/A staff. Jim’s new product on how to build muscle, lose fat – all with only 3 short workouts a week will be out soon. Grab their RSS feed. Check it out!