Archive for December, 2011

Kettlebell Exercises for Women

I’m going to make a statement that’ll probably ruffle a few feathers, that’s probably a little politically incorrect, that a lot of strength coaches might disagree with … but one that, in my opinion, is a simple truth

Women have different training needs than men.

Given that roughly 60-70% of my in-person training clientele is female – and has been for the duration of my (nearly) decade – long personal training career – I feel I have enough first-hand experience to make this statement.  Here are a few ways a woman’s training needs differ from a man’s:

  • Women commonly have different areas of focus (lower vs. upper body, for example)
  • Women have different strengths and weaknesses (women will smoke most men when it comes to strength/endurance-type work but will typically lose a pull-up match – or any other test of relative upper body strength – to a man of the same fitness level)
  • Women generally have different goals (i.e., most women don’t want to put on slabs of bulky muscle)

So this blog post is all about the best kettlebell exercises for women. I’ll start by explaining how women can benefit from kettlebell training. I’ll cover some common target/problem areas. And then I’ll outline some kettlebell exercises to target these areas along with a full kettlebell workout.

Kettlebells For Women – Benefits

Here are a few benefits of kettlebells that are specific to most women’s fitness goals:

  • Fat Loss (kettlebells provide intense fat burning workouts)
  • Strength without bulk
  • Endurance and stamina (without the running)
  • Muscle balance and function (promotes proper body mechanics)
  • Boosts metabolism with high rep balistic exercises like swings, cleans and snatches
  • Confidence to handle anything that life throws your way!

Specific Target Areas

Here’s a short list of typical ‘problem’ areas for women:

  • Midsection/Abdomen
  • Hips
  • Thighs
  • Butt
  • Arms
  • Back

The Best Kettlebell Exercises For Women

The basic kettlebell exercises hit all of the problem areas I just listed above very effectively. The swing and snatch, for example, work the heck out of your hips, glutes, back, and core muscles. The Turkish get up – as well as the clean and press – are both great for hitting your midsection and arms. And the goblet squat is hard to beat for complete lower body strength and development.

Here are the main kettlebell exercises women should be focusing on learning first – all other more advanced kettlebell drills are built on the ‘base’ of these five:

(For more specific technique tips on each drill, click the exercise name):

Sample Kettlebell Workout For Women

Here’s a workout that incorporates everything we’ve covered so far – it’s designed to help you lose fat, build strength without building muscle bulk, improve endurance, and hit those hard-to-target areas like the midsection/abdomen, hips, thighs, butt, arms, and back :

Warm up – foam roll/joint mobility/dynamic stretch

(For exercise pairs – perform each exercise back-to-back without rest, rest for :30 and repeat pair two more times for a total of three sets of each exercise):

Exercise pair 1

Turkish get up – 3 each side
Body row/pull up – 2 reps short of failure

Exercise pair 2

KB lunge – 10 reps each side
Swing or Snatch – 8 reps each side

Workout ‘finisher’

Double kettlebell clean and press – 5 sets of 6-8 reps, heavy enough weight to get 1-2 reps short of failure, 15-20 second rest between each set

finish w/ 5 mins. of static stretching for tight muscle groups

In conclusion, kettlebells are a fantastic training tool for women. They meet specific training needs that many women are looking for and are great for targeting typical female problem areas. Even better, the basic kettlebell moves are all you need to meet all of these goals.

Keep training hard and talk soon –

Forest Vance, RKC II

P.S.  If you liked this post, you are sure to like kettlebell exercises posted at

Gift Ideas For The Kettlebell Enthusiast

It’s a great time to be a kettlebell enthusiast.

The popularity of kettlebell training has exploded over the last several years … and with this uptick in popularity has all kinds of cool gear to make your KB workouts more efficient and fun been created.

That being said, knowing exactly what to get for the KB lover in your life can still be tough … so I’ve come up with this list of 10 gift ideas for the kettlebell enthusiast to get your holiday/kettlebell gift-giving thoughts started:

Kettlebells, books, + DVD’s: A somewhat obvious starting point – but not to be overlooked.  Most folks have a new KB book or DVD they want – or a new kettlebell size they need for their collection.

Kettlebells, books, + DVD’s

Heart Rate Monitor: Heart rate monitors allow exercisers to establish a target zone and maintain their goals by monitoring their progress on a daily basis.  This would give a person who has begun to workout or has the desire to challenge themselves further the ability to accurately gauge their growth.

Heart Rate Monitor

Gymboss Timer: The beauty of this inexpensive supplemental workout tool is that it can help a person plan and execute their kettlebell workouts, giving them an opportunity to exercise as if they were in a boot camp class because it takes thinking out of the picture.  This timer creates structured intervals for a person to move through with any form of workout.

Gymboss Timer

ForestVanceTraining Kettlebell-Themed Apparel:  Browse our website with different clothing items and accessories, giving that special someone a way to express their enthusiasm outside of the gym.

ForestVanceTraining Kettlebell-Themed Apparel

Vibram Five Fingers:  A type of minimalist shoe manufactured by Vibram, originally marketed as a more “natural” alternative for different outdoors activities (sailing, kayaking, canoeing, and as a camp or after-hike shoe).  The footwear has thin, flexible soles that are contoured to the shape of the human foot, including visible individual sections for the toes.  Perfect for kettlebell training.

Vibram Five Fingers

Kettlebell FitDeck Exercise Cards:  If you know someone who enjoys working out at home, but is searching for a way to mix up their options, these cards are a great opportunity for them to have variety and create their own workouts.  Multiple ‘themes’ of these cards exist, including kettlebells and body weight training.

Kettlebell FitDeck Exercise Cards

Jump Rope:  This is a great present for a person who is unable to get into the gym on a daily basis, and works out from home because it creates a self controlled cardio workout with very little required space.

Jump Rope

Foam Roller:  If you know someone who works out often, you can be pretty sure that they deal with aching muscles and soreness, that is where the foam roller comes in.  This tool causes self-myofascial release to occur, breaking up tension in muscles and giving a person the benefit of being able to work out regularly with less pain.

Foam Roller

MP3 Player: This would make a great present for someone who works out by themselves at the gym or outside, music is a great form of motivation and this provides a person with a great variety to choose from.

MP3 Player

Massage Gift Certificate:  Massages can help break down lactic acid, loosen up tight muscles, and increase blood flow.  This is very beneficial to people who workout often because it can alleviate current pain and help prevent future pain.

In conclusion, more cool stuff exists now than ever before for the kettlebell lover. This is a short list of gift ideas to get you thinking about what to get for the kettlebell enthusiast in your life this year.  Happy holidays to you!


P.S.  If you liked this post, you’ll be interested in the information personal trainers Sacramento has to offer at

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