Archive for the ‘kettlebell training workouts’ Category

TOUGH (but simple) Kettlebell Swing Workout

I’ve been talking a lot about the kettlebell swing lately.

And for good reason. It’s the most basic of HardStyle kettlebell exercises, and is the first movement you should master before moving on to more advanced drills.

I wanted to give you a sample workout to try – based around the kettlebell swing – just to show you HOW powerful this exercise can be, WHEN you program it properly into your training.

If you missed my recent three part kettlebell swing video tutorial, you can check that out here:

=> Kettlebell Swing Video Tutorial


TOUGH (but simple) KB Workout

  • Begin your workout with a 3-5 minute dynamic warm up.
  • Do two :30 holds of HardStyle planks, resting about :15 sec. between sets.
  • Swings – do 5 sets of 20.  Rest about :30 between sets.
  • Mix up the type of swings you do. You can do two hand, one hand, hand to hand, or double swings.  This is a great way to mix up the workout, hit slightly different muscle groups and give your body a slightly different stimulus throughout the session.
  • Next, do a body weight circuit of Push Ups, Pull Ups or Inverted Rows, and Step Ups or Lunges – you’ll do 2-3 rounds of 10-15 reps of each exercise.
  • Modify the body weight exercises as needed to challenge yourself JUST enough. So … if you’re just starting out, you might do knee push ups and inverted rows. If you’re advanced, you might do feet elevated push ups and standard pull ups. You can really make this workout as hard or as easy as you like.
  • Finish off with a 3-5 minute static stretch of tight muscle groups ONLY.

And, there you have a very simple, but TOUGH, kettlebell swing-based workout.

Enjoy! And talk soon –

Forest Vance, MS, RKC II


PS – If you liked this post, and are in the Sacramento, CA, learn more about Forest Vance, Sacramento, CA personal trainer (author of this post) here:

Kettlebell Boot Camp Workout Ideas

Flash back to early 2009 –

It’s early Monday morning … I’m on a return flight from Minnesota to California … I’ve survived the RKC weekend and am officially certified!  I’m more excited about kettlebell training than I’ve ever been … my head is overflowing with kettlebell knowledge and I’m ready to conquer the world …

The RKC Grad Workout

Later that day I returned to my facility to work with a few private clients and lead a couple of boot camp classes.  And I quickly realized that I still had a lot to learn about teaching kettlebells … particularly in a group setting.

Over the last 3.5 years, I’ve continued to learn more about kettlebells every day through written and video instructon … I completed my level 2 RKC certification last year … I’ve attended multiple other kettlebell workshops and events … and I’ve personally led about 15 kettlebell-based boot camps per week in that same time frame.  Moral of the story is that through these experiences, I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t in a kettlebell boot camp setting … so whether you’re training with KB’s by yourself at home, or you’re a current/inspiring boot camp instructor, I’m confident that the kettlebell boot camp workout “best practices” in this article will help you get better results!

Kettlebell Boot Camp Workout Ideas

1. Choose your kettlebell exercises carefully

Especially if you’re dealing with folks at different ability levels, you must choose your kettlebell boot camp exercises carefully.

For example – the Turkish Get Up can be a tricky move to use with a large group, particularly if you have folks that are unfamiliar with it. There are a lot of steps and elements involved with getting the movement right.

As an alternative, I typically use the 1/2 Get Up in a boot camp setting.  It’s much easier to teach and keeps the workout going much faster:

Here’s a video example of the 1/2 TGU:

2. Structure the order of the kettlebell workout carefully

This goes for any kettlebell training session really … but is particularly important in a boot camp setting.

For example – if you’re going to be using exercises that anyone in the group is unfamiliar with, consider building them into the warm up period so they’ll have a chance to practice good form at a less-than-100% speed.

Another example would be placing highly technical moves – like the long cycle clean and jerk or viking push press – towards the beginning of the workout when participants are freshest both mentally and physically.

3. Use a finisher!

I’m a big fan of kettlebell workout “finishers” (BTW, you’ll learn more about this concept very soon, I have a cool new program and more info on the topic that I’ll introduce to you next week) …

But as an example, maybe this is what your kettlebell boot camp workout has looked like so far:

(warm up)

  • 8 KB halos (each way)
  • 8 KB slingshots (each way)
  • 8 KB figure eights (each way)

(kettlebell/body weight strength circuit)

  • 15 two hand KB swings
  • 7 burpees

(Get as many rounds of this circuit as you can in five minutes)

Now, as a ‘finisher”, you include the following sequence:

  • 10 KB squat cleans
  • 5 KB renegade rows
  • 10 walking overhead KB lunge

(Get as many rounds as you can of this circuit in ten minutes)

Campers LOVE this and I almost ALWAYS include something like it at the end of a boot camp!


In summary, kettlebell boot camp workouts are a great way to lose fat, build total body conditioning and get into fantastic shape … but there are some specific considerations that can make all the difference when you’re putting one together.  I hope the kettlebell boot camp exercise ideas in this article help you get better results and reach your ultimate fitness goals faster and more effectively!

Thanks for reading, and talk soon –

Forest Vance, RKC II

PS – If you liked this kettlebell basics article, visit!!

Two Cool Double Kettlebell Workouts

As I’ve mentioned several times over the last few weeks, we currently have a Tough Mudder event prep program going on at my Sacramento – Land Park kettlebell training studio.  Well,  it’s starting to get really fun, because we’re doing some cool and different stuff  – like unique exercises/workouts designed around getting better at specific obstacles, using new and different training equipment, etc.

The weekly program includes one long run, two interval/hill runs, two total body conditioning days, and one heavy lifting day every week.  And one of the big challenges I had in designing the 12 week program was figuring out the best, most effective, most efficient way for folks doing the program to get in a “heavy day” during the week – without advanced periodization schemes, 90 minute workouts, and just generally making things too complex to follow …

Well, one of the best ways to dynamically load the body and to do it in a maximally time efficient way is with double kettlebell workouts!  This is because, in less than 30 minutes, with a double kettlebell workout you can:

  • Hit every major muscle group
  • Put the muscles under a relatively high load
  • Increase your functional strength at a rapid pace
  • Shoot your total body conditioning levels through the ROOF

So this is what I’m using for the max strength days in our Tough Mudder prep program.  And if the goals listed above apply to YOU, double kettlebell workouts are great for your goals as well.  Here are two for you to get started with:

Double Kettlebell Workouts

Double squat/press/swing complex workout

  • 5 double kettlebell press
  • 5 double kettlebell squat
  • 10 double kettlebell swing

Move directly from one exercise to the next without setting the kettlebells down.  Repeat complete circuit five times, resting 60 seconds between rounds.

Renegade row/clean/squat/press/swing complex workout

  • 2 double kettlebell renegade rows (with push up) each side
  • 4 double kettlebell clean, squat, and press
  • 6 double kettlebell swings

Move directly from one exercise to the next without setting the kettlebells down.  Repeat complete circuit five times, resting 60 seconds between rounds.

Oh – and if you need additional coaching/technique tips/a simple demonstration on any of the above kettlebell exercises, check out this video from last week’s double kettlebell exercises post:

In conclusion, if you’re looking to hit every major muscle group, increase your functional strength, and shoot your conditioning levels through the roof, double kettlebell workouts are a great place to start. Incorporate these two into your existing kettlebell workout programming for increased results today!

– Forest Vance, Level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor

PS – Want to learn more about kettlebells in Sacramento, CA?  Click here.

New! Kettlebell Cardio Blast

This post details a great new kettlebell cardio workout for you … but first, three reasons why I hate traditional, long/slow cardio, and why workouts like this one are superior for fat loss and super-human conditioning:

1) LSD cardio is mind-numbing

Doing 45 minutes of low-to-medium intensity cardio on a stationary bike or treadmill is seriously boring.  That’s why I was excited when I found out that LSD (long-slow-distance cardio) is not the best way to lose fat …

2) It’s unfavorable for “positive” changes in body composition

Perfectly evidenced by the pic above … high-intensity, interval-based cardio is the type of training the individual on the right does on a regular basis … low-intensity, sustained effort training is the type the individual on the left does for his sport.  Which physique would you rather have?  I rest my case :)

3) Humans aren’t designed to work this way

To quote Mark Sission of the Primal Blueprint:

Humans were just not designed to work for extended periods of time at 80-90% VO2max. Our evolutionary blueprint, the last draft of which was completed well over 10,000 years ago, set us up as great slow-movers and occasional fast sprinters.

(To read the rest of this article, click here)

So … based on these three reasons to avoid LSD cardio like the plague … here’s a smoker of a cardio kettlebell workout for ‘ya – enjoy!

Video Recap

Kettlebell Cardio “Build Up” Workout

  • Lunge
  • Push Press
  • Pull Up/Row
  • Plank
  • Swing

1st round :20 on/ :10 off … 2nd round :30 on / :10 off … 3rd round :40 on/ :10 off … 5 rounds total, up to :60 on/ :10 off

Enjoy the workout, and keep training hard.  And remember – as you approach the fourth and fifth rounds of the session – buck up.  Hard workouts are part of getting the results you desire.  And pain is simply weakness leaving the body.

Forest Vance, RKC II

PS – For more AWESOME kettlebell routines like this one, visit

Beginner Kettlebell Workout

Here’s the situation:  You just started training with kettlebells. You’re doing the ‘right thing’ and taking your time to practice and learn perfect technique with thebasic kettlebell exercises like the swing, Turkish getup, and goblet squat.

But you want a complete workout you can start with right away, something that’ll leave you feeling like you did something productive to move you towards your fitness goals of fat loss, improved conditioning, etc., something that’ll ‘hold you over’ while you take your time practicing and learning the basic drills …

Try this workout:

  • alternating lunge 30-60 sec
  • squat curl 30-60 sec
  • PUP hold 30-60 sec
  • halo 30-60 sec
  • sumo deadlift 30-60 sec

Perform exercises back-to-back without rest in circuit fashion; perform three total rounds of the circuit

Get started with this beginner kettlebell workout while you practice and perfect your form in the basic HardStyle kettlebell exercises; train hard and talk soon –

Forest Vance, RKC

P.S. If you liked this kettlebell routine, check out my kettlebell basics blog at

Dragon Door Kettlebells Review

There are a lot of different kettlebell brands available at a wide range of different prices. I’ve personally used quite a few brands of kettlebells, and can tell you firsthand – there is a difference! In this article, I’m going to give you a few tips on your purchase, and also provide you a review of my favorite kettlebell brand – Dragon Door.

Kettlebell Training Level Should Dictate Quality Need

I think that if you are just going to be doing two-handed swings, goblet squats, turkish get ups, and other very basic kettlebell drills, the brand doesn’t really make that much difference. Drills like these are not overly abrasive on your hands, they don’t require rotation of the ‘bell in your hand, and the balancing of the actual ‘bell is not super important. In short, at this level of kettlebell training, quality is not a huge factor.

Now, if at some point you envision yourself getting into doing more advanced kettlebell work, such as cleans, presses, snatches, etc., smoothness of the handle, balancing of the ‘bell and that kind of thing become very important.

For example, if you’re doing 100 snatches in 5 min., there is some serious friction happening on your hands. If you’re doing it with a lesser quality KB, you can count on tearing your hands up pretty quick. And if it’s not balanced properly, it makes the exercise much more awkward and forces you to actually work harder than you have to.

Difference in Kettlebell Brands – Build + Feel

I’ve had the opportunity to train with – and actually own the odd pair of – several different brands of kettlebells. There is definitely a difference between the brands, if anything just the ‘feel’ of training with them.

As an example, the Apollo brand kettlebells that I own have a larger handle and a rubber stopper on the bottom. My Go Fit kettlebells have a rubber coating on the actual ‘bell. And I have a couple other off-brand KB’s that have another different feel entirely.

In conclusion, with kettlebells – as you do with life – you tend to get what you pay for. So if you are just looking for some kettlebells to do some very light exercises, then pretty much any brand will do. But if you are at some point looking into doing more advanced kettlebell training, you’ll want to spend some time and make sure that the ‘bells you invest in are high-quality enough to meet your on-going training standards.

If you liked this article, you’ll love my kettlebell training blog – head over and grab of FREE copy of my beginner’s guide to kettlebell training today at

Quick Home Kettlebell Workout

Kettlebells are the perfect tool for getting a quick and effective workout at home. They’re compact, relatively cheap, and deliver a brutal workout in a short time frame.

Here’s a ‘quick and dirty’ home kettlebell workout for you to try:

– 1/2 Get Up – 3 Reps
– Kettlebell Goblet Squat – 10 Reps
– Kettlebell Swing – 15 Reps

Do four rounds of this circuit, switching sides on the 1/2 Get Ups each round. Two kettlebells would be ideal for this workout – one smaller sized ‘bell to perform the Get Ups and another larger sized ‘bell to perform the Swings and Goblet Squats.

This workout works most of the major muscles in your body and takes around ten or fifteen minutes to complete. It’s simple, but far from easy. That’s one of the great things about kettlebells – you can get your strength work, core work, flexibility work, and even cardio work all at the same time. One or two kettlebells and you have all the equipment you need to get a fast, effective workout at home or anywhere you are.

One of the keys with this workout is that you take as little rest as humanly possible. If you take your time, and take long rest periods between sets, it’s not that hard. Make sure to focus on good form, but take short rest periods between each exercise. If you blow through it as fast as you can, it will be all you need for the day. Try this home kettlebell workout next time you’re pressed for time!

For your free guide on 3 common kettlebell training mistakes and how to fix them, check out my kettlebell basics blog at

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