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How To Build Mental Toughness with Kettlebells


Twelve weeks ago we put together a training group for a mud run event.

And now that official start time is 36 hours away, what’s done is done … we’ve done all we can when it comes to mental preparation, it’s time to GO!

I have been reflecting a little today about the last twelve weeks of training … we put together an awesome group of folks for the event …  I’ve learned a LOT as a trainer during this time.

One specific take-away I wanted to share with you and that I think can help you a lot with your kettlebell training is …

Mental toughness is a learned skill

I had folks from varried backgrounds and training experience levels sign up for this program.  So here’s what I discovered:

Let’s try and flash you back to the first time you ever worked out. Maybe it was 20 years ago. Maybe it was this month. Either way, you have a “starting point” when it comes to your training. You didn’t start with a hard mind at 3 years old.

I still remember the first time I lifted weights HARD. I was 15 and it was in a football weight training class.  I didn’t even make it 30 minutes without running to the side of the building to have a puke.  Which I wasn’t super excited about at the time.  BUT – it made me realize I could push myself to a new level.

Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve been subjected to a LOT of hard workouts.  And each time I push myself a **little** harder, it takes me to a new level.

This is why I think folks that are just getting started have a hard time really pushing themselves to exhaustion. They really don’t even know what it’s like. It’s not even in their realm of thinking.

And this is also why I think people that were athletic, that maybe have trained hard in the past, many times get injured, throw up, etc. when they first get back into it. Because their MIND knows how to push hard, but their body’s forgot :)

How To Build Mental Toughness With Kettlebells

So – the moral of the story is that you need to be striving to push yourself a little bit harder – than you ever have before – on a somewhat frequent basis. Now, let me be clear – you CAN”T train like this every day, or even every week. But you should be training hard every once in a while to really test your limit and get to a new mental toughness set point!

Train hard, and talk soon –


PS – If you’re in the Sacramento, CA area, head over and check out Forest’s main Sacramento boot camp page at

Kettlebell Exercise for Abs – the Renegade Row

No matter WHERE your fitness level is at …

You can always get better abs.

Thing is … traditional ab training …crunches, leg raises, sit ups, etc. … not only is it ineffective … it’s boring.

A fun and unique kettlebell exercise for abs is the kettlebell renegade row.  And as an added benefit, when you do this move, not only will you work the heck out of those core muscles, you’ll hit almost every other muscle group in your body at the same time.  Watch the video below for the full breakdown:

Find out what ALL of the best kettlebell exercises for abs are here:

=> Kettlebell Basics Premium Workouts

Video Transcription

Today I’m going to show you a unique kettlebell exercise for abs.

Now when most people think of training abs they think of doing crunches or sit ups or leg raises. These exercises are okay but really the way that your abs and your whole core (which includes your glutes, your midsection, your lower back and those muscles in the middle of your back) functions is as a stabilizer.

Say for example, if I’m doing a kettlebell swing or I’m doing a goblet squat, my abs are tightening up to stabilize my trunk during functional movements.

So here is an exercise called the renegade row. This is a unique exercise, you may have see it before, but it is a great total body ab movement.

Grab two kettlebells. The basic version has you practising shifting your weight back and forth. Shift your full weight to one side while keeping your abs tightened like you are doing a push up.

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Then you can go ahead and add a row to it.

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If you want to make it more difficult, you can add a push up and a row at the top.

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As you can see my abs are bracing really hard to stabilize as I shift my weight and do a row on one side.

This is a total body exercise with a strong emphasis on the abs. There’s the kettlebell renegade row – a great exercise for abs!

=> Kettlebell Basics Premium Workouts

That’s it for today!  Thanks for watching, and talk soon –

Forest Vance, MS, RKC II

PS – If you’re in the Sacramento, CA area, head over and check out Forest’s main Sacramento boot camp page at

Quick Kettlebell and Body Weight Home Circuit Workout

Maybe 100% of your workouts are at home.

Maybe you work out at a gym or other type of training facility primarily, but a quick home workout has to do when you’re pressed for time or just can’t make it happen any other way.

Well, clearly I’m a bit biased ;) , but –

1) Kettlebell workouts and 2) body weight – only training are by far my two favorite ways to exercise at home.  I have a workout room set up in my house with a variety of different types of exercise equipment … but to be honest, 90% of the time I just stick to KB’s and body weight.

The combination of these two modalities allows you to get a fat-blasting, lean-muscle building, high-intensity conditioning workout almost anywhere.

I put together a quick video for you from my home workout space – this is a great one to knock out over the weekend for some extra holiday-time calorie burning.


To quickly recap the video –

Do this exercise sequence:

  • plank-to-push up
  • kb goblet squat
  • jumping jacks
  • kettlebell swings

Do each exercise for as many reps as possible in 30 seconds. No rest between moves. Do the entire sequence three to five times non-stop with no rest.

KB’s and body weight are a powerful training combo for getting a lot done, in a short amount of time, in a very small space. Perfect for those home workouts during the busy holiday season.

Enjoy this workout, and have a great weekend!

Forest Vance, MS
Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor

PS – Head over and check out for more kettlebell training workouts like this one.

3 Tips To Improve The Turkish Get Up

The Turkish Get Up is a tricky movement … but it’s one of the foundational kettlebell exercises, and it’s essential that you perfect it if you want to get the most out of your kettlebell training. In the experience I’ve had over the last several thousand kettlebell-based personal training sessions, here are three tips that will help you ‘iron out the kinks’, so to speak:

1. Don’t sit up to start the movement – roll instead

‘Punch’ up towards the ceiling while rolling on to the elbow at the same time to get yourself off the floor.  This small detail makes getting up so much easier – and it’s how the exercise is supposed to be performed.

2. Learn the first half first

The best way to learn the Get Up is by learning the first half of the movement; if you try to stand all the way up from day one, you’re going to make things a lot harder on yourself. Just come up to where your down arm is locked out and is supporting your weight, and then return to the ground. You can actually get a lot of milage out of the movement by just practicing the first half; here’s how to perform the half Get Up:

3. Do a sideways Windmill to stand up

As you bring the foot through and go to your lunge position, aim to get your knee close to your hand – then do a sideways Windmill to stand up. Don’t sit back on your hand – this is a very common mistake.

These tips might be a little hard to visualize – see if you can pick out what I’m talking about as I go through the movement in this video:

Apply these Turkish Get Up tips to your kettlebell training today and I know you’ll see some fast improvements.  And keep training hard!

P.S. For more tips and kettlebell exercises check out this kettlebell blog at

Mastered the kettlebell basics?  Ready for some variety in your program?  Time for the kettlebell complex.

Definition of the kettlebell complex – from

If you’ve never heard of complexes before, the basic concept is that instead of repeating the same exercise for multiple reps to complete a set, you sequence several different exercises right after one another and repeat the sequence several times to complete a set.

And some benefits of complex training – from

  • Lean body mass improvement will be enhanced with this type of training.
  • You will stimulate your hormones to burn more fat and build lean muscle.
  • Full body exercises (such as swings, squats, snatches) have been shown in numerous research studies to stimulate growth hormone (GH).
  • The release of growth hormone will help to burn body fat and build lean muscle mass.
  • Resistance training, higher reps, full body exercise, and minimal rest between exercises are all proven methods to stimulate GH, which are all accomplished with complex training.

In short, if you’re looking to gain lean muscle, burn fat, and get into phenomenal physical condition, kettlebell complexes are for you. I just shot and posted up a video showing you one of my favorite KBC’s – check it out, and then read the written workout recap below it:

Video Recap

  • Do one top-down Turkish get up
  • Immediately follow this with five snatches
  • Finish your five snatches and go right to five clean, squat and overhead presses
  • Complete the complex with ten one hand swings
  • Repeat the complex for five to ten rounds total on each side

Also –  this post was in part inspired by a six week workout program I just finished up for my personal routine … and though it was brutally hard, I loved it :)  And I got some great results!  If you’re looking for a complete program built around kettlebell complexes, I highly recommend it – check it out by clicking here

Thanks for reading and train hard –


PS – For more exercises like these, check out this Sacramento personal trainer at

7 Tips For A Better Kettlebell Snatch

Are you having trouble learning the kettlebell Snatch?

Does the ‘bell come around your hand and crash into your wrist, no matter what you do?

Is putting the whole movement together into a smooth, controlled, and efficient movement just seem to be getting the best of you?

Without a doubt, the kettlebell Snatch is a tricky move to master.  So I’m here to help –

Based on what I’ve learned as an RKC and what I’ve seen teaching hundreds of folks how to do the exercise properly, here are 7 tips for a better kettlebell Snatch:

1.  Learn and master the HardStyle kettlebell Swing

Mastery of the HardStyle Swing teaches you how to use your hips properly – and it also forms the foundation of all balistic moves in the HardStyle system.

2.  No cork-screw

The kettlebell should flip over your wrist as it comes over the top, not rotate around it.

3.  Be agressive

The more tentative you are about punching your hand through and finishing at overhead lockout, the harder the ‘bell will hit you in the wrist.  So think about actively getting the hand around the ‘bell instead of letting it passively coming over the top of your hand as it flips over as you complete the kettlebell Snatch.

4.  Keep the ‘bell close to the body

Think kettlebell Clean vs. kettlebell Swing.  We’re trying to project the force up over our head in a Snatch and out in front of us during a Swing.

5.  ’Throw’ the weight down from the top

Attempt to close the distance from the elbow to the rib cage as fast as possible as the ‘bell comes down in front of you.  This will also help you keep the ‘bell closer to the body.

6.  Energy is driven from the hamstrings and glutes; load those babies up!

A high rep snatch workout should leave your posterior chain (that’s all the muscles in the back of your body) sore for days.

7.  Learn the high pull

Create weightlessness with the hams and glutes.  Then progress to High Pull – Snatch – High Pull – Snatch – etc.  This is a nice progression that helps a lot if you’re having trouble getting the weight to flip over your wrist smoothly.

The Snatch can be one of the trickiest kettlebell exercises to master; put these seven tips to use and you’ll have it down in no time! Keep training hard!


P.S. Our Sacramento Boot Camp uses kettlebells often in the classes, for more tips like these and workouts visit!

Law Enforcement Fitness Training – With Kettlebells

Turkish Get Up Technique Tips (video)

by admin on March 29, 2012

Don’t forget – when you pick up a copy of the Kettlebell Basics Premium Workout Series – or any of my other products priced at $37 or more – between now and the end of the month, I’ll send you a free physical copy of my book, No Gym? No Excuse!

Get more info and grab your free copy of NGNE here: -> FVT Spring Cleaning Sale

I’m sharing some sample workouts/meal planning tips/etc. from a few of my programs over the rest of the week to help you decide which one(s) to pick up – today, I have a sample video from the Kettlebell Basics Premium Workout Series program that’ll help you improve your Turkish Get Up technique.  Enjoy!


Video Recap

1. Start the move lying on your side with the kettlebell at your shoulder. Pull the ‘bell into your frame, roll to your back, and punch the KB up towards the ceiling.

2. If you are on your right side, your right heel will be tucked up to your right glute. Your left leg will go out slightly at an angle along with your left arm.

3. Now, drive through the right heel and punch up towards the ceiling. Straighten out the bottom arm so you are supporting your weight with your bottom arm completely outstretched.

4. Drive the hips towards the ceiling, come up to a bridge position, and bring the foot through the hips. Shoot to get the knee that’s coming thru to land right by the hand that’s on the ground.

5. Come up to your lunge position and get set. Brace the abs, make sure the bicep is directly by the ear and the shoulder supporting weight of kettlebell is tight and stabilized. Stand up!


PS – Remember – when you pick up a copy of the Kettlebell Basics Premium Workout Series – or any other program I have that’s priced at $37 or more – before the end of the month, you’ll get a free physical copy of No Gym? No Excuse!  Click here for more info on this special deal: -> FVT Spring Cleaning Sale


Law enforcement fitness training – with kettlebells!

If you’re reading this blog, I assume you’re not doing what most police/law enforcement/criminal justice types probably are: long, slow distance runs, a typcial bodybuilding-style weight training routine, or a combination of both.

And if you’re stuck in the 90′s and are still training this way, here’s why you need to stop: LSD cardio and/or bodybuilding-style weight training does very little to prepare you for your line of work.  Law enforcement fitness training, at the most basic level, should be based around preparing for short, intense encounters where your very survival may depend on quickly controlling a confrontation.

You should know full well that a seated chest press machine – or even a slow jog – is nothing like this type of activity.  What we’re after are high-intensity, functional-style workouts that get us better at the specific tasks/activities/etc. we’ll be facing in real life.  And this makes kettlebells a great tool for the job!

In this article, I’m going to address specific needs of law enforcement fitness training. I’ll explain exactly why kettlebells are a great tool for meeting/improving these needs. And I’ll give you a sample law enforcement fitness training kettlebell workout!

Law enforcement fitness training – specific needs

People who are in the field of law enforcement need to be in great physical shape not only because of their health, but also their safety.

One key to this is being able to have a strong grip and forearm strength in order to survive in the field, whether it be dealing with someone who isn’t cooperating or the need to catch a suspect who has jumped over a fence. In addition, officers must have strength and endurance in terms of running so that they have the capability to physically sustain a high speed pace in the case of a chase.

Why kettlebells are the perfect tool

Kettlebells provide a functional form of training that carries over into the daily lives of law enforcement. They allow a person to strengthen their grip through a variety of exercises, which will not only help to apprehend a suspect, but also provide strength in operating weaponry with quickness and safety. Kettlebells engage the posterior chain, which enables people who are training to become more powerful runners with increased endurance.

Because of these benefits and the small amount of time required to get an intense workout with kettlebells, training officers have begun to incorporate them into their regimen to help improve the fitness of their recruits in the little time they have to train them. As opposed to going on long runs and going into the weight room to lift, they now require shorter runs and then a kettlebell workout, followed by firearm training. This has proven to be more applicable to the field work required of the officers.

Law enforcement fitness training kettlebell workout

Here’s a workout that incorporates all the needs and elements I’ve discussed in this article:

Warm up


  • 3 Turkish get ups each side, adding weight each rep – for example, do one rep with no added weight (‘naked’), one rep with a 12k ‘bell, and one rep with a 20k ‘bell on each side
  • light .5 mile jog (easy warm up pace)
  • 100 kettlebell swings total (two hand, one hand, or hand-to-hand) – any combination, just finish all 100 before moving on to the next exercise
  • medium-intensity .5 mile jog (getting hard, but not going all out)
  • 20 burpee pull ups (do a burpee. Step forward to the pull up bar, hop up and do a pull up. That’s one rep.)
  • hard .5 mile run (go hard!  Finish strong and give it all you’ve got.)
  • three 100 yard farmer’s walk carries (grab two heavy kb’s. Walk with ‘em ’till your grip gives out.  Pick a weight that allows you to walk about 100 yards.)

Cool down

  • Static stretch of tight muscle groups

In conclusion, kettlebells are a great tool for law enforcement fitness training.  Folks involved in this line of work have some very specific fitness needs, including strength, endurance, and grip/forearm strength.  Kettlebells very effectively and efficiently help one train for all of these qualities.

Thanks for reading and and talk soon –

Forest Vance, RKC II

P.S. To get in better shape for this occupation and lose 10 pounds month you need to check out this website with diet and fitness tips!

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