As I explained in my article Grind to Grow: Try Your Squats and Presses with Kettle bells,” part of the reason the kettle bell triggers newfound strength and muscle growth is because of its offset shape. It forces the body to stabilize its joints differently from barbells, dumbbells, and other traditional bodybuilding equipment.
This forces your muscles to contract differently than normal, and increases the demand placed upon them. Look no further than the extra depth that every lifter instantly discovers when they front squat with a pair of kettle bells in the rack position, versus a barbell across the back.
With this new and increased range of motion comes increased muscular growth in your legs, and strength in your entire torso, from the inside out, including the all-important core musculature. Best of all, the kettle bell lends itself to a simple, but very challenging programming.
This 12-week program requires only two kettle bells and time for three workouts a week. But after one time through it, you'll find yourself more muscular in all the areas that matter: shoulders, upper back, upper chest, arms, legs, and posterior chain.
When you go back to “traditional” weight training, don't be surprised if you destroy your old performances—and have to buy bigger shirts. According to research by Brad Schoenberg, PhD, there are three basic ways to stimulate muscle growth:
Mechanical Tension: Lifting heavier weights for lower reps, similar to the way powerlifters train; think multiple sets of 2-5 reps. Muscular Damage: Lifting moderate weights for medium to higher reps, similar to the way bodybuilders train; think multiple sets of 8-20 reps. Metabolic Stress: Doing either high reps or complexes where you don't set the weight down, producing intense burning and the release of metabolites like lactate.
That may not sound like enough variety to grow on, but all major movement patterns are covered by these exercises: Military Press : Upper body pressing and pulling (due to the clean that accompanies the press) Front Squat : Lower body pushing and upper body pulling (you'll need to clean again!)
Swing (single or double kettle bell): Lower body pulling Start the program with a pair of matching kettle bells you can press approximately 4-6 times.
If you're at all unsure or uncertain about your capability, drop back to swinging one kettle bell. More important than which variety you choose is that you focus on making each rep as explosive as possible, like I explained in my article Kettle bell Explosion: Harness the Power of the Kettle bell Swing.”
Your goal is to do as many sets of each exercise, with perfect form, as you can in that time. Then, when you're ready, clean the kettle bells back into the rack position and perform a set of front squats.
Your goal is to do as many sets of swings as you can, with perfect form, in that time. To start this phase, determine your rep max (RM) with both the military press and the front squat using your two trusty kettle bells.
Always round down the number of reps if you hit a decimal point in your math. Your goal is to do as many sets of each exercise, with perfect form, as you can in that time.
Clean the kettle bells to the rack position, then perform a set of military presses. Clean the kettle bells back into the rack position, and perform a set of front squats.
Do an RM test with your pair of kettle bells for the swing. If not, use these weeks to keep practicing with the one-handed swing, trying to build up to 20 reps per hand, each at chest height.
Your goal is to do as many sets of swings as you can, with perfect form, in that time. Once again, find your RM for the military press and the front squat.
There's one big difference in these workouts: You'll clean the kettle bells to the rack position and perform a set of military presses, followed immediately by one set of front squats. When your rest time is over, clean the kettle bells back into the rack position and repeat.
This slight variation may not seem like much, but it increases the time under tension you experience and triggers metabolic stress. *Your RM will drop due to fatigue as the sets progress.
By this point, you should be able to comfortably swing a pair of kettle bells. Do an RM test with your pair of kettle bells for the swing.
If not, keep on practicing with the one-handed swing, working up to 20 reps per hand, each at chest height. The amount of tension running through and across your abs will already be severe, especially combining the military presses and front squats in the same day.
However, if you can't live without ab training, I recommend you do hanging variations, like hanging leg raises, to decompress your spine from all the loading. Since this is a strength and muscle program, you need to eat a lot.
A tried-and-true starting point is to multiply your body weight (in pounds) by 15-20 for total calories. In my book, you can't beat the time-tested 30/40/30 split of protein/carbohydrates/fat when growth is the goal.
If you start putting on fatter than you'd like, cut back. Otherwise, your assignment is simple: Eat, sleep, lift, and grow.
The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. I thought it would be helpful to share with you my 25 bestkettlebell workout routines.
You can also use these workouts as a kettle bell Won (workout of the day) but you will need to be careful not to overdo things as many of them are rather intense and may require at least a days rest. Double Handed Swing — 20 reps Push Ups — 10, 9, 8, 7 etc.
A super simple home kettle bell workout and great kettle bell Won that hits almost every muscle in the body using only 2 exercises. Perform 20 Double Handed Swings and then 10 Push Ups.
At the end of the routine you will have completed 200 Swings and 55 Push Ups. A workout movement ladder that adds a new exercise after each rest period.
If you are feeling brave you can then come back down the ladder by removing an exercise every round. Climbing both up and back down the ladder is very challenging!
You can test yourself every month and see how your strength and fitness is improving. For the Snatches and Lunges switch sides every 10 reps.
A fun kettle bell routine that adds a new exercise every round. A double kettle bell routine that will work both your strength first and then your cardio.
Next perform the second block for 20 reps each side. Work up to 3 complete kettle bell circuits.
Start with 60 seconds of Swings on both sides and then perform 10 Push Ups during the 3rd minute, rest for the remainder of that minute. Continue performing each exercise and adding 10 Push Ups into the rest periods.
The quicker you can perform the Push Ups the more rest you will have remaining! If you find this too demanding then leave out the Push Ups.
The same format as the workout above except with different exercises and no Push Ups during the rest period. My classic kettle bell workout challenge.
You will find it easier to perform each exercise in blocks of 5 or 10 before changing sides. Use the same format as the Classic and perform the 300 reps as quickly as possible.
Two separate circuits that are performed one after the other with 60 seconds of rest between them. The first kettle bell circuit is more for strength and the second if for improving your cardio.
Another pair of 7 minute kettle bell circuits that follow the same format as above. A fun workout to perform either outside or in a large room.
Start with the One Handed Swings for 10 reps on each side. Repeat the One Handed Swing again for 10 reps each side, and also the Walking Lunges again.
Rest 30 seconds and repeat for a final time. Using two kettle bells perform each pairing 3 times, rest for 1 minute after each round.
Great for building up strength and also improving your cardio. A big circuit that uses lots of fun kettle bell and body weight exercises.
Click for More Hearts — Push Ups Spades — Reverse Lunge Clubs — Slow Mountain Climbers Diamonds — Squat & Press Jack — High Pulls x 10 each Queen — Snatch x 10 each King — One Handed Swings x 10 each Ace — Reverse Turkish Get Up x 1 each Joker (optional) — 1-Minute Rest
A fun way to randomize your workouts and keep them interesting also a possible kettle bell Won. Next shuffle the deck and turn over the top card.
Depending on the number and suit you will perform that exercise for a certain amount of reps. Work your way through the full deck of cards as quickly as possible.
3 Classic circuits that should really flow from one exercise to the next without you putting the kettle bell down. One large circuit based workout that requires 60 seconds for each exercise or per side depending on the movement.
Rest 10 secs after each exercise Repeat each pair 8 times Nice and simple but effective Tabatha style workout.
Run through all the exercises for 10 reps each side resting where indicated. Then repeat all the exercises again but for 5 reps each side but without any rest in between circuits.
As mentioned earlier, these do not constitute a kettle bell workout plan but rather give you routines that may be used within a 12 week kettle bell workout program. The bestkettlebell workouts activate as many muscles as possible creating a huge amount of calorie burn, improving movement skills and increasing cardio levels at the same time.
In fact, if you choose your kettle bell carefully it can last you for a lifetime of fun-filled workouts. If your goals are overall fat loss, general conditioning and improvement in strength, then kettle bell workouts are a great choice.