Personally, I like the way kettle bell workout ladders force you to reset yourself after each set. For example when performing an exercise for 10 reps you get into a rhythm and often use the stretch reflex in the muscles to help with each repetition.
Kettle bell workout ladders can be performed in a number of different ways, ascending from 1 to 5, descending from 5 to 1, or mixing the two together 1 to 5 and then back down to 1. I tend to use ascending ladders for difficult strength building exercises.
Reducing the reps each round can also help with the natural fatigue that you experience with each set. I tend to mix workout ladders with clients that are a little more experienced with longer sets.
One of the great benefits of kettle bell ladder workouts is that you can start off on a ladder workout and if you find you only manage to climb halfway then you can stop and improve another day. If your goals are building strength then using a kettle bell ladder workout is an excellent choice.
If you want to build more muscle and mass then you can increase your reps above 5 to add more volume. Be aware that the higher the amount of reps in your ladder the longer the rest periods required to recover.
You can choose any number of strength based exercises for use in your kettle bell ladder. More dynamic and higher rep based exercises like the kettle bell swing would not be a good choice for this type of ladder workout.
Kettle bell ladder workouts are also an excellent choice if your goals are fat loss. Fat loss is best encouraged by maximizing the amount of muscles used during a workout to increase your metabolic rate.
The repetitions are higher for fat loss workouts and the weight reduced. I like to use big full body exercises for fat loss workouts that include a push, pull and either a squat or dead lift movement pattern.
One Handed Swing x 10 – 1 Overhead Press x 1 – 10 Regular Row x 1 – 10 Repeats on the other side for a total of 10 sets. At the end of this kettle bell ladder workout you will have completed 10 sets on each side.
You can use many of the same exercises that you used for the strength ladders but reduce the kettle bell weight so you could safely perform 12 – 15 reps before failure in one set. Kettle bell ladder workouts are an excellent way to gain strength, reduce fat or add muscle.
Depending on your particular goals you can use kettle bell ladder workouts to motivate you or simply as a method to gauge how many repetitions to perform that day. I’ve also included an idea of how ladder workouts would fit into a weekly schedule.
Directions: Perform the following workout as a “ladder.” Begin with 1 rep of each exercise on your right side, moving from one to the next without rest. Use the descriptions below to master perfect form, and click on the video to see step-by-step instruction.
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First, realize that one of the most effective ways to dial up your strength training, overall program intensity, and total body conditioning is by incorporating ladders into your program. And, there’s also a “weight ladder” workout that I’m testing out right now and will provide more feedback on that in the future.
You pick up a kettle bell you can comfortably press in the 5 to 8 rep range. You pick it up, clean and press it once, switch hands, and do the other arm.
Work up your strength each week until you can go 5 ladders in this manner with quality performance. For more detailed information on pressing ladders, see Enter the Kettle bell, by Pavel Tsatsouline.
Depends on your goals and your current training schedule, but a good schedule for strength training purposes would be to do this workout three times per week. But, they are a great to build strength, power, and progress with your training.
If you’ve got the cleans and presses down and want to take your strength and performance to new levels, add ladders to your program. It’s all about the workout Variety, Progression, and Performance (VPP).
Works hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, abs, shoulders, and pecs Stand with your feet shoulder width apart holding the top of the kettle bell handle with both hands in between your legs.
Bend your knees slightly and swing the kettle bell back between your legs. Stand back up and use the momentum to swing the weight to chest height.
Hold the kettle bell in your right hand, keeping arms straight, use your left leg to lunge forward. Lift the kettle bell up to chest level keeping your elbow close to your side.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart holding the sides of the kettle bell handle with both hands at chest height. Once you’ve returned to the standing position, push the kettle bell upwards and lift overhead.
Works hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, abdominal, erector spinal, and calves Standing with your feet apart, hold the kettle bell with both hands, so it’s hanging between your thighs.
Place 2 kettle bells directly by your shoulders on both sides of you while you are sitting on the floor. Keeping your arms and legs straight, lift your butt and feet off the floor.
“How do I press a heavier bell?” That is one of the top questions I’ve been asked over my years as an ROC kettle bell instructor. And it’s not just asked by people who are preparing for a kettle bell certification where they’ll have to meet a heavy press standard.
As in any type of lifting, there is a pure feeling of accomplishment when you strict press a large kettle bell overhead. This joy may be found in the old-time strongman image the bell taps into as you single-handedly hoist such an awkward ball of iron overhead.
If you can’t vertically lock your arm out at the top of the press, I would strongly advise you to work on your shoulder and thoracic mobility before moving forward. When I help someone with their press, I start by deconstructing the movement into its three basic component parts, and then we work on each separately.
Safely having a heavy kettle bell overhead The press groove The clean to get the bell into position However, heavy get-ups also happen to be the most accessible way to get used to carrying your goal bell overhead.
The tension generated by crush gripping will strengthen your shoulder and feed into your press. The simple reason is that your body will get used to cleaning weight heavier than what your single bell will be.
It’s easy to forget that the kettle bell clean isn’t just a way to get the bell into position to press. It’s also a powerful movement on its own, requiring a solid back swing and plenty of tension to get the bell into position.
I advise keeping seesaw presses in the range of 3-5 reps per side. The one exercise that had the most unexpected benefit to my press was backward leopard crawling.
After being on a crawl-intensive program from Tim Anderson, the founder of the Original Strength system, I couldn’t believe how strong and stable my shoulders felt. Indulge me in an image for a second: When you crawl backwards, your shoulders basically become your hips and your arms become your legs.
I found that building uptime in a backward leopard crawl strengthened weak links in my shoulder girdle that I didn’t know existed. Take time building to 5 minutes of continuous backward leopard crawling, and see how sturdy your shoulders feel.
Own the clean, crush the handle, press in the perfect groove, create tension throughout your body, and hold that kettle bell rock-solid at the lockout, then pull that baby back into the rack and repeat. When the third rep feels easy at the end, add a 4-rep rung to the ladder.