Guest Post: The Kettlebell Challenge Workout

Zach’s note: Since I have been having a hard time keeping regular content flowing to the site, I’ve asked some of my close friends and colleagues to help out with some guest posts.  Today’s post comes from fellow trainer (and former boss) Forest Vance, an RKC-certified kettlebell instructor from Sacramento, California.  Here we go!

 

I have a new kettlebell/body weight challenge workout for you today … but first, I want to make sure you understand how a workout like this would fit into a long-term kettlebell programming scheme.

Do you stick to a structured and periodized kettlebell program – or do you “mix it up” and change your workouts constantly?

Are you endlessly searching out new kettlebell exercises and workouts to try, at the expense of starting and finishing a single, complete, solidly designed routine?

Bad news – you have Kettlebell ADHD.

All the variety sounds cool at first – new fun workouts, lots of different kettlebell exercises to impress your friends, etc. …

And changing your workouts over time is a good thing to keep your body from adapting.

The problem, though, is that with too much KB exercise/workout variety, it’s almost impossible to learn all the moves correctly in any reasonable amount of time – especially if you’re a kettlebell beginner.

The key is to stick with a program just long enough (typically 4-6 weeks) to see results, but not long enough to adapt and stall out your progress.

Now that’s out of the way:) … on to the challenge workout:

A cool, unique, and fun workout thrown in OCCASIONALLY and at the RIGHT TIME in an established and structured workout program is actually GREAT for accelerating results and keeping your workouts interesting.

Here’s a kettlebell/body weight challenge workout for you … just remember that this is intended as a one-off challenge you do maybe once per month or so – and NOT a regular program:

  • power jacks
  • push ups
  • reverse lunges
  • knee-to-elbow mountain climbers
  • KB swings

Do 20 reps of each exercise.  Perform the workout circuit-style, moving from one exercise to the next with as little rest as possible.  Do five rounds of the circuit for time.

Watch this video for a full breakdown of the routine:

In summary, challenge workouts are a killer way to accelerate your results and keep your workouts interesting – programmed correctly, and used at the right time.  Use the one in today’s article and video to get you started, and let us know how you do!

Good luck and train hard –

Forest Vance, MS, RKC II

Forest Vance holds a Master’s degree in Human Movement and personal training certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

He is also a Level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor, Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist, and Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach.

Over the last 8 years, Forest has experience as a personal trainer, group fitness/boot camp instructor, fitness manager, and health club general manager.

He currently works as the owner and head trainer at his Sacramento functional training gym.

He also maintains a network of fitness-related websites, makes regular guest appearances on many others, has been featured in national newspaper, radio, television, and other media.

He is the creator and author of numerous books, DVD’s, and digitally delivered workout programs and systems.

To learn more and to get a free copy of his Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training, check out his website at ForestVance.com.

Book Review: Enter the Kettlebell!

Enter the Kettlebell!

About two years ago, I decided that I needed to learn how to train with kettlebells.  I didn’t necessarily feel like I had to drop a couple thousand dollars to go through the certification process, but I at least needed to know how to perform the basic movements without killing myself.  Having known a few RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) instructors already, I knew exactly where to go to learn: Pavel Tsatsouline, the godfather of kettlebell training in America.

Pavel has released probably close to a dozen books on various subjects, from abdominal training to bodyweight training to his idea of what bodybuilding programs should look like, but if there’s one thing he knows, it’s kettlebell training.  He developed the Russian Kettlebell Challenge certification for trainers and instructors and initiated the production of the first kettlebells made in America through Dragon Door.

Dragon Door kettlebells

Back in 2001 Pavel released The Russian Kettlebell Challenge in book form and with a companion DVD, and about the same time began offering his RKC certification courses.  Kettlebell training took off in America, and in the next few years they started popping up in every training studio and commercial gym you can think off.  Hell, even Wal-Mart sells them now, and you can thank (or blame) Pavel for that.

A few years later, Enter the Kettlebell! was released as essentially an updated version of The Russian Kettlebell Challenge, and it too has a companion DVD to take you through all of the technical details that are hard to convey in print.  It’s noted in the book that Pavel has changed some things since the original text, and that the new book takes precedence over the old one.  So bear that in mind if you’re thinking of picking up both books.

Through the book, Pavel covers the basic kettlebell movements: the swing, the snatch, the clean and press, and the getup.  These four movements are the foundation of kettlebell training, and are most likely the biggest “bang for your buck” movements as well.  The technical details are covered quite well, with a ton of pictures on how to perform the various stages of the lifts, as well as some great pics of how NOT to do them as well.  Pavel also has a great sense of humor that is spread throughout the text and photos, which makes it a much easier read than some training books.

One caveat: I’ve heard complaints from beginners that the book is hard to comprehend without the DVD to go with it.  I picked up on the text descriptions just fine with help from the photos, but then again, I have several years of training under my belt so I probably pick up on the little stuff quicker than a newer lifter.  So you may want to dish out a few extra bucks and get the DVD to be safe.  It can’t hurt, it’s just as entertaining as the book, if not a bit more.

One last thing: the warmup movements that Pavel recommends before workouts are worth the price of the book alone.  They’re pretty simple, but amazingly effective.

Rating: 8.5/10
Price: $34.95 from Dragon Door Publications