You know the moves, you know the science and now you know how to eat for the best results. Now it’s time to take that theory and put it into practice with three kettlebell training routines to help you reach three very different goals.
First up, weight loss…
Program 1: Weight Loss Program
If your goal is to lose weight, then the first thing you’re going to do is to fix your diet to contain fewer calories than you burn and you’re going to make sure that you’re eating lots of nutrients and not too many carbs and fats.
Then you’re going to start doing kettlebell swings. Lots of kettlebell swings. Why? Because kettlebell swings are absolutely ideal not only for burning fat but also toning your body to provide you with the ideal physique.
When you train with a kettlebell swing, you are performing what is known as ‘resistance cardio’. This means that you’re combining cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise with a form of resistance. This has been shown to help burn through more calories than cardio alone because the body has to work harder by engaging the muscles.
What’s more, is that kettlebell swings are a compound movement, meaning that they utilize lots of muscles at once. This causes more muscle damage than training just one muscle group and the body responds by producing more growth hormone and testosterone to build more muscle. This tones you up and having muscle burns more fat) but it also helps you to burn fat.
Finally, the kettlebell swing is perfect for creating toned legs and buttocks. Women particularly love the kettlebell swing because it is so effective at creating round and firm glutes that only the squat can come close to providing normally.
We are also going to be using something called HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. This means we’re switching between high intensity exercise and periods of rest/low pace activity. Doing this is ideal because it allows you to burn through more fat, triggering something called the ‘after burn’ effect that lasts long after you’ve finished exercise. It also means you can get in more exertion in less time and a short HIIT workout will help you lose more weight than a significantly longer steady state workout.
This is important because you need a training routine that is going to be easy to fit into the day. Many of us are out of shape because we lack the time and energy to workout. Trying to start a routine that takes 7 hours a week then is a non-starter. Instead, you can get an incredible workout 5 times a week with just ten minute sessions.
Perform kettlebell swings for 1 minute
Rest for 1 minute
Try to see how many kettlebell swings you can complete in that one minute and how many rounds you can do. Start with five – it’s going to be more than enough by the last set, trust me. As you get more confident, you can build up to rounds lasting 20 or even 30 minutes. Make sure the weight is heavy enough that you are just starting to struggle by the end of the first 10.
If you are even more pushed for time, or you’re feeling particularly sadistic, then you can try what is known as the ‘Tabata protocol’. This involves exerting yourself at maximum capacity for 20 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds before going again. You can find lots of MP3s and YouTube videos online to talk you through it. It might sound easy but Tabata will absolutely kick your ass and leave you in a heap!
Note: Tabata is not for first time trainees – build up to it by creating a base level of fitness first and only then give this a go!
Program 2: Strength Program
Using the program above will help you to build some strength but this is not the best option for gaining lots of muscle quickly. Instead, you need to focus on a routine that will create microtears in the muscle and help to encourage the build up of metabolites.
This is where it becomes useful to use some of those more old fashioned exercises that let you focus on one muscle group. Why? Because this way, you can keep going until that specific muscle fails. With a bicep curl for instance, you’re not going to get tired and you’re not going to lose form until the bicep is so full of blood and growth hormone and lactic acid that it hurts. This lets you tear muscle fibers, in turn leading to growth overnight.
Some bodybuilders will do this by focussing on a single muscle group per day – but that takes a lot more time and effort than most of us have and it’s not terribly functional. Instead, we’re going to use something called PPL. This stands for Push, Pull, Legs. That means one day for all pushing movements, one day for pulling and one day for legs – as the name implies.
This makes a lot of sense because a pushing movement like the chest press will use lots of the same muscles which tend not to be used in a pulling movement like a pull up. Pull ups use lats, biceps and abs, while presses use pecs, triceps and traps.
You have the list of exercises in the earlier chapter, showing you how to use your kettlebell for all the most popular regular movements. We’re going to group these based on targeted muscle and perform three workouts a week.
What’s more, is that we’re going to start each workout with a couple of compound full-body movements. This will generate better strength by forcing us to use muscle mass in unison and it will also help us to produce more growth hormone and testosterone. Ultimately, all this will mean more growth and strength.
Then we’re going to follow each session with lots of protein, lots of calories and lots of sleep – sleep is when we grow! The leg day is also going to do a lot of this.
The push workout will consist of:
3 x 10 Kettlebell Clean and Press
3 x 10 Kettlebell Shoulder Press
3 x 10 Kettlebell Flye
3 x 20 Press Ups
3 x 10 Kettlebell Kickbacks
3 x 10 Kettlebell Tricep Extensions
3 x 20 Kettlebell Swings
3 x 10 Kettlebell Upward Row
3 x 10 Kettlebell Curls
3 x 10 Kettlebell Bent Over Row
3 x 10 Kettlebell Pull Overs
3 x 10 Pull Ups
3 x 10 Kettlebell Crunch
3 x 10 Kettlebell Clean and Press
3 x 10 Kettlebell Lunge Press
3 x 10 Kettlebell Deadlift
3 x 10 Goblet Squat
3 x 20 Kettlebelll Swing
Program 3: All Rounder Performance Program
Finally, for those who want a bit of everything, a circuit routine will do the trick. This works like a HIIT workout because you’re constantly moving (with a one minute break at the end of each round) and because it’s fast and easy to implement. We’re going to be using the most compound and technical movements here though and a whole body routine, which means you’ll build explosive performance and coordination, while also toning and honing.
The circuit is designed to alternate between upper body and legs, which will allow you to keep the heart working harder as it is forced to divert blood first upward and then downward.
Spend 30 seconds at each station, with a 1-minute break between rounds.
Kettlebell Clean and Press
Kettlebell Lunge Press
Kettlebell Overhead Press
Perform this routine 3 times for a quick workout or 5 times for an intense session. Use four times per week for best results.