Lately, I’ve been in the groove of my workouts. About every other day I make it a point to do something that breaks a sweat — whether it’s going for an easy jog, an interval run, or banging out pull-ups in my garage gym.
My home workouts are definitely a habit now — and one that I need (both mentally and physically). But, recently, even though I’m getting out there, I’m not exactly as excited as I once was. I’ve been getting kind of stuck in a rut — just going through the motions. I’ve created a ton of workouts so far this year (see my latest ones here), but I’ve just had trouble getting really pumped for them. With so much to balance and squeeze into the day (including studying!), I’ve honestly missed just being told what to do.
Which is exactly what this post is about.
Taking FBG Kristen’s fabulous suggestion, I joined her in something Laura Gassner Otting does every November: a 10K Kettlebell Challenge (inspired by T-Nation). You might remember LGO from our podcast ep with her or from this rowing workout, but, basically, she’s a badass, does badass things, and inspires others to do badass things, too. Including me!
The goal of the group is for everyone to consistently pick up the kettlebell (in whatever weight works for you) and swing it — a lot. The aspirational goal is for 10,000 swings in the month, but — in very FBG-like fashion — everyone gets to do what’s right for their bodies and lives. So, for me, my overall goal is 5,000 swings in the month, and I’m getting close to reaching it!
Because I don’t have a lot of time to work out, my kettlebell workouts to get to that magical 5K goal have been a mix of overall strength moves, cardio, and kettlebell swings. And, I’m sharing three of my favorite kettlebell workouts today in case you want to get in on the swinging fun. Whether or not you’re doing a challenge, these kettlebell workouts will certainly have you sweating and getting stronger.
Like any workouts that we share, these are just ideas. Always, always, listen to your doctor and your body, and, definitely modify anything that you need to modify. You may want to pick up a lighter kettlebell, reduce the rep counts, substitute a move, or set a shorter time. You do you!
Now, grab your bell and let’s get to swinging!
Pick Your Total Number
This is an incredibly sneaky kettlebell workout. The idea is that you set a number of kettlebell swings you’d like to accomplish. Then, you get to swinging. Every time you break to rest from those swings, you do 10 ball slams, 10 v-ups, and row 100 meters. Keep swinging, resting, and doing those moves, until you reach your goal number of kettlebell swings.
If you don’t have a ball to slam, sub for push presses or push-ups. If v-ups are too challenging, try sit-ups or crunches. If you don’t have a rower, do your favorite cardio move for 30 seconds.
Two other smart ideas for this workout: the first time you do it, you might want to actually set a time goal instead of a number of swings. Set a timer for say 20, 25, or 30 minutes, and see how many swings you can do. Again, it’s sneaky hard! And, don’t feel like you have to do 500 swings — any number of swings you do is good and the difficulty of this workout definitely depends on how heavy of a bell you’re using.
Step up to the plate and SWING! For this one you’re doing 5 rounds of the circuit for time, which will give you a total of 500 kettlebell swings. If that’s too much (hello, forearms and hammies) or you’re just starting out with kettlebell workouts, go for 3 rounds or set a timer for 20 minutes and see how many rounds you can complete in that time.
Also, this rep format comes from T-Nation, and it really is great. Instead of goblet squats, consider doing dips, push-ups, pull-ups / body rows, or other strength moves. I’ve done various versions of this kettlebell workout, and the rep count is just the right mix of doable yet challenging.
As Many Swings As Possible
There’s AMRAP … and then there’s this: AMSAP! Set a timer for 28 minutes and see how many swings you can rack up — you have 7 times to go through the full circuit. Want a workout that’s shorter or longer? Simply increase or decrease your time available by 4-minute chunks.
Has a fitness challenge ever ignited your motivation and made your workouts more fun? Tell us about it in the comments! –Jenn
More Kettlebell Workouts & Tips