The Kettlebell Workout Revolution

lopez-headshot-smallThe Simple Kettlebell Workout Revolution

By: Chris Lopez, CSCS, Certified Turbulence Trainer

There’s a revolution going on in the training world today.

For the past 10-15 years we have been bombarded with every possible training method, new diet and exercise contraption to try to make things “easier”. To cut the distance traveled so that we can get from A to B faster.

As a result, we’re fatter and more confused than we have ever been.

We try everything and because of that, we’ve accomplished nothing. Each week some new book or shiny new toy is released and we’re told that we must have it because it proclaims to be the new “magic bullet” to get us those 6-pack-abs, or a 300lb bench or slimmer thighs.

The problem isn’t with the programs, it’s with us. We don’t give anything enough time to work because we’re constantly switching from one method to the other.

So because of all this, those “in the know” are going back to the basics. They’re saying “screw the gym” and are attempting to really simplify things. And I’m proud to say that I’m one of them.

I’m training at home (outside in my backyard). I’m using basic bodyweight movements (push-ups, chins, dips & pistols) and I’m using kettlebells.

Why Kettlebells?

Because they’re simple, unrefined and they’ve been around longer than the “pec deck”.

Because you can’t get any more basic than an iron cannon ball with a handle on it.

Its simple design is intimidating to some and unappealing to most.images

They were the tool of choice for Russian strongmen and military personnel alike back when they were first conceived over 100 years ago. And they’re slowly gaining popularity again because people are sick of the BS.

My favorite KB is a 24kg all-in-one-gym in the trunk of my VW.

It’s a  weathered piece of metal with bumps and bruises, much like my own, and it looks like it’s been through hell and back. I’ve swung it, snatched it, thrown it and slammed it.

It’s been battered and bruised and, thus far in my 18 years of using myself as a training guinea pig, has given me the most results in the least amount of time.

When I train with kettlebell workouts and combine the most primitive bodyweight movements I get a workout done sometimes in less time than it takes the average person to drive to the gym.

Don’t believe me? Give this circuit a shot and see if you think any different…kb-snatch-small

1) Snatch x 15 per arm
2) Chin-up x 10
3) Clean & Push Press x 10 per arm
4) Spiderman Push-Ups x 20
5) Turkish Get-Ups x 5 per side
6) 2-Arm Swings x 25

Rest 1-minute and repeat 3 to 5 more times.

Welcome to the revolution,

Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

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  • I love that you’re kicking it old school Craig. Doing the same thing myself; the only ‘modern’ thing that I’m doing it collecting metrics like a fiend.

    • Hey Michael!

      Old School is the “new” New School. Nothing beats bare-bones, hard work!

      Chris Lopez

  • Keep
    It
    Simple
    Stupid

    A better acronym has never come about. : )

    You are so right. If people would just keep things as simple as possile, work damn hard, and be consistent, they would get amazing results.

    Great post, Craig.

    • Hey Nia,

      You’re right. If people just stayed consistent and worked their butts off they’re guaranteed to have the body they want.

      Chris

  • What a brutal circuit!! Love it!

    • Good Stuff, Callie. How many times did you get through it?

      CL

  • Brian Clark

    Excellent circuit! I only managed two, but I’m still working on building. Needed a change of pace today to keep that turbulence for both body and mind, gave this one a shot and after two rounds and nearly losing my innards, decided I’m not quite ready for 3-5! Soon, very soon. I’m what you call a washed-up-has-been-will-be-again-soon!

    • That’s it, Brian. Keep at it and pay good attention to your form. Don’t sacrifice form for just trying to get the reps in…listen to your body.

      How heavy of a KB were you using?

      Chris

  • Joe

    Oh man this looks great. I’ll give it a shot. Simple but looks pretty brutal. I just bought my first kettlebell and in the process of learning the kb get up. Maybe I can switch to a lighter dumbell to start off with. Anyway, this is great, my wife is about to have a baby and I can do this at home!

    Thanks for sharing Chris!

    • Hey Joe

      Believe it or not, that is the EXACT reason why I started KB training full time…my wife is due with our 5th child in October and time is really, really scarce now.

      I would definitely start off with a lighter dumbbell while learning the get up…Remember to keep your eyes on the bell throughout the exercise.

      Congrats on the new addition!

      Chris

  • Mike

    Craig or Chris – I have been using both of your programs for about the last 6 months, so I really appreciate what you do. Any suggestions on how to stop destroying my forearms on KB snatches? Thanks in advance.

    • Hey Mike

      I have a couple of suggestions…

      1. think about moving your arm “around” the KB when you snatch…don’t “flip” it over. think high-pull then PUNCH…that’s what helped me from getting bruised forearms. it takes practice, but once you get it, it’ll be really easy.

      2. Big, thick wrist bands. I got a client of mine to wear them and it eliminated the bruising. after that, it was a lot easier to teach her how to “punch” and “move around” the kb because there was no fear that she’d end up looking like she was in a fight!

      Hope that helps
      chris

  • I have been using kettlebells for only 5 months now and love it. I would love to know what those workouts above look like. A friend of mine referred me to this website as he uses Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training. He tells me you are coming out with a Kettlebell training program. What is the name of the book and when will it come out?

    Thanks,

    Theo

  • jason k

    Hey Chris:good luck with the KB Rev.!
    All the best,
    Jason Koronakos

  • Martin Kolar

    I bought a kettlebell at Sears months back. I need use gloves or I develop blisters and/or abrasions on the side’s of my hands. It is only a 15/lb bell. Perhaps the handle is too small for my hands? You are not using gloves. That was the first thing I looked for when viewing your work-out/technique picture. I’d appreciate your take on this.

    • Craig Ballantyne

      I’m a farm boy. Would never train with gloves. You will definitely get callouses training with weights and kettlebells.

  • Jay Joshi

    Hi guys. I plan to give the above a shot tonight after work. I’ll throw overhead towel swings in too, and maybe a 10-minute ab set in the beginning to wake up the core.

    Question on the Spiderman pushups – I’m in a tiny NYC apartment. In such a case is it ok to substitute one-armed push-ups or do two forward spidey’s and two backwards?

    Jay

  • Jay Joshi

    Ok – figured out what Spiderman push-ups are. Thought they were “crawling” pushups but a quick Youtube visit fixed that. Got through 3 rounds using a 24KG for the swings and 16KG for everything else… except the third round of turkish getups where we could only manage 8kg.

    Great journeys begin w/a step… Thanks!

  • I had to look on youtube to see what spiderman pushups were as well!

  • Tres

    How often would you do something like this?

    • Craig Ballantyne

      Once per week, along with 2 other workouts. Thanks! – Craig Ballantyne