Sunday, 12 October 2014

Kettlebell Cardio - Do the Kettlebell Swing

Like most people who have a keen interest in physical fitness it is likely a sunday morning involves a cardio session to blow off the cobwebs and rejuvenate yourself for the remainder of the weekend.

Quite often we are guilty of making our Sunday morning Cardio sessions very run of the mill were we tend to go through the motions using a Treadmill or Exercise Bike.

If your Sunday sessions are going something like this, whilst you have to be commended for getting out of bed and going to the gym, you are surely aware that you are not getting the most out of your sessions.

This Sunday I would encourage you to go the gym with the intent to do Cardio but really go for it, use a Kettlebell with the aim of burning Fat and sculpting the physique that your dedication to get out of bed on a Sunday and go to the gym deserves.

The Kettlebell Swing, when done properly, is the complete body movement which not only incorporates most of the main muscle groups but also requires the anaerobic system to get involved due to the large demand for oxygen to the starved muscle groups required to explode and control the Kettlebell.

The key to using the Kettlebell Swing for Cardiovascular benefit is to deliberately use a far lighter weight than what you would work with, use correct technique and control your breathing throughout.

If you usually use a weight of around 20Kg for working sets of the Kettlebell Swing then take a 6Kg Kettlebell and perform repetitions for 2 minutes at a time and follow this up with a 30 second rest period. Every 4 circuits equates to ten minutes of Cardio, however the calorie deficit your body will create will be phenomenal in comparison to an exercise bike, cross trainer or even a treadmill.

By using the Kettlebell Swing for cardio you will also benefit from the body sculpting effects that using a Kettlebell has on your physique. The Kettlebell Swing in particular, has dramatic body sculpting effects on the Posterior chain so Swing a Kettlebell today.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Killer Kettlebell Legs Workout

I was recently introduced to a personal trainer who had a keen interest in Kettlebell training and as he often trains five or six people at once always favours bodyweight and Kettlebell training as oppose to Barbell and Dumbells.

I took part in one of these sessions and have literally never had a workout like it targeting on the Legs. This is quite simply put one of the best Kettlebell Workouts you will come across on the web.

As with most things the workout routine I am about to describe to you is simple to learn, performing it is far from simple and requires commitment from the beginning just to make it to the end.

Take a Kettlebell that you would normally be able to perform sets of 15 Reps for Kettlebell Squats. Now what I am about to explain is a basic Superset but due to the way in which it is performed and the intensity of the session you are going to feel sick, tired and if you get to the end - Euphoria!

Take your Kettlebell and place on the floor in between your legs with your legs slightly wider than shoulder width with toes pointing away from the body at a 45 degree angle.

Perform 15 clean explosive reps in which the Kettlebell is returned to the floor each time for you to drive upwards holding the Kettlebell in each hand and ensure you are exploding using the muscles of the posterior chain.

After you have completed your set of 15 reps, let go of the weight and sit yourself in a squatting position with your backside being completely parallel with the floor and hold the position for 30 seconds - by the end of this your Legs should be shaking. 

After completing this 30 seconds static hold, perform 15 squat jumps in which you range from the seated position you were just in, to exploding into a jump into the air - really explode and jump as high as you can here and remember to control the landing and move it into the seated squatting position as soon as possible to enable another explosive jump.

This basic superset of 3 movements (15 Kettlebell Squats, 30 second static Squat position hold followed by 15 bodyweight Squat jumps) will absolutely destroy you!

Your Legs will continue to crave Oxygen and nutrient rich blood and burn due to lactic acid build up whist your anaerobic and aerobic systems will be tested to the max ensuring that you are physically working as close to your maximum as you safely can.

This Legs workouts sounds easy but I can personally guarantee that just 5 circuits of this will have you reaching for the sick bucket - try it, hate it and then learn to love it and the results it will bring.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Kettlebell Bicep Exercises Part 2 - Reverse Grip

Over 1 year ago now I posted an entry referring to Kettlebell Biceps exercises paying particular attention to curling movements.

Still to this day we get messages coming in from people who enjoyed the article, who ask more questions or offer their own opinion or advice.

One of the most common questions we are asked is whether we would recommend a reverse grip for Kettlebell Workouts when targeting the Biceps. Our answer is a resounding YES.

When it comes to developing the two heads of the Biceps, there is not a great variety in exercises that will allow you to target the muscle group which we all want to impress with. Generally speaking the Biceps come under strain when we are pulling a weight or resistance towards our body and have our upper arms in a fixed position. Naturally when pulling an object towards us the large muscles of the back will take the majority of the force with our Biceps simply acting as support to help aid in this.

When targeting our Biceps we have to deliberately do so, resisting the natural desire of the Back to take over. Form is everything with Biceps training as it is with the majority of all Kettlebell Exercises.

To keep this very small muscle group guessing and therefore progressing you need to switch up the angles and grip which brings into play the importance of the reverse grip.

Most of you reading this will have used a reverse grip on a Bicep curl probably using a cable contraption in the past as this seems to be the full extent of gym knowledge revolving around reverse grip Biceps exercises. Using a Kettlebell can be an awesome way to add real thickness to not only the upper portion of the forearms but also the central area of the Biceps.

The distribution of the weight of a Kettlebell will not allow you to lift too much on this movement unless you have superhuman strength in the wrist itself so keep the reps high and your form strict. If your wrist is bending under the weight, lift a lighter weight, keep the wrist straight, strong and locked and really squeeze the Biceps on each repetition.

You will find a full demonstration of how to perform this movement in our Kettlebell Exercises section of our website.

Although mainly known as an exercise for the forearms, using a reverse grip can really add another dimension to your Biceps training and physical development.

Intense Kettlebell Workouts Needs Your Help to Inspire

The team here at Intense Kettlebell Workouts are asking our thousands of daily visitors to send in your pictures of your kettlebell influenced workouts.

We want to see your pictures of before and after shots, your training action shots, posing pictures or even workout videos to act as inspiration for the thousands of people per day who visit our site who do not yet use kettlebells workouts as part of their exercise regime.

We encourage all our regular or first time visitors to send these in throughout the month of October and at the end of the month we will award our favourite 5 pictures or videos with our official Hoodies from our Intense Kettlebell Workouts Store.

Send your pictures in now

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Kettlebell Workouts for Chest

I often get asked about Kettlebell Workouts for Chest development as most of the traditional Kettlebell exercises tend to focus on core strength and swinging movements as oppose to pushing exercises. The truth of the matter is that if you get creative with the Kettlebell you can develop super impressive Pectoral development as the design of the Kettlebell will allow for a fuller range of movement.
I would still advise a beginner to weight training to stick to Barbell Bench pressing and dumbbell fly movements to develop the initial growth of the Pectoral Minor and Pectoral Major muscles. Once an athlete has a decent set of ‘Pecs’, they can then use the shape of the Kettlebell as a way to help stretch out and further develop the muscles.
If I am to advise on a basic Kettlebell Workout for Chest muscle development I would recommend a warm up consisting of body-weight push-ups and some light weight Cable crossovers – a simple 5 minutes of invested time performing two sets of ten push-ups and two sets of ten cable crossovers with a light weight will suffice to lubricate the Elbow joints and provide the beginning of a pump consisting of Oxygenated blood into the Pectoral region.
The Kettlebell Workout routine designed for Chest development consists of  2 Kettlebell exercises, each of which will be performed in a superset fashion with Kettlebell Push Ups.
Exercise 1 is the Kettlebell Floor Press.
To perform the Kettlebell Floor Press the athlete is to take a pair of Kettlebells and press them above their heads in an Elbows locked position and start to sit down, once sitting they are to lie down on their Back facing upwards. With the palm of the Hands facing forwards lower the Kettlebells downwards until the Tricpes touch the floor before pressing back upwards using a smooth, yet explosive motion. Whilst performing this exercise keep knees and feet pressed together.
The plan here is to do 5 sets increasing the weight each time and reducing the number of reps in a pattern of 20, 15, 12, 10 and 6 reps. In between each set of the Kettlebell Floor Press perform Kettlebell Push ups allowing the Pectorals to fully stretch on each repetition.
Exercise 2 is the Kettlebell Fly.
To perform the Kettlebell Fly, choose a bench to perform the exercise from. Depending on which area of the Chest you wish to target will depend on the type of bench you use. Use an incline to target the upper Pectoral region, a decline bench to target the lower Pectoral region and simply use a flat bench for an overall Pectoral exercise.
Once you are lying on the bench performing the Fly correctly is of paramount importance to the development of the Pec muscles. If you are to imagine a hugging motion, this will serve you well. Extend the arms out to your side with a slight bend in the Elbow and bring the Kettlebells together in a wide arc (similar to an over exaggerated hugging motion). Once the Kettlebells are touching, reverse the movement and concentrate on the stretch feeling that should be generated on the downwards part of the exercise.
The plan here is to do 5 sets increasing the weight each time and reducing the number of reps in a pattern of 20, 15, 12, 10 and 6 reps. In between each set of the Kettlebell Fly perform Kettlebell Push ups allowing the Pectorals to fully stretch on each repetition.
The development of Chest muscles using Kettlebell exercises solely relies on the Athletes ability to stick to strict form. Anyone can load a Barbell with weights and throw it around and whilst this can develop awesome power, it very rarely develops the chiselled body we desire (think of the last time you watched the UK’s strongest man on TV).
The athlete has to control the weight and take advantage of its shape and weight distribution to ensure they get the very best out of Kettlebell workouts for Chest.
*Please note that if you have one particular area of the Chest that you wish to improve simply replace the Kettlebell Floor Press with a bench based version. For instance if you are targeting your upper Pectoral region replace the floor press with an incline bench and then perform the Kettlebell fly with an incline bench also*

To read more on Kettlebell Chest Workouts and find out lots more about Kettlebell exercises in general visit

Thursday, 13 June 2013

HIIT and the Kettlebell

Have you, like many other heard of HIIT but are not quite sure what it is? You are not alone; let me assure you of this. The phrase HIIT is thrown around gymnasiums and Health clubs and people nod along as if they know what this is but are simply too afraid to look silly by asking.
There is something about the Gym atmosphere which makes people feel vulnerable and self aware that doesn’t happen in the Pub, Grocery Store or in their place of work. I am not sure if it is the scantily clad clothing, muscular bodies, lack of Alcohol or just the vulnerability of everyone knowing your physical limitations but something makes us insecure.
The gym is the worst place in the World to act insecure as there is so much knowledge bouncing around and people are more than happy to share training and diet tips with total strangers. So why are we not sure what HIIT is?
To compound your knowledge of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) this article will be based around the process of HIIT, designing a HIIT routine and the results you can expect by performing this type of work out on a regular basis.
Recent research in Cambridge University (cited in AXA’s health related magazine Better Health) states how just 3 minutes of HIIT can be better than a 45 minutes workout in the Gym. The reasoning behind this is that HIIT challenges your Heart and Lungs and Muscles to the maximum for just a short period of time (very similar to an Animal in the wild such as the Cheetah). This forces the body to improve and actually increases the metabolic rate of the human Body as well as helping with mental issues. The actual process of High Intensity Interval Training is to simply challenge the body for 20 seconds to perform to its absolute maximum and then breaking or a period of 40 seconds. Most HIIT routines will repeat this process anywhere between 3 and 20 times, depending on fitness levels.
When designing a HIIT routine most would be advised to purchase an at home exercise Bike as this is not only convenient but also reduces the risk of injury as the fast intense nature of HIIT makes you more prone to muscular and tissue injuries. As your fitness levels increase it is advised that Kettlebell HIIT training should be your chosen method of Fat Shredding and Muscle sculpting. The very nature of the Kettlebell makes every repetition a gruelling activity and perfect for High Intensity Interval Training to be practiced.
To perform a Kettlebell HIIT routine I would advise choosing one basic compound exercise such as the Kettlebell Swing, Goblet Squat or Kettlebell Clean. Simply adapt the method above of all out action for 20 seconds followed by 40 seconds of rest and repeat between 3 and 20 times depending on your level of fitness.
Performing Kettlebell HIIT on a regular basis will really crank up the metabolic rate and have your engine finely tuned to shred Fat and build rippling muscle tissue. Regardless of the research coming out of Cambridge, mentioned above, I would still perform traditional low impact cardio and traditional weight training regimes and compliment them with Kettlebell HIIT as the more variance in your training, the more likely you are to keep interested and improve your overall athletic abilities.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Kettlebell Bicep Exercises

Performing a Biceps workout with free weight is simply one of the most pleasurable gym experiences an athlete can have. There doesn’t seem to be anyone, regardless of gym experience who doesn’t love training their Biceps, but all experienced trainers are more than aware that keeping things fresh on biceps routines is very difficult.
The role of the Biceps is to simply pull the lower Arms upwards, hence why all Biceps exercises involve a curling upwards of the lower arm. In a gym scenario we are all left to basically produce curling movements using dumbbells, barbells and various cable machines – even the Lat Pull Down has been adapted to become a Biceps curl towards the head from an ‘arms straight up in the air position’.
Most athletes will vary the angle they curl the arms upwards to add variety to the training and keep the muscles guessing but trainers worldwide are now starting to implement the use of Kettlebells into their clients Biceps workouts.

There are a number of Kettlebell Bicep exercises that you can perform to really drive the progress of this fantastic little muscle group. The most obvious of which is too simply swap your Alternative Dumbbell Bicep curls to the Kettlebell Curl. Anyone who has actually done this will testify to just how difficult it is in comparison to curling using Dumbbells. On average you will only be able to curl around 60% of what you normally do with a pair of Dumbbells (for instance, if you curl 20K Dumbbells for 8 reps, you will probably be able to perform 8 reps with 12K Kettlebells). The biggest plus to performing the Kettlebell Curl is that it dramatically increases the Biceps peak and is often the first remedy prescribed by a knowledgeable personal trainer for an under developed Bicep peak.
Other fantastic Kettlebell Bicep exercises that you can try include reverse curls where you hold the Kettlebell handle with palm facing down or a Kettlebell Hammer Curls in which you take the same grip and stance as a Dumbbell Hammer Curl but the location of the weight throughout each repetition is constantly shifting and really focuses on the Forearms. Athletes wanting to concentrate on the inner portion of the Biceps will often hold one heavier Kettlebell with both hands on Kettlebell handle and curl in this manner to focus the majority of the stress on the inner Biceps.
I suppose the moral of the story is to experiment with kettlebell exercises as just about every exercise can be adapted to use a Kettlebell and place the body under greater and/or a different amount of stress to help further develop the Biceps.