The following is a guest post from Lauren Brooks of On the Edge Fitness:

 

Designing your own workouts can be quite a challenge. Even the most experienced exerciser who has a clear understanding of how to properly execute a variety of exercises can struggle with laying out a simple, effective program. Designing a workout to fit your goals does need to be thought out. Over the years I have worked with many clients, including fitness professionals, who unfortunately design poor programs, which then cause them to become frustrated with their lack of results, and often create imbalances and injuries. As much as it’s exciting to constantly have fancy and fun exercises, keeping it simple and balanced is what will deliver the most results.

 

Below are three workouts an experienced kettlebell user can do on their own. This program is for individuals who have continued goals of moving better as well as increasing their overall strength and conditioning. This, of course, will also have the great side effects of fat loss and a lean body. The first workout is a balanced combination of both strength and conditioning. Workout two is focused mostly on conditioning and the third is focused mostly on strength. Most of the workouts that I design for my classes fall between workout one and three.  However, it’s nice to have a day here and there of just light, fun conditioning. 

 

Each of these workouts has something in common. They all contain skill work practice and a balance of exercises that require a push, pull, leg and full body. Keeping those aspects involved in the majority of your practice sessions will decrease the chances of developing major imbalances and weaknesses in areas along with too much strength in others. For example, you don’t want to have too many workouts that focus on high rep push-ups and presses. You will ruin your shoulders and back. Not adding in the farmer’s walks, pull-ups, rows, and horizontal rowing will get you in trouble. Each exercise is there for a reason. 

 

Unfortunately there are many programs out there that people have no business doing. The other day I saw an instructor post this on their blog as the workout of the day for their class. This was an instructor with reputable certifications including one in kettlebells. Unfortunately they lack the skill of program design. If you wonder why you are losing clients due to injuries you may want to rethink how you structure your program.

 

DANGEROUS WORKOUT - to assure a shoulder and neck injury along with a bad back. This is what some folks are doing all the time. Warning: Do not perform this workout, I repeat, do not do this workout. This is just a sample of what NOT to do!

 

Rules: Complete the suggested amount of reps for each exercise as fast as you possibly can. Then get as many Turkish Get Ups as you can in 5 minutes.

 

50 Push-ups

50 Presses

50 Burpees

50 Crunches

50 Swings

Finish with 5 minutes of Turkish Get Ups

 

If you did workouts like this several times a week, you’d be injured and imbalanced very quickly. Make sure the program is a balanced one before doing it! If you cannot understand why doing five minutes of Turkish Get Ups at the end of a high volume workout is unsafe contact me and I’ll explain it to you. 

 

Here are the three SAFE workouts to rotate and play with on your own. I have also provided three sample weeks of how to schedule these workouts.

 

Workout 1: Full Body Focus Strength and Conditioning

Choose a size kettlebell that ensures you can perform each exercise with perfect form, yet is challenging. If you find the rep range suggested is much too easy then make sure to use a heavier kettlebell next time. Do not go to failure! Focus on working 75-80% of your maximal efforts with this workout.

 

A1. Turkish Get Up, 2 per side

A2. 1 Arm Swing, 10 per side

 

Rest for a few seconds and repeat 2-3 times

 

B1. Push-Up, 5-8 reps

B2. Goblet Squat, 5-6 reps

B3. 1 Arm Row, 5-6 reps per side or Pull-Ups, 4-6 reps

B4. Snatch, 10 per side

 

Rest for a few seconds and repeat 2-3 times

 

Workout 2:  Conditioning Focus

Pick a kettlebell that feels “easy” so you can maintain perfect form. Set your timer or Gymboss for 15 seconds. You will spend 30 seconds on each exercise. Some of the exercises will require you to do 15 seconds per side. Take a full 30 second rest in between each exercise.  

 

A1. Push Press, 15 sec per side

A2. 2 Handed Swing, 30 sec

A3. Jump Squats, 30 sec

A4. High Pulls, 15 sec per side

 

Rest 30-60 seconds and repeat for 2-3 rounds

 

B1. 1 Arm Swings or Snatch, 15 sec per side

B2. Burpees (Push-up optional), 30 seconds

B3. Double Farmer’s Walk, 30 seconds

 

Rest 30-60 seconds and repeat for 2-3 rounds

 

Workout 3: Strength Focus

Generally when focusing on strength you still want to approach the workout as practice. Therefore using a heavy enough bell that allows you to have perfect reps should be your goal. 

 

A1. Single Leg Dead Lift (Double Bells), 5 each side

A2. Clean and Press, 3-5 per side

A3. Renegade Rows, 5 per side

A4. Double Swings, 8 reps

 

Take roughly a 20-60 second rest in between each exercise so you can feel fresh before beginning the next exercise. Repeat this section for 3-5 rounds.

 

B1. Pull-ups or 1 Arm Row, 3-5

B2. Single Leg Box Squats, 3-5 per side

B3. Double Cleans, 8 reps

 

Take roughly 20-60 second rest in between each exercise so you can feel fresh before beginning the next exercise. Repeat this section for 3-5 rounds.

 

Below are sample weeks of how to use these workouts effectively. Choose the type of Volume you know your body can handle. If you participate in sports and/or other exercise such as running than the lower volume week would be my suggestion. If you are trying to pack on extra muscle, gradually work up to 5 sets instead of the suggested 2-3 sets. Perform joint mobility daily if possible.

 

Sample 1:  Less Volume Training Week

 

Monday: Workout 1: Full Body Focus Strength and Conditioning

Tuesday:  Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility

Wednesday: Workout 2:  Conditioning Focus

Thursday:  Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility

Friday: Workout 3: Strength Focus

Saturday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility

Sunday: Walking, Hill Sprints, or Turkish Get Up Practice

 

Sample 2:  Higher Volume Training Week

 

Monday: Workout 1: Full Body Focus Strength and Conditioning

Tuesday: Workout 2:  Conditioning Focus

Wednesday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility

Thursday: Workout 3: Strength Focus

Friday: Workout 1: Full Body Focus Strength and Conditioning

Saturday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility

Sunday: Workout 3: Strength Focus

 

Sample 3: Integrating Strength and Conditioning Workouts With Your Activity

 

Monday: Sports Practice (i.e. running, tennis, surfing)

Tuesday: Workout 1: Full Body Focus Strength and Conditioning

Wednesday Sports Practice (i.e. running, tennis, surfing)

Thursday:  Short sports Practice or rest

Friday: Workout 2:  Conditioning Focus

Saturday: Workout 3: Strength Focus + Sports Practice (i.e. running, tennis, surfing)

Sunday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility (or easy practice)

 

Hope you enjoy these workouts. Try them out for 4-6 weeks and let me know how you do. Keep a journal and record your workouts. Most of all listen to your body. I look forward to hearing about your progress! 

 

In case you missed it - be sure to check out Lauren's previous guest post:

Getting Started with Kettlebells: How to Buy, Learn & Train

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