Dear Coach: Can I Do Kettlebells, Body Pump, HIIT, AND Yoga?

Our first “Dear Coach” column kicks off with a question many of us have – how do we fit in all the activities we want to do in our schedule? Is it possible? Is it healthy?

Dear Coach,

I workout with kettlebells regularly and am considering adding a body pump class to my training schedule. How can I do both since both involve lifting weights, and I thought it best to take a day off between weight workouts. I also like to incorporate HIIT workouts on the treadmill and yoga and am tying to figure out the best way to get it all in!! Was thinking 1 week yoga/walking/KB followed by 1 week yoga/body pump/ walking. Thoughts?



Baltimore, MD

Dear Jane,

While I recognize that training should be fun, at some point you need to focus on results rather than entertainment. Pump is a great class – it’s always fun, invigorating, and the instructors are very motivating. (And while it may cause me to hand in my man card, I taught Pump in Australia for a while and even dated a girl who was a Master Trainer here, so I am very familiar with it). But what I notice in Pump classes is that the majority of people are still in the same shape in six months as they are now – something is wrong there.

As you’ve noticed, both Pump and kettlebells are both resistance based. The similarities don’t stop there either. Because of the way Pump classes are structured they tend more towards the strength endurance side of things and so do a lot of kettlebell workouts. In short, anything that you can do for more than 10 reps is heading towards strength endurance. And because of this similarity (and not taking into account the extra plane of movement that kettlebells allow) they are quite interchangeable.

But, the benefit of training is in gaining skill at the movements. Think about your first yoga class – you were stiff, ungainly, and struggled to get into the right postures. Now, with practice, you fluidly move from one position to the next. And weight training is no different. You need to be just as mindful of your body, posture, and movement with resistance training of any kind as you do during yoga. And what I think you’ll find is kettlebells have far greater similarities to yoga and fluid movement than Pump does. In fact, some of my best friends in the RKC community are both passionate about yoga and kettlebells and have a fantastic blend of suppleness and strength – in my eyes a near perfect blend of form and function.

So here’s my suggestion – save Pump for when you’re tired and just going to gym because you think you should. The instructor and the music will lift you up and you can switch off mentally because of the simple movements and get a good workout in. The rest of the time use kettlebells for your strength work as they blend perfectly with yoga. Always keep walking in there as I think we all need some low level activity at all times. Simply alternating between yoga one day and kettlebells the next will keep your body fresh, mobile and strong.

Coach Andrew Read

(Click here for articles by Coach Andrew)

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