Blending Your Kettlebell and Body Weight Training
By Timothy Bell
If you’re reading this article, it’s a safe assumption that you’re already training with kettlebells and body weight, as well as a plethora of other “unconventional” methods of exercise. Both forms of training are simple, primitive, and incredibly effective for any health/fitness goal you wish to reach. Alone each can provide us with extraordinary results in both fields of fat loss/conditioning or strength gains.
Let’s take a look at the kettlebell, known world wide for its ability to provide the trainee with a lean hard physique and real world functional strength. To find proof, one does not have to look much further than the roots of all kettlebell training techniques, the swing. Such a simple movement helps our internal abdominal wall contract with more force, strengthens our hips, increases our range of motion, promotes co-ordination between muscle groups, develops the posterior chain, and even speeds up our metabolism. It’s Amazing really for such a simple looking tool. As any good trainer will tell you, just like any piece of equipment the kettlebell is a tool and nothing more. You can’t build a house with only one hammer, so how can you get into the best shape of your life with only one mode of training? This is where we need to build a bigger collection of “tools” to get the job done. This is where body weight training comes into play.
Body weight training is the oldest and by far the most affordable, portable, versatile and functional form of exercise known to man. Using the weight of our own bodies we can train ourselves through all planes of motion such as pushing, pressing, pulling, twisting, lunging, squatting, and sprinting. No matter where you are in the world and regardless of income, you can get an amazing workout as long as you have a space large enough to lie down. You truly are your own portable gym just waiting to be discovered and taken anywhere. It’s hard to deny the benefits of body weight training for creating lean bodies with explosive power, just look at Olympic level gymnasts. Using nothing more than their own body weight they create muscular, cut physiques with mountains of functional strength that carries over into all forms of athletics and every day life. The human body is truly a beautiful piece of work! However, once again bodyweight training is only one “tool” to get our job done. So now let’s take a look at how to blend our two “tools” together, let’s see what it’s like when body weight training is the hammer to our kettlebells nail.
When blending your body weight training with kettlebell work you must have a clear goal in mind. Find out what it is you’re trying to achieve (ex. fat loss, muscle gain etc.) and attack it with the right plan. Select exercises, reps, and sets that suit your needs of your goal. For example, if looking to lose body fat a combination of ballistic movements (high rep swings, body weight burpees etc.) mixed into a circuit with little to no rest between exercises would be ideal. Try setting up your circuits alternating between kettlebell exercises and body weight techniques. Or set up one circuit of kettlebell training and one circuit of body weight exercises and jump back and forth between the two of them for 3-5 circuits. For those looking to gain strength, techniques that require a full range of motion (Turkish getups, L-sit pull ups etc.) using heavy weight will do the trick in an old school 5x5 program.
If your body weight is not heavy enough for a certain rep/set scheme then try adding weight. Simple use a dipping belt to loop through the handle of a kettlebell or place a kettlebell in a book bag to seriously rev up your body weight workouts! The combinations are endless and the rewards are outstanding when blending your body weight training with kettlebell work.
Just remember that you can’t build a perfect body with one form of training. Get creative and blend your training styles together, keep your body guessing, try new things, and always strive to beat your personal best.
Sample Body Weight/Kettlebell Workout For Fat Loss:
Warm up – Joint mobility work, 5 mins of jump rope
Workout- Perform each exercise one after the other with no rest between each, rest for 1 min when each circuit is finished. Repeat 3-5 times.
- 1 min single arm kettlebell push press
- 1 min burpees w/ push up at the bottom
- 1 min kettlebell single hand swing (30 sec each hand)
- 1 min mountain climbers
- 1 min kettlebell goblet squat
Sample Body Weight Kettlebell Workout For Strength:
Warm up – Joint mobility work
Workout- Perform each letter group back to back, rest one minute between sets. Perform 5 sets for each group. Choose a weight that is challenging for the prescribed reps, on bodyweight techniques such as pull ups/dips us a dipping belt to loop through kettlebells for added weight.
A1- Turkish get up 3-5x per arm
A2- Kettlebell Windmill 3-5x per arm
B1- Around the world pull up 6x
B2- Double racked kettlebell front squat
C1- Ring Dips 6x
C2- Kettlebell renegade rows 5x per arm
Timothy Bell is the founder of Jungle Fit - Personal Training. He has been involved with fitness and health his whole life and comes from a family of fitness enthusiasts and martial artists. With over 10 years of martial arts experience, an extensive knowledge of bodyweight strength conditioning, and kettlebell training, Tim knows how to get you the body and life you want! He prides himself on a one–of–a–kind personal training experience that is simply that ... personal. For more info, visit his website at: http://www.jungle-fit.com/Home.html