Designing Your Own Kettlebell Workout – Part I
Two-Handed Swings.

When I inquired in my SparkPeople Team as to what everyone would be interested in reading about, I got a request for designing your own kettlebell workout. I’ve been putting it off for a while, mainly because I’ve never designed my own workout, ever! Not kettlebells, not anything. I started with kettlebell videos I found online, and then when I advanced past the original videos, a friend was kind enough to send me a timed workout, which I’ve been doing since October, and then another kettlebell ladder workout, which I’ve been doing since December. I also do a more advanced 40 minute kettlebell workout video on Fridays. realized I didn’t have the slightest idea of how to actually DESIGN a workout. Thus, as I am wont to do, I researched, and I learned. I found a few really great resources for this: and Here’s what I discovered:

There are two types of kettlebell workouts: strength-focused, which uses higher weights and fewer repetitions for muscle-building, and endurance-focused (cardio), which uses lower weights with higher repetitions for fat-loss. I personally prefer strength kettlebell routines with heavier weights, but this is personal preference, and as you can see from my body, I am not “bulky”. (SIDE NOTE: It is VERY difficult for a woman to bulk up without really trying. Female bodybuilders work very hard to attain and maintain their physique.) There are also three types of kettlebell moves: pushes, pulls, and lower body. These are pretty self-explanatory, but I will elaborate.

Pushes – require you to push the kettlebell away from your body. Examples are military press, kettlebell pushups, push press.

Pulls – require you to pull the kettlebell towards your body. Examples are rows and pull ups.

Lower Body – Activates the muscles from the waist down and your core. Examples are goblet squat, lunges and deadlifts.

Once you get familiar with those, then you have to decide which kind of workout you want to do. The two main types of workouts are:

Repetition based – you have a pre-set number of repetitions to complete of each move, usually completed in sets. The ladder workout I do on Mondays is repetition based, and I complete the same number of each move each time, then move onto the next.

Interval based – You have a set time in which to complete as many reps as you are able to complete in correct form, alternated with shorter rest periods. My timed workout is interval based. I do each of 8 moves for 1 minute back-to-back and then rest for 2-3 minutes before repeating. When I started this workout I also had a 5 second rest between each move for my transition period.

Basically the idea is to alternate between upper body and lower body moves, making sure to include both pushes and pulls. All of my workouts include compound moves, like a lunge figure 8 or a clean and press. These are combinations of two or more smaller movements. A clean and press is a pull movement (clean) followed by a push movement (press). A kettlebell workout routine should also always include swings, which is a full body move that gets the blood pumping. All of my workouts include both a two-handed swing and alternating one-handed swings.

You can find a good comprehensive list of kettlebell moves here on JohnnyFit, complete with videos. Some of the names may vary from what I’ve called the same moves on my own workouts. I’ve noticed that the same move can be called multiple things depending on where you’re looking, which can be frustrating! There’s also a list here on Kettlebell Training Method, but they don’t link to anything.

Lastly, as in any strength training regimen (and yes, regimen is the correct word to use here, not regime or regiment), you never want to work the same body parts two days in a row. Your muscles need time to recover in between! I do kettlebells MWF, and run TRS, with Sunday as an active rest day.

Now that I’ve researched this information, Part II will be me trying to build a 30-minute kettlebell routine on my own, incorporating some new moves I’ll have to work on.

Stay tuned!

I am Bingley, hear me roar!
I am Bingley, hear me roar!

11 thoughts on “Designing Your Own Kettlebell Workout – Part I”

  1. Thank you, this is great info. Like you, I work out all the time, yet I rarely create my own routines. Love that you rock the bells…I used to prior to carpal tunnel releases. Gonna have to get back to swingin’…already anticipating the DOMS! SooOoO very worth it, right?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Deb! Bells are SO worth it! I’ve been doing them long enough that my DOMS are minimal, but I’ve been working on doing all my triceps extensions with my 30 lb bell, so my Tris have definitely been sore lately!


  2. Thanks for the praise! There really can be endless variety to kettlebell workouts when you think about reps, intervals, ranges of motion, strength vs cardio, and combination (complex) moves. For instance, in my online workout area I have a kettlebell class called Satellite. That workout’s theme has the kettlebell moving in a circular pattern around different areas of the body. You can be functional and creative!

    Liked by 1 person

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