AML’s Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Hidey Ho, Kettlebellers or wannabe Kettlebellers! Wanna try something challenging but fun? I decided I didn’t want to do my old standard dumbbell upper body workout on Monday, so I decided to make my own KETTLEBELL ONLY upper body workout! I included some example videos so you can see how each move is performed. At the end of the blog there is a compact, downloadable image that you can save and print for yourself if you like.

AML’s Upper Body Kettlebell Workout

Kneeling Halos

I did 10 in one direction and then switched instead of alternating like he’s doing. Doing this on your knees makes you need to stabilize your core more and throws your balance off, making this more difficult than your standard halo.

Single Arm Bench Press

These are fairly similar to a dumbbell chest press, but the way the kettlebell weight is distributed is asymmetrical, where as a dumbbell is symmetrical, so you’ll need to focus more on stability.

Single Arm Bottoms Up Press

This move is WAY harder than it looks. If you look closely you can see how wobbly my arm is. You really need to concentrate to keep your grip on the handle tight and keep the weight directly over your elbow. That’s why there’s only 5 per side. The key to this is to tense your entire body and grip the bell moderately. Move slowly and focus on keeping the kettlebell stable as you push it upwards. Try to lower at the same pace as you raise it if you can.

Single Arm Bent Over Row

This is basically the same as your standard bent over row with a dumbbell.

Upright Rows

This is, by far, the easiest exercise to learn. Use as heavy a weight as you possibly can, and try to move slowly and at the same pace in each direction. Always make sure your elbows are higher than your hands.

Half-Kneeling Single Arm Overhead Press

This one is fun because the kneeling increases your instability and requires you are more careful in engaging your core. You want the kettlebell over your kneeling leg, and press from shoulder straight up.

Biceps Curl

The key to this move is planting your elbows firmly against your ribcage. Watch how her upper arms DO NOT MOVE: the entirety of the movement is from the elbow down. Squeeze at the top.

Single Kettlebell Renegade Rows

My form is NOT PERFECT here, but I can’t locate a video of someone else doing this with a single kettlebell. Begin in a high plank with the kettlebell between your hands. Shift your weight to one side (I’m shifting too far) and perform a row with the kettlebell on the opposite side. Alternate sides.

Note: This workout is harder than it appears. I own a 20-, 30- and 40-lb kettlebell, and I didn’t use my 40-lb at all. I did the single arm bench press, bottoms up, overhead press and renegade rows with my 20-lb, and the rest with my 30-lb. Remember, the goal is to be almost at muscle failure at the end of each set, so you want to choose as heavy as you are capable, since this is a strength workout as opposed to a cardio/endurance workout. Have fun!


If you give this workout a try please come back and let me know what you think!


So This Happened…

I had my first professional photoshoot ever!

If you’ve been following me for a while you know I’ve lost more than 100 lbs and kept it off for very close to 2 years now. Way back in the end of January I got an e-mail about a magazine requesting submissions for weight loss stories, and I decided, what the hell, I’ll submit my story.

I expected no response, but surprisingly I received one not long after. I was briefly interviewed via e-mail, and was told I was not chosen for the June issue of this publication, but they would keep my info. Sort of like a potential employee keeping your resume on file, I expected nothing.

I was again surprised to hear from someone a few months later. Soon there was a phone interview, and an acceptance, and eventually contact from a photo editor! Yesterday was my photoshoot. I’m pleased to finally feel like I can tell all of you about it!

A small crew arrived right around 9 am: a makeup/hairstylist, the photographer and his assistant. The photography team scouted my apartment complex for good shooting locations while the stylist made me look good for the camera. Here I am with Bingley on my balcony as the photographer does a light test:

20160628_101638The crew made it really easy for me to relax, as they were all incredibly friendly and kind. It was a very humid, hot day, but everyone kept their cool (hardy har) and things went very smoothly. Here I am in between shots getting primped a little:

20160628_112129After the dressy part of the shoot, we took a short break for food and a wardrobe change, then moved out back to do the fitness part. The sun had decided to come out and it was very humid, and I was actually doing kettlebells while the photographer took my picture. It’s really hard to smile while you’re doing kettlebells, people!

20160628_125143Once this part was over we were pretty much done. We sat around and ate overnight oats parfaits and spinach, artichoke and feta bake. The shoot wrapped around 2:30, and The Hubs and I both decided that a nap was in order.

I’ll reveal more about the article when it gets closer to publishing, but I hope this whets your appetite! (And now you know why my blogs have been a little light as of late.)

Keep on truckin’!



It’s Okay to Make Adjustments

The last few days I’ve really been feeling some soreness in my right shoulder. I’ve had some minor issues with it for a while, and recently my left shoulder has been a bit achy, too. This is a warning sign: my shoulders are inflamed for some reason or another (most likely from overuse) and they need a rest. My regular old kettlebell routines involve a lot of overhead work in the form of clean and press, overhead press, and the most likely culprit: windmills.

Farewell for now, dear windmills. (Click image for source article.)

Now I love working out, and I adore kettlebells. I don’t want to injure myself seriously and be forced to give them up! So I’m using ice and heat alternately, as well as some ibuprofen, and I’m adjusting my workout routines to remove heavy shoulder work. So goodbye windmills, at least for a while, and hello straight biceps curls and lunge throughs.

Curls. Source.
Curls. Source.

You don’t have to keep pushing yourself if you feel your body isn’t happy. In  fact, you shouldn’t! Listen to your body, and rest if you need to. I work out 6 days a week, and often have a very active rest day. I guess I need a break, and that’s okay. For a while, I’ll focus on the lower body, and less ballistic shoulder exercises.

Take care of your body, it’s the only one you’ve got!


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