A kettlebell might not be the first thing you think to pack in your beach bag — unless you're a Spartan. That's because we know it's a full-body workout multitasking machine. (There's a reason why Spartan founder and CEO Joe De Sena carries one with him everywhere!) Since it's summer and we know you want to pack light — even if it's only to walk from your house to your backyard — we tapped SGX coach Todd Cambio to come up with the only five kettlebell moves you need to get into shape fast.
Cambio shows you the RIGHT way to do these fat-burning, muscle-building moves first. He recommends that women start with 30 to 40 pounds, and men with 40 to 50 pounds. Additionally, he adds, use a little less weight with your presses and snatches and a little more for swings and squats. Then, he walks you through a series of increasingly challenging combinations of those kettlebell exercises, as you build strength. Start with the Sprint and work your way up to the Trifecta. All you need is this piece of equipment and a commitment to do these moves every day. Don't worry, you don't have to give your kettlebell a nickname, like Joe did! (He calls his kettlebell "Leo." Seriously.)
The Only 5 Kettlebell Moves You Need to Know
1. Kettlebell Swing
The athlete builder that melts fat like butter! It is also the key movement to all kettlebell ballistics, such as all swing variations, high pulls, snatches, and cleans.
2. Turkish Get-Up
Loaded yoga that injury-proofs you, as well as builds ridiculous strength. The weight you use for this move really varies from person to person, depending on your overall fitness.
3. Kettlebell Snatch
The “King of Cardio” in the kettlebell world, it also builds a gorilla-like grip and powerful hips.
4. Front Squat
Besides squatting because you should, these will light up your abs like a Christmas tree!
5. Clean and Press
The ultimate combo of universal strength, cardio, and fat burning.
How to Enhance Your Kettlebell Workout Over the Summer
There are so many ways to utilize these five movements. Start simple, with the basics, and get the most bang for your buck out of each exercise. Then build up to each of these variations of the moves.
Take 30 second-to-1 minute breaks between exercises. Work one exercise at a time. Eventually, work up to four sets of each exercise.
- TGU (Light kb) x 10 total (5 right/5 left)
Two-Handed Swings x 10
Goblet Squat (aka two-handed front squat) x 10
Dead Cleans (clean from the ground) x 10 (5/5)
Press x 10 (5/5)
In this variation, you get more unilateral and ballistic as you increase volume. Work up to four sets. Take 30 second-to-1 minute breaks between exercises. Do one exercise at a time, and then perform the next session as a circuit (one exercise after the next).
- TGU x 6 (3/3 - increase the load)
One-Handed Swings x 10/10
Ballistic Cleans x 10/10
Front Squat x 10/10
Press x 10/10
Transition into circuit-style training with a higher skill level.
- TGU x 2/2. (Just enough to prep the system, then on to your work sets listed below. No more TGUs this day. Use a heavy load or slow it down to 1 minute per rep, pausing at each step.)
** Break until your heart rate is fully recovered **
2a. One-Handed Swing x 5
2b. Snatches x 5
2c. Clean & Press 5
2d. Front Squat x 5
** NO Break; transition the bell to your other hand **
3a. One-Handed Swing x 5
3b. Snatches x 5
3c. Clean & Press x 5
3d. Front Squat x 5
** Recover for 1-2 minutes between sets **
That was ONE set. REPEAT for your desired number of sets. GOAL: Work up to five sets.
- Use the TGU as a warm-up and/or as a cool down, as mentioned in Beast Level.
Work up to 10 sets every 2 minutes. Total time = 20 minutes and 250 reps.
2a. Double KB Swings x 5
2b. Double KB Snatches x 5
2c. Double KB Clean & Press x 5
2d. Double KB Front Squat x 5
Todd M. Cambio, BS, BA, CSCS is a Spartan SGX Course Instructor, Spartan Obstacle Specialist Course Instructor, and a StrongFirst Elite Level Kettlebell Instructor.