Bad Day at the Office! Barbell and Kettlebell Super-Set Workout!

by Marianne  - November 20, 2011

Hi everyone,

When I posted my last workout I thought “happy days, no Jet-lag” … well, turns out there is no escape and it’s a wee bit devious. But, before it hit me, I was able to fit this short workout in.

My love of the barbell has blossomed and I want to use it more for “my style” of training; which is often Barbell Super-Sets! I Super-Set everything: Front Squats and Romanian Deadlifts, Glute Bridges and Back Squats, Front loaded Reverse Lunges and Sumo DLs, Pull ups and Dips, Push Ups and Rows etc etc! Sometimes I even do Squats and squat jumps or some other kind of evil combo πŸ˜‰

Anyway, in the gym there are rarely any Kettlebells of interest about (they are all too light), so I am never able to put together some Barbell and KB Super-Sets. Because I love both tools, I wanted to combine them in a Super-set workout. This is great for days when you don’t have much time in the gym but want to do work on a Barbell lift (for me I am working on Front Squats) and you want some conditioning.

Because the Front squat really targets my Quads I thought adding a KB swing to the picture would help provide some posterior chain work to balance things out. It also helps with reducing grip fatigue; the front squat extends the wrist, so the KB swing grip will “reset” the wrist. When the KB swing grip is fatigued, the front squat wrist extension will provide a nice stretch. This allows you to super-set these two exercises quite nicely without your grip giving up on you πŸ™‚

So, while down in Sam’s place I did the following Short and Sweet Super-set Workout. It actually turned out to be VERY short indeed. It didn’t go quite as planned.

The Workout

I set my Gymboss Interval Timer for 30 seconds (because I was doing double KB swings) and I alternated the exercises as follows. Oh and the Tabata I mentioned on the video DID NOT happen …

  1. Barbell Front Squat (40kg x 10reps)
  2. KB Swing x 30 seconds (24kg x 25 reps)
  3. Front Squat (45kg x 7 reps)
  4. KB Swing x 30 seconds (24kg x 25 reps)
  5. Front Squat (50kg x 5 reps)
  6. KB Swings x 30 seconds (28kg x 18 reps)
  7. Front Squats (55kg x 2 reps)
  8. KB Swing x 30 seconds (28kg x 16 reps)
  9. Front Squat (60kg x 0.5 reps + iso hold + failure) Scary Biscuits!!!!!!

Jet-Lag + slight hangover *shame* + lack of mental focus = crap workout!

I just could not get my nervous system fired up. It just wasn’t happening as well a I wanted it. And to top it off I nearly ended up with a barbell on my neck. That God Sam was there! Β Anyway, I’ll write it off as a bad day and move on. Next time I’ll be better … and I’ll have the spotting bars higher too :-/

Hope you can take a few ideas from this workout and create your own super-sets. Β I think every so often it’s good to Super-Set like this – provided your form stays strong.

Back soon with more πŸ˜€


PS For some recommended reading, head to Nia’s Blog and read her latest post “Food Struggles and Victories“. Excellent material!


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  1. Hi Marianne,

    I front squatted my bodyweight for the first time ever today, indeed it was my first timer ever doing barbell squats at all. At the very most I managed 2 reps, maybe the first wasn’t totally down and the second I staggered a little on the up then down for the third but I had to drop the bar. This was all just after purely warming up and with no intense workout beforehand.

    I do have a video of my efforts which I was going to post on the weekly “Contreras Challenge” but when you see guys on the same site reaching 20 or 30 reps likes they’re nothing it can feel pretty demoralising. πŸ™ My upper body strength is OK in my humble opinion, my legs need major work it seems. I guess I can only get better and would value any advice you have. Thanks as always. πŸ™‚

    1. How do you think I must feel; I am an Girl Gone Strong and I could barely do 1 FS πŸ™ But, the point getting yourself better and being able to measure YOUR OWN progress. So, don’t be too hard on yourself Niko. Did you do the other exercises too?

      Your legs will get stronger as long as you don’t avoid training them. Work on good form + Full range of movement before getting crazy with the weight πŸ™‚

      1. I haven’t done the incline press or the hip thrusts, but I’m making an incline bench and also have an idea for making the thrusts work too, possibly sandbags to get the barbell to the right height (small discs you see) and some pipe lagging for the bar – I think I mentioned that my gym is also my shed! LOL πŸ™‚

        I’ll probably try this workout to day and use it to increase my lifting. Thanks again for the encouragement. πŸ™‚

  2. Wow scary Marianne. So glad that Sam was there. I would be tempted to edit it out too but am glad you did not. I workout to fitness video’s mostly and it is hard to everyone preforming the workout perfectly that it make me not want to do the workout all the time. It is refreshing to someone not being perfect.
    But don’t ever scare us again.

    1. I am glad my misfortune makes you feel better πŸ˜‰ LOL! J/K I know exactly what you mean, so it is good to see. But hopefully from a “I won’t be a d**k like her” point of view πŸ˜›

      I won’t be this silly again!

  3. ok i’m dying after this one. ha ha, of course i didn’t do double ketllebells, so i did 30 seconds on the squats and a minute on the swings. Only problem is my wrists kill me when i’m holding the bar up, any pointers on that. One set i switched it on my back, but of course i’m sure that seemed easier. Any tips of wrist pain?

    1. Tempest I would recommend you try a different method for holding the bar. Try this technique:

      The main thing is that the bar stays close to the shoulders, your elbows stay up to allow your torso to stay as upright as possible. As soon as your torso starts to lean forward, you risk losing the bar and it will pull more on your back :-/

      Give it a try.

      1. glad you asked. yes I am, only once a week I go to the gym and no one works out with the barbell so it is always free. I am deadlifting around 85lbs I think I can go heavier but I want to make sure my form is good.
        I did 2 consecutive pull ups which is a lot for me, so I am seeing improvements. by the way all the glute exercises you have suggested are doing wonders. my running has gotten more efficient as well as a few other more visual results.

        1. That’s great Mickela πŸ˜€ 2 Pull ups!! YAY !

          You are right to ensure your form is strong before increasing the weight. I am so pleased to hear that all this has improved your running too. Great stuff.

          Glute bridges everywhere πŸ˜‰

  4. Hi Marianne, I’m so glad that someone was there to help you out!It’s good to push limits but more important to be safe:-) Can’t tell you how many times I’ve bruised myself or gotten blisters from not being smart about my equipment. Glad you’re okay.

    1. You should see all the comments on YT telling me that I should have dumped the bar or had a spotter … oops! Guess I never thought that would happen to me.

      I was just too eager to try that weight. We live and learn πŸ™‚

  5. Oh Marianne I’m glad Sam dropped the camera and got to you in time. Those front squats are nasty – you are still a machine to do all that with jet lag. Glad you are ok. Thank god for spotters!!! Good on you Sam πŸ™‚

  6. Lol at you calling yourself a ‘di*k’! Luckily Sam was there to jump up like a whipet and save you from hurting yourself- actually quite impressive at how fast he jumped up to your aid lol! Glad u kept that in lol. Goes to show your only human and not always the tower of strength that I see you as πŸ˜‰

    On a more serious note love seeing this style of training from yourself, I’m really missing my proper strength training. Start crossfit tonight dead excited for it. Thinking of investing in olympic weights and mini rack for my spare room so I can keep variety going, I’ll just need a Sam on standby in-case my strength caves in too!lol


      1. well we’ll see if it fits first- I’ve a wardrobe to move first lol

        Yeah its in the industrial estate at the back in a big warehouse. The guy and his wife have recently moved up from Lurgan to take xfit to here. Basic but has everything you need- ropes, tyres, prowlers, etc..

        It is very different from anything else I’ve done before plus the coaches will keep me on the straight and narrow- I need a format to follow.

        The ‘baseline work out’ to deem my form, strength etc was harder than I thought lol Quite endurance based. Haven’t been training as much (suspected arthritis in my knee which Im getting tested for πŸ™ really starting to piss me off as it seems to be really flaring up and getting worse ) and it floored me lol! But it would be np for you.

        I like the idea of the competitiveness with other members and its community spirit. Plus it purely focuses on strength and functional movements. And offers training and entry into competitions for Olympic weight lifting etc. Was actually a girl there training for a comp- which I was impressed by because apart from yourself I know of no other female that purely strength trains. It’s not a bad wee number, I’m looking forward to looking like oul fatima out of I’m a celeb lol!!

        1. Who needs clothes and wardrobes when you have a squat rack πŸ˜‰

          Sounds pretty cool! Though don’t be lookin like Fatima!! eek! πŸ˜› Doubt you would.

          Sorry about your knee, that sucks – hopefully it’s not arthritis πŸ™ A bit of competition is what we need sometimes, people to keep us wanting to do better.

          Good luck πŸ™‚

          1. I’ve been told before it could be the onset of it and its gotten worse. Though coach at xfit said my squat is very gd with almost perfect form but my knees have a tendency to go in slightly so I’m at risk of ACL and need to watch it esp when lifting so I could have annoyed it further. But getting sent for xrays anyway, hope its not I like going hell for leather when training, hate cardio and love lifting!

            True, all I need is a rack and my spare room is well equipped lol its money well invested I think lol

          2. Chrisy, did the xfit coach give you some corrective exercises for your knees caving in? Some strengthening exercises for the glute med might help. Have you ever seen me do lying leg clams? Jane Fonda Leg Lifts? and X-Band Walks? These are great exercises to include in your program to help correct this problem. Also you may benefit from pointing the knees and toes out a little more to allow the glute med to be activated more.

            Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  7. Oh goodness, that was scary!I thought you were hurt and then I heard you laughing and was relieved! Despite the mishap, workout looks great. Ok, just have to tell you, I have a girl crush on your very shapely glutes! lol. I think it’s time for me to start doing some kettlebell swings!

    1. I wish the camera had got what happened. After I got stuck there I just lowered right down and sat there holding the bar in the rack. That was actually fine for me, but the spotting bars were too low to dump the bar onto and luckily Sam was there to take the bar off me. He stood over me holding the bar and I slid out between his legs – I’m sure it would have been pretty funny looking. Then I felt so stupid I had to laugh it off!

      Thank you for the glute compliment! Swings and glute bridges are my secret πŸ˜›

  8. I know I keep telling you this, but your squat form is fantastic and I am so jealous of your NON- rounding back form!!! I tend to get lazy and not do enough stretches and warm ups for glut activation, like you have taught us! My squat is getting lower, but I really need to watch the rounding and only go lower when my form is better! Here’s to continued growth in flexibility and strength! THanks for your posts and appreciate some of your info on barbell training – trying not to lose my interval training as I venture into more strength/heavier wt training!
    Michele πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks Michele, glad you could see the positives in what I did do. My form has improved so much from doing my KBs for the last 2 years, so I am grateful for that. I also don’t want to lose the Interval training; so I will have a more typical myomytv workout up soon πŸ™‚

      As long as you can see an improvement in your form, then that is GREAT! Don’t do what I did and go too heavy, nearly getting flattened by a barbell :-/

  9. Thanks for putting yourself out there for us. I have at times not been quite right and still workout and end up frustrated with my efforts. We are all still learning and growing. Some days are better than others and those good days are the ones I notice progress. However, I love your thinking and will do this type of workout tomorrow.

    PS: Thanks Sam for the rescue.

  10. I almost jumped from my seat to help you !! Scared the pee out of me πŸ™‚ So thankful you are ok !! Thanks so much for your inspiring words earlier.

    Suzy in SC

    1. You’re welcome Suzy, any time πŸ™‚

      Yeah my judgement was well off that day – but it’s good for me to show my failings. It’s tempting, when you have the editing power, to make yourself seem perfect, but all that does is feed your own ego by making other people feel that they will never measure up. My performance fluctuates all the time and sometimes I really suck! Instead of comparing ourselves to each other, maybe we can feed off each other’s energy and feel better about how far we have come in the bigger picture.

      What a day that was … nothing went right LOL!

  11. Hi Marianne,

    Thank you for putting up the video for this entry, you could have chosen not to, I think this type of honesty is much needed, only because it’s so rare.

    I have been visiting the blog for a while now, both for potential tips that would help my own training (I’m a guy, but I don’t discriminate when it comes to exercise selections) as well as my girlfriend’s (when I first mentioned you to her, she actually told me that she communicated with you by E-mail before!).

    Anyway, I just thought that it would be right to show my appreciation, and I hope you keep up the great work (congratulations on the new venture with the others on G.G.S. πŸ™‚ ), ’cause I’m sure I’m not the only person who regularly pick up new info. from the blog but has never commented.

    So yeah, thank you! I’m sure you’ll conquer the 60kg front-squat soon =)

    1. Thanks Ran! I guess I want people to hopefully learn from my mistakes AND see that even I mess up! Mind you I have never got into that situation before, so it was a good learning experience for me too. In future I will not let my pride get the better of me, listen to my body and certainly I won’t hesitate to dump the bar!

      I really do appreciate all the support, both for here and GGS – it really does prove that there is such a demand for this kind of movement towards strength training for performance and less so about looking a certain way. I think that is one of the main messages I want to communicate.

      I am happy that you have commented, thank you!

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