Battle of the Sexes – Ultimate Kettlebell Challenge!

by Marianne  - December 7, 2010

Hi All,

This was an exciting workout for me, because I FINALLY got Andrew to try one! And it killed him LOL 😉 Not that I’m being smug or anything, but our numbers were pretty similar, and we used the same weights … oh and did I mention that he’s 4 stone heavier than me 😀

Anywho enough gloating, let’s get serious and talk about this amazing workout.  I returned to the couplet format I did last week, followed by another brutal Tabata. I love mixing resistance combinations and cardio together like this.

The Workout

There are 3 couplets altogether and you do 3 rounds of each before taking a short break and moving to the next one. Therefore set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 6 cycles of 20 seconds recovery and 40 seconds effort. I should mention that for Andrew’s workout he did one round at a time and took longer rests in between as “he is bigger” LOL, but I did 3 rounds with these intervals before a longer recovery. The couplets and our reps per exercise are below:

  1. Double KB Front Squat into Alternating Reverse Lunge (r & l) into Double Press (Andrew – 3,3,4) (Me – 3, 2.5, 2.5)
  2. Elevated Plank Climbers (Andrew – 16,18,16) (Me – 19,17,17)
  1. KB Vertical Swing Burpee (Andrew – 8,8,7) (Me – 10,9,9)
  2. DiveBombers (Andrew – 6,9,7) (Me – 9,7,6)
  1. KB Renegade Row (Andrew – 10,17,19) (Me – 17,15,14)
  2. Two-Handed KB Swing (Andrew – 28,29,28) (Me – 26,25,24)

Reset the Gymboss Interval Timer for 8 cycles of 10 seconds rest and 20 seconds MAX effort. A mixture between KB Swings and Body Weight exercises. The only thing I changed was the second swing I did the two-handed, while Andrew did the Alternating.  Here’s the Tabata exercises and our reps again:

  1. Sumo Squat Jumps (Andrew – 18) (Me – 18)
  2. Two-Handed KB Swing (Andrew – 14) (Me – 12)
  3. Mountain Climbers (Andrew – 40) (Me – 47)
  4. Alternating / Two-Handed KB Swing (Andrew – 12) (Me – 12)
  5. Burpees (Andrew – 5) (Me – 8 )
  6. Two-Handed KB Swing (Andrew – 14) (Me – 13)
  7. Squat Jumps (Andrew – 16) (Me – 16)
  8. Two-Handed KB Swing (Andrew – 14) (Me – 12)

So there you can see that this was a great way to see how much strength, endurance and power I have compared to Andrew, who is a pretty strong guy. Only difference is the type of training we do.  My workouts are a more condensed and intense version of what is involved in our KB Classes. Only difference is they work more on endurance than my workouts would.

You have got to try this workout, let me know what you think. And I hope you will push yourselves hard!

Until next time, see you soon

Marianne … and Andrew


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  1. Wow this workout was a killer! I found myself in a sustained child’s pose after the tabata intervals… 🙂

    Went to get changed, and “Hurts So Good” was playing – seemed appropriate.

  2. This workout was a real challenge! The elevated plank climbers beat me–I had to do regular ones by the third round!! But I am going to work on my endurance with those because they really seem to work the body! Divebombers continue to be a challenge. I finally feel like I’m starting to get the form right on maybe half the ones I do!

    As always, thanks for great workouts. Life is a bit challenging at the moment but the strength I get from kettlebells really helps me mentally, as well. I love being a strong woman and you are such a great model that!


    1. Sorry to hear things are tough at the minute, I hope what ever it is, you get through it 😀 Exercise certainly helps with stress, and feeling empowered by your strength will drive you too.
      Those divebombers are hell after round 2 LOL, shoulder killer!


  3. Great workout! Did this one last night, except I accidently mixed up the divebombers with the KB row….hopefully it didn’t make too much of a difference. Regardless I really enjoyed the workout:) It’s awesome to see you and Andrew challenging each other! I showed my hubby the video to try and get him to try it with me but no such luck yet…maybe next time!
    PS love the christmas tree!

  4. This looks like a fantastic workout! Well done for your efforts, very impressive!
    I’ll try this one over the next few days – maybe tonight, however I hit the weights hard last night and I’m not sure my limbs will allow such exertion… I’ll let you know my views when I complete it.

  5. So great to see you & Andrew challenging each other. You whipped his butt though! Hehe =) You are so strong, Marianne. Were you always that strong? I hope to one day be as strong as you. You’re dive bombers are the BOMB! I tried them and just couldn’t do them. I have a long way to go, but thanks for helping to guide me along the way! Cheers!

    1. Roxanne, I wasn’t always this strong, but I have always been strong-willed and don’t like being told I can’t do something, especially if it’s only because I am female! So my determination to be strong, paid off. Especially since I know that I’m not just “strong for a girl” anymore. Must be my competitive nature LOL, but there’s something to be said about determination and goals.

      I only recently started to do the divebombers properly, they are hard, but stick with it. Even do the downward movement (hindu push up), and build up to the reverse movement as well. I find it’s the hardest bit.


  6. THAT’S IT!!! I am showing this to Dan RIGHT NOW so that he will start belling with me!!! Great vid, I can’t wait to do this workout 😀

  7. Hi Marianne,
    I’ll try this workout tomorrow, looks good. Love that Andrew participated. I have a question for you. What am I lacking in that I cannot do a overhead kettlebell squat. I can do thrusters without any problems. But…. I was trying a routine just now that included those and am not able to do it. I watched some videos on you tube but.. No can do!!!! :(. My solution is to use small dumbells and practice over and over. In the meantime any advice from you and or Andrew would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Thanks Minnie. The overhead squat involves good flexibility more than strength, a quality I lack, so this exercise is very hard for me. Things that may help: Facing the wall squats (will help the flexibility in the thoracic spine), using a broom stick, you can hold it over head and back slightly then squat. There are loads of things you can do to try and increase flexibility in the chest, front of the shoulders, back and hips to help this exercise. Click here for a good video I saw a while back that might help you.

      I will look into it more for you 🙂

  8. Hi Marianne,

    you two look so cute together!

    Anyway, back to fitness: Andrew has a very “smooth” reverse lunge but your dive-bombers are so classy. So you both have something really special.
    Marianne you are so so so strong (and keep getting leaner, in spite of what you say: that’s at least how you look in my pc here in Italy, lol).

    Great workout, but the way! And lovely Christmas tree! Say hi to Andrew for me and have a great evening.



    1. Thank you Bianca, you’re too kind as always 🙂 Maybe my computer is adding pounds to me (or maybe it’s all the Christmas goodies). Ah well it’s winter, a time to enjoy good food!

      Yes Andrew is very good 😀 But I did have a laugh at his DiveBombers (they were funny)! I’m evil 😉


  9. Fantastic you 2 great job great form. I’ll give this scary workout a try as soon as I recover from last night’s punishment.

    I payed attention to how the 2 of you were doing the rows and I think I was twisting a bit when lifting the kettlebells, instead of staying in more of a plank pose. So nice to have you as a reference.
    Thank you and I look forward to trying this workout.


    1. Thanks. Yeah try your best not to tilt the hips too much. I could see myself doing it a little too though. Andrew was better at staying in a plank – but he has a core of steel 😉

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