Beautiful Strength – Emma Challenged Me – Kettlebell Workout!

by Marianne  - June 12, 2011

Hi Everyone,

Firstly, you’ll never guess what happened when I was filming this today … the Camera and tripod blew over and the viewing screen broke πŸ™ Can’t believe this! Luckily the workout still recorded, but I was unable to get a new still picture … hope it’s easy to fix! Grr

The other day I told you about a list that Bret Contreras made of 13 “Beautiful Badasses” that work for Strength and Performance, as we all do here. As a result of this list I am lucky enough to be in contact with some of these amazing women. We are hoping to plan big things for the future, so watch this space.

In the spirit of spreading the word and making friends I want to share their great websites or posts for you to visit, as I believe each one of us has something to bring to the table:

At this point I would like to ask my readers to share any other great sites to add to the list πŸ™‚

Now back to business. Emma set me a workout for the “Challenge Me” series and it was an excellently designed strength workout, with just enough cardio to make you sweat.Β  I only changed a couple of things, just because I was wanting to either progress or regress certain exercises for my own goals (and I was also working around some shoulder DOMS from my push up practice).

Workout Breakdown

Perform each couplet twice and then move on to the “bridging exercise” before starting the next couplet.Β  You will need your stopwatch or your Gymboss Interval Timer. Working within a set rep range you should be looking to increase use a heavier weight when possible.Β  The second exercise in each couplet is more cardio-based, so that is set by time:

  1. KB Clean and Press x 8 – 12 reps (right and left) – I used 16 kg for both rounds and did 9 reps each round
  2. Skipping x 1 min
  • Double KB Bent Over Row x 8 – 12 reps (I used 2 x 16kg and performed 12 reps)
  1. Double KB Bulgarian Squat x 8 – 12 reps (right and left) – I used 2 x 14 kg both rounds and got 8 reps then 6 reps
  2. Elevated Plank Climber x 1 min (28, 24)
  • Pull Ups x 5 reps (these were hard today)
  1. Double KB Single-Leg Deadlift x 8 – 12 reps (right and left) – I used 2 x 20kg both rounds and did 10 reps then 8 reps.
  2. Mountain Climbers x 1 min (I hate these – didn’t count, torture!)
  • Double KB Bent Over Row x 8 – 12 reps (I used 2 x 16kg and performed 10 reps)
  1. Double KB Windmill x 8 – 12 reps (right and left) – I started the Doubles with 2 x 14kg and did 6 reps, then changed to 1 x 16kg and completed a further 6 reps in round 1. Round 2, I did 10 reps with 1 x 16kg.
  2. KB Alternating Swing x 1 min (16kg – 33, 30)
  • Pull Ups x 4

Great workout Emma, thank you very much for this challenge – those Bulgarians were tough!

Hope you all enjoy this one too.

Until next time, ENJOY!



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  1. ok i just did this one…. of course i can’t do pullups because i have no bar. (i told hubby today we need to get one) well I do, because he IS NOT INTO FITNESS WHATSOEVER. HA HA anyway , i actually read this wrong, and did the bridging excercises after each set, NOT EACH COUPLET. so at the end, i didn’t do the ending one. When i couldn’t do pushups i did upright rows with dumbells. I have messed up my arm somehow at the elbow, and its hurts like hell. I did it over a month ago. I hurt it somehow when i bought my new 25 lbs bell and tried to snatch it. Needless to say i was unsuccessful. i can almost do it with the right, but not at all with the left. i’m not sure if i should buy a brace or something for while i’m working out… it doesn’t help that i’m crocheting all the time. I also didn’t workout for a week due to sickness, but it still hurts once i start working out again….

    also this is funny, since i used a lighter weight (8 lbs) for the clean and press i kept wanting to snatch it, instead of clean and press , due to the weight being so light, but i didn’t want to skip up to the 15 pounder , again, due to the injury. none the less, awesome workout. I love love bulgarian squats, they are a killer.

    p.s you should get myomytv… shirts made, just a thought.

      1. I DID all through christmas, and it flared right back up.. i have no idea what’s going on there. its actually at my elbow, it really could also have something to do with all the crocheting i do.. i’m almost addicted to it.. But it’s my source of income, so i have to do it.

  2. this is the first time i have seen this workout. how could i have missed it. looks like a big challenge. two questions…. first question on the single leg deadlift, i notice you hit the KB’s to the ground everytime on your way down. Should i be doing this. I don’t think i have ever touched the ground every time before.

    Secondly i am a little confused, is this a timed workout, or is it, a tabata…. sorry, i just don’t understand… i would love to do this one tomorrow.

    1. Tempest, I love you to bits, but I do mention in the write up about the time/set reps πŸ˜‰

      “Perform each couplet twice and then move on to the β€œbridging exercise” before starting the next couplet. You will need your stopwatch or your Gymboss Interval Timer. Working within a set rep range you should be looking to increase use a heavier weight when possible. The second exercise in each couplet is more cardio-based, so that is set by time”

      As for the Deadlift, if the weight is not causing you to lose your form, then you don’t have to touch the KBs to the floor each time. I like to, because I know I am working in the same range of movement each rep. Some people do not have the hamstring flexibility to go right down each time as their back will start to round. For these people I would say go mid-shin and back up.

      Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  3. Marianne, Great workout as usual. Thanks to you and Emma on this one. I have a non-workout question for you regarding your now broken camera. What kind of camera do you use and what software do you use to edit the videos? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Donald. I use a Canon Vixia HF M31, and the crappy software I use is CyberLink Power Director (which crashes all the time and bugs me so much). Do you know of any good editing software for a PC? I am getting a new camera on the house insurance, but it will be a while coming. In the meantime I will be back to using my trusty Flip HD πŸ˜€

      1. I just finished this workout and boy it was tough! I had to drop to 12kg on the double bulgarian split squat. Whew, I am fried but love it! Thank you for a good butt whoopin!

        1. Agreed! How tough were the Bulgarians!!! eek! Good job using 2 x 12kg on them, I found it really tough with 2 x 14kg. Great feeling fired up and ready for anything after a workout like this.

          1. Marianne,
            They were so tough. I started with 2 16’s and was like wow, these are tough! I didn’t feel like putting my buddies on the 12’s and thought this won’t be so bad and they were still killer! I was wondering if you have ever posted a rotation. You have increased your strength considerably in the past year. Also, how many days a week do you train and what does a typical training week look like for you? I’m curious because you are leaner and you say that you haven’t tried to get leaner. Have you changed your diet? I’m on a quest to get leaner and my body is resisting me a bit. I think it is hormonal but maybe not. Thanks! Cheers

          2. Hey Shirley,

            Guess what, I have never used a rotation or a plan for my training :/ eek! If I had I am sure I’d be much stronger. What happens is, I just do what I feel like. So maybe I’ll say 1 day this week I’ll do a heavy gym session and see what day I feel like I have the energy for that. I also aim for 3 workouts for the site plus usually one KB class. Some weeks I don’t make it to the gym, some weeks I only do 2 workouts for the site and, there are weeks I have to work and don’t get a class in. Then there are times I can’t be bothered at all LOL.

            If I was more strict, I would have improved much more, but I take it all like a hobby and just go with the flow.

            I also no longer follow a strict diet and just do Intermittent fasting. I usually eat 2 BIG meals a day. This has been the best thing I ever did and it has worked great for the past 9 months or so.

            Honestly I don’t think I am any leaner, but maybe just more muscular?? I don’t know because I think I look the same.

            This may not help you much as I don’t have a plan LOL πŸ˜€ Plans / regimes / programmes stress me out.

          3. Marianne,
            Yes, you did help me. Basically you listen to your body which is crucial and you are consistent. I have never tried intermittent fasting but have read about it. Happy it is working for you. You are more muscular, you look fabulous! I’m a planner otherwise life gets in the way of my training time. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for your response.

      2. Do you like the Canon Vixia M31? Is there anything you don’t like about it? I personally use Camtasia Studio on my PC, I think it costs $299, but worth it. Very easy to use and has a lot of features that are usually only available on software much more expensive. I use iMovie on my Mac. Good luck with the camera situation. Thanks for all you do!

        1. Thanks Donald. The only thing that bugs me about the camera was that it had to be quite far away to get everything in to the screen. As I know nothing about camera specs I don’t know what feature to look for that you know that won’t happen. Is it to do with digital or optical zoom? Do you know about cameras? Just the insurance are sending me a cheque to get a new camera. So, if you can recommend a good one for what I need it for that would be great.

          I will also check out new software. I wish I had the money to buy a MAC, because they are far superior to Windows for anything to do with media.


          1. It has to do with the type of lens, not the zoom, but stay away from digital zoom, it is always bad, optical zoom= good. That is a pretty good camera for the money. You would have to spend quite a bit more to get better quality and more features than you have with your current camera. Check out Camtasia Studio, I think you will really like it. Google it or go to Their customer support is very good. Good luck!

  4. Hey Marianne,

    I’m trying to register for the forum and in fact am a real person. πŸ˜‰ Sorry about your camera. I love your website. I have been following you for quite some time. You are definitely a Beautiful Badass! I’m working on it!

    1. Hey Shirley,

      Are you down as “Shirl” in the forum? I activated that name anyway as I assumed it was you…

      Thank you for following my workouts and I am thrilled to see so many BB’s in the making – we are all worth it πŸ˜€


      1. Yes, I am Shirl. Yes, we are worth it! You are welcome and thank you for sharing your knowledge and awesome workouts!

  5. Hi Marianne,
    I am loving all of these new workouts that everyone is posting! So great and nice for you to get a break from putting workouts together and trying new challenges.
    I do have a question about the interval style workouts. Is it possible to reach a plateau doing only these types of workouts everyday? Even though the exercises, sets, reps, and order of exercises are always changing? I sometimes feel like I need a change of pace but not sure what to change?


    1. Thanks Lori, so am I πŸ™‚

      Three things spring to mind about the plateau question. 1) Can you increase the weight you use? 2) Are you getting enough recovery? and 3) Are you under more stess than usual?

      The intensity of these workouts doesn’t always have to be mega high every time you train. Giving your body a change of pace, by slowing things down for a week can be just enough to kick-start your progress again. There are times I go through say a month of being more lazy, but then I resume by heavy lifting and I am stronger than ever! Just because you have hit a plateau, doen’t always require to to step things UP, consider maybe stepping thing down too, especially if you have been putting pressure on yourself to do better. Sometimes pressure is good, other times not so good.

      Don’t know if this will help you, but worth a thought. And you have given me an idea for a new post πŸ˜€


      1. Thanks so much for this reply Marianne! I think you are exactly right! I am going to give the heavier lifting a try for a bit. It may just be the change of pace I need. And also slow down my intensity a bit as well. I am very thin and toned already but I want to add more muscle so going heavy is what I need to do right now. Thanks again!!! I love your site and the role model you are for all women out there! Keep up the good work! As we say here in Boston, MA! Your Awesome! πŸ™‚

        1. No worries Lori πŸ™‚ Hope this helps. Also consider if you are eating enough calories to support your goals.

          I love my site too πŸ˜‰


  6. Poor camera πŸ™
    Great workout πŸ™‚
    The Beautiful Badasses Army is rising… oh wobbly bums and bingo wings have their days counted!!!

  7. Your garden, the cat, the seagulls in the sky, kettlebells, and harmony of your workout, I can not help but feel a little envious of your lifestyle, CONGRATULATIONS. I imagine you hear the sea wind and the waves of the sea. Shibumi. πŸ™‚

  8. Yaaaaaayyyyyyy – my workout is on Myomytv!!!! I’m so happy about this – I’m not sure if that’s coming across πŸ™‚

    That was a brave choice of weights for the double windmills and bulgarian squats. When I did those exercises I stuck with my 10kg pink lady-bells, but you have inspired me to up the weight when I give this workout another try.

    It was appropriate that one of your lovely cats made an appearance during the film. I have a little mog called Wilkie and he is always fascinated by my KB workouts πŸ™‚

    Take care and thanks so much for doing this workout.

    All the best,


  9. These are awesome sights! Thanks to you all for sharing such a wealth of information. One woman I’ve also trusted and respected is Lauren Brooks Miller. I am not affiliated with her but in the effort of sharing, she can be found at

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