Changing Gears – Home Kettlebell and Body Weight Workout

by Marianne  - January 9, 2011

Hi everyone,

I have been thinking of other ways to include everyone, or at least offer options for everyone, depending on their level. It popped into my head that every workout of mine is edited the same. You usually see 3 rounds the same. Well I thought, as an experiment, I would perform my workout in 3 levels, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. It may actually need to be attempted the other way (starting with advanced), so beginners and intermediates can first see the “full” exercise that they should aim for, then show easier modifications each round, but this is a work in progress. I will see what the feedback is like before deciding though.

Right back to the workout itself. There is a lot of information here btw, as I want to expand more on how you can play with reps, intervals and intensity to suit your needs, especially as a beginner.

In choosing the exercises I needed to ensure the whole body would be trained, both with resistance and cardio. This workout is good for a variety or conditioning day. Most of the exercises are straight forward and I am working on bodyweight tutorials for all the exercise I do, but patience as always, because you know what my time is like 🙂

There are 8 exercise and 3 rounds. The workout can either be done in 24 consecutive cycles of 2 intervals, setting your Gymboss Interval Timer for rest interval / effort interval of:

  1. Beginners 30 sec /30 sec or 30 sec / 45 sec
  2. Intermediates 20 sec /40 sec or 15 sec /45 sec
  3. Advanced 30 sec / 1 min

Or set the timer for 8 cycles (as above) and take a longer recovery between rounds. Remember these are just guides.

Alternatively, complete beginners can complete set reps or set time for each exercise. Below I have highlighted my recommended set reps and times for beginners with an underline.  When I did this workout I used the advanced interval method and recorded my own reps per exercise (mostly), these are in brackets below:

  1. Burpees x 10 reps (22, 24, 18)
  2. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing x 30 seconds (38, 37, 37)
  3. Plank Climbers x 30 seconds ( / , 24, 19)
  4. Kettlebell Goblet Squat / Goblet Squat “Thrusters” x 12 – 15 reps (22, 18, 18)
  5. Single Arm Kettlebell Row (right) x 12 – 15 reps (24, 21, 18)
  6. Single Arm Kettlebell Row (left) x 12 – 15 reps (25, 22, 20)
  7. Dynamic Push Ups (or modification) x 30 seconds ( / , 18, 17)
  8. Kettlebell / Body weight Alternating Reverse Lunge x 12 – 16 reps (even number) (31, 22, 15)

The Kettlebell exercises can be modified mainly by changing the weight and the hold, either the goblet for beginners, or the rack for those who are more confident with technique.

This method is not a cop out for doing tutorials, but it illustrates how each modification develops and flows withing the actual workout. I quite enjoyed doing the workout like this, and all I need to do in future is give myself an extra round to compensate for the beginner’s round. Mind you, in saying that, the first round was not easy either, especially for 1 min.

Hope you enjoy this workout and will report back what you think.  Also, I would like to ask if anyone has any requests for things in include in the “Beginner’s Corner”? Along with workouts I was going to add some useful article/advice – like how to establish goals, realistic expectations, a bit about measuring progress, FAQ, and a bit more about kettlebells?  Any other ideas?

Thanks everyone, as always.



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  1. Hello Marianne,

    It’s such a nice idea of the “Beginner’s Corner”. I think this will help and beginners and people with experience, as there is always room for improvement 🙂

    I’m totally with bianca, I think it would be very helpful to have articles (information) on how to play with sets/reps/weights depends on the goals. But because diet takes a huge part of it too, I would also add that it would be nice to talk about different diet approaches: fat (weight) loss or gaining the muscle mass.

    As my personal favor to ask, maybe you could indicate some points on how to modify or build the workout when left or right arm/leg is more powerful than the other.

    Thanks a lot in advance!


    1. Hey,
      I have been thinking about how to get around the “problem” of diet advice. So I am thinking of something quite different for that one. Since I am not qualified to dish out advice so to speak, bar the general maths and common sense. However I think the forum will open up a great platform for talking about different approaches.

      As for your favour, this question is becoming a frequently asked one, so I will also have a FAQ section. For now I will give you some tips, I also consulted Andrew on this one:
      1) Do single arm exercises rather than with a bar.
      2) If the weight is say 8kg and you can press, for example, 12 reps with your strong side, keep that side doing the 12 reps each time you do presses in a workout (don’t reduce it). Keep it the same until the other side catches up.
      3) To help the weaker side catch up, still using 8kg – try and reach the same 12 reps, even if it takes a few times stopping and starting.
      4) Don’t do extra reps on the weaker side, as you risk overtraining it and therefore setting it back.
      5) Start doing more everyday things with your weaker side as thins builds a stronger mind-muscle link and better co-ordination.
      6) Be persistent, and vary the sinlge arm exercises. Even use dumbbells to do curls, side raises, front raises. If you know how, do turkish get ups for shoulder strength and stability. Melissa has a video on TGUs you might find helpful, as I don’t have a tutorial yet.

      Anyway, I hope this helps. You don’t want your strong side to get weaker or even stronger, so that’s why you need keep it the same. But you don’t want to do for example 15 reps on your weaker side, if your strong side is doing 12 reps, to try and speed the process – this won’t help.

      Can anyone else think of anything else?


      1. Hi Marianne,

        Thank you for the tips. I will look how to include these in my workouts. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the same principles are for legs? Single leg squats, jumps and pistols… (can’t think of anything else). I checked the TGU on Melissa’s website, will give it a try this weekend 🙂

        As for the diet talks, forum is a really good idea. Can’t wait 🙂

        My Best,

  2. Hi Marianne,
    Did this workout today, the cardio burn from the 11th yeasterday. Maybe wishiful thinking, but i notice slight improvement daily as regards hamstring/hip flexor mobility. I had to retool a bit, easier movements for the lower body, more difficult for the upper, and it worked fine. Next time I’ll go 40-20 instead of 30-30…2 quick questions: do you recommend different workouts each day, or stick with one for a week or so, then switch? Secondly, the interval fasting- you use the same hours to fast when you are working all night?
    Thanks for all your help,

    1. Thanks for the question, you can try other workouts different days, or play about with the same one, choosing heavier weights and slowing down the pace for example. My workouts are pretty flexible, I did one a while back for strength, endurance and cardio. With a few modifications for some of the exercises, this would be a good one to introduce slowly. Doing box squats instead of normal ones, doing single or bent over rows instead of renegades, etc. As long as you are confortable with the exercises, there is no reason why you can’t branch out and try different workouts 🙂

      As for the Intermittent Fasting, I do try and fast during work, but it depends on how long I’ve slept and therefore how many meals I can fit in before my next shift. If I sleep too long, I eat in work, sometimes I’ll eat after work in the morning. It really is flexible 😀


      PS Just saw your other comment, but with the fasting, it actually doesn’t matter what times you fast from. But it’s best to time it so you can train fasted and have your post workout recovery meal (largest of the day) after you train fasted. You can tweek it to suit your schedule.

      1. Thanks, Marianne, I tried the workout you suggested and it was terriffic…a perfect mix. I was sweating big time when i was done, and spent! It was the perfect mix of cardio and strength. ….getting a little more confident with the squat movements, but it does slow me down some..can’t get nearly the reps I’d like, but getting there. I have 2 16kg KBs that are maybe too light for the upper body movements, so maybe time to invest in the next highest weight. I compensated by doing higher reps and again used perfect pushup handles (do they have them in the UK?) to make up for the low reps in the squat/burpee segment.
        All in all, for me this was an ideal workout,and I think I’ll stick with this one for a bit…until I see another one that catches my eye…lol.
        Thanks again for all the help…by reading other posts, you are truly making a difference in peoples lives..keep up the great work!

        1. Thought you would like that one 😀

          Funny you should mention push up handles, I was talking to Andrew about my up-coming Push Up Tutorial and he said I should get a pair of handles. I will be recommending them though. I find KB push ups also help with wrist position. I’m sure they do have the handles in the UK though.


          1. Marianne,
            The handles i was talking about are called Perfect Pushup. They have conventional handles on them, similar to KB handles, but they rotate during the movement. They really are effective. You can only do about half your max of conventional pushups using these. They sell online and in department stores here in the states..I imagine tesco might carry them.
            thanks again,

          2. Oh yes I know the ones you mean, I’ve always wondered about those, they look good. I’m sure our sports stores will do them, or I can get a pair online.


  3. Hi Marianne,
    Great video! I can hear you very well. Never had a problem .
    As always the workout looks challenging . You look STRONG !!!!!

  4. I don’t have a comment specifically on this post. I just wanted to thank you for helping inspire me to begin designing my own workouts. I started with following your workouts (and I still do), but I’d substitute exercises on occasion. Now I’ve started putting together my own HIIT and strength training workouts. Since the main enemy of my workout routines is boredom, this is a fabulous thing. Plus, it lets me adjust my workouts based on what is happening in my life, how much time I have and how my body is feeling that day.

    So thank you. You’ve made a difference in my health and fitness. Even with designing my own workouts now, I still come here regularly for information and inspiration.


    1. Happy days! This is great, you have so many more opportunities now and you can use your God-given creativity too, which I find so freeing! All I did was provide the templates, you have filled in the rest, which can be hard enough, especially when you consider exercise order, balance and intensity, so this is really great 😀

  5. I so very want to do this workout, but i’m flat out today, stupid stupid stupid season bugs!!!i’m coughing, i’m sneezing, my head has been aching for days, my body needs rest but i’m sooooo boooored!!!!
    my little kettlebells are looking at me and saying, why don’t you swing us anymore?
    love the format of the workout, can’t wait to see into action all the ideas you have for the site, it all sound sooooo amazing!the beginners paradise!other sites on the web only expose one point of view, and can be very bias, and the thought you are putting in your work and the respect you have for individuality is fantastic!
    it just makes me feel so eager to get back on track, i just wish this cold would piss off!!!
    personally i prefer writing that videochats, i think i could make sort of a bullettpoint for myself from the articles, and i’m really curious of how you manage intermittent fasting!
    ok, take your time, we all know you’re busy, but just be assured that what you’re doing here is absolutely fantastic!and i’m sure that when all your idea will be put in practice it will be kick ass amazing!as someone said, this is the year for achieving BIGGER and BETTER things 🙂
    oh and yes please do a tutorial on push up,it’s not just kettlebell exercise but even bodyweight ones that need a little guidance to achieve perfect form!
    Thank you for all the hard work, it’s very appreciated!
    Bye from a sniffly Sara 🙁

    1. Will do Sara, I will do a more in depth article on IF, but I also don’t want to influence people too much when it comes to diet. I really want to emphasise that just because I maybe only have 2 meals a day, they are BIG meals, plus the odd snack in between. I still get my calories for strength. Will explain it all better in a post. I think it’s important to note that it’s more about total calories per day than how or even when you eat them and training that determine how lean you get or how muscular you are. 6 small meals works too, but there are other benefits to IF that I like over the other. The 6 meals bugged me because there was never enough to fill me LOL


      ps Your poor lonely Kettlebells 🙁 but they will never leave you 😉

      1. personally i’m more curious than anything!i tend to eat when i feel like it, try to drink a lot of water so my body doesn’t mistake thirst for hunger and now that christmas is over i try to avoid chocolate and snack on fruit and veg!
        i do understand that personal diet can be a bit of a taboo for a fitness site and personally i feel that imposing diet rules if what completely put me off the other site, but i can’t really imagine you opening a video saying “hi guys, so are you fasting?even if you don’t like it keep strong because we are myomyers and fasting will get you lean on strong and very sexy this summer!”
        you could say i’m just being nosey, as i have always associated fasting with being sick i just wonder how long does it last, do you not eat when in work and stuff like that!told you, i’m nosey!IF is not the typical approach that is suggested by fitness magazines, they all suggest the 5-6 small portions, but i tried that and who has the time???and the patience!

        i feel sorry for my kb too but i’m still blowing my nose every 90 seconds, fed up with winter now, i want to see some spring!
        Thank you

        1. No worries Sara,

          I eat between 1pm and 8pm, usually 2 big meals adding to about 1800kcal (estimate). I never count macro nutrients, but I just eat balanced meals. I don’t supplement protein as I eat enough in my meals (as they’re bigger).

          Every day I fast from 8pm to lunch time the following day, I try not to eat in work. Sometimes I don’t feel like fasting so I just eat when I want. It’s not strict, it’s flexible for me. I love big meals and feel more satisfied this way, before I always wanted more after each small meal and it was torture, and I felt I was being weird about foods etc.

          The old way, my body was always in “storage” mode due to the frequent insulin spikes, and I wasn’t in a calorie deficit, so I was gaining fat. Because of the fewer insulin spikes, I am in “burning” mode more and by body is more efficient at storing energy as glycogen rather than fat. The 6 meals approach works best if you cut your total calories, but the IF way you don’t need to as much. If you want to lose weight you might need to more, but I still think I look leaner when I do IF. Plus I am less concerned with food, am more alert and train better. It’s a personal preference and most people think I’m mad, and that I starve myself, but if you could see the amount I eat in my 2 meals, you wouldn’t think that. Most people think it’s extreme, but actually I hardly get obsessed about what I eat anymore and am much more relaxed and HAPPY 😀

          So there you go, that’s what I do. It’s the system from if you want to read more about the science. It’s not for everyone, and I don’t really care about getting super lean anymore, but I do like stuffing my pie hole LOL



  6. I did a short workout instead of running today. House cleaning took up a lot of my time. I must say that taking these many days off from working out makes it really hard to get back on the horse.
    I was struggling with this one short workout that I put together.
    I set the Gymboss to count down 20 minutes and went through these three exercises
    15 alternating reverse lunges with 2 8 KG KB
    10 full burpees
    30 kicks over chair
    I managed 3 rounds 15 lunges and 6 burpees.
    I was hurting and feeling like I hadn’t worked out in forever.

    I think it is a good idea to at least do 10 minutes of something, instead of missing out on more than a week and then hitting it hard.
    Now I have to work my way back up to where I was a week ago. So be it.


    1. This is the start of it Mickela, you have offically got back in the game – no looking back now, 2011 has begun! You will be back to where you left off in no time btw, so stick with it. There will be plenty on here to get us all motivated, I have faith!

      This is the year for achieving BIGGER and BETTER things 😀


  7. Hi Marianne,

    excellent idea (the three versions: beginners, intermediate, advanced). And I appreciated your indications of this particular workout for beginners: clear and helpful.

    I would love your site to have indications regarding how to play with sets/reps/weights (increasing or decreasing them throughout the workout)/reaching failure/etc according to the various individual needs.
    Giving out explanations on how to create your own tailor-made sequence, depending on what your goals are (how many sets/reps and increasing or decreasing weights as you continue with the sets).

    And regarding different goals: building muscle, fat loss, building muscle & fat loss, conditioning, increasing strength, increasing balance and flexibility, addressing different body-types (apples, pears, etc). Ecto, meso, endo.

    And how to create a balanced workout: with practical examples of pushing and pulling exercises, various muscle groups, etc.

    I love articles (how couldn’t I, considering what my job is), but I think it would be very nice if you also did videos of these things, talking directly. Besides, this would help me get used to the Irish accent more, lol.

    Don’t worry. Take your time. We all know very well that you are working.

    Thanks for this beautiful site. “MYOMYTV: THE INTELLIGENT ALTERNATIVE”.


    1. Bianca, my head nearly exploded when I read this!! LOL. I have been saying for a while about developing the generic programmes for different goals, and more information on playing with intensity and method, so these things will be happening in the future, it’s just as well you said “take your time” at the end! LOL 😉

      Only thing I am not keen on is the talking videos :/ I find I am more articulate with my finger tips 🙂 I lose my train of thought too much and run out of time when I talk. You may get the odd rant though 😀

      Even when I re-read your comment, my head still wants to explode – You’ve no idea how much I wish THIS was my only job, because I would love to sink my teeth into all of this right now. But it’s in a very long pipeline.

      But it’s nice to know we have similar thoughts and hopes 🙂



  8. Hi Marianne,

    I love your workouts. I haven’t got kettle bells yet, so I’m just using dumbbells. I’m hoping to buy some soon. I just love the variety of your exercises.

    One question. I’ve noticed that you are barefoot when you work out. Is that a personal preference or is it better to do it that way?

    Thanks. Molly

    1. Hi Molly, Thanks for commenting, glad you are enjoying the workouts and can modify them for your needs.

      The barefoot thing really is a preference, but it has been shown to benefit balance, grip and spine alignment too. Because your heels are closer to the floor than when wearing shoes, your lumbar back will curve less and put you in a better position for exercises and lifts. Plus I find my balance is great, just not great for jumps as my skin hurts a little on the hard floor. But I also have Vibram five-fingers for the classes and the gym, which are excellent.


  9. hi Marianne fantastic work you are doing. I have noticed that the sound is a bit cleaner, did you get a new microphone?

    I am still in the dulldrums in regards to exercise, but today I will go for a run just to put some fire on my arse, it is cold but sunny; then I’ll jump into the ketttlebells once again.
    This is the longest break regarding exercise that I have taken in the last year, it is amazing how my body is screaming to be active.

    my kettlebells are lonely.
    I won’t be able to do anything but bodyweight exercises in the next week because I will be sailing, but it will be fun to find creative ways to workout.
    I have this silly fantasy that you and Melissa will join forces 🙂
    cheers once again

    1. Mickela, sorry you are still having trouble getting kick started. I know the feeling, but you will get through it. At least the sailing is keeping you active though. You poor kettlebells will miss you :'(

      As for Melissa and I – you never know. I would love to work to creating a larger community that had more resources, like a team. I am working on a little something that I hope will help with this 😀 But I can’t say to much now – don’t want to jinx it.


      1. Thanks for all your encouragement Marianne, I really appreciate it.
        It might be the cold that is making my engines slow, also the lack of sun.
        I am feeling much much better after doing 2 short workouts in the last 2 days.
        The sailing will definitely help, I love sailing.
        I can’t wait to see, hear, read what you are working on. 🙂


  10. Hey Marianne!

    I like a lot this new workout format, as a beginner the easy variations are welcome, and is good to see how the beginner variation will develop into a advance exercise!

    Changing a bit the subject. I’m horrible at push ups, trully I can not do one in proper form, would you please include some tutorial on how to build arm strenght to be able to do push ups? That would be a must.

    Oh and the audio on your videos has improved a lot!

    Thank you!

    1. Carol, gald you enjoy this format, I will try and do this more in the future.

      You read my mind on the push ups, I was getting annoyed at watching quite poor push up technique on “another fitness blog”, that will kill your shoulders. I will demo the best push up technique for functional compound strength which will not over-dominate one muscle over another. Arms play a role, but it should also be chest, shoulders, lats, core and arms. This will become clear in the tutorial, when I post it.

      As a wee test, go to a door way and push with one arm agains the vertical part frame (not the top), push and relax a few times and use the other hand to feel which muscles tense, now vary the height of your arm, and how far to the side you stand. Repeat the tensing and note the changes inhow easy and hard it gets. Also note, which position recruits the most muscles – this will help you when I do the tutorial.

      I will post it as a priority in the next few days 🙂

      Hope this helps Carol, let me know how you found the “test”.


  11. Hi Marianne,

    I think this is great what you are doing! Very helpful! What I seem to have trouble with is coming up with a workout schedule for a given week. There are days I go to the gym and then there are days I just do your workouts. I guess what I am wondering is how many days a week do you go to they gym to just lift heavy and how many days do you do these kettlebell workouts? Also, what would a typical day at the gym look like for you? Could you give us what a sample schedule of yours might look like. I feel like I am not sure what I should do each day. I want to make sure I am not overtraining nor undertraining any body parts. I hope this makes sense?


    1. Lori, you’re in luck, because I am in the middle of making generic programmes for people to try and follow, depending on their goals. My goals are Strength and Conditioning, working on over all functional strength, power and CV fitness. I train 1 – 2 days a week in the gym, doing heavy Deadlifts, squats, pull ups, tricep dips. I will be doing a gym video of my routine when I get a chance and Andrew can film me. I don’t have a schedule though as my work and the blog make things with me very spontaneous (plus I seem to work better doing things based on how I feel) – I make a rough plan for the week, but if I’m too tired I leave it. I also go to KB classes when I’m off, as Andrew teaches them and I help a little and am planning to start taking my own.

      As for training body parts, I only do compound exercises, so I train groups of muscles together, I don’t do isolated exercises. I might split it into “upper” and “lower” body days, but women can get better results from full body training (as per Bret Contreas). Men train heavier and take longer to recover, so they generally benefit from split routines.

      What are your goals? As suggestion is train your whole body heavy one day a week, or split over 2 days, then do more conditioning (kettlebells, body weight, like in my mix n match section), for 2 days, fill in the rest with, lighter strength training – pull ups, push ups, clean and presses, turkish get ups. Melissa from does a planned protocol called ETK (Enter The Kettlebell), which is strength training with KBs – you could check that out even? Mix that with barbell training, and do lighter KB and cardio the rest of the week.

      It’s about what you like to do just as much, you can suit your needs many ways. At the minute I have been slacking on my strength training because I am soooo busy here, but I will be starting back soon to show you what can be done in a short, effective gym session that won’t take all day. 30-45 minutes MAX!

      Hope this helps a bit. It will make more sense once I do the programmes.


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