Cruel Kindness | Kettlebell Conditioning Workout

by Marianne  - October 23, 2011

Hey all!

For those of you who missed my last update, there is a new girl group in town. Girls Gone Strong is the group formed by myself and the other lovely ladies I had the pleasure of getting to know back in August in the USA. We met up to train together and we instantly hit it off. Since then we have been planning a huge movement to help women (and men too) get strong! Our website will launch soon and we are planning another meet-up in just a few weeks time to plan our exciting future together; plus film loads of cool footage of training and more – so stay tuned. You can “Like” us on Facebook HERE, or follow us on Twitter HERE.

Today’s workout is one I did on Friday. It was late on in the day and I was feeling a little guilty for spending most of the day sat on the sofa watching the Mentalist and other things. In fairness to me, I has been working the night before and only managed to get a few useless hours sleep that afternoon – totally inadequate! So is it any wonder that I struggled to pull a strength training session out of the bag! I opted instead for a fun/hateful conditioning workout! Not that this was much easier, in fact it was really tough, but I managed to do an extra round than I planned and afterwards I felt great!

The Workout

The set up is very straight forward. Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 20 cycles of 15 seconds rest and 45 seconds effort. Then complete 4 rounds of the following 5 exercises:

My weights and reps per exercises are recorded in brackets.

  1. Alternating High Deficit Reverse Lunges (20kg) (14, 13, 11, 11)
  2. Elevated Super Plank Climbers (eek!) (8.5, 8, 8, 6)
  3. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing (20kg) (32, 31, 30, 31)
  4. Renegade Rows (20kg) (16, 15, 13, 12)
  5. KB Vertical “Swing”/Pull Burpee (20kg) (12, 11, 10, 11)

I then felt like collapsing into a puddle on the floor! What a challenge this was for me today. Those Elevated Super Plank Climber were TOUGH! Great workout though, just what I needed πŸ˜€

That’s all from me today everyone. I hope you all have a great weekend and I will keep you all posted on the happenings with Girls Gone Strong! Oh and don’t worry, I won’t be leaving myomytv – EVER!!!!!



PS – After watching the video back I was cringing at myself moaning AGAIN about being tired! Just for the record, there are plenty of days when I am not tired like this. These are the days that I use my energy and focus to go and lift some serious weight! As I said my barbell exercises are my focus right now and I use my KBs for conditioning. It’s a great way to train and it works well. And for those who are itching to see my barbell training, then I hope to have some proper footage soon of my typical gym training – as soon as I get filing permission somewhere πŸ˜€

PPS – Get excited, because you’re gonna see way more of THIS!


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  1. Loved this workout!! Had to change the reverse high deficit to just reverse lunges because I don’t have a platform! I wore a Heart rate monitor and burned over 280 calories during this 20 minute workout!!!!! Loved it!!!

  2. This workout slayed me Marianne!

    I have to say that I bailed after 3 Rounds! I was getting that “White buffalo in the sky” feeling and decided that on my journey back I didn’t need to kill myself today. I took a few minutes and did a short snatch workout after though. So I am very impressed at the speed that you do your swings with the 20Kg!!! For the Renegade rows I can lift way more than 9kg but its the balancing and core strength that limit me there!

    When you do your two heavy days do you split upper and lower or do a full body workout on both days? What do you do for upper body? Sorry I have so many questions but I am really intrigued by the lifting heavy idea and want to try it out!

    Great workout. Hopefully next time I can do the 4th round!

    Alternating High Deficit Reverse Lunges (no weight ;() (14,14,14)
    Elevated Super Plank Climbers (last round on floor) (12, 14, 14)
    Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing (16kg) (24, 24, 24)
    Renegade Rows (9kg) (12, 13, 12)
    KB Vertical β€œSwing”/Pull Burpee (14kg) (8, 8, 8)

    Snatches – Round 1 12kg, Round 2 14kg
    5/5 snatches x 2, 1 min/:30 (20 reps)
    10/10 x 1, 1 min/:30 (20 reps)
    1-5 sn ladder 1.5 min/:30 (30 reps)
    5-1 sn ld, 1.5 min/:30 (30 reps)

    1. Hey Heather!

      I am going to post an article on “My Training” because everyone is asking me this LOL! Best to put the answer in one place so everyone can see πŸ™‚

      Don’t worry about bailing on a round, you had obviously put your max effort in – so you would still get a lot from this πŸ™‚


    1. Hey Tempest, Zuzana is actually doing the “Squat” variation of the TGU. I have tried this too once or twice and it is a bigger challenge for flexibility. I think for the most part her form looks ok; the only thing I would say about it is that she should keep her arm and shoulder locked into place. You’ll notice her elbow bending and her arm drifting forward as she is standing up and squatting down, but this is probably because she never does any vertical presses and virtually no exercises when she can practice shoulder packing. Her leg position is fairly correct; there are different ways of doing this style of TGU too. Zuzana does possess good flexibility for the overhead squat though … more than me πŸ˜›

  3. Hey Marianne!
    Great to see you! Please don’t feel bad for being tired=it happens and many here need someone who is willing to admit to days like that, so we don’t feel so bad when we have those days! I do believe you need to listen to your body! I can tell the difference between lazy and downright exhaustion! I started to run a little (intervals of 6 min run and 1 min walk x5 – thank the Lord for my Gymboss) and I generally have felt great about it, but the other day, from the first step, my legs felt like lead and I dreaded every step – felt like I was never meant to run again!!! BUT, I pushed through, still felt awful, but did it! I think my body is fighting something and I just need to give it some time! Caan’t give up now unless I know for sure this body isn’t meant to do it!

    Thanks to you, the “Girls”, and Bret Contreras,I have started pushing myself with heavier wts – it has been great overall, but my knees are aching a little as I have been doing lower/below parallel squats, and my SI joint is acting up! Do you think it is okay if I don’t go so low on my squats??? I know it is better to activate for activating the posterior chain, and I know overall they are NOT bad for your knees, but maybe my knees are an exception! Please let me know what you think – I have tried to do stretches beforehand and proper form – maybe it is just since I upped the wt and my body has not adjusted yet!

    Still don’t have a KB, but using the bench press circular free weight things (LOL – not sure what they are called!!!) 25# as they are small enough in circumference to fit between my knees, and the 25# dumbells are too thick to hold onto with my fingertips – I know all the people in the free wt section of the gym are just hoping I don’t let go and let the wt fly into the mirror!!!! LOL – still hoping at some point, when money is available, to get a hold of a KB!!!
    Thanks for all you are teaching me about challenging my body and encouraging strength, and the knowledge to do it SAFELY and with good form! Please let me know what you think about the deep squats with resistance!
    Have a GREAT day!!!!

    1. Hi Michele,

      Sorry for the delayed reply. I wanted to refer your question to Bret, because I didn’t want to give out the wrong advice. Here’s what he said:

      “IF IT HURTS DON’T DO IT! The sooner you learn this in your lifting career, the better off you’ll be in the long run. There are reasons why you are aching, and those issues need to be fixed before loading up your movement patterns. Find ones that you can do pain free and focus on those – perhaps you can bridge, thrust, lunge, back ext, and RDL. This is fine, you don’t need to squat. Work on your hip mobility and glute activation so your pelvis doesn’t tuck at the bottom of a squat, your knees don’t cave inward, and your weight doesn’t shift forward. In time you’ll probably be able to squat, but not now. Stick to what you can do pain-free and work on improving your squat pattern with just bodyweight. You may find that you’re just not built to squat, and in this case you don’t need to worry, as they’re not necessary for great glutes.”

      Direct and concise as always is our Bret πŸ˜‰

      I had problems with my back squat for a while; it gave me SIJ pain etc. So I started doing Box Squats, good mornings, glute bridges and back extensions. I no longer have any issues with my SIJ from the back squat and my strength is starting to improve in this exercise now as well. I am not built well for back squats because it seems I have long leg bones LOL. But Bret’s tips made a big difference. I also started holding the bar lower on my back to reduce the forward tilt of my torso.

      Hopefully these tips will help you. Box squats are great btw! Maybe mix those with RDLs and some glute work and see if that helps.

      Let me know what you think πŸ™‚


  4. Thanks for these workouts! I need intense workouts I can do with my kettlebell at work before I leave to go home at night during the week and these are awesome! By the way – you are one tough woman! Very impressive! Keep fighting the good fight!

  5. Marianne!

    I finally got in the gym to lift barbells!!! You and the other ladies have inspired me so much and, while it took me a while to get over the fear, I did it! I’ve really been needing to, as my kettlebells just aren’t enough anymore. (I’m now doing V02 max single handed swings with 20kg and pressing 16kg as well as doing unassisted chin-ups!)I got a trainer to help me with form for the first few times, and I learned something very valuable… I have very strong hamstrings and glutes from kettlebells, quads not so much. =( I did manage to do 3X10 30 lb Reverse lunges, 3X12 180lb High and Tight leg press (the only machine he could get to use, and still reluctantly), 3X10 45 lb Hack squats, 3X12 55 lb Bench press, and 3X12 50 BB row. He tried to hand me a 30 lb BB for the rows and I just stared at him like he was stupid, so he put it back and got me the 50 XD. I have no idea what’s considered good for a hack squat either. I don’t really care! I’m so excited!!! And I feel the need to toot my own horn! I just want to thank you so much. Without your blog, I never would have gotten into kettlebells, much less barbells and wouldn’t be this healthy, physically or emotionally. I’m determined to put all those muscle-y men to shame! Bahaha! I’m still following your blog, albeit silently, and I’ll probably be posting more soon since we’re about to hit the rainy season and I’ll be moving more toward your workouts indoors for conditioning. I just wanted to thank you and encourage you ladies, because you have inspired me so. Now I’ll stop gushing and go call everyone I know!!!



    1. HI SABLE!! Great to hear from you πŸ˜€ And what great news you have to tell us too – you are doing really well! I hope that future updates from Girls Gone Strong will help inspire and motivate people further! Obviously I will continue doing what I do best right here, but it will be great to have a resource that ties all elements of strength together!

      Hope to hear from you soon – keep up the great work πŸ™‚

  6. Okay this was fantastic. It was one of those workouts that on paper , I knew would be a great workout ,but man did it deceive me because I was poooppeed!!LOL. Also, I luv , luv, luv “The Girls Gone Strong” group name . Gotta get a t-shirt/tank top with that on it. Please make them!

  7. Marianne,
    Thank you for your fantastic website. You are such a great motivator! I am looking forward to Girls Gone Strong, but I hope you keep up your own website too. I like the fact that I can work out at home with only a few kettlebells and my own bodyweight and get a great workout. I recently bought a pull up bar, but I can’t even do one pull-up! Haha! Can you give me some advice about how to work towards this?

    1. Hi there Maggie – thank you! Don’t worry about myomytv – it ain’t going anywhere, and I will always be the host πŸ™‚ These workouts prove that, although many of us still go to the gym for maximal lifts, it is possible to get strong at home! The pull up bar is probably one of the best additions you could make to your home studio, so well done on moving towards this great progression.

      Learning to do a pull up is no easy feat, even gripping and hanging from the bar is challenging for beginners – so don’t lose heart. For an answer to your question I will respond via a new blog post on this very topic. A tutorial and how to progress etc. Plus other uses for your pull up bar πŸ™‚

      Stay tuned for that!

  8. Would you share with me your height and weight? I think you look AWSOME and IΒ΄m looking for cool role models for myself and my fitness journey. I canΒ΄t look back at my own life since IΒ΄ve never been in shape before (not getting BACK into shape post babies, getting INTO shape, for the first time!). I read your post about Tracy Anderson and agree totally. Strong is the new skinny!

    1. Thanks Beatatjata! What a compliment πŸ˜€ I am 5’5” tall and I weight about 60kg (132lbs) – give or take 4lbs depending on how many evils I have been eating πŸ˜‰ hehe!

      I wish you all the best with your journey – hopefully my site and the Girls Gone Strong will be able to help you achieve your goals! I know that pregnancy and post pregnancy fitness is something we will be tackling for sure!


  9. Marianne,

    Hi. I am always waiting to see what you will come up with next, but I understand that you have a life. No matter how long or short your workouts are they are great.


    1. I guess the great thing is that you can even mix and match my workouts together, or add more rounds. I will see what sort of torture I can come up with this week πŸ˜‰

  10. I’m definitely buying two kettlebells later this month, and going through all the tutorials and stop being a creeper that only watches and reads your posts but actually does something! πŸ™‚

  11. Girls gone strong – love it and can’t wait to see your barbell workouts Marianne. Can you tell me can I get your shoes on line they look great for weight training. πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Lynda, glad you like it! I got my shoes from Vibram FiveFingers. There are also outlet stores that sell them, but beware of fakes! I love them and yes they are great for weight training πŸ™‚

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