Extreme Leg Burn – Body Weight and Kettlebell Workout

by Marianne  - December 14, 2010

Hey everyone,

Firstly, this post was meant to be up on Monday, but I was having problems uploading the video to YouTube. So when I refer to “yesterday” I mean Sunday. Oh and as an additional piece of information – I can hardly walk today from this workout – and I rarely get DOMS in my legs! That’s how much of a killer this is!

Right, on Sunday I dragged myself to the gym because I was becoming increasingly worried that, after a basically a month with virtually no pull ups and no tricep dips (on proper apparatus), I’d lost all my strength and my numbers would suck.

Apart from major DOMS today across my entire upper body, I can safely report, with a huge smile on my face that my strength is the same, if not better than before! How cool is that 🙂 Only problem is, my upper body is in bits, so today’s workout will burn the legs clean off you – as that’s all I can do LOL!!

The Workout

Couplets again people, and you will hate me for this one (evil grin, because I just got it over with he he). Anyway, the set up is a little more complicated than normal, so listen up.

There are 3 couplets, do each couplet twice (setting your Gymboss Interval Timer for 4 cycles of 15 second recovery and 45 effort), then move on until all 3 couplet are completed – this is round 1 and I did this using bodyweight only. For round 2 you repeat the above sequence of couplets, using the same intervals, only this time I added my 16kg Kettlebell in for exercise 1 of each couplet. Obviously if you want to make it even more difficult, you can use the KB from the start – but I knew this would kill me legs so much as it was.

The exercises, and my reps per exercise per round are in brackets. Also in brackets is what each exercise mainly targets. Cardio (c), resistance (r), plyometrics (p), stability (st) or core activating exercise (cae). No strength (s) today though:

  1. Squats (r,cae) (R1 – 29,27 / R2 – 18,15)
  2. Body weight Squat Jumps (c,p,cae) (R1 – 30,26 / R2 – 22,18)
  1. Reverse Lunges (round 1 alternating, round 2 right then left with KB) (r,cae,st) (R1 – 25,24 / R2 – 18 (r), 19 (l) )
  2. Lunge Jumps (c,p,st,cae) (R1 – 21,19 / R2 – 19,18)
  1. Sumo Squats (r,cae) (R1 – 24,21 / R2 – 15,13)
  2. Sumo Squat Jumps (c,p,cae) (R1 – 20,18 / R2 – 21,19)

Please please please make sure you are well warmed up before starting this workout. There is quite a lot of jumping, so also watch your landing technique, especially with the lunge jumps, go for quality over quantity – you will still get a major burn!

Sorry, but it’s not over yet. Reset your Interval Timer for 8 cycles of 10 second rest and 20 seconds MAX effort. Because the main workout was quad and glute dominant, I thought I would try and balance things out with a little hamstring work – hence ALL the swings 🙂 Originally I had planned to do a Step-up / swing Tabata, but my poor poor quad needed a break, so I did bench jump overs instead. Below is the sequence (couldn’t be bothered trying to write my reps, but my swings were about 14 per section, which is average for me with a 20kg):

  1. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing
  2. Bench Jump-overs
  3. KB Swing
  4. Bench Jump-overs

And repeat again. Feel free to vary the swings if you wish, I just stuck to the 2 handed swing because I wanted to use the heavier weight to really feel the stretch in my hamstrings.  This workout was awesome. On my workout plan, I had written “die” at the very bottom of the page to pre-empt how I would feel after I had finished. Although I didn’t actually die, my heart rate was so high I’m surprised I didn’t clock it right there and then 😀 Joking – it was just very intense.

This entire workout was probably about 30 minutes including breaks etc.

Andrew bought me a heart-rate monitor for Christmas (I know I know, I got it early). Out of interest I thought I would programme it with MY stats and see just how many calories I would burn.  It counted that I burned just under 500 kcals in this short, but intense workout!  So then I went and stuffed my face LOL.

Let me know what you think of this. And I hope to be back with a full body workout soon 😀




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    1. Hey Tempest, maybe your legs are bending too much, or your upper body is staying too upright. Keeping your back straight, pivot at the hips (without the KB first), until you feel that stretch. Imagine you’re doing a stiff-leg deadift with a wider stance.

      Happy Christmas!

  1. Oh. My. God. This was more brutal than it even looked! I couldn’t even finish all the jumps. The last 15 secs or so I just had to do non-jumping versions. I felt like a wimp! I was a bit wobbly in the legs after and expect to feel it tomorrow! Great workout, though. A couple days ago I pulled a muscle in my back (shoulder blade area)by SNEEZING of all things so a leg focus was good today. Thanks, Marianne for keeping me motivated!


    1. Good luck tomorrow 😀 I haven’t been able to workout yet, SINCE I did this workout, my quads are STILL in bits!! The annoying thing is, I go back to work tomorrow after being off for 2 weeks, and I had planned to do a workout every day :'( I have to do one tomorrow!

      I hope your back feels better soon – dam that sneezing LOL!


  2. I haven’t did this workout yet, but I would like to say that I use a heart rate monitor all the time. When I do your workouts, sometimes my heart rate gets way up there so I just put my gymboss on pause, walk aruond till it drops and then start back in. For everyone out there, it is one of the best tools you can use. I notice the one on your wrist, it looks like a nice one.
    Thanks for the advice and workouts.

    1. Yeah Jim, though I might need to do a little DIY on it because it will get in the way of my Kettlebell, I see a clip-on watch coming LOL! It is a great tool to have 🙂

  3. Oh OMG Gillian your numbers are great! let us know how you feel after this.
    I noticed that my forearms don’t get banged as much doing with the new kettlebells (pro grade).
    Today I am resting having a nice dinner and resting again then getting ready for some more brutality, but not tonight 🙂

    p.s just ordered 2 12kg kettlebells I just can’t believe the free shipping. maybe they’ll put an ad on your website.


    1. Yeah Mickela, the pro-grades make a big difference 🙂 Had a look at their site, they look like good KBs. Maybe I’ll contact them re a link or something.


      1. I bought from them too, but I bought the KBs that are vinyl covered… I just tiled my floor and I did not want to damage it. I currently have a 15 lb cheapie from Walmart, and two vinyl covered that are 10 and 12Kg. I just ordered 14 Kg and 16 Kg for myself, but I will have to give them to my husband to give to me for Christmas. We tend to buy what we want for ourselves, so this way he can give me what I really want… cast iron! LOL.

        I am strong on some things, like pullups and rows… I think my youthful sailing muscles are returning. I am weak on presses though as I have a formerly injured left shoulder — for years I thought I had a torn rotator cuff, but now I think it was just muscle weakness and imbalances, as most of the chronic pain has gone since I started lifting weights again. (Really funny how that works!)

        I have also been doing a purchased Tacfit KB workout, and I just moved up in difficulty and I can’t believe that even the 15 lbs is hard to press: its a weird exercise.. you start in a Windmill position and push the KB up in the air as you lower the torso slightly to horizontal. (It looks like a shoulder press from a sideways position.) I had to use a 10 lb DB and it was all I could do with that to do 30 seconds of work in a straight 4 minute routine. These are not like any standard KB routines and they have become very tough, though they are a bit boring since you do the same thing for 28 days (with 2 days on and two days of with just mobility and flexibility.)

        Thank you Marianne, all of your videos are so helpful!

        ~ Gillian

        1. That side-ways press sounds tough! Think I did one from a side plank position once, with 8kg, and that was really tough!

          Good luck with the 2 heavier bells btw.



  4. OK, that was gooood. I feel like I worked.

    I did:

    1. Squat 18, 20 / 12Kg 17, 15
    Squat Jump 26, 26 25, 24

    2. Reverse Lunge 20, 19 / 10Kg 14L 12R
    Lunge Jumps 24, 22 25, 21

    3. Sumo Squat 20, 20 / 30 lbs 13, 25 lbs 16
    Sumo Jump Squats 24, 22 22, 21

    Tabata — 12KG swings, using single arm alternating on the 2nd sets

    Finished it off with 6 minutes of 15 lbs snatches — mine suck, so I figured, if I just do a lot, maybe the form will come. Near the end, I DID stop hitting my forearms. 120 total

    This was good… I am tired enough that I promise to do my abs later in the day!

    If anything, I thin the Tabata could have been harder, but then again, my heavier KB is still in the mail.

    Thank you Marianne! Thanks to you, I burned a few beasty calories.

    ~ Gillian

    1. Hey Gillian, thanks for leaving your numbers. What weight are you getting next? I must start doing snatches again, but I aint that good at them either.

      I reckon if I had stuck to my origninal plan for the Tabata, it would’ve been harder. Or put mountain climbers in. The main workout was definitely more challenging!


  5. I am sore, but my back doesn’t hurt, when I first started doing the jump lunges, my lower back would hurt for 2 or 3 days, I also got pain in the knees.
    I started really paying attention to my form. Pushing bum out and keeping the back straight and making sure the knees and feet are pointing out helps, although it burns the glutes to bits. I have to sit at a desk all day and walk up and down many subway stairs. anybody feel sorry for me? ouch 🙁

  6. I wonder why my knees start to feel uncomfortable while doing normal squat. I either feel little pain or hear some clicking.. I have tried lot of different variations but nothing works. When doing sumo squats I feel or hear nothing. 😮

    1. Hey Yakone. It could be many things causing your knee trouble, perhaps you should see a physiotherapist? In the mean time, you can check for any imbalances by watching your technique in a mirror. If your knees are tracking inward, you need to focus on pushing the knees outward slightly on the way up.

      Soon I will be doing a tutorial on the Kettlebell Front Squat, even if you don’t use Kettlebells, I will be giving some pointers for the squat, so this might help you. In the meantime I would avoid doing any weighted squats or jumps, until you get the knee issue sorted. I hope it is not a chronic problem.


  7. ouch is all I have to say, I didn’t even do the workout the right way, I went through all the couplets twice, then had to do it right for the second round, I only recorded the first part, because I was dying.
    my first 6 squats I used the 20kilo (bitchy) the rest with nothing. my average was 20
    squat jumps 27, 21 didn’t write the rest down (duh)
    reverse lunge 23, 19,?,?
    sumo squat 22,16,?,?
    sumo jump squat 18,15,?,?

    I used the 20kilo KB 12,used 10kilo Kb for the rest 6,12,11
    I have a terrible chair I used for jump overs, then I had to switch to plank jumps really hard 10,12,9,8

    very exhausting workout.
    I also did a heavy workout yesterday so I was pretty beat. I will try this again with the proper sequence.

    I still think it’s a conspiracy 🙂
    stretch, stretch is all I can recommend.

  8. I guess I am lucky, the last 2 days I have been working very hard on my upper body and abs, and guess what parts are next?
    This is a conspiracy!
    I am ready though, will give you my stats later. I am getting less and less afraid of your workouts.

    I think it is also great that you have access to a gym where you can work heavier, I thought of getting my membership back, it also gives me a place to go, my apartment is really small and sometimes I get cabin fever.


    1. LOL It’s not a conspiracy, honest 😀

      So, you’re getting less afraid? humm – just you wait until you do this one! I have never been so sore after any workout – the jumps are a killer, and it’s because of them that I am shuffling around the house today, wishing I had a stair lift! 🙁

      It is nice to change scenery sometimes, even just to be amongst other people training, it gives me motivation.

      Yesterday it was only my upper body had DOMS – now it’s EVERYWHERE 🙁 🙁 🙁

      Join my pity party LOL

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