Girls – Get Lifting! Extreme Kettlebell Strong Woman Workout

by Marianne  - November 14, 2010

Hi everyone,

Firstly, can I say I am amazed at the response I have had from my last post, it just shows that a forum would be a great asset to this site. I really hope to be able to get the design process started soon. In the meantime I hope you will all remain as vocal, as I need constant feedback from you all to know where to take things and where best to focus my time (as it is scarce).

Tomorrow I will need to pack up my studio for the move on Monday, so I needed to do this workout in between shifts, so I am sorry if I seem like a Zombie in the video – the truth is I was LOL! But all the same, for some mad reason I decided I needed to do a major strength workout! Guess I’ve been looking at the 20kg and 24kg Kettlebells, wanting to “throw” them about at last – but it was TOUGH!!

I am on a mission to get girls and ladies, who don’t lift heavy, to push the boundaries and reap the many benefits of strength training. Not only will it favour your body composition long term, it will help with bone density, stability, everyday tasks, stamina and even your assertiveness and determination in other areas of life.  You will become more focused and positive when you realise you are a LOT stronger than you think!

HOWEVER – please note, this is generally the case if you have no contraindicating factors. As a result, if you are new to exercise, strength training or do have a medical condition (especially high blood pressure), then please seek advice from your doctor (if need be) or a trained fitness professional who can be there to guide your technique.  This is only my advice as I don’t want anyone to get injured here.  I plan (in the future) to provide tutorial videos for certain exercises and provide you with teaching points and adaptations etc. But this requires even more time which I am lacking right now. It may be a slow process, but I will try and do one tutorial video per week 🙂

Now onto today’s workout. Because it is strength training the weights are higher and the reps lower.  Rests between exercises can be longer, so this is NOT interval training. I really stepped up my game today with the weights, because sometimes I do play it safe. But, because I did reduce the reps so much I could really focus on max strength! The front squats and push presses were a killer!

I did 2 rounds of the following 10 exercise. The numbers out of the brackets are the set reps I had aimed for, in the brackets are the reps I did:

  1. KB Sumo Burpee into Vertical Swing (24kg) with diagonal Knee Tucks x 10 reps (10,10)
  2. KB Reverse Lunge (right) with 20kg x 10 reps (10,10)
  3. KB Reverse Lunge (left) with 20kg x 10 reps (10,10)
  4. Double KB (2x20kg) Push Press (round one) x 5 reps (4 then 2 extra after a short break as I nearly fell over with one – so had to “redo” one rep lol ) Second Round – Single KB Push Press x 5 reps each side, managed full reps.
  5. Single Arm KB Row (20kg) (right) x 10 reps (10,10)
  6. Single Arm KB Row (20kg) (left) x 10 reps (10,10)
  7. Double KB (2x20kg) Front Squat x 5 reps (4,4)
  8. KB Windmill (16kg) (right) x 5 reps (5,5)
  9. KB Windmill (16kg) (left) x 5 reps (5,5)
  10. Two-Handed KB Swing (24kg) x 20 reps (20,20)

Guys, this was one tough workout! I was going to time it with my Gymboss Interval Timer as a stopwatch, but Andrew had nicked it on me, grr, so I used my phone to time it. I completed this workout in just under 30 minutes. I didn’t want to give up half way through the second round.

Then I went and died! LOL – Only joking, I got a great sense of achievement after this one, Loved it! Even if I did only manage 4 reps for the front Squats 🙁

I really must rush off now, as my mind is going blank and I run the risk of a waffle attack! OH NO IT’S STARTING ALREADY!

Hopefully my new studio and Internet connection will be up and running by Tuesday, so I will aim to post my new workout then.

Please continue to leave your comments and questions and I will reply asap (as always 🙂 )



Get the free guide just for you!


New Home Sweat Attack Workout!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

  1. Tried this workout today and did ok. My windmills weren’t great but managed a 16kg bell. Was well chuffed however when I managed one set of squats with the 20’s and had my first go at using a 24 for a two handed swing. Great stuff as always Marianne!

  2. Tried this today, it was awesome! The heaviest I have right now is the 16 kg so I used it for as much as possible the doubles I had work with 12kgs. The second round instead of windmills I did turkish get ups. I just felt like it don’t ask my why. I added 200 snatches at the end just for some extra cardio work.

      1. well I haven’t been brave enough to do the snatches with the 16kg so it’s only the 12kg. It still is a nice bit of cardio regardless. Whew! You are so good at the TGU too! I have never tried a double TGU. You’ll have to show me that. Wow! I may be able to do it with the 8kgs. I’d have to try it. I’ve done double snatches but only with the 8 kgs. I’m a little wobbly with the 12kgs on that. Those really kick your heartrate up as well, also double swings whew! My best/worst minute of my life is double swings into double high pulls. I do love the doubles work though!

        1. Yeah I might film it actually, because it is a real challenge 🙂 The double snatches are tough – the first time I did them with 2 x 16kg, I nearly went flying across the room!! That’s the only downside with the pro grade KBs, they are very wide for double cleans, swings, and snatches 🙁 Double Trouble Bubble 😛

  3. Today we talked about strength training with kettlebells on the forum and so I went and started browsing your workouts to adapt one to a strength routine and so I found this. And I did it. It was hard, very tough especially on my arms. I used the same weight as you but there was no chance for me to do a double push press so I did both sides separately and also I had to do the squats with only 24kg because I just couldn’t get my self up with 2x20kg.:P Funny how it is so hard with KB’s but if you have a barbell with 40kg it’s not nearly as hard. I really need to work on those evil double KB front squats. ( why everything here seems to be evil? And are we masochists because we seem to love it?)


    1. The double push presses and front squats with 20’s were REALLY tough! Front squats are my nemisis too! The barbell thing gets me too – front squats are harder for sure!

      Well done on this workout! 😀

  4. I followed your advise and started using heaiver weights for my past couple workouts, yowza what a difference! I can feel it already and my metabolism feels reved up as well:) Thanks for taking me out of my comfort zone!

    1. Rashelle I am so pleased to hear you have stepped things up a gear AND are seeing the benfits already. Your body compostition and strength will thank you for this long term 🙂

  5. Hi Marianne!

    Because of you, I have started upping the weights I work with and I love it!! I was stuck on a plateau for 6 weeks and I’m finally losing again because of it. Hmmm…add weights to lose it? Go figure!
    Ur my hero!


    1. Yup, this is how it works 🙂 But ignore the scales, go on how you look, feel and measure 🙂 More weight = more energy being used (also more muscle being built) = more capacity for burning fat = better body composition. I am glad you are out of your plateau 😀


  6. I hope no one will mind a comment from the male perspective 🙂 … I LOVE it when I see women at my gym hitting the weights hard. Muscle tone and definition are sexy, and as you said, you just aren’t going to get that with endless hours of cardio while reading a magazine … which is unfortunately what I see so many people doing day after day. Also, if you watch the personal trainers with their clients, the focus is always on weights/strength, interval work, and core. What’s even more interesting to me, is that the women who do lift heavier usually have impeccable form. Many of the guys just want to throw around stupid-heavy weight and are injuries waiting to happen.

    1. Thanks Tom, you’re totally right, Andrew is always saying how good his female clients are. Their recovery is better and they can handle way more weight that they believe. Women, have it engrained that they can only do certain exercises with certain weights, and that really bugs me 🙁 Strength is so important and, like you say, a very attractive quality to have, either male or female 🙂


  7. Hi Marianne,
    I did this workout today and loved it ! My numbers were good except for the windmills. (3,3)I’m slow going with those but…. I did for the first time use the 8kg KB when I did them. That was a big deal for me. In the past I would hold a 5lb dumbell or nothing at all, just practicing the form and watching you executing them over and over again. I’m so happy I was able to use the kettlebell . I do have to buy a heavier set for squats . But right now my concern is getting better at the renegade rowsand the windmills. I still haven’t bought the wide based kettlebells but will within the next few weeks.
    About lifting heavy, you’ll get no arguement from me. As I’ve said in the past for me personally it’s all about challenging myself,going heavier,longer,faster etc. I’ve never thought that I would bulk up or look unfeminine. Quite the contrary,I look toned and healthy. I was never afraid I’d get hurt,(if I went heavier)I was afraid I’d not be able to get the amount of reps I was aiming for. If you just go into it wanting to be strong ,healthy,and disciplined one day you’ll look in the mirror and say wow what a difference.In my opnion you should’t focus on the scale,or rushing to lift heavier. What’s the rush for anyway? Be patient work hard ,challenge yourself and the rest will fall into place.

    1. Don’t worry Minnie, windmills are a quality over quantity exercise. If they were 3 good ones, that’s all that matters 🙂

      Like how you think. I am glad you are getting to grips with the KBs, keep it up!

      Talk soon

  8. Well I thought this cold was going to completely knock me out, but after eating a little bit and resting I got enough energy to do a short (20 mins) I set my gymboss to 20 mins and did this routine.
    crunch with 10K kettlebell 30
    hip thrusts on the floor with bodyweight 20
    bulgarian squat with 10kg kettlebell 5 each leg
    I ended up doing three very slow rounds.

    Then I did 10 presses with my 8lb DB for a total of 3 rounds.
    It was easy except the squats, but I didn’t want to push it as I am finally getting over this cold. I also did some yoga for stretching and a 3 minute warm up. My neighbor down stairs is really upset about my skipping rope in the house, so I have to figure out what to do for indoor cardio instead of rope skipping which I guess I can do at the local park.


  9. Hi Marianne,

    Thanks so much for your workouts! I love them. What I am wondering is, are the workouts you post each day the only workouts you will do per day. Or do you also add in a cardio session, etc? I am wondering how I should split up my training. Weights/cardo. Also, I only have 2 15lb kettlebells and 1 25 lb. kettlebell. Unfortunately, I cannot afford to buy heavier ones at this time. I really want to go heavier. Do you have any tips on what I would do for a workout like this one where I don’t have the heavier kettlebell. My gym also only has 25 lbs as their heaviest. Thanks again! You are a strong and amazing woman!


    1. When I have the time, and when I can be bothered I do at the most 30 mins of HIIT cardio down in the gym. Some of the days I post workouts, that is all I have done, but for me it takes more than these workouts to stay in shape. I go to Andrew’s KB class during the week, if I am off work, and I may drag myself to the gym to do some heavy barbell work, pull ups, tricep dips etc.

      If you can do things like this as your heavy training (since you are a gym member), then use your KBs for the variety workouts and cardio.

      Check out my Gym Bunny and Work that Booty workouts for gym ideas.

      I use my KB and bodyweight workouts to supplement my other training, although with things being so busy here, it has more like the other way around. LOL


  10. Hi Marianne:

    I am so inspired by your workouts. I have been doing workouts w/Kettlebells for about a year and a half, but am trying to make it my mainstay of working out for two reasons: a) I enjoy it far more than any other workout, and b) I can get some cardio in there while strength-training in half the amount of time. I love strenght training over cardio any day. Yesterday I did your first 500 K/B workout, which I really love. I will try this one tomorrow to give my muscles a chance to rest. I have noticed my mid-section decreasing a bit, and at 55 years old, I believe I am in better shape than women half my age, thanks to kettlebells with the help of your routines! I look forward to your workouts which are great for a person on a budget LOL. The only thing is finding kettlebells at reasonable prices. They are not cheap, and if you do find them on sale via the Web, the shipping runs as much as the weight! So, going up in weight as you get stronger is a challenge when you cannot find reasonably priced kettlebells. Thanks again, Marianne. I love your positive attitude. It makes it a pleasure to learn.

    1. Mary, you too are an inspiration to women everywhere! I am so glad that you have said you love strength training 😀 And KBs are the way to go for the best of both worlds. But you are right about the price, it is a shame. But even dumbbells are expensive too – nightmare :/

      Thanks for leaving your inspiring comment


  11. Andrew took your pink gymboss? that makes me laugh.
    Yikes!! you are one strong woman. I hope to get to your level, not rushing, but anxious.
    I can’t wait to get another kettlebell. I really enjoy the feeling of lifting heavy, but I also love my cardio so I am happpy I found your heavy workouts to encourage me to lift and not spend too much time running and skipping rope. I think soon I will balance out my routines.
    I am sick with a cold right now so I can’t workout, but I can watch and get inspired, hopefully by Tuesday I will be back and ready to try this workout using lighter kettlebells.

    Cheers and much luck and ease with your move.

    1. Balance is the key, and I find that KBs are a great way to combine your fat-burning cardio and resistance. Aerobic / fitness cardio, for me, is boring. And to be honest, I do very little cardio at the minute. The odd 20 minutes on the stair master or crosstrainer, but that’s all. I can get away with this now, because of my other training.

      Just see what works best for you, but try not to neglect the strength training 🙂

      Grt well soon.

  12. Good work out, I don’t know where you get the stamina sometimes to do what you do!! 🙂

    You’re right though, a lot of people, particulary women are intimidated by lifting heavier weights. I always had the misconception that it would ‘bulk’ me out as I tend to develop muscle quite well. But it really is the only way to lean out the body and increase the metabolism in the long run. It’s just important that the technique and form remains good when lifting heavier weights… something I’m trying to work on!!

    Do you prefer kettlebells to dumbbells for working your arms? I mean, how heavy would you lift if you were doing your chest, biceps and using dumbbells? Do you think its best to go as heavy as you can with them? I’m on the fence about the arms, I think its harder to lift quite heavy when youre isolating your body and soley relying on your forarms/wrists to help you work-out effectively. especially when using free weights.. my form completely goes once I go over 9kg lol But I guess its just a matter of building my strength!

    Anyhow great work out and you are looking even more defined!

    1. Hi Criostiona, thanks for your comment and question about training my arms. All I do for my arms and shoulders are push ups (variety of types), pull ups, tricep dips (in the gym on the dip station), KB shoulder exercises and the odd dumbbell session for lateral raises (6-7kg). the Dumbbell work is more rare at the minute as I’ve been lazy, but I mainly did it for shape over strength. The compound strength exercises for upper body are by far the most beneficial. I know what you mean about the forearms and grip at a certain point!

      Keep up the good work you are doing.


  13. Hi Marianne,
    i did suspect it before but now i know for sure…. you’re a KILLER!!!!!!
    but in a totally good way,i must say. as a newbie i’ll have to use lighter weights, my new set of kettlebells comes wed, can’t wait!!!
    if i don’t survive the challange, well it was nice “meeting” you 😉


    1. LOL Sara, very funny 😉 If you are even in the 5-10 rep range, you will be doing well for strength training. If you are able to manage more reps then use it for a resistance workout. Keep the windmill reps lower though, since you are a newbie -don’t want an injury 🙂

      Give it a go, but do what you can.

      Good luck 😉 😉


      1. thanks for the tip, i guess i can only try my best, and then become stronger and beat it!!i must say personally i love working out with kettlebell and weights, even though i’m weak. i must say my weakness if cardio, i just find it boring!weights give me a feeling of strenght and… they make me feel like a Xena in training!
        ok practical question about workouts.
        usually after warming up i do a round of tabata swings then a mixed HIIT(bodyweight and kettlebell) then weights.after seeing one of your comments on the last video i started reflecting on it, and after trying the little swap you suggested i did manage to do more with the weights.but what about the tabata?shall i leave it as a first thing or do you think that by moving it i could obtain better results?
        All suggestions are always appreciated

        1. Hi Sara,
          I would highly recommend leaving Tabata until the end of your workout with weights. Tabata is only going to exhaust you before your “real” training begins. Use Tabata as a metabolic booster for that added burn at the end. I’m not saying that Tabata is not good for training, but it is not going to bring the results on its own, use every method wisely and you will reap better results.

          Weight training uses up glycogen stored in the muscles, so the more energy you have available in the muscles, the better you will perform. In theory, once you deplete this glycogen with weights, you will allow your body favour fat for energy for your HIIT or Tabata after. Even if this science isn’t 100% accurate, you still need more energy for lifting weights than cardio. So doing weights first is best. Just as when you are doing your weights, you train the large muscles first, or do compound exercises (as these require the most energy to do), you need to be smart with your energy.

          Sorry if this is wafflely LOL, I just want everyone to get the best from themselves and their training 😀 If you are doing a short, intense 20 minute variety workout, it is ok to mix cardio and weights/KBs, but always plan a sensible order so you dont overload smaller muscles too soon. This type of interval training that I do is not normally HIIT, it is more moderate to high intensity. If it was true HIIT, you would feel like you just sprinted all out for 20 – 30 seconds after each exercise.

          I hope I have answered your query ok, I am sleep deprived and just about to close my laptop for the night as we move tomorrow morning 🙂


          1. you very much indeed answered my question, i will follow you’re advice.
            it’s good to know that i am sweating it and getting the best results from it!!:)
            hope the moving goes well;)

  14. Hi Marianne,
    My all time favorite type of workout! I can’t wait to do this one. You did very well I might add. I can tell it was a challenge and found myself cheering you on with a few “come on Marianne push, get up! “You were especially strong getting out of the hole during the front squats. You do inspire me. I want to comment on the heavy weights & bone density. I had a test done last year for just that & the results were normal. I’m post menopausal and that bit of news was fantastic. I attribute that to good genes and weights. So keep lifting ladies and you’ll be ahead of the game. I also want to mention , yesterday as I left a restaurant after lunch the owner said “you look good , very healthy” she made my day. Ps . I don’t know her personally . Anyway Marianne thank you . Cheers. 🙂

    1. Wow, what a compliment for you Minnie. It’s nice to hear when others notice the changes, it means your hard work is paying off 🙂 I was so determined to get up from the squat LOL, but I really wanted to do 5! But I guess this time it was not meant to happen. The push presses were so hard – I nearly fell over during one (which I had to cut out, as the video was too long for youtube at one point).

      I hope you will let me know how you and your strong bones find this workout 😀

      Thanks for your ongoing inspiration 😉


  15. WOW! You are so strong! I would love it if you could go over cleaning heavier KB’s. I can only clean one heavier bell, not two – so push presses and squatting I can’t try because I can’t get them up there. SO frustrating!
    I am fairly new to your site and I love it. 🙂

    1. Hi Gina, great to hear from a newcomer to my site 🙂 Once I get settled into the new house I intend on doing a few tutorial videos to help with the basics. The double clean is one of the lifts we learned on the EKI Course, so I will be happy to got over it. I am still fine-tuning my technique, but I will relay the teaching points as best as I can. It is a great lift to learn, as you say, you need it for many different exercises 🙂

      Thanks for the comment.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

You may be interested in