Killer Kettlebell Couplets | Home Fitness Workout

by Marianne  - December 11, 2011

Hi everyone,

Very quick update today. I meant to post this on Thursday, but as usual work was mad, with me being in HDU still, so I have been so tired! Thankfully have a few nights off, so I am able to get caught up in all my work here ๐Ÿ™‚

The Workout

Couplets at their best today! Conditioning with kettlebells and body weight and it’s all over in less than half an hour – talk about bang for your buck ๐Ÿ˜‰

There are 4 couplets and the aim is to perform 3 rounds of each couplet before moving on. Make sense?
Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 6 cycles of 20 seconds recovery and 40 seconds effort. You can adjust these times if you need more or less recovery. For me, this intensity was enough on Thursday because I was already pretty beat.

Remember 3 rounds of the couplet BEFORE moving to the next. Although this is just a template, I think it works better, as a change, to do it this way ๐Ÿ™‚ ย My weights and reps per exercise are in brackets as always.

Couplet 1

  1. Goblet Squat (x20kg) (16, 15, 13)
  2. Two-Handed KB Swing (x20kg) (28, 28, 27)

Couplet 2

  1. Renegade Rows (2x16kg) (16,15,14)
  2. Burpees (12, 12, 10)

Couplet 3

  1. Alternating Deficit Reverse Lunge (x20kg) (12, 11, 9) – these were tough
  2. Weighted Dynamic Squats (x6kg) (29, 26, 24) – goodness, these were a killer!!

Couplet 4

  1. Vertical Swing Burpee (x20kg) (12, 12, 11)
  2. Roundabout Swings (x20kg) (26, 22, 26) – got distracted half way through LOL!

That’s it for today. What a great wee workout, I really enjoyed this the second time round. When I did it first (last Sunday) I was busted. Second time round, it was intense but fun ๐Ÿ˜€

Hope you all enjoy it just as much.

Oh btw, before I forget, for those who didn’t see the update on my last post, I think it’s worth mentioning my cool news again ๐Ÿ™‚ MyoMyTV was listed by as one of the Top 10 Workout Videos on YouTube. Can’t argue with that ๐Ÿ˜‰



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  1. OMG this is my first workout with you!!! It was amazing, I feel sweep out but I feel SO GOOD.

    Thats a good start to begin the day!


  2. Greetings from Canada!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m a huge fan of your site and workouts!!! This one kicked my butt, in a great way…thanks so much!! Keep doing what you do!!

  3. Great photograph, you look really femenine and strong, my favorite combo.
    I have some comments, suggestions.I have noticed in the last several workouts that you tend to use the same exercises over and over, I was wondering if that is done on purpose are you working on perfecting those specific exercises?
    I tend to modify your workouts by adding more variety in every workout.
    I usually switch the exercises you repeat a lot like swings,renegade rows,burpees etc with snatches or long cycle. or add bulgarian squats and turkish get ups as well as russian twists.

    I Love coming to your site and seeing what you are up to, do it every day.


    1. Mickela, I am sorry ๐Ÿ™ I try to keep certain exercises the same so that people get a chance to get good that them. But maybe I have kept these ones in too long! Thanks for your suggestion; I guess I need a re-shuffle ๐Ÿ˜‰

      While the movements are predominantly the same (in order to create a balanced full body workout), I don’t want anyone being bored, so I will vary the exercises more!

      Actually the workout I have ready to go up today is a little different ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks for feeling you could make a suggestion. I’m glad!

      1. Trust me I am not bored at all ๐Ÿ™‚ I was just curious if there was any specific reason, and anyway, I have a ways to catch up to you


  4. Hi Marianne, great workout thank you. I will be doing this in the morning. Your photo is lovely and you always look gorgeous. Look forward to seeing your other photographs.

  5. Marianne,
    All I can say is wow! This is the first workout I’ve done of yours. I came across your site because of Anette Olzon, lead singer of the band Nightwish. She linked one of your youtube vids on her site. Being a lover of kettlebells and all things Irish:) I started watching some of your vids and loved them and you! I’m super sweaty and my arms and legs feel like jelly. I haven’t worked out in a couple of months due to laziness and depression. But today I’m getting back on track:)
    Squats @35lbs: 20 18 17
    swings @35lbs: 15 15 15
    rows @20lbs: 12 10 10 (Any advice on how to make this one easier on the palms and wrists? I used dumbbells since I don’t yet have 2 kettlebells that are the same weight but do plan on getting more after the holiday’s.)
    burpees: 4 4 4 ( I have trouble with burpees for some reason but I didn’t modify so thats good!)
    reverse lunge @20lbs: 13 12 12 (Just did these on the floor, no bench.)
    dynamic squat @15lbs: 10 10 10
    Vertical swing burpee @20lbs: 6 5 5 ( Didn’t do the pushup with the burpee because I was afraid my arms weren’t going to hold me up. lol)
    Roundabout swing @20lbs: 20 20 20 ( I counted each swing as 1 rep because I kept getting confused. lol)
    Anyway I know this is rather long-winded so I’ll shut up now;) Thank you very much for what you do and please don’t ever stop!! I plan on doing many more of your workouts in the future!

    1. Hey Trisha,

      Welcome! That’s cool that Anette did one of my workouts ๐Ÿ˜€

      Glad you enjoyed this one. And what a workout to get started again with! For the row, just make sure your wrist is not extended too much. It will be to a certain degree, but it won’t do you any harm in the short term ๐Ÿ™‚ For the vertical swing burpee, there is no push up anyway, so don’t worry about that. Just a jump back and stand up. It;s like a beginner burpee really.

      I never intend on stopping – Workout factory is I ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Just fyi, I am super super sore today:) What a killer workout. I think I’m going to have to do good old fashion body weight and lots of stretching today! Thanks again for the great workout, I’m in pain but it feels good!!lol

  6. marianne,

    cant wait to try this one out. I should start doing a better job of recording my #’s just so I can keep track and share. I do however focus on effort & form which is good thing! I also wanted to ask you about those vertical swing burpees, I dont know why I cant get that full extension when I lift the KB over my head like you do. I dont think my hands are in correct place when I pick it up. Any suggestions?

    Also just wanted to comment on your pic….wow…what a way to motivate us all…women & MEN!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Keep doing your thing marianne



    1. The only suggestion I can think of, without actually seeing you do it, is to make sure, at the top of the exercise, your thumbs point up to the ceiling. You still want them closed over the handle for safety. I have seen people keep their hands in the same grip position as they start in, which leaves it very awkward at the top.

      Thanks for your compliment on the photo ๐Ÿ™‚

      Let me know it this tip helps!

  7. Monday morning and this woke me up! Nothing like Marianne’s numbers, but this was plenty for me.

    1. Goblet squat 14 kg x 12, 13, 12
    swing 20 kg 26,25, 25

    2. Renegade rows 12 Kgs x17, 16, 17
    burpees 9, 11, 10 (why are these so hard?)

    3. alt deficit rev lunges 10 kg 15, 14, 14 (very careful w/ these)
    weighted dyno squats 10 lbs 19, 18, 19 (still tough, even w/ a wimpy wt! Marianne is a machine w/ these!)

    4. Vertical swing burpee 14 Kg 9.5, 8, 9
    roundabout swings 16 kg 23,23, 23 – found these a real challenge at the end!

    Pulse +1/2 sweat +

    I forgot to mention that my KBs have been like icicles the last few mornings, so perhaps that has contributed to the lesser seat factor. I did not come up with this rating BTW, someone else used it on the forum, I just can’t remember who.

    This was a great all around conditioning workout with a little abs thrown in for those who might not notice, and all in 30 minutes! These short intense workouts with little rest still beat everything else when it comes to getting the most from your time!

    Thanks Marianne for another great one! Congrats again on making Shape’s top 10 list — really top 5 list if you noticed. BTW, Charlotte Anderson is a workout nut and wrote a book and a blog about trying everything under the sun. She seems to have quite a following.

    ~ Gillian

    1. Gillian, your numbers are good! Tell me about the burpees though – they never get easier! LOL Sorry about that evil swing at the end – hehe – it was a nightmare ๐Ÿ˜›

      I just checked out Charlotte’s blog there and it looks good! Have sent her a message to thank her ๐Ÿ™‚

      Cheers *with my mulled wine* ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. omg, i just did this workout, and i’m breathless, i had to modify a bit. i usuallly can’t make it through three rounds on these killer workouts, but i’m happy to say that i did,,, here are my numbers….. and weight.
    Goblet squat , 18, 18, 20 with a 25 lbs
    2 hand swing , 23, 25, 26 with a 25 lbs
    rows, i have to regular rows, as my bells aren’t stable, i did 13, 13, 13 with 25 lbs
    burpees, this is where i modified
    the first two rounds, 14, and 12, last round 50 mountain climbers, those burpees can be killer at times

    Deficit reverse lunge, 9, 10, 9 25 lbs
    weight dynamic, first two round 15 lbs 22, and 25, last round had to go down to 8 lbs for a count of 25.

    then to top of 10 halos each side.

    i’m whipped to say the least. thanks

  9. Marianne, I love your picture! You are in inspiration to my wife & I. It has been great to watch your physical transformation with your resistance training approach. You have accomplished your goals without running! Most people tend to think that running is the only way to get into shape and have a high cardio workout.

    Do your coworkers exercise like you do? I always find it discouraging to see a doctor or nurse who is overweight and in poor physical condition.

    1. Thanks Steve. Actually the frustrating thing about my job is that very few doctors and nurses have good fitness! And it’s shocking how many smoke!! Don’t get me started – this could be a possible rant in the future! Even with me as a “go-to” person, they aren’t interested in what I have to say. They are only interested in ridiculing me for being fit by saying “Your obsessed” or “You do too much” or “you can eat that, sure you’ll burn it off tomorrow” ahhhhhhhhh!


      1. The nay-sayers are always the ones who don’t want to put in the effort. Because keeping fit *does* take effort, it’s not easy for certain! Keep it up and don’t let anyone belittle you for look after yourself! You’ll be the one with the last laugh as you age gracefully and they don’t ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Hi Marianne,

    Congratulations on being in the 10 Ten Video Workouts on YouTube!!! You really deserve it because your site is so awesome and the workouts are the best.

    I’m not going to comment on today’s work (I may attempt it after Xmas!!) However, I really liked your picture, your look absolutely great!!!



    1. Hi Marianne (again),

      Actually, I am going to comment on the workout. I just watched it and it’s awesome. I’ll definitely be doing this to burn off some of my Xmas blubber!

      I’ve got a couple of questions –

      1. Where can I get the Gymboss Interval Timer from? Can I order it in the UK?

      2. This is not really a question – there was a comment from pehansen about using your workouts for strength training. That’s something I’d be interested in as well since I’m now focussing more on strength.



      1. Hey (again) lol,

        You can get the Gymboss through any of my links for Gymboss Interval Timer. It’s in Dollars, but they must have a depot in the UK, because they arrive practically the next day!

        I shall add your request for more strength stuff to the list ๐Ÿ™‚ I may just have to re-organise ALL the workouts :-/ eek! But one way or another, I will try and keep everyone happy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Hi Marianne,

    I really enjoy your workouts – thanks for sharing them with us! I don’t have access to kettlebells so I use dumbbells instead. They work out for the most part, but I find doing the vertical swing tricky with a dumbbell. How would you suggest holding a dumbbell for this exercise? By bar in the middle or grabbing the end (which is awkward when you have to raise it above your head – the hands are in an awkward position)?

    Thanks again!
    Wendy ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Wendy, The I think the best alternative for this exercise with DBs is to do alternating DB Snatch with the “burpee” part. Or double DB Upright Rows. I prefer the Snatch for this though. If you can’t do the snatch then opt for the Upright Row. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Love couplet style workout!I’ll have to put this one into my-to-do-list.

    BTW, I love your picture above…Of course, I want to see more!

  13. This looks great, Iยดll definately try this *bookmarking*

    Iยดm not surprised that you got listed in the top 10, I love your site! And I love that you have a lot of tutorials, that you explain your workouts so well. And most of all, that you take the time to answer all the questions in the comments. I try to read everything since I learn SO much by doing that. Thank you, and keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you Beata, please do bookmark! This is one for me to re-do again – I love it! This one and my Summer Bikini Blast are two stand-out favorites of mine. There are more, but these are my go-to workouts for those days you need to just do something!!

      I am glad that you are finding my site a good resource for learning. That’s what I want it to be. As I learn, I pass it on ๐Ÿ™‚


  14. Hi,

    Again a very nice workout, like to concept with couplets very much.

    Just a question though, this seems like a workout primarily for conditioning… is that right?, and how should I change this kind of workout to be more focused at strength?,,, just adding more weight and less repetitions?

    I do quite a bit of running, 3 times a week, so I really would like to focus my KB training at strength.


    1. Hey there! Most of my workouts are for conditioning. BUT the great thing about KBs is that, because you work with resistance, you will build strength too. Even just the fact that you are reinforcing good movement patterns helps your muscles get stronger through full range of movement.

      To adapt any workout for more strength training, then take away the intervals and set the reps and sets for each exercise. And then progress the weight while lowering the reps.

      I would also say that running and KB strength and conditioning are meant to be a great combo (as per Steve Cotter). So keep up the great work and do what you love!

      I will do a few more strength KB workouts and categorise them better for you to find ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Thanks a lot, and thank you for sharing this website, it is just the greatest source of kettlebell training information, and the videos are just so great to learn from.

  15. Wow! I’m exhausted just from looking at this training! Everytime I watch you or the other Girls Gone Strong girls training with KB’s, I wish there were some in my gym… We’re a bit back in time unfortunately…

    Thank you for this! Oh, and wonderful photo! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Thanks Livia, I like the photo too, made me feel like a model ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hopefully you have somewhere to buy your own KB? Maybe Santa will bring you one for Christmas ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Ha, don’t think Santa’s gonna be that nice this year. I’d need a bigger apartment for that anyway. BUT I did share your video and asked my gym when they intended to get some so that serious girls could train… ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Hi! This looks like a killer…
    Could you post some workout with one kettlebell and without the step…? I love your site. Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks Hani. I appreciate what you’re asking, and I will do it (coz I’m nice ๐Ÿ™‚ ), but none of my workouts are set in stone and you can adapt the double exercises very easily to the single KB versions. For example, the Renegade Row – can be changed to single arm rows, or bent over alternating row etc. The step exercises can be sub’d for one without. For example the deficit reverse lunge doesn’t have to be a deficit. Do the lunges on the ground. Side to side steps can be replaced with skipping, mountain climbers – you can get creative here! I mainly use the step and another KB to advance the exercises for me. I will start to add suggestions for alternatives in again, if that would help too. The last thing I want is anyone to feel they can’t participate ๐Ÿ™‚

      Here is a workout you can do with one KB and no step. Follow the intermediate or beginner version as laid out in the table. Have fun!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Summer Fitness Circuit. Hope this helps x

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