Let’s Heat Things Up – Variety Workout

by Marianne  - November 25, 2010

Hi everyone,

Last night I was asking Andrew what he thought of my workouts and exercises etc, and he said “they need more variety” :/! I actually thought the workouts I do are pretty varied, but I think he means the exercises I choose are very similar each time. Maybe this is the case, but I am not big into bells and whistles, so if a squat does the job, why change it? Obviously I didn’t appreciate this criticism at the time, but I have taken it on board in today’s workout.

This workout is a variety between Kettlebell resistance, kettlebell cardio, bodyweight cardio and strength. One thing that has been bugging me since the move is that my pull up bar does not fit the door frame here. So, looking out the back door, I noticed very handy wooden beams, which I used for pull ups and hanging knee raises today. The only down side to this was, the small amount of SNOW on the ground after last night’s freeze! So, with cold feet and hands, I want you all to see the lengths I go to in providing more variety for my home workouts LOL!!

The Workout

The set up for this workout is also slightly different than usual. Some exercises are set reps, others are timed, and the last set of exercises is Tabata interval style. So a mix of everything really.  As normal I have provided a “key” to describe the main focus or each exercise, whether it is cardio (c), resistance (r), strength (s), plyometric (p), stability (st) or a core activating exercise (cae).

If you have a Gymboss Interval Timer then set it for one manual interval of 45 seconds to re-use through the workout. Don’t worry about timing the other exercises, just have a rough idea in your mind of how long you want the entire workout to last, remembering to factor in the 4 minute Tabata at the end. I wanted this to last between 20-30 minutes today, as I have some more energy and determination after receiving some greatly appreciated support from you all over the last few days. My mood has picked up after catching up on sleep and recovery, so thanks everyone 🙂

The first section of this workout is the biggest mix of exercises. You will need a pull up device, preferably 2 kettlebells and a jump rope. If, btw you only have 1 kettlebell, remember you can easily spilt the double KB exercise in two and perform it on each side separately.  I did 3 rounds of these 7 exercises, using a mix of set reps and the timer :

  1. Double KB Clean – Front Squat – Press – Renegade Row x 6 reps
  2. Burpees x 45 seconds
  3. Pull Ups x 3 reps
  4. KB Windmill (right) x 6 reps
  5. KB Windmill (left) x 6 reps
  6. Skipping x 45 seconds
  7. Hanging Knee/leg raises x 45 seconds

Then I took a short breather and reset my Gymboss Interval Timer for 8 cycles of 10 seconds rest followed by 20 seconds of max effort for the Tabata section. The exercises are a mix of KBs and Body Weight, focusing on cardio (obviously), but alternatively targeting the anterior and posterior chains of the body, using KB Swings (posterior) and Squat Jumps (anterior). I didn’t have time to record reps here, so just try and maintain max effort for this HIIT training.

The sequence for the Tabata is 4 rounds of the following:

  1. Two-handed KB Swing
  2. Squat Jumps

I hope this all makes sense 🙂

This was a tough workout today, as I am not use to the cold for a start, so I had to get really well warmed up first. It was fun doing pull ups again, but the wood was a little uncomfortable on the hands (hence the gloves).

For those who are interested, I used the my two 16kg kettlebells (yellow) and my 20kg (grey) for today’s workout. The first exercise was the most challenging as it was a combo of 4 other exercises.  Great drill, very challenging and rewarding once the 6 reps were over LOL.

As always, I encourage comments, suggestions and just general chit chat about this workout etc etc 😀 I hope it is warm and dry where ever you all may be.

Talk to you all soon.



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  1. Ha ha I was going to ask why you have not done a tabata for ages and then you go and do one lol.

    Really liked this workout! I get an extra bit as I live in a 3 storey house and the only place I can do my KBs is downstairs in the kitchen, and the only place I can fit my pull-up bar is on the top floor. So I keep having to run up and down the stairs LOL.

    The sweat is lashing off me now!


    1. Nice! Guess that’s your extra cardio right there 🙂 Might start adding in the odd Tabata again, as this one really killed me, the jumps and the heavy swings were a great combo! Cheers

  2. You are strong as an OX! This one killed me and I was cheating the whole time. (Can’t do pull-ups so I used a chair) I used dumbbells instead of kettlebells, but They are on my Christmas list. The ones I am looking at come in a set of 4…all different weights. Do I need to get two sets? (They are not the cheapest things in the world.) Why do they sell them this way. Are most of the exercises geared for one kettlebell or should I get two sets?

    1. Hey Laurie, One set is enough. All of my double KB exercises can be adapted to one. And in some double KB exercises, the weights don’t always need to be the same. I know how KBs are expensive, so just get one set for now 🙂

  3. Very warm and nice -17C here, so probably not going to workout outside, except for a little walk maybe(not a workout though). This set of exercises looks really nice, can’t wait to try it. I think it’s nice to have a certain amount of time for the cardio exercises and a certain number for the other exercises, so I can really focus on doing the exercises properly. Time always pushes me to do more(push my self)cardio like burpees for exemple (competing time I think I can do at least few more- with given number I think blaah I have to do few more) but it also has the negative effect on strength exercises for I might do them too fast and my form suffers, I’m not sure if I feel it where it should. So I think it’s very nice idea to mix the time and set reps.

    Have a nice weekend!


    1. Thanks Annika, this is my feeling too. I think each method suits the type of training better. It’s nice to get a mix of styles too 🙂

      Gosh that is cold! Where are you from?


  4. Hi Marrianne,
    I’ve been following your workouts since March of this year and I really enjoy them. I use them on the days I don’t weight lift at the gym. I know a little crittism from Andrew bothered you some, but I liked to say that if you were boring or I wasn’t getting the workout that I want out of your workouts. I wouldn’t be following you. So believe in what you do and how you do it because that is why you have so many follwers.

  5. Hey Marianne – This is absolutely fabulous! I’ve always loved your outdoor workouts best. They really get us totally out of the ‘need gym’ mode. Beautiful backyard.. it’s just snowed here today in Ontario, Canada too. I should get my booty iced outside too. Thanks for being so dedicated. You’re motivating many beyond their norms! Happy Friday.. Elle K

    1. Thanks Lisa, I appreciate the ongoing support. Now, Get you out into that snow and do some burpees 😉 LOL It was chilly and still is. Bet it’s colder in Canada though.


  6. hello from noisy Ne York.
    I wish I could do your tutorials, but I am still learning and I am camera shy 😛
    Just an update, I am still working on perfecting the kettlebell cleans, my right side is dominant when I do these, I have a small bruise on my left fore arm which means I really have to focus on form. (practice makes perfect).

    Hi Bianca a great way to practice full push ups, is to try the plank exercise, it is done in yoga and also pilates, hold the plank position either with elbows bent or arms straight up and count slowly to ten. Pay attention to your body and breath, focusing on every part of your body,not just your core and keep it tight while breathing ,you will strengthen your core this way. In no time you’ll be able to push down and up.
    I was such a wuss with push ups last year, kind of like I am with pull ups and chin ups now.
    For me it had a lot with being told that girls can’t or should not do these types of exercises, so it’s like you are fighting a voice that is telling you “what you are doing is bad”, and fear gets in your body and won’t allow you to move forward.
    That is one reason why I like to watch Marianne it is really motivating.
    Jeez am taking up a lot of space blabbing 🙂

    1. Thanks Mickela, I’ll be following your advice and then let you know.

      My goal is to be able to do at least a couple of real push-ups by Christmas. At the moment, when I start doing them from my feet and then start bending my elbows, I feel like my face is going to collapse on the floor (a very nice feeling)!

      But I won’t give up! 🙂

  7. Hi Marianne,

    sorry it’s me again. I was thinking one thing: rather than a tutorial video for each workout, I think it would be great to have an “exercise tutorial section” in your blog where you have a tutorial video for each exercise, explaining proper form and what muscle groups the exercise targets, etc.

    Uploading just one new exercise tutorial at a time (or whenever you have time), without hurry. It would eventually become most helpful.

    But if you don’t have time, don’t worry, never mind.


    1. Yeah I’d say this would be the best option. I know that Zzzuzana is doing a exercise “library”, but I was actually wanting to do this here before they did it lol 😉 Just had to get that in. Then I could have adaptations for beginners for each exercise. Even though most KB beginner adaptations involve using a lighter weight and that’s about it 🙂


  8. Nice work Marianne.
    I just finished this workout with a few changes, mainly because I am a beginner with the KB and I only have one as well.
    The first part took me 25:37
    I did the cleans,rows,press and squats in segments for obvious reasons I am still in practice mode with the presses (3each) and I also was doing one handed rows(6 each) squats (6) cleans think I lost count trying to concentrate.
    burpees 8,7,7
    windmill 6 with DB then 3 with KB and this was my first time with the 10KG KB
    pull ups 3 assisted (I swear these are so hard for me)

    I am an animal when it comes to skipping rope so :
    round one I did one legged jumps switching
    round 2 I did high knees
    and round 3 I just gave it all I had.
    hanging knee raises I did 12 in all rounds, I can’t extend my legs out ’cause my bathroom is where I do these and there isn’t enough room to stretch all the way out.

    I think I got a full workout from this very enjoyable workout.
    I changed the squat jumps for skipping, I thought it was a nice switch going from the swings to the skips.
    I would rate this very high, the great thing about it is I can make it more difficult by adding more weight or reps.


    1. Great adaptations! Mickela, you could nearly do my tutorials for me – looks like you are pretty clued in. Wish I was as good at the skipping as you, it’s great cardio, and good for the calves! I am sorry if sometimes I seem to forget about beginners. I will make a tutorial over the weekend and early next week I will offer some advice for those starting out, as I have a few nights off in a row.


    2. Killer workout! Those damn renegade rows still kill me.
      I have to do them on my knees now – I’m actually pregnant and still working out as hard as I can.
      Have you seen Lauren Brooks’ workout clips pregnant?

      No hanging knee raises right now, but I just hang from the bar to keep some strength in my upper body, or I do some side planks.

      I either do body rows, or negative pull ups, belly is simply in the way for pull ups. I was up to 6 unassisted. Sigh…. will get there again.

      I can’t wait to go all out with these workouts after the baby comes. I have to use such light KB’s and I see how strong you are – very inspiring!!! You are keeping me fit pregnant and you will get me back into shape in no time after.
      I love your site!

      I have posted on Melissa’s too, and glad she is done with her experiment and look forward to her new workouts as well.

      Keep up the good work. You are inspiring women everywhere – even us preggos. 🙂

      1. Thanks Gina, YOU are more and inspiration than me, you’re pregnant! Well done with continuing to train – I hope to follow in Lauren Brooks’ and your footsteps too if I am ever preg, no way do I want to give up my training.

        When are you due?


      2. Thanks Marianne!!! Due Jan 5th – so getting close. Getting slower with each day, but that’s to be expected. I figure some movement is better than none.
        Going to keep watching you for motivation though. Your strength is amazing.

  9. Hi Marianne,

    I have answered your comment on Melissa’s site, so you can read it there if you want.

    I think this workout looks great and varied (Andrew’s was constructive criticism).

    You are so strong, Marianne (and lean, also): today I was doing biceps curls with 6 kg kettlebells and I was telling my fitness instructor “Marianne would do them with at least 16 kg, if not 20”.

    Can I ask you something: have you always been able to do push-ups (unassisted ones) or did you start doing them from the knees? Sometimes I think that I will never learn how to do them properly but I don’t want to give up hope.

    Oh, one last thing, totally off topic: hip thrusts are indeed great. Even though I don’t feel sore the day after I’ve done them (which is strange because I often feel sore after deadlifts, squats and reverse-lunges), I really feel a huge burn while I do them.


    1. Thanks Bianca, I will read your reply shortly 🙂

      I started doing push ups from my knees, and stayed like that for ages because I didn’t believe I could do it any other way LOL – then I made myself do one or two full ones and before I knew it, that’s all I did. See now, I won’t allow myslef to drop back to my knees, I just reduce the depth of the push up from my feet. Maybe you should try that. Instead of from your knee, do them from your feet, but only go 1/4 of the way down, then 1/2. Soon you’ll be used to the body position and the weight on your hands and you will do only full ones. I find them easy now, but I was once where you are (with push ups). I still need to work on my pushup volume as I want to increase the number I can do in a row.

      The hip thrusters are good, I never really get a chance to use them – but my glutes are not my focus area LOL, think I need to do more single leg stuff to work on my quads.

      Thanks for say lean 🙂 even though I think I’ve put on a layer for the winter 😉 LOL, ah well no harm – just wait til Christmas!

      From Icey Ireland

      1. Hi Marianne,

        great suggestion for the push-ups: I’ll try them and then let you know. Let’s say one thing: bearing your advice, I will try and see if I manage to do at least one “normal” push up by Christmas.

        The hip thrusts are very good and I saw in Bret Contrer-ass’ (lol) site that it’s also possible to tie two kettlebells with a yoga strap (or any resistant strap), place the strap on your lap and do hip thrusts in a loaded version but without having to use a barbell (which people normally don’t have at home).

        From snowy Milan


          1. Thanks Laurie!

            I will be checking this site and see if it works for me as well.

            I always feel so frustrated when I see that everybody seems to be able to do push ups and I seem to be the only one who just can’t…

            So thanks 🙂

    2. Hiya,

      another really good way of building up to doing a full push-up is to start in full press-up position and lower yourself down to the floor really slowly. It’s fine if you can’t push back up again. Do as many of those as you can, or in sets as you prefer and you will slowly build up the strength to be able to do a full push-up.

      you can use this technique for many exercise that you may find difficult to do a full rep of from pull-ups to sit-ups etc.


      1. Hi Steve,

        thanks to you too. Do you have a link showing the full press-up position? Sorry, I am Italian and I am not completely familiar with all fitness terms (and I also remember that you are the “link guy”, as you posted lots of various other exercises if I am not mistaken).

        Thanks again :))

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