Magic “Blonde” Moments – Kettlebell Workout

by Marianne  - December 5, 2011

Hi all!

In work we are planning a big move next week as the whole ward is moving down a floor. Part of the reason is to have more bed spaces so we can have a Progressive Care Unit on the ward and take more dependent patients back after their surgery to leave more room in Cardiac ICU and HDU for even more dependent patients.  To prepare for this change, all staff need to have additional specialist training to care for these patients, so we each have to spend 2 weeks working in Cardiac ICU and HDU to learn new skills and build our confidence with using the different equipment.

Anyway, the reason I am telling you this is that being somewhere new can be quite nerve-wracking and I was pretty exhausted after these shifts.  So I think it caused me to be a little stupid in my tiredness. When I went to do this workout on Thursday, things didn’t go quite to plan. My head must have been somewhere else because for the life of me I could not get the second exercise! It was quite funny at how stupid I can be at times 😉

I’m only posting this now because I have been having way too much fun this week 😀 We have a Continental Market in Belfast City Centre for the month of December and I have been hanging about there quite a lot drinking the nice Mulled Wine and Bailey’s Coffees/hot chocolates and eating nice burgers, fudges and crepes 😛 Yummy yummy!

Oh and this weeks training took a little detour as I decided to ONLY do home conditioning all week until Saturday when I trained heavy. I guess a deload week was needed, so I went with how I felt. Did me the world of good.

The Workout

The workout is mostly made up of  kettlebell exercises and the focus is mostly conditioning. Set your Gymboss Classic Interval Timer for 21 cycles of 15 seconds recovery and 45 seconds effort and complete 3 rounds of the following 7 exercises. Please note that for the second exercise you can split it into 2 intervals for the right side and left side, or change it to a double KB exercise like double Clean and Press or even just Push Presses. I clearly messed this one up LOL!

  1. KB Goblet Squat (20kg) (18, 16, 15)
  2. KB Alternating Clean and Press (LOL) (14kg, 14kg, 16kg) (5, 5, 6)
  3. Alternating Single-Leg Hip Thrust (16, 14, 14)
  4. Bent Over Double KB Row (2x16kg) (13, 12, 10)
  5. Stand-Kneel-Stand (right) (15, 14, 13)
  6. Stand-Kneel-Stand (left) (14, 15, 13)
  7. Two-Handed KB Swing (24kg, 24,kg, 20kg) (27, 28, 31)

That was a great wee workout, except for exercise number 2! But that did make me laugh, so at least I got some ab work in there too 😉

Hopefully you will think of something better to replace that exercise.

Have fun and I’ll see you soon!




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  1. Should have practiced the single leg hip thrust before hand lol.
    Great workout as usual!!
    squats @35lbs: 19 19 16
    clean and press @25lbs: 6 7 5
    hip thrust: 18

    1. whoops, wrong button lol, anyway
      hip thrust: 18 10 15
      stand/kneel/stand @25lbs rd1-2 and 20lbs for last rd: R-6 5 5 l- 7 7 5 (got a charlie horse in my right leg so I had some issues)
      swings @35lbs: 20 20 19
      rows @20lbs: 15 15 14
      Thanks for the great workout and the motivation, before I found this site I was in a real slump so I really can thank you enough for re-lighting the fire under my arse so to speak. lol

  2. I did this this morning… hemmed and hahhed about it, since I got started late. In the end I though, its only 21 minutes, how bad can it be. After the first set, I was thinking, just get through one more set. And After that, it was, just get through each exercise…. but I finished it.

    1. KB Goblet squats 14 Kg x 15, 13,12 felt good, but got really hard after the 1st round
    2. alt C& P 12 Kg x 8, 8 ,8 I could not imagine going heavier!
    3. alt single hip thrust 24, 23, 23 barely enough time to get the bench in place for these
    4. bent over double row 12 Kg 17, 13, 12 I put these down each rep after the 1st round
    5. S-K-S L 10 kg x 11, 11, 9
    6. S-K-S R 10 Kg x 11,11, 10 I HATE these and I am VERY careful w/ my knees, they’re tough too!
    7. Swing 16 Kg 27, 27, 28

    Got HR up ++, sweaty + I am really glad I did do heavier wts as these were hard enough by the end!

    I am so glad I did this! Marianne, you know just how much to push — as usual, this was a challenge, but not impossible, and it left me breathing hard when I was done.


    ~ Gillian

  3. Love it, bookmarked it!

    I was wondering how I should do those hip thrusts since I don´t have benches like yours, then saw the comment and your answer below with the video of Bret and had to try it right away, in my pj`s, on the couch and coffee table. Worked fine :-). Who needs proper equipment ;-). Thank you for always answering comments so thouroghly, it´s very helpful for all of us.

    One more question: when I do hip thrusts or glute bridges I can´t seem to push my butt far enough to make my upper body straight, if you know what I mean. It doesn´t matter if I´m flat on the floor, use a pilates ball or, as I tried right now, on the couch and coffee table. I can´t push that far. The back of my thighs (hamstrings?!) cramp up. Am I just not strong enough (yet!) or do you have any suggestions?


    1. Ha! You can use home furniture LOL!

      What you describe could be a few things:

      1) your glutes aren’t activating enough. You could follow the below video to try and help that:

      2) Maybe your feet are too far away from your butt. This can make the hammies more likely to cramp because they are being used under more of a stretch.

      3) Tight hip flexors. These can be stretched out before and in between sets.

      You can work on these things and gradually build up your glute strength. The main thing is that you feel the glutes doing the work, even if it doesn’t feel that far. It will improve and your glutes will get stronger. The more you strain at the top, the more likely your hammies or low back will try to compensate. Also, remember regression is an option; so stick with the glute bridge a while longer and go from there.

      Hope this helps 🙂

  4. Hey Marianne

    I tried this one out this morning… my weights are way down from yours but I did do my heavy gym day yesterday so my back was already a little fried. I can’t believe how much leg strength I have lost. Hopefully after Christmas ( and the knee surgery) I can get my strength back. I am having my torn meniscus fixed. Originally they told me to come back when I turned 65 and get my knee replacement but I kept bugging them to try and fix it!
    Anyways, needless to say my knees didn’t like the Stand – Kneel-Stand so I did step ups as I already had my step out for the bridges. By the end my back muscles were done and I couldn’t even hold the bells (as light as they were) in the rack position!

    KB Goblet Squat (20lbs) (14,12,13)
    KB Alternating Clean and Press 14kg (8,8,8)
    Alternating Single-Leg Hip Thrust (12, 16, 16)
    Bent Over Double KB Row (2×16kg) (11,10) 2 x20lb (18)
    Stand-Kneel-Stand (right) (9) Step Up right (10, 11)
    Stand-Kneel-Stand (left) (9) Step Up left (10, 11)
    Two-Handed KB Swing (16kg) (25, 25, 29)
    I have been following up all my workouts with yoga and that seems to help the rest of my body loosen up after workouts. I am doing Nia’s sample training along with your workouts till Christmas so we’ll see how it goes!

    Thanks for the great workout. I am totally amazed at your strength!

    1. Heather, you have to stop bashing the weights you use – that’s an order!! I don’t sit here and think “omg, she only uses 16kg for her swing – she’s not strong!” I am thrilled that, despite your knee troubles, you are adapting your training and building your strength instead of giving up! I also know that you will increase your weights when you are ready. And, HELLO, I was using 14kg for the Clean and Presses and 2x16kg for the rows too! 😛

      What a great combo of strength and conditioning, with Nia’s programme and mine – I love Nia and she does a great job! Do you train at home all the time, or do you make it to the gym?


      1. Hey Marianne

        I know that I am too hard on myself but I really feel set back by the knee thing. I think you probably know what I mean. I finally figure out what I need to do to get in shape and help myself and I can’t do it all because of an injury. I just bought Nia’s badass ebook and I am looking forward to mixing that with kettlebells!

        Right now I workout at home. I have a squat rack, bench and barbell but my weights only go up to 115lbs so I will need to get some more sooner than later. I live about 1/2 an hour to the nearest gym and with little kids adding an extra hour of driving time to my workouts just does not work for me. I have a few kettlebells but my heaviest is a 16 so I need to get some more of those too. Once I get alot stronger I may have to go to a gym just to get enough weight!

        Great job getting on the SHAPE list!!! I used to read that mag religiously… not so much anymore! You’ve put so much work into this site and so much or yourself. The acclaim is well deserved!

        TTYS Heather

        1. I know what you mean and it’s very frustrating at times. Actually I am thinking of writing a post about Training with Chronic Pain. I know there are a lot of people who suffer from chronic conditions that feel frustrated, alone, maybe a little bitter and all they want to do is be stronger. It might take me a while to get a little research done, but it would be a good topic to air.

          I was telling Nia how more and more people are combining our material to get the more balance in their training with strength and conditioning. I believe you will see great results from this combination. It’s great that you have this equipment at home to do a bit of everything – I’m a little jealous of your squat rack hehe!

          Thank you (re Shape), I honesty can’t believe they had even heard of me. Myomytv is making its mark 😀 x

    2. Heather, those weights look pretty serious to me… I don’t know what you are talking about! 20 Kg goblets, 14 Kg C&P, 20 Kg rows are all awesome, and way more than I can do! And you’re injured? WOW!

      ~ Gillian

      1. I realize I got 20KG mixed up with 20 lbs! No wonder you were able to do 20 double rows… I was envisioning a massive Amazon woman with arms of steel. OMG! Needless to say, your double rows and C&Ps were awesome — that is seriously big weight and it take determination to work that hard!

        ~ Gillian

        1. Hey Gillian – I was out yesterday when I got your replies and had a good laugh at the thought of me using the 20kg for goblet squats! and then laughed even more at the Amazon comment! I have been training timed sets for C&P with the 14 so I was well prepared for those and now I think I am paying for the 16kg rows!

          Thanks for the support!

  5. Ha ha I do that all the time when I alternate the KB sometimes I forget what side I started from and I end up calling myself all sorts of vulgar names. I have beena bum lately, sleeping a lot and watching you workout. It’s time to get cracking.

    1. Haha to the vulgar names – I get that 😀

      You taking a wee rest? No problem with that. Last week I just did a few workouts and that was it – sometimes you need to be a bum for a while. You do a lot usually, so listen to your inner bum, sounds like you need it 😉

    1. Hey Cindy, yes you can do this with 1 KB. All the exercises except the row are done with one KB. Instead of the double row, do alternating bent over rows, or split the interval into 2 and do single arm row 🙂

  6. Looks like another great workout Marianne! LOL on the clean and press. I caught myself doing the same thing a couple of weeks ago. My mind tends to wander some times when I do a workout.

  7. Hi Marianne!!!
    Question time… again!!!LOL
    Looking around youtube (hate the new layout btw), saw a bridge exercise variation, but with feet elevated. So I read a bit what Bret has to say about the bridging exercises with elevated shoulder, but what about elevated feet?Same glute activation?It looks to e it could be a little more strain on the back, but then again it’s just my guess!
    That Continental market sounds lush!!!And after reading this I could kill a crepe!But I have no eggs at home 🙁
    Just out of curiosity what’s your favourite combination?
    Mine is Nutella with a sprinkle of chopped hazelnuts and whipped cream on top!!I chopped a banana in it too if I’m trying to make it pass for “healthy” food ;)What can I say… Italians do it better!

    1. Hey Sara, my favorite Crepe topping is actually very tame – just lemon and sugar 😛 Love it!

      As for you question about the Feet Elevated Hip Thrust, this variation is fine, but will activate the hamstrings more. I can’t see it having the same glute activation as the shoulder elevated, but I could be wrong. Bret did a video on the progressions, which I am not sure if you’ve seen. I found it pretty useful.

      It might actually have less strain on the back as the upper back is still well supported. But with the shoulder elevated version, you might find it a little tougher on the back. You can reduce this by having the bench further down your back. If that makes sense 🙂

  8. Marianne,

    Even though exercises is great at being a stress-reliever, sometimes the body, and mind, just need more of a break to decompress. Keeping things simple are sometimes the best route. Kettlebells are a great tool for getting in a good workout just for times like these.


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