MAX Conditioning Circuit | Home Kettlebell Workout

by Marianne  - February 7, 2012

Over the past few weeks I have been less motivated to train at home and I have needed a change of scenery away from my house’s four walls, so I have been training in the gym more and even doing Intervals again on my beloved Stair Master (oh how I missed you so). The reason I love the Stair Master for HIIT is that I can get a good sprint in, without flaring up my SI Joint (which happens following normal running). I love to sprint, and used to be very good at it in school, but alas, it seems it no longer agrees with my body! Come to think of it, maybe it never did, because back in School I suffered hip, knee and back pain during my athletics years; I just didn’t know how to adjust my training around my aches back then, so I quit! Not any longer! When I feel I need a break from one form of training, I can change to something else for a while.

Anyway, I decided to keep today’s workout simple (layout-wise), but challenging in all other ways! For those of you who are used to several workouts a week, I hope you will forgive me as I produce a little less for a while. I will however, try my best to bring you other information, the odd challenge, and hopefully the occasional Gym-Based Training Video to keep you informed and entertained ๐Ÿ˜€

The Workout

Aim to complete 3 rounds of the following 10 exercises. Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 10 cycles of 20 seconds recovery and 45 seconds effort and take a longer rest between rounds (until you feel ready to recommence). With a little extra recovery time, your form will stay stronger during more reps. My reps per exercise and weights used are in brackets below.

  1. Double KB Front Squat (2x16kg) (10, 8, 7 ) – Remember you can do Single KB Front Squats from the Rack, or Goblet Hold position.
  2. Two Sumo Squat Jump into Burpee (14, 12, 11)
  3. Double KB Single-Leg Deadlifts (left) (2x16kg) (12, 12, 11) – You can also use 1 KB for this.
  4. Right Leg (14, 12, 12)
  5. Renegade Row (2x16kg) ย (17, 17, 18 ) – You can do Bent Over Row with 1 or 2 KBs.
  6. Push Press (right) (16kg) (12, 11, 11)
  7. Push Press (left) (16kg) (13, 12, 11)
  8. Two-Handed KB Swing (24kg) (29, 30, 29)
  9. Knee to Elbow Plank (hold for interval)
  10. Vertical Pull/”Swing” Burpee (first round I used 24kg, then back to 20kg for next 2 rounds) (7, 10, 9) – Amazing what difference 4kg makes!

So that’s today’s torture over. I really enjoyed that workout because there was plenty of variety and each round actually seemed to go in quite quickly; the “hatred” didn’t seem to last as long, so the love came quicker ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s all about that Love/Hate balance!

Now for this week’s Strength Endurance Challenge (as per Jen Sinkler’s evil schedule) – Clickย HERE. ย Back squats, body weight on the barbell, max reps below parallel! ย I’m doing this tomorrow and hoping to do a little better in this than with my Front Squat ๐Ÿ˜›

Hope you enjoy the workout and let me know if you’re taking part in the Back Squat Challenge.




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  1. Greetings Marianne,

    Just restarted my program with the 15 lb weight. My back is killing me. Is this to be expected when you go up in weight. Any suggestions on how to best deal with that? Thanks in advance.

    1. This can happen from simple muscle soreness of the back muscles. Sometimes if the back muscles are so used to compensating for poor hip mobility or poor glute strength, they will get over-worked, especially when you progress the weight. Is there a particular exercise when you feel it in the back? Pain is not always dangerous, but this will give you a good idea of what you need to strengthen. As a general rule with people, their posterior chain is weak as a whole, and their lower body mobility sucks. I would try doing more glute work (activation and strengthening exercises) and also hip mobility drills. If you go to my Glute Bridge Progression Page there are some suggested drills there.

      Is it lower, middle or upper back?

  2. Hey Avis

    I did buy the advanced program and really there are only a few extra exercises and a lot of repeating what you already have. You would probably be better to follow Marianne’s workouts or as you said go back to week 1 with a heavier bell. I was doing my own thing at home for about a year using kettleworx, TRX and then found Marianne’s fantastic site. Her workouts allowed me to get stronger. When I was using kworx I would line up a 8kg, 12kg and 16kg and depending on the exercise because I have a shoulder issue and had to use the 8kg on some of the twisting type exercises and also how I was feeling on the day would determine my KB selection ๐Ÿ™‚ Nowdays at the gym I’m swinging the 24kg around and that’s the heaviest my gym has otherwise I would be looking to go heavier – you will be amazed at your progression but remember to take your rest days and train safely. Good luck!!

      1. Greetings Linda and Marianne,

        Thank you again. I will purchase a larger set of kettle bells within the next couple of weeks. I also need a couple of benches from what I can see from in your workouts. When I have them, I will begin doing Marianne’s workouts. Because I don’t want to get out of the swing of things :), I will restart kettleworx next week with 15lb bell because I have one already one.

        Thank you again ladies.

        Another ? what is your carb breakdown daily?

        1. Avis, I don’t count my carbs, protein or fat, or even calories anymore. I recommend focusing more on total calories if you need to. Perhaps look at getting most of your carbs from vegetables. I eat a lot of root veges, like sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, squash, and I find that has really helped my health. Of course I still have to odd blow-out and chocolate treat ๐Ÿ˜€ At the start it’s good to have an idea of how many calories you are consuming, but what’s more important is that you feel good about your diet and it doesn’t always feel that you are forcing yourself to do things you hate. Less stress = more fat-burning, muscle-building potential ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi Marianne

    Hope I can help here, I started out with the kettleworx dvd’s and still love them, I think they are more of a conditioning metabolic type workout but with a heavier bell I can make them more challenging. Great place to start to learn the moves although there are better instructional dvds out there and I do have a lot of them. I found your instructional s on youtube and you actually helped me with correcting my form. I’m like you focused on heavy compound lifts in the gym at the moment but still love to throw in a Kb Workout to use the body as a whole unit.

    Your workouts are most definitely harder than Kettleworx, but sometimes it’s nice to follow along and not have to think about what’s next. I now consider them a light workout… wow I remember when I thought they were hard I have come a long way in this fitness and strength lifestyle.

    Good luck to Avis in her KB strength journey. Progression is so empowering!!

    1. Greetings Linda,

      Thank you so much for responding. How long did you work out with kettleworx? Did you do kettleworx advance program and if so what did you think of it? I’m just finishing up my 6 weeks. I’m trying to decide whether to start over with a heavier weight or continue to the advanced program with the same weight. I’ve noticed that Marrianne’s program is more condusive to using heavier weight which is fine with me. I would like to incorporate some of her routines into my workout schedule. You mentioned from time to time you do still kettleworx, what is the heaviest weight bell you use?

      Thanks again for you input. I’m sure I’ll be reading your comments in the future.

  4. Greetings
    I am really hoping you can help me. I started doing the KettleWorx program late last year. I absolutely love it. I decided to do more research because I wanted to advance my workout. I then stumbled on several sites to find that the type of kettlebell work you guys are doing is difference (in a sense) than what I’ve been doing. Yes, its a challenging workout. My question is, How does the Kettleworx program stack up against the type of kettlebell work out that you and others are doing? Please help. I love this system I’m using just want to make sure I’m getting the most out of the kettlebell.

    1. Hi Avis, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but I was asking a friend, who I know started out with the Kettleworx dvds, to answer your question. I only know a little about Kettleworx, so I don’t want to make judgments when I am in no position to. My friend is now competing in KB Sport, so he knows the benefits of all types of KB training.

      I will get back to you when he replies. In the meantime I would highly recommend you try some of my Beginner Workouts. You will build a lot more strength doing my workouts along with stability, mobility and then stand to burn more fat. I encourage progression to heavier weights and a mixture of strength training and conditioning workouts. If any of my other readers feel like chiming in about Kettleworx, then I think that will help you.

      Thank you for your patience ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Greetings Marrianne,

        Thank you so much for responding. I really appreciate it. I’m on my last two days of the six week program. Yeah!!! I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate some of your routines into what I’m doing already. It is correct that a 3 day, 20 minute routine is best for kettle bells? The heaviest bell I have right know is a 15 lb. I’m not afraid of progressing up the latter its just I have tendonitis in my left arm and I don’t want to overload it all at once. I’m hoping I can get at least a 30 lb bell in the near future to do some of your workouts with. I will definitely be tuning in. Thank you so much for the wealth of infomation on this site. Its greatly appreciated. I hope you will continue.

        Have a Great Day. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi! I love your workouts and you always inspire and motivate me. I know you’re doing more gym workouts, etc. but would you be able to post your workouts that you do in the gym? Not necessarily a video, but a list of your training (weights, sets, reps…)
    Thanks as always!

    1. Katie, did you ever see the post I did about My Training? It may not answer all the questions you have, but it gives you an idea. I will do another Training update soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. the single leg deadlift is not an easy exercise, even when not using weight.
    So be patient. I would also suggest practicing the single leg deadlift body weight only, on its own and not part of an interval, that way, that is all you are focusing on.

    It worked for me (took a while) but now I love it and I am glad I got most of the information on perfecting (not there yet) this exercise from visiting MYoMy.


  7. Please Marianne, I need help with single leg deadlifts! My balance is non existing, Iยดm all over the place when I try. Canยดt seem to manage even without weights… Is it lack of strength, balance or both? How should I start? Should I practice the move a lot without weights to start with and then add a kb? Or should I work on building strength first, with other moves, before attempting to do this again… I remember watching a video of this a while a go, you posted a video from a friend I think, who talked about the technique and about “pulling your muscles into the groin” or something for stability. Doesnยดt work for me either ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Was it Bret’s video?

      If not, this might help you. Just stick with Body Weight for now. Even just practice the two-leg version and focus on sitting back with the hips against a wall. You’re maybe leaning forward too much. It’s hard to say, without seeing you ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi! Lobe your workouts. I am having major problems with the single leg deadlifts. I am using a 16 kg ( that is all I have available so far) and I keep losing my balance. I used to be ok at the gym doing single legged dl with a barbell. Do you think it’s because my core is too weak comparing to the weight of the kb?
    I am trying to get in shape for a martial arts belt test.

    1. It could be a few different things; ankle, knee, hip instability; core weakness, lack of co-ordination/concentration; maybe your head and neck alignment are causing you to lose balance. Or, it is simply a case of getting used to the KB compared to the barbell. If you’re not already, I recommend trying them in barefeet to get good contact with the floor. You will find better ankle stability this way. Practice makes perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. This was today’s workout. Marianne I think your titles for these workouts should be more like “let them suffer” or “beg for mercy evil workouts” or something like that.
    I counted this time. I also made sure I did not rush due to interval. ooh mami

    Double KB Front Squat (2ร—12kg) (6, 6, 5)

    Two Sumo Squat Jump into Burpee (7, 7, 8) I do these slow should pick up the pace.

    Double KB Single-Leg Deadlifts (left) (2ร—12kg) (8, 7, 5)

    Right Leg (9, 8, 7)

    Renegade Row (2ร—16kg) (10, 10, 5)16kg is pretty loaded for me, but I pushed through.

    Push Press (dbl) (2 8kg) (10, 10, 7) I like to push press to kb at the same time. I am ready for w 12kg

    snatch (12kg)alternating total insanity after the dbl push press.7,7,6

    Two-Handed KB Swing (16kg) (23, 20, 16)

    Knee to Elbow Plank (hold for interval)

    Vertical Pull/โ€Swingโ€ Burpee (12kg) (6, 6, 6)

    Good one for sure I would say this is not for beginners. I am loving the deadlifts. Nest workout I will up my weight just for fun.

  10. Hey Marianne. I have a question about workouts in general.
    I love your site and I love how you encourage us to lift heavier weights. I am trying to do that – but can be hard at times as I FLY in and out of the gym juggling 2 kids, and once I am there I have no spotter. I’m just not confident enough sometimes to go heavier.
    I am on the gym’s instructor sub list so I can get a free membership and I went in and took a ‘muscle class’ the other day.
    And it was HARD! But different. She used lighter weights and did lots of reps, lots of sets, and mixed the tempo from fast to slow.
    Now it was not Tracey Anderson style light weights and high reps, she used 8-20 lbs.
    I walked out of there shaking ad quivering.
    So what kind of workout is better? I am confused only because the workout was harder than I thought it would be.

    1. Gina high rep training is hard. It burns like crazy and your muscle shake afterwards like you have had one hell of a workout. It’s like if I just sit here and lift my arm up and down 30 times, my shoulder WILL burn and quiver, but that’s due to lactic acid build up. It doesn’t take much strength or effort to do that, so there will be few muscular or body composition adaptations that follow. In other words, if my goal is getting stronger, leaner and more defined/shaped, then low weight/high rep training will not get me that. I’m not saying it has no place in your program; if you enjoy it and you feel revived afterwards, it may also help with your muscular endurance, but the only true way to get stronger and have a better body comp is progressive overload. You don’t need to go crazy heavy too soon, just get confident at lifting the weights and then aim to progress them.

      What exercises are you doing that you feel you need a spotter? If this is for squats, then does the gym have spotter bars? Other than that, you can perform Deadlifts, push ups, dips, pull ups, split squats, shoulder presses, reverse lunges without a spotter and with dumbbells. The great thing about these exercises are that they are compound and, with heavier weights, it will take you less time to complete your training than by using high reps and multiple sets. Don’t give up on the strength training yet. You may just need a little help with organising your training session (like so you have a goal of what to do that day). Maybe even split your training up and do upper body and lower body strength sessions to save time (30-45mins on say a Mon for lower body, then Wed or Fri for Upper body). Then use the other days for body weight conditioning at home or this “Muscle Class”.

      I am working on a project right now that I know will help people like you. So I will keep you posted on that. If you need anything else, just ask. I hope this helps a little ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Marianne – I cannot thank you enough for your response here. It helps A LOT. This makes complete sense to me. I am going to stick with getting stronger and lifting heavier weights. And my Kettlebells too of course.
        I think I just need to go into my gym on a weekend when my husband can stay home with the kids and get used to some of the equipment in there so I can organize my workouts better – like you suggest.
        I am excited to move forward! Thanks again.

  11. Sigh, I wanted to go three rounds, I really did. But, after two I was shaking and light-headed. Figured it best to call it a day. I need to pace myself better, I guess.
    Thanks for the workout!

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