Testing Times – Full Body Strength Workout

by Marianne  - May 8, 2011

Hi everyone,

As promised, here is the strength workout I planned the other day, but didn’t have time to post. After a few days off, I thought I would have super energy today and really do well with this, but I fell short on a couple of exercises which has highlighted my need to work on Strength Endurance – my “need to work on” list is getting longer ๐Ÿ™

Although I am not a fan of endurance training of any kind, I feel the need to break through the mental barriers associated with this type of training, as it is so rewarding to beat them. Maybe this is a reflection of the hurdles I am overcoming in my personal life as my inner strength and endurance are tested to their limit on a daily basis right now.

I am mentioning inner strength because I am sure everyone here has come to realise that your head has to be in the right place to allow you to perform to your best physically. And it IS hard sometimes to power on through, or even get started, but once you can look back and see how far you have come, EVERYTHING starts to make sense.

It’s not necessarily the destination that is important (although this often keeps us going) but more often, it is the journey itself that teaches us the most about ourselves and, it is during the journey that we adapt to what life has thrown our way. Often the destination we end up at, is miles from the one we were aiming for – hopefully, if healing truly happens, this new place is even better ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, I really don’t know where all that came from, but it was clearly on my mind and I hope it reaches anyone out there who is struggling through their own Testing Times.

Today’s workout has 7 exercises in total, depending how you look at it, as left and right written separately, makes it 10 exercises. The aim is to complete 3 sets of an exercise before moving on to the next. When possible, try to either increase the weight, or advance the exercise in some other way, to progressively challenge your strength.

The exercises, rep ranges, my reps and weights are below:

  1. Pull Up x Max Reps (7, 6, 5)
  2. Push Ups x Max Reps (26, 21, 17)
  3. Weighted Single-Leg Deadlift (left and right) x 5 – 15 reps (2 x 16kg, 2 x 20kg, 2 x 20kg) (both sides – 14, 10, 8)
  4. Double KB Military Press x 5 – 15 reps (2 x 12kg, 2 x 14kg, 2 x 16kg) (15, 10, 4)
  5. Pistol (full then partial) x Max Reps (both sides – 5, 5, 5)
  6. Double KB Bent Over Row x 5 – 15 reps (2 x 14kg, 2 x 16kg, 2 x 20kg) (15, 10, 6)
  7. Body Weight Single-Leg Hip Thrust x Max Reps (both sides – 15, 17, 13)

The rep range I have provided is only a guide, as I am basing it on the understanding that most people will not have the number of kettlebells I do, so will be performing higher reps.ย  If you are reaching 12 – 15 reps with ease, it is maybe time to think about a heavier kettlebell, if you are wanting to build more strength.

I know Kettlebells are expensive to buy, but if strength is something you want to build then you have to realise that you will need to progress the weight to achieve this.ย  Of course Kettlebells are not the only resistance tool out there and my workouts can easily be adapted to include the use of Dumbbells, sandbags, even the barbell – so don’t feel you cannot participate if you don’t own any Kettlebells.ย  Also remember that beginners should try and master body weight versions when possible.ย  For the swing, the row and the military press, and the pull up (or even the inverted row) equipment is required, even for beginners.

I hope you all enjoy this workout and I am sure I will have some stiff competition from some of you guys with regards to push ups especially – feel free to post your numbers and evaluate your efforts ๐Ÿ™‚ We can call it “Workout Post Mortem” haha

The conditioning section after this workout was an absolute wash out – totally died after that! Well deserved rest tomorrow I think.

I will be back soon with more.




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    1. Hi Norma,

      I do tabatas just when I feel like it. But I don’t see why there would be a limit?? It’s frustrating when people are given this type of advice, because in all honesty, everyone is so different, so how can they say “only twice a week”. You should deside your frequency of exercise and the intensity you choose on your own ability and recovery rate. There are no hard and fast rules about this, so just listen to your body.

      That’s my best advice ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Hi Marianne,

    I absolutely loved this workout! From now on Iโ€™m going to make it my go-to whenever I need a strength workout. I like it that I can do this one with dumbbells at the gym too if i don’t feel like driving my kbs in. My fella is always worrying that they are clunking around on the back seat and wrecking his car ๐Ÿ™‚

    Just wanted to say I completely understand what you are going through on the personal front. I split with my fiancรฉ 6 years ago (Iโ€™m now with someone loads better) and I know you have to find new reserves of confidence and self-reliance to deal with lifeโ€™s daily stresses. It says something about your strength of character that you are continuing to do such a great job with this site and forum, as well as take on lots of new challenges.

    Keep smiling babe โ€“ you rock! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks Emma, I appreciate the hope in your story. I am feeling stronger these days and am excited by life again. That sounds terrible, but I guess sometimes what you’re used to is not necessarily the best thing for you. When you’re in it, you make excuses for the bad times and keep telling yourself they will pass – but how long can you wait, and how much should you sacrifice. I am glad it worked out for you ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Hello

    Have been a fan for a while. Was in need of some inspiration and i thought of you!
    Where are the videos that go along with the work out? Please bring them back as i am a very visual person.


    1. Neville, thanks for commenting. The videos are embedded on the page above. If you can’t see them, you may need to update your browser, or use a different one. Sometimes flashplayer can interfere too. But they vids are there.

      Hope you can get them working


  3. Hello,
    I did this workout on Monday and had planned to add more strenght training onto the end but had zero energy left after I finished.
    You always seem to know exactly the right amount of exercises & rounds to push us to our max:)
    Pull Up x Max Reps (4,3,3) I caught myself feeling negative about my pull up numbers untill I realized that just a few months ago I couldnt even do one! So im proud of my numbers and am working hard to improve them:)
    Push Ups x Max Reps (30, 26, 25)
    Weighted Single-Leg Deadlift 2 x 16kg-12 all rounds
    Double KB Military Press- 2X15lbs-15, 2X 20lb-10 2X25lb-4
    Bulgarian Squat-Round 1- BWx20 L&R,Round 2&3-20lbsX10 L&R
    Double KB Bent Over Row-14&12kg-10,10 2X16kg-6
    Body Weight Single-Leg Hip Thrust-15,10,10
    Tricep Dips on bench/feet on ball- 20lb sandbag on legs-20,20,15


  4. Hey Marianne..
    Test indeed ! This beat the sh*t out of me..lol. Today was pushup day in my program, and I did those earlier. i checked out todays workout, was going to let it go because i was push-up’d out. Then I read your blog and decided to man-up. I was inspired. Trite, maybe, but i figured if you can tough it out, I can tough it out. That of course in no way includes pistols.
    Anyway, here’s how it shook out-
    Pull-ups : 12,11,11 ( almost 11..if i get my eyes bar level on my last one, I’m keeping it..lol)
    Push ups :66,48,35. Not crazy about this. Big drop off between sets.
    Single leg dead lifts- (Right)12, 11,11 (no matching sets at the gym-i used 20 and 24 KG)
    Single leg dead lifts (left) 7, 8,7
    Double Military press- (16 and 20 KG KB) 15,14,12
    Pistols- yeah, right. I tried bulgarian squats, grunted through 3 sets, didnt count.
    Bent over rows -(24 and 28 kg KB) 11, 10,9
    Hip thrusts-(R) 10,10,9
    Hip thrusts (L) 9,9,7

    this was a great strength workout. I was completely beat up after..way to go, Marianne! My numbers were kind of strange as far as dropping off from set to set in some places which i wasnt too happy about. I think this would be a great once weekly test to see where you’re at..

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