Tom’s Extreme Kettlebell Workout with NEW Tabata Madness !!

by Marianne  - June 1, 2011

Hey everyone,

Today I was not motivated at all until I remembered that I had set aside another workout from the Challenge ME series! Tom’s workout was all written out ready for me to do, so there was no escaping and no room for excuses! What a great workout this was – honestly, I didn’t even change anything (well apart from the squats at the end) – thoroughly enjoyed this Tom, so THANK YOU πŸ˜€

This extreme kettlebell workout is great for building and maintaining strength, conditioning your whole body, reinforcing a range of movement patterns and, the NEW Tabata Madness at the end is a great fat-burning finisher!

Extreme Kettlebell Workout with NEW Tabata Madness – Workout Breakdown

The first section is more strength-based and can be performed using set reps, or intervals (as Tom designed). Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 16 cycles of 15 seconds rest and 45 seconds effort and complete 2 rounds of the following 8 exercises:

(My weights and reps per exercise are noted in brackets)

  1. Kettlebell Clean and Press (right) (14kg then 16kg) (9, 6)
  2. Kettlebell Clean and Press (left) (14kg then 16kg) (8, 5)
  3. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing (20kg) (33, 30)
  4. Kettlebell Front Squat (right) (16kg then 20kg) (14, 10)
  5. Kettlebell Front Squat (left) (16kg then 20kg) (13, 8 )
  6. Kettlebell Renegade Rows (2 x 16kg) (17, 16)
  7. Kettlebell Deadlift Burpees (2 x 20kg) (11, 10.5)
  8. Push Ups (24, 21)

Now reset you timer for the Tabata Madness – eek! Set it for 12 cycles of 10 seconds rest and 20 seconds MAX effort. Complete 2 sets of each exercise twice! So 4 sets total, but over 2 rounds. This is how I did it, which may not be the same as what Tom said :/ Either way, this was tough!

  1. Jump Rope (high knees) x 2 sets
  2. Plank Climber (to Static hold in the rest periods) x 2 sets
  3. Squat Jumps (to Static hold in rest periods) x 2 sets

Repeat. It should last 6 mins.

The whole workout should last between 20 – 25 minutes. Don’t know how I came up with 30 mins – haha, Maths was never my strong point!

Hope you all enjoy this as much as me and will post your scores below. Also, give Tom your feedback on his workout design πŸ™‚




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  1. Hi Marianne,

    I am watching these “new old videos” (or “old new videos”, depending on how you look at it) and I do have to say that your figure has improved a lot in these last months.

    Maybe because of Bret’s phenomenal hip thrusts in all their great versions?


  2. Hi Marianne

    great workout…thanks…i will try this one. I have a question about the steel competition kettlebells that you are using. Have
    you ever tried the black cast iron kettlebells? and if so…can you please compare both the cast iron vs. steel kettlebells? give me your pro’s and con’s? and why do you prefer steel kb’s over cast iron?


    1. Hi Michael, I wish I could give you a scientific answer. I got these KBs because they were from Wolverson which = very good value. And I got the steel ones to try because they were pro-grade (which I like better). The Iron ones are good too.

      The main thing when choosing a KB, is not just the material, but how well it is made, especially the handle. Watch for any line where the metal joins (this will rip your hands off if it isn’t smooth). Also watch the size of the handle to ensure proper positioning of the Bell while in the rack position (Bell should not be resting on the wrist). Finally, make sure the shape of the handle is rounder rather than cornered and flat (make for better form during exercises and less discomfort).

      Does that help?


      1. Hi Marianne

        Thank you for your answer. I just ordered a 16kg pro-grade and will try it. My wife uses
        a 6kg & 10kg cast iron KB, but she is a bit intimidated with the pro-grade steel KB’s because they are so big for her. She is 5 feet 2 inches tall. Do you have any problems using the pro-grades due to there size?

        I am presently using a 12kg & 16kg cast iron KB. The one thing i will say is that the cast iron KB’s get bigger in size and handles as you increase the weight, instead of having the same shape and handle size as a pro-grade steel KB.


        1. Michael, I find the Pro-grades more comfortable for most exercises, but then I am 5’5” and not petite, so they are not too big for me. Some people prefer the standard shape and that is fine, For some exercises I would prefer the standard shape, like front squats and reverse lunges, because sometimes when I am already fatigued, it’s harder to maintain a rack (plus I have difficulty at times keeping my elbow in and hip forward, due to tight hip flexors and traps). Let your wife stick with the standard KB if she finds it more comfortable.

          The Pro-grades are a great shape and actually feel lighter than their standard shaped counterparts.


    2. Michael — I’ve used both the “regular” iron kettlebells and the “pro-grade” competition style steel kettlebells. The biggest advantage of the competition bells is that they are all the same size regardless of weight. Whereas the iron bells get larger as you move up in weight. Perhaps you already knew that. On basic exercises, like the swing or rows, it’s not a big deal in my view. However, on more technical moves, utilizing a clean or a snatch for example, having a consistent size is really nice.

  3. I did this one this morning except did alternate rows instead of renegade since I only have one kettlebell. Nice way to end the week. That tabata is hard! πŸ™‚ The 20 lbs I used was too easy for some, swings and deadlifts, and too hard for others, clean and press. I did one handed swings but didn’t think till after to do one leg deadlifts. Now I’m going to have to try again sometime! LOL

  4. Hi Marianne..I really enjoyed this, (thanks Tom)great workout! My only modification was bench jumps replacing the jump rope (didnt have one availabe). I thought the “static” rest on the plank climbers was a nice touch. My numbers :
    KB clean and press (R)- 11,11 20kg
    KB clean and press (L)- 10,9
    Swings-27,24 24kg
    Front Squat (R) 11,10 24kg
    Front Squat (L) 11,9
    Renegade Rows 16,16 24kg
    Deadlift Burpees 11,9 24kg
    Pushups 37,31
    ..great workout..the tbata was ugly though, I was shot. I imagine this would be really good done for reps, no? anyway, thanks!

    1. Hey John, Wow – I never noticed you using 20s and 24s before! Do you mean you can do the main section for set reps? Then yes. Or you meaning the Tabata?

    2. I had purchased a set of 20s from Neptune a while back…we now have matching pais of KBs at our work gym…we had only a single set until last week..

    3. Those are impressive numbers, John. Well done. Like Marianne said, you could definitely do the kettlebell section using fixed reps instead of a timed interval if you want. I tried to pick exercises that would work in either format.

  5. Tom great workout. I modified the last bit to satisfy my cardio needs.
    didn”t do as well as you guys, but hey sleep deprivation always get me.
    1. Kettlebell Clean and Press (right) (14kg then 12kg) (7, 5)
    2. Kettlebell Clean and Press (left) (14kg then 12kg) (6, 7)
    3. Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing (16kg) (28, 26)
    4. Kettlebell Front Squat (right) (8kg ) (9, 10)
    5. Kettlebell Front Squat (left) (8kg) (8, 6 )
    6. Kettlebell Renegade Rows (2 x 16kg) (12, 9)
    7. Kettlebell Deadlift Burpees (2 x 16kg) (12, 9)
    8. Push Ups (19, 14)
    then I took a short break and set the gymboss
    to 12 cycles of 10/20
    and skipped my rope (heck with the neighbor I am leaving)
    jump jacks, high knees, feet together for the entire interval.

    from looking at eveyone’s numbers, I really need to work on my squats to get stronger.
    my trainer is coming tomorrow hope am not too sore.

    thanks for the challenge guys πŸ™‚ keep ’em coming


    1. Ha haa, I knew you’d add a crazy cardio twist πŸ˜‰ Mickela, you did good – the squats will improve, you’re probably going slower to focus on form? Anyway, it’s not always quantity as we know !

      1. yep I go deep and low and also slow on the squats. the presses I used 12kg not 14kg. my calves are killing me from all the skipping and I have a 90 training session today and I race (sailboat) all weekend.

  6. Haven’t done this yet -SO tempted but feeling a little under the whether and may need to do something a LOT easier ;)! However, I’m really looking forward to maybe doing this tomorrow! I love this site Marianne – thanks for providing challenging, well thought-out workouts for us to do at home! And thanks for giving us a chance to share – looking forward to more of the Challenge Me series and whatever else you will bring our way Marianne!
    Have a great day!!! Michele

    1. Hope you feel better soon πŸ™ Poor you.

      There are still so many from the Challenge Me series to do, I can’t wait to try them all πŸ™‚ But, I did do a new workout of my own today, which will be up next (when I can bring myself to come inside again from the lovely weather we have). It is a killer and has a new exercise (well one I’ve never included before) … eek!

      Anyway, off to think about ice-cream now haha!

      Take care of yourself πŸ™‚

  7. I sweated like a sprinkler-head during this timed workout. I’m on my back from injury and not fighting fit, as such, I found this programme intense. I used 16’s all the way through which worked fine. I couldn’t manage the press-ups in full but made the loudest noise β€œVirgin Active” has heard since they stopped burning witches on the cross.

  8. I haven’t been commenting in very long time, it is a bit rude since I am an your blog all the time.
    Thank Marianne and Tom for this workout, just finished it and enjoyed it a lot, did revere lunges in place of squats and some glute work at the end. Funny thing, every time after I finish your workout I’m suprised how much it challenged me, it was no different this time. As Gillian, I think, said it is not becoming any easier.
    Tom, you absolutely need to do this one, is your baby and a good one πŸ™‚

    1. That’s ok Jussa, you don’t have to comment all the time. You are right that some exercises NEVER get easier! LOL

      Glad you enjoyed it. Good thinking to add more glute training to it!

  9. Great this is a workout I can do partly inside and the jumping 2 blocks away at the park.
    I am a bit confused with the second part
    is this the order?
    exercise #1 20 sec rest then exercise #1 20 secs etc.?
    Anyway, no matter how I do it it looks brutal.

    1. Hey Mickela,

      The second part is 10 secs rest, exercise for 20 seconds, 10 secs rest, then 20 secs for the same exercise. Sorry, it looks confusing. It’s just Tabata, only 2 sets per exercise. And there are 2 rounds of 2 sets per exercise .. ahhh!

  10. Marianne — that was great and double 20kg on the deadlift burpees — nice! You interpreted my (poorly worded) instructions perfectly. I guess now I HAVE to do my own workout and post, right?!? It will have to wait until tomorrow though as I rode my bike to work today and I know my legs can’t take the squat jumps (ugh) after that. Many thanks for all your great workouts!

      1. I rested up so I could tackle this head-on today and really challenged myself with some of the weight selections. The second round of front squats nearly ended me, but I made it through. Here are the results:

        Kettlebell Clean and Press (left) (20 kg) (10, 8 )
        Kettlebell Clean and Press (right) (20 kg) (10, 9)
        Two-Handed Kettlebell Swing (24 kg) (27, 24)
        Kettlebell Front Squat (left) (24 kg) (12, 8 )
        Kettlebell Front Squat (right) (24 kg) (13, 8 )
        Kettlebell Renegade Rows (2 x 20 kg) (19, 16)
        Kettlebell Deadlift Burpees (2 x 24 kg) (9, 8 )
        Push Ups (26, 22)

        The twisted tabata was rough. I tried the squat jumps, but quickly reverted to regular squats. I wasn’t really getting too far off the ground anyway πŸ˜€

        1. YAY you finally did it πŸ˜€

          Great numbers! Don’t worry about jumping too high in the squat jumps, it’s still a nightmare jumping a little πŸ˜›

  11. Marianne, first of all as a relative new-by to kettlebells I have found your website to be of great assistance both in technique and enthusiasm, thank you…

    Did this after a traditional strength session for shoulders and it had me blowing bubbles…. loved it al the same and will be back for more.

    used 20kg with the exemption of the clean press were I used 16kg (didn’t want to overdo shoulders)

    1. Thanks David, I am pleased that you find my blog useful and you are challenging yourself in different ways. My shoulder were burning enough after this, so I can only imagine what yours felt like LOL

      Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

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