Train Like a Beautiful Badass – Kettlebell Conditioning Workout

by Marianne  - June 6, 2011

Hi all,

When I arrived in from work, I was so excited to see Bret Contreras had posted a list of 13 hard-training “Beautiful Badasses”, who are all training for optimal strength and performance, which I think everyone here will appreciate! Even better is that I am on that list πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ … Given the caliber of the other 12 women, I am super-pleased to have been included!

You can check out Bret’s post “Where-my-Ladies-at” here.

I just love the term “Beautiful Badass” – it just sounds super cool!

Anyway, after seeing all the video clips of these amazing women train, I HAD to put together some sort of workout to satisfy my sudden motivation πŸ™‚

This is a conditioning workout, so it is great to add-on to a strength session, use as a “filler” or just when you feel like doing something (like I did). Each round lasts 8 minutes, so you can choose how long it lasts. I decided to do 2 rounds (given I was also very tired).

Workout Breakdown

Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for say 16 cycles of 15 seconds rest and 45 effort and complete 2 rounds (min) of the following 8 exercises:

  1. Alternating KB High Deficit Reverse Lunge (16kg, 20kg) (19, 13)
  2. Side to Side Step Ups (48, 46)
  3. KB Vertical Swing Burpee (20kg, 24kg) (10, 7)
  4. Two-Handed KB Swing (20kg, 24kg) ( 30, 25)
  5. Feet-Elevated Plank Climber (21, 19)
  6. KB Alternating Bent Over Row (20kg) (12, 11)
  7. Alternating Single-Leg Hip Thrusts (21, 20)
  8. Side to Side Step Ups (45, 42)

Loved this workout! Just what I needed.Β  In future I will add more rounds to make it a total sweat-bath, but I really tried to increase the weight when possible and advance all of the exercises.

Hope you will all embrace the Beautiful Badass within πŸ˜€

Cheers all, have fun!



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  1. Hey Marianne,

    Great stuff you are doing here. Its so good to see a real woman training real good. Love your work! Just subscribed to your channel. Look forward to seeing more! Have a nice weekend πŸ™‚

  2. Hi Marianne,

    I know that I have asked you this before, but I forgot the answer. How tall is the bench that you use for the high deficit reverse lunge?



  3. I finally got to do this today!

    Its been so long since I’ve done your workouts that I was a little worried I would die of exhaustion. Two rounds was good, especially after a bit of ring work (mostly pullups).
    My lunges were a little wobbly and I had not done many of the exercises for ages, so it was nice to know they were still there! Got a PB on the elevated plank climbers — 18! My best previously was about 12 or 13, so all the other stuff I am doing is adding up.

    It goes to show you that a solid foundation in using Kettlebells will keep you in shape for just about anything!

    Thanks Marianne! Oh and congrats too on your announcement on FB — accomplishing a one-arm pushup! WTG! As Alli McKee says, you ARE a Badass Beauty!

    I am thrilled to be part of your team!

    ~ Gillian

    1. Thanks Gillian. That is great that you have seen improvements in the plank climber. It was always one that never seemed to get easier. It probably still isn’t easier, you have just get better at pushing out more reps πŸ™‚

      Will do a wee video of my 1 rep one-arm push up and hopefully the “pressure” will let me do a full one on my left side too πŸ˜€ It can be done – I probably wouldn’t have pushed as hard if it weren’t for you !

      Thrilled you are a part of this team πŸ˜€

      1. MOI? (I suddenly got a vision of Miss Piggy — but she doesn’t apply to any of us, though when she got riled, she was something to contend with.) I don’t see how, but if I helped, I am happy.

        You do so much in your life and we get to benefit greatly from your knowledge and support. You have created a truly unique environment. Our postings here and on the forum are a wonderful way to keep track of what we accomplish, but also to push ourselves and each other. Every video you do is a challenge to us — can we do it, what weights can we manage, how many reps… did we come close to you? Its healthy competition. It also is a constant reminder to keep at it! Sometimes that is the hardest thing.

        A healthy life is invaluable and you have done so much to keep us on that track!

        ~ Gillian

        1. LOL, yes Miss Piggy springs to mind too – so funny!

          Thank you Gillian for your kind words of support. It means a lot to have such a great bunch of people here!


  4. Hi Marianne,

    wow, how nice that Bret decided to include you in the list (you sure deserve it, though!).

    Great workout and, by the way, (though I know that I am not entitled to make any request, as I have been away for so long), do you think it would be possible for you to make a video tutorial where you show the progression (from the easiest to the most difficult) of the glute bridge to elevated single leg hip thrust?


    1. πŸ˜€ I knew you’d never forget about that video – Doh! Must make that a priority now you’re back. It shouldn’t even take that long to do…

      Nice to see you’re back Bianca. Hope all is well with you.


      1. Hi Marianne,

        if you ever found the time to make that famous video, could you please do me a favour? My fitness instructor insists that – among all these exercises (glute bridge, hip thrusts and single leg hip thrusts) – the only one which is really effectful is the glute bridge, because in his opinion in the hip thrusts you work much more with your lower back than with your glutes and this doesn’t make it worthwhile to perform this exercise as the cons (stressing the lower back too much) are more than the pros (working your glutes).

        I would love to hear your opinion on this (and of course it would be great to have Bret’s opinion too, but I am asking for too much).

        Sorry, the Italian inquisition is definitely back.


        1. Great question Bianca! In my humble opinion, this emphasises the need for progression. The stonger you are at the more basic variations (BW double leg, BW feet elevated, BW shoulder elevated, BW shoulder and feet elevated), The stronger your glutes will be and the more they will become prime-movers instead of the low back picking up the slack as it normally would. The low back does activate in all variations, but the point here is definitely progression and with good form (learning not to over extend the lower back, which can still happen on glute bridges).

          I will send this question to Bret as I am sure he will love to put your trainer right on this πŸ˜‰ If you only ever do the most basic variation, how will his clients ever get stronger glutes. Not that this is the only exercises but, for me, it has been a God-send.

          Will post back, when I get Bret’s take on this too πŸ™‚


        2. OK Bianca, Bret got back to me regarding this question. He said I could quote him directly, so I shall:

          “They all work the glutes hard as hip extensors and pelvic stabilizers. If you feel it in your low back it’s because you have shitty pelvic stability at the top of the movement near end-range hip extension and you end up hyperextending the lumbar spine and going into anterior pelvic tilt. Ignoring this dysfunction does not do any good. Just like you need to learn to control the lumbopelvic region when squatting and deadlifting, you need to do so for hip thrusting motions as well. Progress gradually from glute bridges to hip thrusts and finally to single leg hip thrusts. Think “glutes” all the way through the movement and don’t go too heavy to where you end up overarching the back and allowing the pelvis to rotate forward. My guess is that this jackass trainer has lousy core stability himself and his back hurts when he hip thrusts. Since he’s a male and knows it all, he’s too lazy to try to figure out why this is happening and therefore labels the variations as “too risky” and assumes that everyone else must feel it in their low back as well when they hip thrust. ”

          Hope this helps πŸ™‚

          Talk to you soon

          1. Thank-you and please do extend my gratitude to Bret as well (after all, I am a subscriber of his site as well). I will definitely refrain from telling my instructor that he is a jackass (I laughed too much at that!) and will take your great advice instead.

            At this point, your “progression tutorial video” (anytime you can, with all the variations from the easiest to the most difficult) is absolutely a must, including all of Bret’s precious advice and indications as well.

            I am glad that I have a jackass instructor in my city, but that I can count on two “great added instructors” both in Belfast and in New Zealand.

            My regards to you both.


          2. LOL, thanks Bianca, hope this helps you for now. I hope to have my new camera tomorrow, so will see what I can do over the weekend πŸ™‚


  5. Hey Badass, πŸ™‚

    This is a great post. It’s so cool to see these girls lifting like the boys. What’s interesting is that all these girls are slim and feminine, yet the myth persists that heavy lifting makes us look like Arnie. I wish more girls would see that heavy lifting is a massive confidence booster and a fast track to results but, the fact is, it isn’t popular or encouraged. I’ve been a member of countless gyms over the years and never once have I been shown how to use the squat rack or been properly taught any traditional moves. It’s always dumbbells/swiss ball/cardio. Still, at least I know better now.

    BTW, there’s a great book that has helped me learn more about heavy lifting. It’s called β€˜Lift like a man, look like a goddess’ by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove. I’d really recommend it to other Myomytv readers.



    1. It is very frustrating that women (and some men) get sucked into this myth. Hopefully we can do our small bit to changing that.

      Will check out that book, thanks!

  6. Hey! Congratulations on making the “Badass” list (I also noticed someone conspicuously missing from the list)! πŸ˜›

    As always, looking forward to giving this workout a try! πŸ™‚

  7. Marianne, I envy you, I would like to have your momentum, after giving welfare at work, to knowledge of the sport in your blog requires spiritual strength and actitud.Gracias to share you with us.
    Routine? Exclent, very rude.

    1. Thanks Manuel, it doesn’t always happen like that – I wish everyday was as easy to get motivated. When it happens, best to go with it πŸ˜€ The best things happen then!

  8. Nice Marianne! like you ever really had to question your bad assness.:)
    you rock and your rocking is very inspiring. thanks for the workout and also the link, I really enjoyed all the videos and comments.


    1. I think we are all badasses here – which is why we all challenge ourselves and each other! Still can’t believe Bret had me on that πŸ˜› Yeeha!!

    2. Why WOULDN’T he have you on there is what I would ask – but I love that you are excited, surprised and thankful that he did include you! Humility is a very important virtue, and you my friend, exhibit it well! Thanks for staying grounded!
      Michele <

        1. I second what Michele said humility is very important in what you do and show all the right sides of toughness, kindness and badassness at all times. You go girl!

  9. Oh! What a good workout it was! This was really a body breaking workout. I like all your workouts a lot. I’m 22 and I’m following your workouts regularly. They make me sweat a lot. How hard are they for you? Good encouraging workouts, best of luck!

    1. Hey Katrina, these workouts are still very challenging for me – but I think it is because I am always changing things up. I change the odd exercise, or add a new variation, I change the pace, the design etc and swap between set reps and set times and play about with intervals, couplets and many other things too. It rarely get boring, especially after asking everyone to Challenge Me. The ideas have boosted my creativity and motivation which helps me push to the max.

      I am glad that you enjoy them, as I put a lot of thought into my designs and the exercises I choose. The main things are that you enjoy them and they are giving you results πŸ˜€

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