Train Like You Mean It! Kettlebell and Body Weight Workout

by Marianne  - August 2, 2011

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for your great suggestions for a new article for me to work on. I can’t say it will be done immediately (given my schedule right now), but I am glad to have some topics to focus on that you will find helpful.

As I said last week, I have managed to injure myself and I believe it was due to over-training, or at least over training strength and getting too caught up in the numbers game again. We all want to be impressive and strong, but not at the cost of our health and function.  So, I have now impeded my training because I refused to slow down when I first got that “niggle” of something being wrong. For this reason, I need to focus on my home workouts and “lighter” gym training.

Going lighter is so difficult for me, because I seem to attach so much meaning to “being strong” and if I am not doing max lifts in the gym, then people will think I’m weak. How weak-minded is that of me! Who cares what anyone else thinks, right?? So, while I am a little embarrassed for admitting this, I am grown up enough to be able to admit fault (most of the time LOL).  After all, if I can overcome an obsession to get lean, I can overcome this! Besides there’s nothing like an injury to make you stop and reassess things.

So after a relaxing weekend away with plenty of food, drink and laughs I am feeling a little more up to doing a workout today 🙂

The Workout

This workout has quite a lot going on in it and will benefit most aspects of fitness.  There are 3 sections and each section has a different pace and a different purpose. All in all, you will train strength, conditioning and burn calories.  The first section is double Kettlebell strength work, but if you don’t have two KBs, then don’t worry one is fine too. Section 2 is an upper body Push/Pull conditioning challenge, and the final section is just plain conditioning torture 😛

Section 1

Complete 3 rounds of the following 4 exercises. The set reps depend on the weight you have available, so try to challenge yourself when you can by adjusting the reps. Set your
Gymboss Interval Timer
for a suitable time to match your current fitness level while still challenging your endurance. If preferred you can swap this exercise for the Two-Handed KB Swing instead of the Double Swing.

  1. Double Kettlebell Clean and Press x 8 – 12 reps (I used 2 x 14kg) (10, 10, 8 )
  2. Double KB Front Squat x 8 – 12 reps ( 2 x 14kg in first round then 2 x 16kg) ( 12, 10, 8 )
  3. Double KB Swing x 1 min (2 x 14kg) ( 28, 27, 27)
  4. Double KB Bent Over Row x 8 – 12 reps (2 x 14kg in first round then 2 x 16kg) (12, 10, 10 )

Section 2

This is a real challenge! Complete 3 – 5 rounds of this circuit. Don’t forget to allow adequate recovery after the burpees … you’ll need it. Try and complete burpees with push ups. Alternatively you can separate the push ups and burpees into 2 exercises. Set the reps for push ups and set time for burpees minus push up.

  1. Pull Ups x sub-max reps (I did 5 rounds and I found the pull ups tough today) (4,3,3,3,3)
  2. Burpees x 1 min (18, 16, 16,15, 13 )

Section 3

Pure conditioning hell now everyone. Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for 18 cycles of 15 seconds rest and 45 seconds effort and complete 3 rounds of the following:

  1. Alternating Single-Leg Hip Thrusts (or choose what version is appropriate for your level) (24, 22, 21)
  2. Elevated Plank Climber (21, 20, 22)
  3. KB Vertical Swing Burpee (20kg) (12, 11, 11)
  4. Stand-Kneel-Stand (left) (16kg) (17, 16, 16)
  5. Stand-Kneel-Stand (right) (16, 16, 16)
  6. Side to Side Step Overs (46, 45, 42)


  • Focus on single Kettlebell exercises in the first section and reduce the time to 30 or 40 seconds
  • Modify the pull ups by doing assisted variations using a chair or band for support or performing negatives (jump up and slowly lower).
  • Split the burpees and push ups and perform 5 – 8 push ups each round and set the timer for 30 or 40 seconds for the burpees.
  • For section 3, perform glute bridges on the floor, or double leg hip thrusts.
  • No need to elevate the plank climbers if this exercise is still challenging from the floor
  • Vertical Swing minus burpee if this is too challenging.
  • Body weight stand-kneel-stands
  • Side to side step overs should be fine, but you can also replace this with skipping or mountain climbers if you prefer.
  • Finally you can adjust the interval times in the final section to 3 separate rounds and/or adjust the times to 20/40 or 30/30 (rest/effort).

If you have any doubt about this workout, just ask me and I’ll try to help 🙂

That’s it for today everyone, I really enjoyed this workout and hope you all do too!

Talk to you soon.



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  1. Pingback: Train like you mean it – Kettlebell | Trænings blog
  2. Well, this was my first foray into kettlebell training and wow, what a workout.

    After the first two rounds of Section 1 I was blowing quite hard so had a mini break then managed to push out the final round.

    Round 2 wasn`t that bad for me as it was familiar ground, I often incorporate pullups and burpees into a workout, but heading into Round 3 and I was really feeling it.

    I substituted the single leg hip thrusts for standard situps, the plank climber almost killed me and the stand-kneel-stand had my legs starting to wobble and by time I was at the side to side step overs my legs were jelly.

    No idea how I managed three rounds, I could hardly clamber to the showers at the end.

    Great workout thanks, can`t wait to try another tomorrow (maybe the day after :))

  3. Wanted to share this. It’s a very motivational philosophy from Bruce Lee. This story was shared by one of his students. You talked about how attitude impacts our training, I think this hits the nail on the head.

    “Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six-and-a half minutes per mile]. So this morning he said to me “We’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said, “When we get to three, we’ll shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell, I’ll go for it.” So we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go any more and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run any more,” –and we’re still running-”if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said, “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

  4. I just found your website and have watched several of your videos. You are very inspirational!!! I can’t decide which workout to do first but this one looks good, think I’ll go with it! It makes me want to change and do another workout today, lol. Now I need more KB’s, all I have is one and it’s only 20lbs (about 9kg)…

    Thank you for your awesome vids and motivation 🙂

      1. I did this workout this morning… It kicked my butt!!! You are very strong, btw 🙂 I used DB’s ’cause my gym doesn’t have KBs. My weight on the DBs ranged from 25 to 30 lbs and that was a killer!
        Loved the Vertical Swing Burpees especially! TY!

  5. Hi Marianne,
    I’d just like to introduce myself. I’ve been on your site and watched your workouts loads over the last couple of months, and I have always bookmarked them to come back to but it wasn’t until today that I actually followed one, this one, and I’m so happy I did!
    I’ve just qualified as a fitness instructor, so I know all the excuses, and I realised today I’ve been using them myself. Exams, work, meetings, holidays, injury, etc etc. And it was only after doing your workout today (only 2 rounds of each with an 8kg KB) that I realised YES I do love exercise and YES I have a way to go before I’m back in optimal form!
    So here’s to the road back to peak condition!
    Thank you for the inspiration Marianne

    1. Hey Carrie. Thank you for introducing yourself and welcome to 🙂 It’s great to hear that I am not the only one trying to juggle so much! We cn help each other get back on track. I’m glad that this workout has helped you become more motivated again.

      You will progress quickly, you’ll see!


  6. Hi Marianne,
    haven’t tried this workout yet but I can tell it is going to be super hard.
    It’s weird but I find the same thing with the squat, my front squat looks much better and feels better too even then the bodyweight. I can go low with front squat without my back rounding while in bodyweight squat just below parallel. It made to think that I’m doing something wrong or somethig else is going wrong, but maybe I’m not a ‘squater’ .

    Can’t believe it’s one year since I found your site, done almost every workout you posted, watch you train and go throu some personal challeges and transformations , learn new thing and share them with us here. You are truly amazing human being, fantastic looking too.

    1. I’m the same, with my body weight squat. The position on the weights in a front squat force you to sit with your chest up and they push you into a better position. We all maybe need to do more “facing the wall” squats to help us learn to sit back, and stay upright.

      Thank you Jussa for your comment. I can’t believe you have been following my workouts for a year. Can I ask, have you seen many changes in your body and/or body image?


  7. Hi Marianne,
    I had one of those bad weather days today.
    So I decided to work on my technique . Great decision. I worked on my
    Turkish get ups, static figure 8’s, clean and press and stiff legged dead lifts.
    I finished with a 16 minute routine using 2 12 kg. Swings, alternate swings.
    I was spent. Thanks for the post. What an eye opener. Hope your feeling better.

    Minnie 

    1. Aw dear, I hate those days!! Great solution though, you followed the advice well. I need to think that way with everything – need to learn to make the best of any given situation.

      My injury is still there. I have been taking it easy, but every time I train, it flares up again 🙁 I can’t believe this has happened – because I really want to be on tip top form for my trip next week :'( All I can do is my best. Thanks for asking Minnie.

  8. Hey Marianne – I’ve been away on “holiday” (as you would say) for two weeks, and have missed your site terribly. Will have to ease back in as last time I went nuts on the bulgarian split squats after a week off and pulled my quad so badly I had to take another week off and couldn’t descend steps without almost crying!!!! I did want to ask you about how amazing your deep squat techinque is – I just can’t seem to get more than a little below parallel to the ground, though I am trying to stretch in that position (like in standing, bendin gforward at hips, grasping my ankles, while still holding to ankles coming down into a squat and holding there for a while)! Any tips or any site you could recommend to help me, or should I just do what I can and hopefully they will get deeper! I am just amazed how low you can go, and so comfortably!!!! Maybe my body isn’t made to do that – I round out in the lower back terribly! BTW, I know you have a tutorial -maybe I should check it out again!!!! Thanks and glad to see your smiling face!!!

    1. Thanks Michele 🙂 Good to have you back!! Your poor quads 🙁

      My front squats seem to come more naturally to me than my back squats, so I guess it’s to do with my mechanics, flexibility and strength of different muscles. I know that my lower back and psoas are probably the cuprits for my back squat being worse.

      For you, I don’t know what to tell you. One other thing you could try, if you haven’t already, is to take an even wider stance (about a little more than shoulder width) and point the toes out even more. As you squat down, really push the knees apart to create more space in your hips. I know this has helped many people in their over-head squat. It may just be, you need more room for your hips??

      However some people are just not built to squat low 🙁 Are you a good deadlifter?

  9. Marianne,
    OMG !!!!!!!! This has to be the Toughest workout you’ve ever
    Posted. Keep em coming !!!  As usual Marianne your strength
    is an inspiration.

    Thank you
    Have a great day.


  10. Wow this looks challenging! I just got my pull up bar fixed and tried the grease the groove method with negative chin ups. Man am I sore! Lol I had to take a day off and try more tomorrow. My goal is to do at least 1 pull up by September 18 when I do Warrior Dash.

    1. Hey, you can do Rows any other pulling exercise. They don’t work all of the same muscles nor do they work them in the same way, but it’s better than no pulling exercise at all.

      This probably doesn’t help much, sorry :-/ Hope you get the video working 🙂

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