Trick or Treat? Halloween Kettlebell Workout. It’s a Killer >)

by Marianne  - October 31, 2011

**Big EVIL laugh**

Hello all, Happy Halloween!

I’m not a huge Halloween fan (although I love an excuse to get dressed up) but I am a fan of designing evil workouts. So it’s up to you to decide if this one is a Trick or a Treat!

As I mentioned the other day I have been under the weather for the past week so have been focused on getting enough sleep, trying to eat well, and making it through my 3 night shifts (the last of which had an extra hour because our clocks went back on Saturday).ย However, on Saturday morning I was feeling quite good so I took myself to the gym to do some deadlifts (because I have neglected these for ages). I was doing my usual set-up and feeling great about my form when I looked over to the wall to see THIS POSTER:

Now I have already ranted about this on Facebook, but can you believe that a Gym would display such sexism and stereotype! It may be funny to some people (some men), but I find it highly offensive, and have emailed the manager to have it removed. ย Given that there are rarely any other women in the Strength and Conditioning room – it is any wonder they don’t believe in lifting weights. After all, the message is “Men, put your weights back because women are too weak to ever lift 50kg off the ground”!! ย The huge irony is that the rage (of sorts) produced by seeing this picture helped me pull a PR on my Sumo Deadlift of 117.5kg!!! Maybe someone who knows I’ve been struggling to increase my DL numbers was behind this ! ๐Ÿ˜‰ It will be interesting to see if it has gone the next time I go there.

In the face of doubt and ridicule from others you have only your own belief and inner strength to overcome the challenges that come your way. ย Never let the expectations from others manifest as reality for you!

The Workout

A firm favorite of mine I have set up 4 triplets. The triplets contain a mix of Kettlebell and body weight exercises, and a mixture of set reps and set times. ย Then to finish there’s a nice Tabata to look forward to ๐Ÿ˜‰ hehe!

Perform 3 rounds of each triplet. Set your Gymboss Interval Timer for one interval of 1 min to count down during the “set time” exercises.ย My weights used and reps are in brackets.

Triplet 1

  1. Kettlebell Single-Leg RDL (right) x 8 – 15 reps (2x16kg, 2x20kg, 2x20kg) (12, 10, 8)
  2. KB Single-Leg RDL (left) x 8 – 15 reps (same weights as above) (reps the same)
  3. Side to Side Step Ups x 1 min (65, 63, 58)

Triplet 2

  1. KB Single-arm Row (right) x 8 – 15 reps (20kg) (12, 10,8)
  2. KB Single-arm Row (left) x 8 – 15 reps (same numbers as above)
  3. Burpees x 1 min (17, 15, 14)

Triplet 3

  1. Single-Leg Hip Thrust (right) x 12 – 15 reps (15, 15, 15)
  2. Single-Leg Hip Thrust (left) x 12 – 15 reps (same)
  3. Dynamic Squats x 1 min (41, 39, 36)

Triplet 4

  1. KB Front Squat (right) x 8 – 15 reps (20kg) (14, 10,8)
  2. KB Front Squat (left) x 8 – 15 reps (20kg) ( 13, 11,8)
  3. Two-Handed KB Swing x 1 min (20kg) (36, 35, 35)


Reset your Gymboss Interval Timer for 8 cycles of 10 seconds rest and 20 seconds MAX effort. Perform 4 rounds of the following 2 exercises:

  1. Jump Rope
  2. Bench Jump Overs

That’s it!

I found the workout very challenging, especially the RDLs because they require so much balance and focus on tight form. Mine are far from perfect, but I am trying to improve. For those of you who never get a chance to perform Barbell Deadlifts, the KB Single-leg variation is a great alternative. However it’s important to master the BodyWeight version first. Here is a great tutorial by Bret Contreras on the Single-Leg RDL that will help you learn the basics before adding weight.

Hope you all enjoy this workout ๐Ÿ™‚ Feedback is welcome below!




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  1. Hi Marianne, I did this workout this morning and when I looked at my record sheet, it has been a year since I last did it! It’s still quite hard but well worth doing. I now have a “MAX Power” flat bench, something like yours in design, and I use it for SSSU, high deficit reverse lunges, bench jump overs and anything else where height is needed. It is 40cm high so it’s a big step for SSSUs, but I can manage it OK.
    This is a really good workout for me, thanks once again.

      1. Thanks Marianne, yes, I do like to keep fit since I know that fitness is hard to get but easy to lose, having been a racing cyclist in my early years, then a badminton player and then a runner. I got to county standard once and in 1985 I ran the London marathon, finishing in 84th place in a time od 2hrs 22mins. That took a lot of training which was really hard work but it paid off.

        I hope your new venture takes off, you certainly deserve it, but for me, I can’t afford any dedicated training and feel that I have got on well with your workouts over time, so I will stick where I am I guess.

        Cheers, Peter

  2. I know this is a little belated but I just did this workout this morning and no kidding you are ‘evil’ Marianne! The whole workout took me about an hour to complete and my reps for the timed exercises were certainly not as good as your reps but I managed to complete it. I did like the tabata at the end. I felt like I got a complete workout with conditioning, strength, and cardio. Like you say variety, variet, variety. Thanks for this wicked workout:-)

  3. Marianne… I did the workout tonight… it was ok… more strength which is good… I have a good weekly routine going right now that consists of one of your workouts or a modified cross fit workout, a 5-7 mile run/jog, a 90 min hot yoga session, a conventional total body workout and then another run/jog (3-5 miles). This workout took longer than the ohters and was less cardio fitness and more strength which was fine… Thanks for sharing… FV

    1. Are you wanting to use my workouts for conditioning Frank? You can usually tell by looking at the design how long it might take and whether the exercises are going to be more strength, or conditioning. Glad you still enjoyed it, but this was a bit of a mix, but more the strength stuff.

      You sure have a full program ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Marianne… I use your workouts for both strength and anaerobic fitness… that way I don’t have to run so much pounding my joints… I usually do another workout during the week that will focus more on absolute strength. Thanks for sharing your workouts… I think they are very good. I have been working in professional baseball for the past 16 years… venturing out on my own now starting a Performance Training & Sports Rehab facility. Very excited to offer my expertise and services to the people of my community. Hope you are having a great weekend…

  4. Another great workout for me, good hard work and well worth doing. I had to be a bit innovative for the SSSU by using a council recycling tub, since I can’t afford a proper bench. Works OK for me though, but it stands 34 cms high so it may be a bit higher than your Reebok one?

    Many thanks once again Marianne.


  5. LOVE the new workout, Marianne!! the combo of exercises is challenging but FIERCE when put all togehter! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am loving the goblet hold on lower body exercises, they force you to keep that core engaged and it really engages your entire body!

  6. Hey Marianne,

    Congrats on the PR! That is awesome!!! At least something good came out of that stupid picture ๐Ÿ˜‰ I cant believe that is up in your gym and I seriously cant understand why the model would pose for that picture like that!

    This was a tough workout! I dont know how you did the RDLs with the 20kg!! I did it with the 12kg to start and then the 16kg, my calf felt like it was going to explode lol in a good way. I cant believe the difference extending out the leg makes! This will be awesome for derby, thank you for sharing!!

    I was wiped after this so I didnt do the tabata. My lunch which I had a couple of hours previously was coming back to haunt me! Not too sure what that was about but it made it a lot harder lol. Next time I will!!

    1. Thanks Sarajane! The SLRDLs really do kill the stabilising muscles round the ankle, mine are always on fire after a set of these! I am glad you are starting to see a cross over from this training and your Derby; you will need the stability in your ankles, knees and core, so keep up the lower body and core training and we discussed ๐Ÿ˜€ You are doing great!

  7. Oh yes…demon workout…loved it.
    Good tips on the deadlift thingys..will have to practise, practise, practise!
    Cheers Marianne…keep up the good work.

  8. I did this one today-ouch, ouch, holly Batman legs and KBs! ๐Ÿ™‚ Loved it! The SLRDL took me forever as I was wobbly! Thanks for linking Bret’s instructions on SLRDLs-very helpful! And Tabata at the end-WOW! I had to sub the jump rope for box jumps as the gym I go to is tight, but it killed me anyways. Thanks again for the great WOs and videos! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. so i couldn’t wait to try this workout, so much that i MADE THE MISTAKE OF DOING IT RIGHT AFTER I ATE. bad bad idea. I got 3/4 of the way done, and thought i was going to throw up…… anyway, i loved the deadlifts, i like bridges, but i only used one platform, not two.. and with the 1 minutes intervals, its was very challenging. I believe it will try this one tomorrow, far far away from the time i eat……. GREAT ONE LADY.

    1. After food!! LOL I would’ve been in a heap!

      Take your time to perfect those hip thrusts and don’t forget the progressions ๐Ÿ™‚

      Enjoy it more tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. i didn’t get a chance to do it today, as i was backed up on orders, so tomorrow for sure…. sounds like maybe i should go look at your thrusts tutorials again.

  10. Hey Marianne,

    Glad you are feeling better this week. Just wish I could have seen the look on your face when you saw that poster in the gym ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh I hope you don’t mind but I have a comment on the way you do your burpees, particularly the squat thrust portion. I notice that as you bring your feet up to do the jump you tend to bring your bum up which a lot of people do so they don’t have to bend their legs very much. I feel that it would be better to keep your bum low and come into a deep squat position before you do the jump, then explode from there. It is a lot harder on the legs but I think you get more benefit from the exercise. I don’t mean it as a criticism, just a way of making it a bit more evil lol.

    Good tutorial on the SLDL. I’ve been trying to improve my form to and keep my rest leg straighter. It’s a bit more difficult to balance, especially if you hold the weight in the opposite hand to the leg you are standing on. But it feels really good when you iron out a form problem doesn’t it. It’s like you can usually feel when you are not doing something quite right but it often takes someone else to notice that and help you correct it.

    Hope you have a good day,


    1. Thanks Steve. I will take your tip on board. I may need to lower slightly to get more benefit from the squat jump portion, but I wouldn’t be keen to jump from a deep squat. Just something about squat jumps that I have in my head; I would always do them from parallel? You get better vertical height this way. But I will try going deeper to see the EVIL difference >)

      The contralateral SLDL are really challenging – so good on you! Great for over all stability! ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. That looks awful :-D!

    Donยดt your back or joints hurt from jumping? I canยดt do that without pain in my back, hips, knees. Plenty of other ways to workout for me, but it looks fun…

    1. Beata, it’s weird – jumping exercises have never caused my joints any pain, running is the only thing that causes me pain! I guess it could be a stability issue for you?? But like you say, there are other exercises you can do ๐Ÿ™‚


  12. That poster is offensive, I can’t believe it’s in your gym. I would deface it.
    good workout, I have been practicing my rows and dead lifts quite a bit lately, now that the sailing season is over, I can seriously focus more on strength. Great to see you working out again.

    1. Cheers Mickela! I should tear that thing down, only I can’t reach it ๐Ÿ˜‰ LOL!

      Glad that you can focus more on your strength training again. But it’s great that you have such a great variety of activities! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Aha! I see you changed your form – I used to do it as you did (back leg flexed at the knee) because you are the one I learned from, then I saw Bret’s video a few weeks ago and changed my form to the back leg being in knee ext instead of flexion! I have found it harder to balance also! Yeah! I love learning good form!!! Thanks for posting the video for others and for your connecting us to his site! Have a great day and thanks for another great workout!

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