It’s what most of us want more of. When I’m pinched for time, more often than not, I turn to kettlebells. You can do SO much with them in so little time, anywhere. After a quick warm up, one of my longtime favorite kettlebell “quickies” looks like this:
- 6 KB Clean and Presses
- 6 KB Cleans
- 6 KB Rows
- 6 KB Stiff Legged Deadlifts
- 6 KB Push Ups
Rest up to 45 seconds and repeat – but this time start with the push ups and work your way back up and finish with the 6 KB Clean and Presses.
Here’s a video that I did for my clients and I think you’ll find it useful if you want to implement it into your training or your bootcamp training.
THAT’S HOW I DID IT THEN, HERE’S HOW I DO IT NOW
So, yeah, in the video above I’m using two 35lb kettlebells and over time it becomes too easy. So I’ve tweaked it a bit and now I use two 53lb kettlebells and do the same exercises and reps EXCEPT I do 16 reps on push ups instead of 6. I repeat the entire drill two times (sets).
My goal is to complete the entire 2 sets in 4:00 minutes or less using good form while training safe. Trust me, as you get tired, kettlebells take A LOT out of you – grip, cardio, overall body strength. You have to stay focused when using kettlebells but there is a feeling that you get unlike any other piece of equipment.
HISTORY AND BENEFITS OF KETTLEBELLS
Kettlebells have been in existence for many centuries and have been used successfully to enhance the performance of a wide group of individuals ranging from military personnel, Olympic athletes and the general population. As a strength and conditioning professional, I consider it my responsibility to evaluate and deliver the highest quality information and workouts to my bootcampers and athletes. This is why I use kettlebells regularly in my training as well as in my clients.
- Kettlebell training produces strength at extreme ranges of motion. This longer range of motion recruits a stretch reflex, which increases your ability to produce force, change direction and be more agile. This stretch reflex is a naturally occurring neuromuscular function and kettlebells do an outstanding job exploiting it to better your performance.
- Kettlebell training exposes your weaknesses and corrects imbalances. Since kettlebell training is usually performed one limb at a time, it does a great job of exposing weaknesses and imbalances throughout your entire body. This weakness may come in the form of grip endurance or one shoulder being tighter than the other. Regardless, within moments of kettlebell training, these deficiencies will be exposed and allow you to address them.
- Kettlebell training creates strong yet flexible joints structures. Kettlebell training increases the demand for dynamic joint stabilization which reduces the potential for injury and allows for more efficient force production. The kettlebell’s offset center of gravity plays havoc on control and forces your entire body to participate in the movement, recruiting more muscles and joints, providing a much more realistic approach to conditioning.
- Kettlebells exploit endless exercise variations with just one tool. Simply by changing your grip or repositioning the kettlebell you can change the entire feel and complexity of the movement. This feature alone makes kettlebell training essential in a large group setting or team environment. This feature also allows you to get the most training from one kettlebell. You can progress from easier drills to very advanced versions using the same size kettlebell, reducing the need to acquire a large selection of kettlebells.
- Kettlebell training teaches your body how to absorb force and redirect it. Since so many kettlebell drills are performed over every joint in the body, you train yourself to absorb force over the longest range of motion possible, using as many joints as possible.
- Kettlebell training bridges the gap between strength training and cardio; sport doesn’t respect the difference.
- Kettlebell training allows you to never miss your workout. Train anywhere, the local park, beach, outside or inside.
- Kettlebell training creates an iron will. Kettlebell ballistic drills done for high repetitions require you to reach deep down inside you and see what you’re made of. The ability to drive forward through a grueling set of kettlebell snatches is what a champion’s mindset is made of; this must be experienced to be believed.
Try the kettlebell drill that I demonstrate in the video above and try to beat my time (less than 4 minutes for 2 sets). Use a weight that challenges you, but doesn’t create an unsafe movement.
If you like these kinds of kettlebell challenges and want to see more, click here.
For my in depth video review of Ultimate Kettlebell Bootcamp Workouts that are awesome for you bootcamp, click here.
The sledgehammer is an amazing conditioning tool.
The new core hammer, which is similar to a sledgehammer, is even more versatile. Watch the video below to see how you can use the core hammer in a unique way.
Warm up for 3-5 minutes first by doing some light stretching, jogging, 10 yd sprints at 50 % of max effort, etc.
- Core hammer side to side x 30 seconds
- Wall sits with core hammer hold x 60 seconds
- Sprints x 50 yards
Beginners complete 1 round, Intermediate complete 2-3 rounds, Advanced complete 3-5 rounds. Adjust exercise times based upon your capabilities. For example, instead of 30 seconds, perform 60 seconds of the core hammer side to side strikes. Instead of 60 seconds of wall sits, perform 30 seconds of wall sits, etc.
Training in this manner is different, which helps alleviate boredom, and it works your body in a totally different way. You can find a sledgehammer in the local hardware store, the core hammer here or you may already have a sledgehammer in your garage.
This concludes my “Smash Monday” series – for videos 1, 2 and 3 and much more information on how you can benefit by including sledgehammer training in your program, use the links below:
What do you think of when someone tells you they’ve been using a sledgehammer in their fitness routine?
If you’re like most, you might think of someone using a sledgehammer to strike a tractor tire.
A few years back at my bootcamp, that’s what we did. We used a sledgehammer to strike a tire. Since then, I’ve discovered that striking a tractor tire is merely the beginning of what’s possible when using a sledgehammer.
You see, I love using a sledgehammer in my training. Sledgehammers are:
You probably already have a sledgehammer or can quickly get one at your local hardware store. They’re easy to find and are cost effective.
You can keep your sledgehammer in your garage or take it to the park in the trunk of your car. With proper care, they will last a lifetime. They are built to last.
With proper training, you will build muscle, lose fat (with sensible nutrition), improve athleticism, hand – eye coordination, balance, flexibility and foot work. It’s unique, it’s fun and I’ve been using sledgehammers in my training for the past couple of years.
benefits of sledgehammer training
6 Ways Sledgehammer Training Will Help You Build Muscle, Lose Fat And Get Into Your All Time Best Shape! If it will help me win Austin’s Fittest Man Over 50 this year (2015), it’ll help your bootcampers become fitter.
- The Sledgehammer is asymmetrical which lends itself to a unique blend of balance (and imbalance) when used in exercise.
- There’s a big gravitational pull on the heavy side of the sledgehammer which is a totally different feel unlike anything else.
- Due to this gravitational pull, your core and the muscles on the other side of the body MUST compensate by working harder and unknowingly.
- 10-11+ calories a minute. That’s how many calories you can expect to burn as you build up to max intensity. This amount is on par (or more) than cross country skiing, mountain biking, rowing, swimming and elliptical training.
- Less abdominal work! Forget about doing hundreds of boring sit ups and crunches. If done intensely enough, sledgehammer training cuts down on the need for long abdominal workouts as the core muscles will be completely shot. During my research, I came across a quote from an author who said that French coal miners had the best abs due to their consistent use of sledgehammers.
- Strength training. The sledgehammer is a strength training tool. You will work every muscle in your body and you will burn calories long after the workout is over due to EPOC (excess post-oxygen consumption). This is a secret weapon that experts use to burn more calories all day long. More muscle – even an additional couple of pounds of muscle – burn more calories. Include strength training in your fitness routine and you’ll burn more fat during the course of the day. Even while you’re sitting.
technology has made the sledgehammer even better!
What if you took a fiberglass handle and wrapped the grip with a snug rubber grip? And then, what if you attached a round 8 pound rubber ball on the end? The folks at Most-Fit.com have done exactly this and created The Core Hammer!
It’s safer than a metal sledgehammer, it’s made especially for fitness, and you can do 101 exercises with it including strength AND cardio based exercises. Now if you don’t know where to start with your sledgehammer/core hammer training, I’ve got you covered!
Core hammer training is what helped me win the title of “Austin’s Fittest Man Over 50” – 2015! Here’s the video from that event. Hundreds showed up to compete for the title. This competition is now in its fourth year and it gets bigger and better each year.
So who better to show you some quick workouts that you can do at home, at the park or just about anywhere?
Here’s your first workout! Watch the video first, it’s short and then you’ll hear me explain the details of it afterwards. Let’s get SMASHING!
Smash Monday! Core Hammer Workout # 1
- Warm up for 3-5 minutes doing a general warm up.
- Set a timer for 30 seconds work / 7 seconds rest
- Beginners do 1-2 rounds using step ups, box squats or body weight squats instead of box jumps.
- Intermediates do 3- 5 rounds. Adjust box from 20″ to 24″.
- Advanced do 3 -5 rounds at 60 seconds per round instead of 30 seconds per round. Adjust box from 20″ to 24″ or 30″.
This is an 8lb core hammer that I’m using in this video. This type of training is not about the weight. At some point, too much weight can be dangerous and can cause injury. Beginners should start with a light core hammer or sledgehammer and work up to the next poundage. This is a conditioning drill that will give your bootcampers a great quick workout doing something NEW! You can make this a station and have people cycle through it. All you need is one sledgehammer or core hammer – they’ll build athleticism, hand eye coordination, balance and agility. Do right handed, over handed or left handed strikes. Mix up the hand placement as you see fit always aiming for balance on each side of the body.
Austin’s Fittest Man Over 50 – 2015
P.S. Check out the entire workout program I created called The Sledgehammer Workout. Check it out here!
Not only do I have a little bootcamp at my church, I work as an outdoor educator with a year round camp and retreat center. I know you like wacky fitness games as I have the ebook of yours (Bootcamp Fitness Games). Here is one (Rubber Chicken Baseball) that I do at the camp and then used it for bootcamp.”
WACKY IS RIGHT
I’ve gotten a lot of fun feedback from those of you who have been running your own bootcamps over the years. You’ve told me how including fun games in your bootcamp is now a must and that the biggest rule that we’ve all learned is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.
We’ve learned not to get too complicated with exercises or rules. Keep the activities short, keep the energy high. Know when to move on to the next game or activity – always leave your people wanting more, not wondering when it’s going to be over 🙂
Having said that, here is ..,
RUBBER CHICKEN BASEBALL
(Anne says “at bootcamp we used a medicine ball.”)
HOW TO PLAY:
- Two teams of equal number.
- Team A will line up one behind another and Team B is just together.
- Hand Team A a rubber chicken or med ball. A designated player from Team A is to throw it as far as he/she can.
- Team B is to run to where it landed then line up and begin passing it over under over under to the end of line (or side to side as shown below)
- Meanwhile Team A has made a circle and someone is running around it and slaps the one hand that is held out. “One” is yelled and they keep running around and keep counting the runs, example – “Two”, “Three”, “Four”, etc. UNTIL they hear “Chicken” yelled out by the other team.
- When Team B has reached the last player, they then throw the object (med ball or rubber chicken) as far as possible.
- Team A must all run to it line up and pass over under or side to side and back until the end of the line is reached.
- While Team B is now running around the circle and counting their runs until Team A yells “Chicken” throws it and so on.
- A new runner should be selected each time and the runs are cumulative.
- The game ends at a set # of runs or when time is called.
The funny thing about it is that if you don’t say anything, most groups make a big circle like holding hands when they could just bunch up in a tight one.
We use this as a team builder for a low challenge course at camp then talk about who was the leader, the importance of communication. My ladies at church were breathing hard and laughing.
Hope it makes sense and maybe you will try it sometime. Good for all ages and fitness levels.
Now can you imagine being out at a park playing this game? You’re throwing a rubber chicken around, running, circling up, counting and then yelling “Chicken”!
That’ll keep the neighbors talking… 🙂
Amazon has rubber chickens just in case you can’t find one. Currently, their around $6.00 and shipping is free.
Have a great day!