Crushing 20 Minute Kettlebell Workout

My wife and I went camping over 4th of July weekend. It was a blast, but our bodies felt pretty crappy by the time we got home. Maybe it was the $15 air mattress we slept on. Maybe it was the wood picnic table we spent hours sitting on playing Settlers of Catan with our family. Maybe it was the combination of those things, plus a bunch of food we don't normally eat. When in, the Oregon coast, right?

Anyways, Sunday afternoon we got back home, unpacked, I mowed the lawn while my wife got the groceries. We got to relax for a few hours, then around 6:30 we started getting hungry. We prepared some salads and our dinner needed to bake for 22 minutes in the oven. We were both feeling stiff at this point, so I posed the question, "Wanna do a quick kettlebell workout?" And do a kettlebell workout we did! My, what a workout...

My wife is amazing for many reasons. But when we started dating a few years back, kettlebells, or any kind of weight for that matter, were about as foreign to her as Hebrew. In the year, she has learned how to do swings, Turkish get ups, single-arm swings, hand-to-hand single-arm swings, single arm cleans, overhead presses, bottoms up presses, farmer carries, and rock-bottom goblet squats. Her repertoire of skills is pretty impressive, actually. We haven't gotten in to snatching yet for a couple of reasons--the first being I don't feel comfortable teaching them yet. I still can't do them well myself, especially on my injured left shoulder. And if I can't do them personally, I've got no business teaching them to others. The second is I don't own a bell light enough for her to begin with (my lightest is 20kg).

With all of that being said, we took Megan's repertoire of skills and created a circuit out of it, ladder style building from 1 rep, to 2, 3, 4, then 5. After completing one round of the ladder, we started over.

Megan's workout looked like this, all done with a 20kg bell (1,2,3,4,5,1,2,3,4,5)

-Farmer carry (down and back in our backyard of about 20m)

-2 arm clean (get it from the ground to goblet squat position at the chest)

-Goblet squat w/elbow pry and counter balance

-2 handed swings


In 22 minutes, Megan did 10 sets of farmer carries, 30 cleans, 30 goblet squats, 30 swings, and 30 pushups! Quite a bit of volume in short amount of time.

My workout was similar, but slightly different as I wanted to challenge myself with single arm stuff. The only other bell I had at home was a 24kg bell, and I am good for about 1 rep of an overhead press with this on my bad shoulder. I didn't want to risk further injury by trying reps of pressing, so I decided to do the pushups with Megan, and tweak the workout to look like this:

-Farmer carry

-Single arm clean (each side)

-Single arm squat (each side)

-Single arm swing (each side, x2 reps, meaning if it was a set of 3, I did 6 swings)

-Pushups (x2 reps, meaning if it was a set of 3, I did 6 pushups)

My goal was to never put the bell down once I did my first clean. This meant I transitioned from my last clean right in to my first squat, from my last squat right in to my swings, and then switched hands mid rep and started over on the next side. The workout became quite challenging very quickly--more so than I anticipated. My grip was challenged by all of the single arm stuff, and my chest, lats, and forearms and triceps are still feeling it today!

In 22 minutes, I did 10 sets of farmer carries, 60 total single arm cleans, 60 total squats, 120 swings, and 60 pushups. Or I should say I WOULD have...22 minutes came and went while I was resting between rung #4 and #5 on my second ladder. At that point, my wife had a protein shake ready for me and dinner was out of the oven. My belly got the best of me and I didn't want to keep her waiting too long. However, I was pretty pleased with myself for keeping the quality of the reps high the whole time.

The best part of it all, though? Megan's comment after she finished her workout: "Whoever said that you couldn't get an amazing workout with a single kettlebell in 20 minutes was an IDIOT!" I had a good chuckle over that one.

But how true is that?