A Brutal Kettlebell Workout to Leave You on the Floor

On paper, this kettlebell workout looks like a piece of cake, but have a go at it and let the intensity take you by surprise.

As a certified kettlebell coach and crossfitter, I love programming kettlebell workouts that increase efficiency. I also love to program types of training not regularly included in programming but should be.

Let’s have a look at some of the major benefits of this kettlebell strength workout.

Kettlebell-back workoutsSource: CrossFit Inc


Isometric exercise is not something you’ll often see in the box. Isometrics are hard and can sometimes get boring, but not in this workout.  In simple terms, you’re not moving the weight but preventing any movement. Isometrics work your muscles by holding fibres are under tension at a constant length and improve your mind-muscle connection.

The positions we’re training in isometrics are:

  • standing
  • squatting
  • overhead

Improving your standing position under isometric load will improve your groundwork for presses, push presses, jerks, and any other barbell work you do.

It will also allow you to stay under the bar longer, which could be the difference between having to put the bar down on rep 9 of 10 and being able to stay in rack, rest, and do another rep. Ultimately, this could be the difference between winning or losing.

The isometric squat will help you during the lowest position in your squat, not only with control and strength but especially with your mind-muscle connection.

The isometric overhead hold will improve all your overhead work and help create more stability, together with a host of other benefits.


3 Essential Isometric Workouts to Build Unstoppable Core Strength

Slow and controlled

Everything in CrossFit is fast, so take time to slow down and work on controlling the movements. These isometric holds are doing just that; they require you to control and regulate the movement.

Grip is everything

A good grip is important in just about everything you do in CrossFit with a bar, barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell. If you have a weak grip you can’t progress with weight or unbroken reps.

Think about 1-minute unbroken swings. There are a couple of things you have to take into account: first, you need to find a pace that you can maintain for 1 unbroken minute, and second, that you need control your grip. You can’t have a tight grip for a whole minute, you’ll need to learn to contract and relax at the right times.


Another benefit to this workout is improving your cardio, going from the strength workout straight into the swings will definitely be a test to your cardio.

 Kettlebell Workout Details

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Weight: Heavy
  • Kettlebell(s): 2
  • Type: Strength and some cardio
  • Duration: 40+ minutes

You can download a free timer from Google Play “Cavemantraining Workout Timer” to set up the following workout structure.


  • 30 second countdown to get ready
  • Warm-up repeat 6 times (total 6 minutes)
    • 40 seconds skipping
    • 20 seconds rest
  • 4 minutes of dynamic stretching and mobility work
  • 30 second countdown to get ready
  • 5 rounds of (total 15 minutes)
    • 6 x 10 seconds (1 minute in total)
      1. 0 to 10s Dead swing clean and stay in rack
      2. 11 to 20s Squat and stay in the bottom position
      3. 21 to 30s Come out of the squat and stay in rack
      4. 31 to 40s Press and keep overhead
      5. 41 to 50s Lower and stay in rack
      6. 51 to 60s Drop back to dead
    • 1 minute of double arm kettlebell swings
    • 1 minute of rest
  • 4 minutes of stretching and mobility work
  • 5 rounds of (total 10 minutes)
    • 6 x 5 seconds (30 seconds in total)
      1. 0 to 5s Dead swing clean and stay in rack
      2. 6 to 10s Squat and stay in the bottom position
      3. 11 to 15s Come out of the squat and stay in rack
      4. 16 to 20s Press and keep overhead
      5. 21 to 25s Lower and stay in rack
      6. 26 to 30s Drop back to dead
    • 30 seconds of double arm kettlebell swings
    • 1 minute of rest
  • Stretch and cool-down

Safe Lower-back

It’s important to keep your lower back safe when working with heavy kettlebells. Create counterbalance on the drop, don’t immediately follow the kettlebell with a hip hinge, and don’t cast the bells away from you. This is how the exercise should look like:



Some of the main things to learn when it comes to kettlebell cleans:

  • Bell to body proximity on the clean and drop
  • Opening up for a proper hand insert
  • Appropriate power generation; generate too little and you’ll need to muscle the weight, generate too much, and you’ll be banging the weight.

Check out two free ebooks I wrote that will improve your kettlebell training:

Also have a look at this video by Marcus Filly, where he goes into detail about racking for crossfitters.

Train harder, train smarter.

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