I remember back in the day (let’s say 80’s and 90’s), getting a “good” workout meant spending at least an hour at the gym churning away on a treadmill or other cardio device thinking that anything under 60 minutes was, well, a big waste of time.
Flash forward to sometime in the new millennia and we now know that you absolutely don’t need to spend hours on a cardio machine to get in a good workout. In fact, you can get a BETTER workout in less time by using a myriad of fitness strategies such as Circuit Training, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Kettlebell Training and many others. Unfortunately, so many people are still stuck on the mindset that “more is better” and if I can’t “get in the whole hour….I might as well not do any” mentality. Well I am pleased to say you can get a fantastic workout done in less than 20 minutes with one piece of equipment that you could purchase for your home. It’s the kettlebell.
I started using kettlebells in own training about 4 years ago. I was curious as to what all the fitness fuss was about…so I had to jump in and try it. It was love at first swing! I was completely amazed, and humbled, by what an intense workout I could get with just 1 piece of equipment! I started to learn everything I could about kettlebell training by studying the pro’s and began to use them with my own clients training who absolutely embrace this type of training for many reasons.
Kettlebells are a tool that was first seen in Ancient Greece but was really made famous by the Russians in the late 1700’s (if you are a history buff and want to learn more click this link http://www.kettlebellscience.com/kettlebell-history.html) . They were bought to the US in the late 1990’s by the Russian Pavel Tsatouline, former Soviet Special Forces physical training Instructor who wrote a magazine piece on the benefits of kettlebell training. The article generated so much publicity and interest here in the US and the rest as they say…is history!
Kettlebell swings. This is known as the “mother” of all kettlebell moves. What I love about a kettlebell swing is that I can get a client’s heart-rate up with no impact on their joints what- so- ever! The swing, when properly performed (which is so very important!) can also help strengthen low back muscles, hamstrings, glutes and core all while getting the heart rate up for cardiovascular work. There have been several studies done on kettlebell training which show that the two handed kettlebell swing actually burns more calories and conditions the cardiovascular system more effectively than walking on an incline on a treadmill at a moderate pace!
The most important thing in mastering the kettlebell swing is using great form.
I recommend starting with a 10# kettlebell so you can learn the form and then gradually moving up from there. Amazon has a great selection of individual kettlebells and even kettlebell sets available for purchase.
Enough chatter…let’s get on with your 20 minute workout! Make sure you start with a light warm up for at least 5 minutes before you begin.
10-20 Two handed swings
10-20 Goblet Squats
10-20 Two handed swings
10-20 Two handed goblet squat to overhead press
Rest if needed for 30 seconds to 1 minute and repeat this sequence for the entire 20 minutes.
Beginners go with the 10 rep count and take more frequent breaks if needed. Intermediate and advanced exercisers go with the max rep counts and try to only take a break at the bottom of each circuit. It is a 3 movement circuit…simple but not easy! You’ll be sweating before you know it and you’ll have completed a full body workout in less than 20 minutes. Make sure you cool down and stretch for a few minutes when you’re done.
Perform this workout 2-3 times a week and you’ll notice quickly improvements in your fitness and endurance.