Keeping a kettlebell at the home or office is a great way to recharge during a 15-minute break from the computer.
Not everyone has a wide variety of bells to choose from and some people have only one bell, often a relatively light beginner bell and they quickly outgrow it… or so they think.
With a little creativity you will find plenty of ways to make a light bell seem heavier than it should and keep your strength gains coming.
Here are just a few examples of how to squeeze more out of a given size bell. Each list is arranged from easiest to hardest. Aside from doing more reps or taking less rest… when a particular version of a technique begins to feel easy, start working on one of the versions further down the list. Safety is always a priority and so is your dignity, for that reason you will never attempt any kettlebell exercise while standing on a bosu ball or standing on a kettlebell. [Note: If your idea of kettlebell training involves doing a single leg squat atop a kettlebell… you’re doing it wrong.]
This list is by no means exhaustive and with a little imagination I could easily double the variations shown below.
With variations like these I can keep a 16kg kettlebell challenging although I can readily swing, bent press, squat and do getups with a bell three times that size. I’m not trying to brag, there are many stronger people in the world… but, my point is this:
Strength is a choice: If you have a kettlebell you think you’ve outgrown, you’re probably wrong.
Enjoy & Don’t forget to share this post if you do!
- Easiest: Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift
- Harder: Sumo Kettlebell Deadlift from an elevation
- Harder: Single arm suitcase deadlift
- Harder: Single Leg Kettlebell Deadlift
KETTLEBELL HIP HINGE
- Easiest: Two Hand Swing
- Harder: Hand to Hand Swing
- Harder: One Hand Swing
- Harder: High Pulls
- Harder: Snatches
- Easiest: Push Press
- Harder: Military Press
- Harder: Bent Press
- Harder: Military Press Blind Folded, Standing on one leg… or both.
- Harder: Tall Kneeling Military Press (Blind folded too)
- Harder: Press Up, 1/4 the way down & back up, 1/2 the way down & back up, 3/4 down then up.
- Harder: Seated On The Floor Press
- Harder: Press from the bottom of the squat
- Harder: Press while seated in the splits
- Easiest: Partial Getups
- Harder: Full Getups
- Harder: Full Getups with several presses on the way to standing.
- Harder: Slow Motion Getups: 1 minute + per repetition.
- Harder: Continuous getups for up to 5 reps without setting the bell down before switching hands.
- Easiest: Goblet Squat
- Harder: Reactive Goblet Squats (Engum)
- Harder: Goblet squat with the bell held upside down (bottom up)
- Harder: Goblet Squat with a 10 second pause in the bottom while shaking the bell vigorously. (Dan John)
- Harder: Front Squat
- Harder: Cossack Squat
- Harder: Bottom Up Front Squat
- Harder: Goblet Squat with the bell held overhead
- Harder: Single Arm Overhead Squat (hold the bell overhead with one arm locked out and squat)
- Harder: Pistol (a.k.a. Single Leg Squat)
- Harder: Racked Pistol
- Harder: Botom Up Racked Pistol
- Harder: Overhead Pistol
- Easiest: Cheat Clean with both hands
- Harder: Clean (standard)
- Harder: Dead Clean with no backward hike pass between reps.
- Harder: Bottom Up Clean
- Harder: Add a 15 seconds hold/pause in the rack position between reps.
Kettlebell juggling sounds scary, but it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. You will need to perform these outside of course where the bells won’t bounce.
- Easiest: Two Hand Release & Catch at the top of the swing
- Harder: Hand to Hand Release & Catch
- Harder: One Hand Release & Catch
- Harder: Hand to Hand Release into a flip & catch
- Harder: One Hand Release into a flip & catch
- Harder: One Hand release into a helicopter spin & catch
(For a greater list of kettlebell juggling techniques and progressions I recommend the works of Jeff Martone and Gus Peterson)