If your time is limited and you want to get stronger grab a pair of heavy kettlebells and practice the basics.
Don’t worry about what exercises are going to be in the next W.O.D.,
stop scouring through all the generic fitness magazines for a new routine and
immediately cease and desist with the endless buffet of home workout DVDs or youtube videos.
To maximize what precious little training time you have, you need to come to terms with the fact that less is more. Specifically, Less distractions and less techniques.
Resistance training isn’t new, it’s been around for millennia so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The biggest and most productive movements in the weight room are common knowledge and according to Master SFG Dan John they can be narrowed down to about 4 categories: Pushing, Pulling, Squatting and Hip Hinging. As long as you hit all four categories in your training and stay strong in each, you’re ahead of the curve.
- SQUATTING: Squatting or Lunging
- HIP HINGING: Deadlift variations, Cleans and Snatches
- PULLING: Rows or weighted pull-ups
- PUSHING: All manner of pressing
A heavy barbell workout consisting of the above movements can take hours or days and lots of expensive equipment, not to mention a steep learning curve for the Olympic lifts, finding a gym that permits these movements and enough available equipment & space to not have to wait or work in with others. However, with two appropriate kettlebells you can do all of this and more and be finished in 15 minutes. The ways you can arrange these movements are endless… but here’s a great 15-minute full-body kettlebell routine that uses all four categories.
15-MINUTE Strength & Conditioning Workout
The following workout doesn’t mess around.
It’s intended for the experienced kettlebell lifter.
It consists of two parts: A strength routine and a ballistics routine.
QUICK & DIRTY WARM-UP
10 Pump Stretches, 3 Kneeling Hip Stretch per side, 5 half-kneeling halos each direction per leg.
GRINDS (You’ll perform the first three movements as a complex without setting the bells down)
- Cleans x 3-5
Hike the bells behind you between your legs, then stand up explosively. Guide the kettlebell to the rack position without crashing. Hold motionless for 1 second while building maximal tension in the legs, glutes abs and lats. Repeat for reps.
- Presses x 1 -5
Picking up where the clean left off… adjust & narrow your stance. Tighten up, press down into the earth and press the bells overhead. Hold the lockout motionless for 1 second and perform a strong active negative as you return the bells to the rack. Repeat for reps.
- Squats: x 3-5
Picking up where the press left off…. interlace your fingers, inhale, stay tight and pull yourself with strength down into a squat. Pause motionless for 1 second, then drive your heels into the earth and wedge your hips underneath you to return to standing. Fully extend your hips, maximally contracting your quads, glutes and abs at the top before repeating for reps.
Now you can set the bells down.
- renegade rows: x 3-5
Assume a pushup position using the kettlebells handles to support your weight. Maintain hip extension as you stiffen your entire torso, glutes and legs. Alternately pull one bell to your hip at a time. Left + Right = 1. Repeat for reps.
- Rest & Repeat as necessary. I like to perform 3 to 5 rounds and always strive to use weights that allow me to get 3 reps or more per technique.
- Snatches x 1 – 5 reps or (RM -1)
- Rest Briefly
- High Pulls x 1-5 reps or (RM -1)
- Rest Briefly
- Swings x 1-5 reps or (RM -1)
- Start over with snatches and repeat this circuit for remainder of the allotted time.
OPTION A) Complete the entire workout with a moderate set of bells such as 24kg bells for men or 12 to 16kg bells for women.
OPTION B) “Weight Pyramids & Ladders”
Use up to three pairs of different size bells, light, medium and heavy and perform the workout like so
- Perform the Clean, Press, Squat, Row complex with a weight pyramid:
Round 1: Perform the entire complex with Light bells.
Round 2: Perform the entire complex with Medium bells.
Round 3: Perform the entire complex with Heavy bells.
Round 4: Perform the entire complex with Medium bells.
Round 5: Perform the entire complex with Light bells.
- Perform the Snatch, High Pull and Swing Circuit using a Descending Weight Ladder
Round 1: Heavy: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
Round 2: Medium: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
Round 3: Light: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
There you have it, a workout that takes 15-minutes and includes variations of the all the big movements.
Efficient, spirited & brutal, just the way I like it… and in my humble opinion you should too.