Happy Thursday to you,
Well December has arrived and things are starting to get festive here at the Brookes’ household. I even ate my first mince pie yesterday 🙂
Throughout this year I’ve been trying to help you improve the way you exercise by teaching your principles.
By learning exercise principles you are better able to understand WHY you are performing a certain exercise or workout.
- Movement patterns
- Workout formats
- Regressions and progressions
- Reps, Sets, Load and Tempo
Understand principles and you are free from the constraints of fitness magazines, celebrity workouts, fad equipment, or expensive gym memberships.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of these principles and can make better informed decisions and improve your health no matter where you are.
Being able to look after your own health and fitness without the need of others really is a superpower you can have for the rest of your life!
Kettlebell and Bodyweight Training
When I sent out a request for info on what you wanted help with next many people replied with “how to mix bodyweight exercises into kettlebell workouts”.
So here’s a quick guide for you:
1. Bodyweight exercises for mobility
One of the great things about bodyweight exercises is their ability to offer many movements that will increase your mobility and nourish your joints, for example:
- Yoga Squats
- Hip Openers
You can perform these exercises as a warm up before performing a similar movement pattern eg. Yoga Squat followed by Goblet Squats.
2. Bodyweight exercises for core training
Want to increase your core activation before a workout or add some addition core training to your workout? Bodyweight core exercises are a great option, for example:
- Slow mountain climbers
- Planks (front, side, rotational)
- Bird Dogs
Light core exercises are great at the start of a workout, very demanding core exercises should be saved until the end to prevent spinal vulnerability when heavy lifting.
3. Bodyweight exercises for balance
As we age balance becomes more and more challenging. Mixing your kettlebell workouts with some more challenging balancing exercises can be helpful, for example:
- Single leg deadlift (stiff and bent leg)
- Assisted pistol squats
- Single leg swings / mobility drills
These can be used as active recovery in between kettlebell workout sets or as strengtheners in their own right.
4. Bodyweight exercises for extra cardio
Add further cardio demands to your workouts with bodyweight cardio exercises, for example:
- Fast mountain climbers
- Squat thrusts
- High Knees
- Jumping jacks
Cardio exercises can be mixed with a strength based workout or as a compliment to an existing cardio workout. Bodyweight exercises have a lower risk of injury and so are great when you are starting to fatigue.
5. Bodyweight exercises to balance out workouts
Some movement patterns are difficult to achieve with kettlebells including the overhead pull and horizontal push, luckily bodyweight exercises can help, for example:
- Pull up and Chin Ups
- Push Ups
- Inverted rows
Fill those movement pattern gaps in your workouts by using bodyweight exercises.
Bodyweight exercises can add mobility, extra cardio, fill movement pattern holes, strengthen core muscles, and improve your balance.
Plus, they require no equipment and can be performed anywhere.
Learn more: 13 Bodyweight and kettlebell workouts
2 x 7 minute kettlebell and bodyweight workout:
- Double Lunge – 5 reps each side
- Squat & Press – 5 reps each side
- Snatch – 5 reps each side
- Jumping Jacks – 20 reps
- Slow Mountain Climbers – 10 reps
- High Knees – 20 reps
Here’s 2 of my 7 minute circuits, the first one uses kettlebells and is focused more on strength and the second circuit is bodyweight for cardio and core.
Perform the first circuit for 7 minutes moving from one exercise to the next taking as little rest as possible.
Take a rest for 2 minutes and then perform the second circuit for 7 minutes in the same way you did the first.
This weeks question:
Q. “I do circuits and strength yoga during the week and was wondering if you had any advice on adjusting your strength programme for one day a week instead of 3 – 4?”
A. Strength training, by its very nature, requires lifting heavy weights so you will have to be careful about infrequent overexposure and ultimately the potential of injury.
As you will only be lifting once per week I would focus on the exercises that will deliver the biggest return on your time, namely Squats and Deadlifts.
I would stick with a tried and tested format of 5 reps x 5 sets.
The clean and press uses the deadlift movement pattern along with the added bonus of the overhead press. Double kettlebells would be better than one if you are comfortable with them.
Give yourself 8 weeks of improving your strength with this exercise once per week and perform a few sets with lighter kettlebells before starting the main 5 x 5 set.
If you don’t like the sound of the Clean and Press then double Kettlebell Squats are also a great option.
I hope this helps.