The topic today is bang for your buck – what exercises, we all want to know, are going to be give us the best return for the time we put in? I’ll make my arguments and explanations, but know these are not answers, only ideas.
(I am also restricting, for this post, at least, the movements to bodyweight and kettlebells only, because I know that is what so many of you use and want to stick with. I will do another with a less abbreviated tool kit – barbells, rings, sleds, etc – some other week.)
Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.
For Upper Body Strength: Double Clean and Press
Works every major muscle group, while blending strength and power. Allows one to become strong and tough.
Favorite Protocol: Every Minute on The Minute Sets – 5 reps (or fewer) on the minute, every minute, for 10 minutes. Men use 2 x 24kg (or more); ladies 2 x 16kg (or more).
For Lower Body Strength: Front Squat
For no other reason than this move lets you move more weight with two kettlebells than any another aside the deadlift. Also, for building muscle, heavy, high rep front squats – you want to be doing those.
Favorite Protocol: “In Betweens” – work your way up to 15 reps of FSQ, with one see-saw press every five reps.
For Endurance: Snatches
We could argue for swings or one arm swings, but there’s just something about snatches. Higher rep or cadence snatching is one of the best ways I know to build your wind. So for this, I’ll give two examples.
First Favorite Protocol: Snatch Ladders, 1-10-1, or whatever. Really, there are many ways you can do this. But one to ten, on each arm, alternating every rep, and back down, is where to begin. Guys use 24kg, ladies 16kg.
And here’s another variation for your grip.
Second Favorite Protocol: 15 seconds ON, 15 seconds OFF for 10-30 minutes with 12-20kg (males); 8 – 12kg (females).
(Side Note: Dan John put a comment in my last post with a protocol for completing the 100 rep snatch test. It’s worth seeing.)
For Fat Loss: Swings
Remember that all your exercise doesn’t have to be done at once, and one of the best ways to get rid of body fat is to set a movement quota, some number of reps to hit before the end of the day. That’s why I like swings. It’s easy to accumulate reps of swings without any extensive warm up or set of equipment.
Favorite Protocol: My 300 Swings Challenge. In short you do 300 reps most days of the week. You don’t have to do them all at once, and in some ways, it’s better if you don’t. You can also mix up, and should mix up, how you do your swings. Meaning don’t just do the same workout.
(If you want the full 300 Swings Challenge, complete with workout ideas, you can get it HERE. The cost is $7. )
For Ab Strength and Definition: Hollow Holds
These make planks seem like a fine place to take a nap. (Yes, I know this isn’t a kettlebell exercise. I did figure one that out.)
Favorite Protocol: Minute sets – 60 seconds, uninterrupted. Do 3 rounds, with 60 seconds rest (or less) between.
What Would YOU Add?
One of my favorite, although kind of pointless, questions is, if you could only take one exercise with you to a deserted island, what would it be, and why?
I’d love to hear your response in the comments.
PS – I know I left some things out of this post like mobility, for which I would say either the windmill or get up. The problem is with lists like these they could go on forever. So one has to put a stop somewhere.