Fitness Friday 268: The 4x4x4 Kettlebell Workout

Fitness Friday - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Phew. Hello Friday, am I ever glad to see you.

I was walking out of work with one of my coworkers the other day and with a loud sigh, said “wow, what a week”. As the words left my mouth, I had the sad realization that it was in fact only Tuesday, and that we still had a long ways to go until the weekend. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

The great news however, is that we’ve all made it through and the massive task of Q3 reporting that I mentioned in my goals for this month is very nearly done. By 5pm today I’ll have put all the finishing touches on my lovely PowerPoint deck and the thought of it right now has me positively giddy. The weekend ahead will involve some recipe development, a lunch date with one of my friends, some much needed rest + relaxation, and sweating in whatever way my heard desires. Speaking of which, I have a great workout for you today!

Source: Gymaholic via Pinterest
Source: Gymaholic via Pinterest

Work It Out

As I mentioned in my goal check-in on Monday, this month is very much about building upper body strength as far as fitness goes. The circuits I’ve got for you today definitely builds strength – the all-over, total-body kind. My challenge to you is to use kettlebells that feel heavy. Not so heavy that you can’t do the exercises with good form, but heavy enough to make you really happy when you get to drop them at the end of each set. Sometimes I think we get stuck in a comfortably uncomfortable rut where we just lift what we’re used to lifting, and that doesn’t result in very quick progress. Lift heavy, my friends!

Source: Gymaholic via Pinterest
Source: Gymaholic via Pinterest

The 4x4x4 Kettlebell Workout

The magic number is 4: 4 circuits with 4 exercises each, done as many times through as you can in 4 minutes. You might just be able to make it through each one time through, and that’s totally fine. Start with group 1, doing each of the 4 exercises as many times through as you can for 4 minutes. Take a 1 minute rest, then do the same for group 2, 3 and 4. You’ll want a couple sets of kettlebells nearby so that you can adjust weight for each move if needed, and a timer to count down each 4 minute round. Exercise descriptions are provided below.

Fitness Friday 268: The 4x4x4 Kettlebell Workout

Click here to print/download the PDF.

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Exercise descriptions:

Group 1:

  • Kettlebell swings – see this great tutorial
  • Squat with upright row – Stand up holding a single heavy kettlebell by the horns with both hands. Lower into a squat, and as you stand, row it up to your chin, elbows out to the sides, then back down.
  • Push-ups with kettlebell pass – Do a push-up with a kettlebell near your left hand. Once you’ve done the push-up, pass the kettlebell over near your right hand. Do another one, pass it back, etc.
  • Overhead tri extension – Stand holding a single kettlebell by the bell with both hands. Lower it behind your head, trying to keep elbows together. Straighten your arms back up to the ceiling. That’s 1 rep.

Group 2:

  • Skipping – No kettlebells! Just use a skipping rope or mimic the motion with your hands as you jump.
  • Walking lunges with kettlebells at sides – Do walking lunges as normal, holding a kettlebell by the handle in each hand.
  • Weighted step-ups – Holding a kettlebell by the handle in each hand, alternate leading legs as you step up onto a step or bench, then back down.
  • Figure 8s – Hold a kettlebell by the handle in one hand and take a wide stance. Get into a half squat and move your torso from side to side as you pass the kettlebell from hand to hand, weaving it around your legs, forming an 8 shape.

Group 3:

  • Kettlebell swings – Same as above.
  • Kettlebell Romanian deadlift – Hold a heavy kettlebell by the handle with both hands and perform Romanian deadlifts as shown here.
  • Uneven walking lunges – Hold one kettlebell down at your side and the other one straight up in the air as you perform walking lunges, changing arm positions every 5 reps.
  • Sumo goblet squat – Take a very wide stance, feet pointing slightly outward, holding a single heavy kettlebell by the bell with both hands near your chest. Lower into a sumo squat, then rise.

Group 4:

  • Burpee with overhead kettlebell press – Place a kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Do a regular burpee, but instead of jumping, grab the kettlebell and push it overhead. Lower it to the ground and repeat.
  • Bent-over rows – Hold a kettlebell by the handle in each hand and bend over, hinging at the hips. Row the kettlebell handles up to your ribcage, then back down.
  • Russian twists – Sit on the floor holding a single kettlebell by the horns with each hand. Lean back, keeping heels just above or just touching the ground. Engage your core and twist your torso as you alternate moving the kettlebell from the outside of one hip to the other.
  • Mountain climbers – No kettlebell here. 🙂 Get into high plank and get ’em done!

Turn It Up

This week has been a whole lot of ambient relaxation music to get my head out of work mode as much as possible when I’m at home in the mornings and evenings, but I’ve managed to find a few bangers for my workout playlist too. Here’s a fun one to send you dancing into the weekend, Love on Me by Galantis & Hook N Sling.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

Have A Read

Now over to you! Let’s hear…

  • What are you looking forward to most this weekend?
  • Have you tried any great new fitness classes lately?

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