More Ideas For Time Efficient Kettlebell Workouts (And A “New” Swing Style)

The great thing about having a newborn is that they are constantly, yet pleasantly, interrupting your life in some way shape or form.

Sunday, I was supposed to head over to the studio for a squat session.

It never happened.

So, I had to improvise.

I’ve got a pretty big goal in mind for the end of the year (more on that later) so I had to see what I had around the house that would help me train to that end.

So I grabbed a Beast and and ripped out some 2 Hand Swings.

And that brings me to a side-note –

A lot of people have a tough time finding their perfect Swing groove. I was solely focused on one thing – and this may help you out – and it makes a HUGE difference for me – is focusing on performing a vertical jump when Swinging.

I really push my hips back and let them load up. But here’s where I do something a little differently from others – when the kettlebell swings back under my legs, I let my center of mass drift into my whole foot – really loading up the balls of my feet – you know – the place where you sprint on – instead of digging my heels into the floor. Sure, I keep my heels down, but I don’t emphasize that.

(It goes without saying that you have to have really good ankle mobility to do this type of Swing.)

And then when the kettlebell reaches the apex of the backswing, I focus on standing up as hard and as fast as possible. And man – the kettlebell just EXPLODES out of the hole! It just floats right up to chin height and hangs there for a split second, before it descends for the next rep.

And that’s really how you should focus on your Swings – EXPLODE! up with them and get that sucker to pause – literally hang right there, virtually weightless, right in front of your chest. If your shoulder mobility/stability will allow it, even chin height. It’s a world of difference from the way most people swing.

When I get some time, I’ll post a video of this technique…

So, the whole kettlebell workout – cause that’s all I did – no Squats – just Swings – the whole thing took me 20 minutes. 150 x 2 Hand Swings in 20 minutes, really focusing on RIPPING that kettlebell up in the air.

You can and should implement this same type of kettlebell workout somewhere in your week. Not only is it good for conditioning, but it will build some power too. And, more importantly, you can get it done lickety-split with no messing or waiting around. Perfect for someone pinched for time.

Here’s how you’d break it down:

  • Heavy-ish Kettlebell
  • 2 Hand Swings
  • 10 reps per set
  • 10-20 sets
  • Rest as needed
  • No more than 20 minutes

Simple. Effective.

Give this type of workout a shot and mess around with this “new” variation of the Swing (using a lighter kettlebell to start) and let me know what you find out about yourself.

Gotta run.

17 comments… add one
  • Chris May 11, 2011 @ 14:07

    Talk about a coincidence. I have twin (3) year old boys at home and every day is a crap shoot on whether I get to train at the house the way I plan. Sometimes I have to bang out a quick workout during my lunch hour, hence the reason for keeping a 24kg and a 32kg at my office. Today, I happened to do a session of (20 sets x 15 reps) swings with my 24kg (30 sec on / 30 sec off). Done in 20 minutes.

    I will definitely start practicing the new swing style. Thanks for all the great info.

    • GEOFFN May 13, 2011 @ 10:03

      At the end of the day Chris, it’s just about getting it done – something done – to help you reach your goals. Lemme know how that Swing works for you.

  • George Pazin May 11, 2011 @ 14:28

    Love it. You almost HAVE TO go heavy if you’re really exploding it, otherwise you’re ripping the bell over your head.

    Your missed squat session won’t be your last missed one…

    • GEOFFN May 13, 2011 @ 10:05

      George – right on the money as usual… 😉

      Sometimes I wonder if squatting’s not over-rated anyway. {Shock! Horror! Gasp!}

  • Andreas May 11, 2011 @ 15:27

    Great workout! Love it!

    • GEOFFN May 13, 2011 @ 10:05

      Thanks Andreas.

  • Gary McGhee May 11, 2011 @ 15:35

    Thanks Geoff. This is exactly the kind of stuff I need as a father of four young children. Blessings!

    • GEOFFN May 13, 2011 @ 10:05

      Thanks Gary. More ideas for you to come…

  • David Cohn May 11, 2011 @ 22:18

    Hey Geoff, I will give it a shot. I try to keep the Pavel in my head under control by doing sets of 5-8. I start with a heavier KB, and I do a set of 5 every 30 seconds. The next time I train I do 6, 7, & 8. When I hit 8 (a magic number Pavel once told me) I split the minute 3 ways, and start with 5’s again, every 15 seconds. I do this a couple times a week (15-20 minutes) when I can’t find 30-45 for my normal workout. I burn a ton of calories, keep the heart in the 80-90% target max, and of course, it makes me stronger at every kettlebell lift I do! That’s what you have to do when you can’t count to 10! ;0) By the way, I am at CK-FMS and Paul Lyngso and I were talking “Neuport”. :0)

    • GEOFFN May 13, 2011 @ 10:06

      Talking “Neupert” eh? What exactly does that mean…? Anyway, I’d defer to Pavel if he gave you SPECIFIC advice for your Swing my man. Have fun at CK-FMS – good stuff – will make your head spin…

  • Steve H May 12, 2011 @ 16:04

    I tried doing this workout last night with some slight changes. I was doing one handed swings :30L/:30R/:30 rest for 15 sets. I’ll tell you, “leaping” seemingly triples the actual workload! Needless to say I need to practice this with reasonable weight for a while to build up my endurance.
    Thank you Geoff for the workout tips and congrats on being a new dad!


    • GEOFFN May 13, 2011 @ 10:17

      Yup, Steve – just like I said – start lighter! Thanks for the congrats.

  • Russ Moon May 12, 2011 @ 20:15

    48 kg 2 arm swings Ripping It to chin to forehead level.

    150 reps – 8 cycles of 20:40

    • Russ Moon May 12, 2011 @ 20:24

      Correction 150 reps in 12 cycles of 20:40, I had gymboss set for 20 cycles and had 8 left so much for new math.

      48kg 2 arm swing…

      • GEOFFN May 13, 2011 @ 10:18

        Feels great to “float it” doesn’t it, Russ?

        • Russ Moon May 28, 2011 @ 19:56

          Yes, MRKC Neupert, especially when I got to try the “Big Boy”. I would like very much to have regular access to that 1) to clean it and 2) play with it.

  • Earl May 18, 2011 @ 13:47

    I use a Gymboss timer and set 2 intervals. I’ve been doing 2-handed swings with 16kg for 60 seconds followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat for 15 rounds ~ 22 minute workout. How does intensity work into this? If I increase the work interval time and decrease the number of rounds, the total work is still the same, but each round is harder (for me anyway…). Is this an increase in intensity or just a different kind of volume workout?

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