The two-handed kettlebell swing may anchor your workout.
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Extreme kettlebell workouts are not patty cake. You work hard, mix your lifting with rigorous calisthenics in some cases, and feel both exhausted and exhilarated afterward. But you maintain safety above all. вЂњIf your definition of extreme is working people until they throw up or get sick or hospitalized after their workout, then we are not extreme,вЂќ notes Sue Skogg of Portland, Oregon's kettlebells-based Skogg Gym. вЂњIf extreme is pushing people past what they believed their limits are, in a safe environment, then we are extreme.вЂќ
Keeping Safe and Healthy
If you have a heart problem or any health restrictions, consult your doctor before attempting an extreme kettlebells workout, advises Lauren Brooks, a Southern California-based trainer. If you drop the bell, move quickly out of the way, and if your form deteriorates, switch to a lighter weight or stop the exercise, she recommends in her extreme workout DVD, вЂњThe Ultimate Body Sculpt and Conditioning with Kettlebells, Volume 3.вЂќ
Warm Up for Five Minutes
Devote time before you dive into your extreme workout with KBs, as fans of the kettlebell call it, to warm up carefully for at least five minutes. You can focus on joint mobility, advises Brooks in her вЂњUltimate Body SculptвЂќ DVD, by tilting your head from side to the other, then performing halos with a lighter, easy-to-handle KB. Rotate your hips, rotate your knees, rotate your ankles in each direction and shake out each foot in turn. Rotate your clasped wrists in both directions.
'Power Burn and Strength'
If you are looking for 18 minutes of an extreme workout with an upper-body focus, try Brooks' вЂњPower Burn and StrengthвЂќ entry, one of three workouts on the вЂњUltimate Body SculptвЂќ DVD. Extreme KBs workouts typically do not entail sets and reps; rather you perform timed circuits. You need a timer, to chime so you can know when to start work intervals and when to rest, if you don't plan to follow along with a DVD that provides chimes for you. For this workout, you need two kettlebells of a weight that you can manage for upper-body work. Begin with 25 seconds of the double floor press, followed immediately with no rest by 25 seconds of the seesaw floor press. Take 30 seconds of rest. Perform each additional pair of exercises back to back, and then rest for an additional 30 seconds before starting the next pair. The additional exercises are: double swings and double high pulls; double bent-over rows and alternating bent-over rows; pushups on kettlebells and renegade rows; double clean and press and double seesaw press; and double floor press and the one-arm swing, left and right. Repeat the entire sequence one time.
'Art of Strength: Firepower'
Billed as вЂњthe ultimate 30-minute workout,вЂќ the вЂњArt of Strength: FirepowerвЂќ DVD was designed by Anthony DiLuglio, RKC, based in Providence, Rhode Island, and Anthony Grokaitis, RKC. Though designed for first responders, it's also suitable for anyone seeking a challenge -- go with a lighter bell the first time if you are unsure. This workout puts together the Turkish get-up, the alternating clean and press, the double static row and a super burpee that includes a KB high pull and KB squat. You also work through a figure 8 to a hold, super planks, alternating double cleans, suitcase deadlifts, alternating chest presses and Russian twists. To complete your 15 exercises, you have the high-pull snatch, seesaw press, figure 8 lunge, renegade rows and the squat triple crush -- a squat with a lowering of the bell at the bottom of the motion and a move like a triceps extension at the top. As with Brooks' extreme workout, you perform two exercises back to back, with a rest between each pairing -- but DiLuglio would like you to complete a full minute of each exercise. When you finish вЂњFirepower,вЂќ you'll feel pleasantly wrung out.
'Michael Skogg at Home: Conditioning'
The "Skogg at Home" DVDs provide you with your choice of strength, power and conditioning circuits, at various levels of intensity. The Phase 1 Conditioning workout shows an actual class in Michael Skogg's Portland gym. After a warm-up with clock lunges, the group performs two circuits of four pairs of exercises. Each pair consists of walking lunges holding KBs at your sides, plus either super planks, kickthroughs, drivers or thrusters. You perform the pair of exercises for two minutes, performing one for 15 seconds, then the next for 15 seconds, and continuing to alternate until you reach a welcome one-minute rest break. вЂњAll the body-weight exercises are tough enough to make this challenging,вЂќ Skogg notes in his George C. Scott voice. The entire workout takes about 24 minutes and proves much tougher than they might appear in print.