Kettlebell for Beginners is a workout by trainer Ellie Crawley. I discovered this workout when Collage Video offered me a month of free streaming. So I signed up. I didn’t find many workouts that interested me, but I tried this one and really liked it so when my free month ended I purchased the DVD.
Kettlebell for Beginners is not just for beginners. At the beginning of each section it has a recommendation for the weight of kettlebell you should use, depending on your fitness level. Beginners should use an 8kg kettlebell (17.6 pounds), intermediate should use a 12-16kg kettlebell (26.4 to 35 pounds) and advanced should use 20-24kg kettlebell (44 to 53 pounds). For me, even 17.6 pounds is a lot for some of the exercises! I have a whole range of kettlebells. For this workout I used anywhere from an 8 pound kettlebell (sub-beginner level according to Ellie’s chart!) to a 35 pound kettlebell. However I tended to stay in the 15-30 pound kettlebell range for the majority of the workout. This workout is done voice over. Ellie spends a lot of time during the workout describing and demonstrating proper form, so in that aspect, this definitely is an excellent workout for beginners. Plus, this does not include any kettlebell exercises that are dangerous to novices (snatches and swings into rack). So in that aspect, this is beginner level. However, if you use heavy kettlebells, this is definitely not a beginner level workout. Although, apparently what I think is heavy and what Ellie thinks is heavy are two completely different things!
If you choose “Play All” the workout is 72 minutes long. It says it is 65 minutes but your workout time is actually about 71 minutes including warm up and stretch. It begins with a 30 second intro. Ellie suggests you do 3 workouts 3 times a week. By workouts, she does not mean the entire 71 minute workout–she means 3 of the 10-11 minute segments. This is how I did the workout when I streamed it from Collage Video. I used the individual segments as fitness breaks during my work day. However, for this review, I did the entire 71 minute kettlebell workout. I found the individual segments very intense, but since they were all about 11 minutes, it was over relatively quickly. However doing one 10-11 minute circuit, one right after the other, was exhausting. I was working very hard in this workout. It did not feel beginner level to me at all. Kettlebell work is very metabolic, so you are getting cardio and total body strength in this workout. I burned 474 calories and spent a total of 14 minutes in my peak heart rate zone.
The biggest drawback to this workout is that there is tons of repetition. I personally love kettlebell swings so I didn’t mind all of the swings. A kettlebell swing with the appropriate weight for your fitness level is a total body metabolic strength exercise. But I did start groaning every time I had to get back on the mat for another Turkish Get Up and or more Russian Twists.
Kettlebell for Beginners contains 6 approximately 10 minute kettlebell workouts plus a 4 minute cool down/stretch. One of those kettlebell workouts also doubles as a warm up. If you do all 7 sections from start to finish you get a 71 minute total body workout. But you can, of course, visit each section individually or pair several sections together for a shorter workout.
I used several several different kettlebells for this workout and I list below the weight of the kettlebell I used for each exercise.
Warm up and Mobility (11 minutes)
- Hold the KB buy both handles behind back, pull shoulders back while also leaning head back to look up to ceiling then lower chin to chest; look side to side, turning head to look to the side; tilt head side to side, bringing ear to shoulder
- Place kettlebell on floor and do shoulder rolls
- Do hip circles
- Place palms on knees and hinge forward, circle the knees
- Balance on one leg, do wrist circles and circle ankle of raised leg
- Sit on mat, both knees bent, sole of one foot against top of other knee, without using your hands, raise up onto knees, lower back to bottom and, keeping feet on mat, swap knee position and again, raise onto knees without using hands; when kneeling, step one foot forward so you are in kneeling lunge, press hips forward to stretch hip flexor
- Do one push up on knees, walk hands back to feet, stand and do one squat, place hands on floor and walk hands out again so you can repeat this series
- Stand, legs shoulder width apart and KB on floor between feet, do deadlifts, placing KB on floor (but do not release the handle) at the bottom of each deadlift (35# KB)
- Deadstop swing (start with KB on floor in front of you, hinge forward like in deadlift, do one full kettlebell swing and place KB back on floor, still holding handle) (30# KB)
- Do alternating crescent knees to stretch hips
- Repeat #8 & 9 three more times
Workout #1: Upper Body (11 minutes)
- 2 handed kettlebell swings (30# KB)
- Military press, 5 reps each arm (start with KB in rack position at shoulder and press overhead) (15# KB)
- Repeat #1 & 2 seven more times
Workout #2: Lower Body (11:30 minutes)
- Deep wide body weight sumo squats
- Goblet squats (same form as #1 but you are now holding the KB by the horns) (30# KB)
- 2 handed kettlebell swing (30# KB)
- Repeat #2 & 3 six more times
Workout #3: Upper Body (10 minutes)
- One handed kettlebell swings, 5 reps each arm (20# KB)
- Single arm bent over row, 5 reps each arm (25# KB)
- Repeat 1 & 2
- Repeat #3 for 8 reps two more times
- Repeat #3 for 10 reps two more times
Workout #4: Full Body (11:30 minutes)
- The Get Up (one full Turkish Get Up on each side of the body–no kettlebell)
- 2 handed kettlebell swings (30# KB)
- Repeat #1 with a kettlebell (8# KB)
- Repeat #2
- Repeat #3 & 4 four more times
Workout #5: Core (11 minutes)
- Chest bridge press, 5 reps each arm (lay on back, knees bent and feet on floor, holding KB in one hand, raise hips into bridge and keep them elevated while doing single arm chest press) (15# KB)
- Sit ups with press over head, 5 reps (lay on back with knees bent and feet on floor, holding KB in both hands by horn, do a full sit up with an overhead press at top of sit up, bring KB to chest at bottom of sit up) (15# KB)
- Russian twists with ankles crossed and feet elevated off ground, holding KB by horns in both hands, 20 twists (8# KB)
- Hold forearm plank for 30 seconds
- Repeat #1-4 three more times