Ahh, the kettlebell. Exercise simplicity at it’s finest.
One or two bells, you, and your backyard, porch, or basement.
Except – you’re bored.
You’ve done ETK.
You’ve done some WODs.
You’ve done a couple of “Swing Challenges.”
You even spent a month or two messing around with the Get Up.
Sure, you’re in much better shape and you move better than you have in years, but you’re still B-O-R-E-D.
What to do?
Here are 5 means you can use to eliminate your ennui (French for ”boredom”):
1. Reduce your leverage.
Lemme ask you sumthin’ – when was the last time you sat on the floor and did your Military Presses that way? You know, with your feet out in front of you in a “V”?
Been awhile? Or maybe never?
That’s an example of reducing your leverage. It makes the lighter weights feel heavier because you are no longer able to take advantage of irradiation – the rest of your muscles helping out.
Here are some other ways you can reduce your leverage on the Press -
- half kneeling
- tall kneeling
- from indian sit
- on one leg
- on tightrope (with one foot immediately in front of the other)
And with a little bit of creativity you can do this for many of your other favorite KB exercises.
2. Add in isometrics.
Isometrics – or holds – are some of the most overlooked and under-utilized means of developing strength.
They were used extensively by old time strongmen but are rarely used today.
Think about this – if you can’t move it, in most cases at least you can keep something from moving. (Most cases…)
So, let’s take the Squat – imagine how strong you would get if you could take even the lightest of KBs and pause and hold any position in the Squat for 3-5 seconds – not just resting at the bottom either.
You know – pause just above parallel, pause just below parallel, pause just before the bottom… that sort of thing.
And from that “held” position you could move either up or down based on your whim or fancy.
I’d bet you’re legs would get pretty darn strong.
Imagine how strong your Press could get if you did this routinely.
The cool thing about using “iso’s” is that you get stronger because you become more familiar with the exercise – you gain more control.
And more control is more strength.
3. One and a quarter or one and a half reps.
These are kinda similar to the isometrics only they’re a little more ”pre-planned.”
Let’s take the Squat again.
For a one-and-a-quarter Squat, you’d go down into the hole, come up a quarter of the way, go back down, and stand up.
What’s the point?
Again, greater control, greater strength, greater results.
You could do the same thing with your Press and even your Get Up.
4. Bottom’s Up.
I wrote about this last week but you can start doing your drills ”bottom’s up” for a season.
You’ll have to decrease the volume of work from the start, because these exercises fry your grip, but you may be able to build back up the volume over time.
I have one female client that I routinely use these drills with and she can easily Push Press a pair of 24s for reps.
And you’re not limited to just Presses with the Bottom’s Up drills.
Here are some others:
- Front Squats
- Get Ups (yes, even GUs, but be VERY careful)
Best of all – you’re mind will be incredibly focused while doing these drills.
5. Increase your density
One of my favorite means of getting results and measuring progress is by getting more and more work in the same amount of time.
Or the same amount of work in less time.
Or better yet, more work in less time.
You get the picture.
This is called “density training” and it is one of the most overlooked means of making progress around.
In the traditional strength training world we just add weight to the bar.
But since KBs are fixed loads, you have to add volume (sets and reps) or add another KB, or a bigger KB, or you can go the density route.
When you’ve got limited KBs or your bored to tears, density training is the way to go because of the challenge aspect involved – you’re constantly trying to best your previous performance.
Here’s how you might set up your program:
Clean + Press: 20 minutes.
As many sets of 5 each hand as possible in that 20 minutes.
You’d record the reps. Maybe it’s 25 per arm.
And the next workout you’d try to beat that total number. You’d try to get 30.
Density training gives you the best of all worlds -
- You can get wicked strong
- When coupled with “eating less” you can burn off a ton of bodyfat
- You can get incredibly well conditioned
Case in point -
One of my private clients who I see only twice per week has made phenomenal progress in the last 6 weeks using this method.
By just using a pair of 24s on the C+P he’s added about 8 pounds of muscle and stripped off just as much fat, if not more.
The best part is that he’s really starting to “own” the 24s.
For the busy professional, the overworked mom, or anybody stressed about how and when they’re going to get their workouts in, density training is really THE way to go for the simple reason that there’s a predetermined start and finish to your workout.
That way, it’s easy to fit it into the busiest of schedules regardless of how few KBs you have.
If you want a simple way to alleviate your boredom that uses the density method exclusively check this out.
P.S. This email should’ve given you some really good ideas on making your workouts more exciting even with limited KBs. But if for some reason you just don’t feel like doing all the programming yourself, here’s some (a lot actually) that’s done-for-you.