I want to introduce you to Chrissy. A benchmark Kettlebell workout from Agatsu Fitness – created by Shawn Mozen for some crazy fit woman named Chrissy.
As the story goes, Shawn was training Chrissy. Chrissy was super strong and fit, and came to Shawn one day saying “I like the workouts, but I want something harder.”
So Shawn got to work and came up with this devious workout that is more a test a mental fortitude than anything and named if after his lovely student Chrissy. And we have many full body sweat stains on gym floors everywhere owed to Chrissy. So thank you, Chrissy, thank you.
The workout is a timed ladder.
The exercises are the tuck jump burpee and Kettlebell swing.
And it goes as follows.
Tuck Jump Burpee : Kettlebell Swing
25 : 25
20 : 30
15 : 35
10 : 40
5 : 45
Complete the ladder as quickly as possible. Record your time, and try to beat it the next time you complete it.
I did mine in 10:51 – a big improvement since the last time I did it almost a year and a half ago now.
Perform the following complex as a ladder with the listed rep scheme. Perform the ascending sets of the complex with even numbered reps. Start with 2 reps and work upto 10 reps. Start descending the reps of each set with odd numbers starting with 9 reps working down to 1 rep on the final set. Rest as necessary. Perform as quickly as possible.
A1) Kettlebell Swing
A2) Goblet Clean
A3) Goblet Squat
A4) Two-Hand Press
REP SCHEME: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 9, 7, 5, 3, 1
You can use this workout as a stand alone workout or conditioning complex after your regular training. To get better at this workout, time how long it takes you to complete the ladder and try to beat your time each time you attempt it.
I am thrilled to annouce that every week I will be sharing a kettlebell metabolic conditioning workouts that you can do in a pinch. These workouts will short and intense in nature and will be shared every Monday moving forward, so stay tuned! 🙂
Our first workout is a kettlebell complex to build and groove the kettlebell snatch. A complex means you will complete one round of the exercises without putting the weight down or resting.
This week’s workout goes as follows…
A1) one arm swing x 5 (right)
A2) high pull x 5 (right)
A3) snatch x 5 (right)
A4) one arm swing x 5 (left)
A5) high pull x 5 (left)
A6) snatch x 5 (left)
Do 4 rounds for time, rest between rounds as necessary.
Hop to it! 🙂
Share your times for you workout on Instagram and Twitter and don’t forget to tag me in the posts.
In recents years, the kettlebell swing has come to great popularity being touted as the solution to all of your strength, conditioning, and body composition woes. Although the benefits are sometimes exaggerated, it is still a phemonemal exercise that provides numerous benefits and is deserving of a spot somewhere in your training regimen provided you can perform them safely and effectively.
The kettlebell swing is excellent for developing the posterior chain (the muscles on the back side of the body,) developing explosiveness, as well as developing a solid base level of conditioning. The swing is movement that should be done using submaximal weight and is best performed for high reps anywhere from 10 to 50 and more. It’s also great to use in timed sets or circuits and has an immense training effect on the cardiovascular system.
Unfortunately, due to the immense popularity of this exercise (everybody and their grandmother’s want to do the swing) it’s often done incorrectly. The movement operates as a pendulum that requires a fine balance between tension and relaxation of the muscles to get proper momentum. The following are examples of important details that people neglect when performing kettlebell swings and that hinder progression toward other kettlebell movements such as cleans and snatches.
The kettlebell swing commences with a powerful hike back between the legs. A lot of people start the swing by deadlifting and trying to groove the pattern in midair. However the best way to start the swing is by placing it roughly two feet infront of you and then powerfully hiking it back between your legs, like football player hiking a ball to their teammate. This allows the pendulum movement of the swing to start with the downswing allowing the arms to stay relaxed during the movement.
Another crucial part to successfully swinging a kettlbell is keeping a soft grip. This means that you want to gently hook your hands around the handle of the bell. This will prevent severe callouses and overuse of the arms during the swing which is important as the swing is launched by the hips while the arms are acting as a tether not a prime mover.
If your arms tend to get tired while doing the kettlebell swing, try a few sets of towel swings, this will teach you to launch the kettlebell with your hips. To perform the towel swing, loop a towel around the handle of the kettlebell and hold on to the ends of the towel – perform the swing as usual.
The kettlebell swing is a hip dominant movement, meaning the glutes provide the force required to start the upswing. When you come to the end of the downswing you want to squeeze the glutes as hard as possible while pushing the feet into the floor, this will let the bell float back up and allow the pendulum motion to continue.
While peaking at the top of the swing and hitting the lockout, a lot of people will forget to engage their abs and shift in to letting their ribs float up which will displace tension into the lower back (which can lead to pain and injury.) The top of the kettlebell swing should look like a standing plank without excessive arching in the lower back – the abs and glutes should both feel tense.
ATTACK YOUR FLY
Another common mistake many people make (from gym goers to top coaches) is allowing the kettlebell to dip below the knees. This kills the power being generated from the glutes and will result in using the arms and lower back to muscle the kettlebell up leading to inefficiency. The closer the kettlebell is to the muscle launching the movement, the easier it will be to perform the exercise.
As we know, the kettlebell is launched by the glutes, so to keep the kettlebell close to the glutes when it is most proximal to the body imagine you are wearing jeans and aim your hands for your zipper on the downswing. At the end of the movement your chest should be close to parallel with the floor and the kettlebell should be behind you between your legs.
Last but not least, after you’ve completed a beautiful set of kettlebell swings you want to park the kettlebell. Parking the kettlebell and finishing your set properly will prevent you from trying to figure any new and inventive ways to injure yourself while trying to figure out how to stop the swing. All you have to do after the last downswing is keep your chest low and just allow the bell to come forward and down from your hips which will park it gently on the floor.
Put all that together and you should end up with a refined set of kettlebell swings that looks something like this.
Happy Kettlebell Swinging! 😀
Did this help you? Did you hate it? Would you like some Drake to go with those swings?
In case you did not receive the memo – I have an awesome windmill. Unfortunately not the badass breakdancing kind, but the kettlebell kind.
Badass kettlebell windmill as photographed by Sergio Mazzaferro.
The kettlebell windmill is both a stability and mobility drill. It is a great addition to any warm-up before doing overhead work or kettlebell work. To lay things out, this is not a strength movement and it is not a good choice for doing a One Rep Max. The name of the game with windmills is: Movement and Control.
The windmill can be a very humbling movement for many people as it requires moving the body in a way that a lot of people have never even thought of doing, let alone adding weight on top of it.
The windmill requires a decent amount of mobility in the following areas – hips, shoulders, and thoracic spine. As this exercise requires so much movement, it is highly recommended to do mobility drills prior to this exercise to open up these regions unless you are Gumby.
It is what it is.
Some good mobility drills to do before the windmill are:
Cat & Cow – to promote healthy articulation of the vertebrae of the spine which will aid in thoracic rotation. Perform 1 set of 10 reps.
Feldenkrais Rotations – to open up the thoracic spine for a strong rotation in the bottom of the windmill. Perform 1 set per side, work your way to the floor.
Cossack Squat – to open up the hips and adductors and get the glutes firing. Perform 1 set of 10 reps per side.
High Bear Crawl with legs locked – to mobilize the hips and stretch the hamstrings. Perform 1 set moving both forward and backward.
In addition to these exercises, if necessary spend some extra time working on overhead mobility by doing lower trap reaches, wall slide drills, or shoulder dislocates.
Once properly warmed-up, it’s time to progress into the windmill – however before progressing into the windmill, it’s good to understand a few things:
The windmill is hinge movement with the feet set up in an “L” shape. One the side of the body of the overhead arm the foot should be pointing forward. On the nonloaded side the foot should be pointing sideways. The movement happens by folding the hips- or pushing the hips backward without compromising the spine. To get back up to the lockout position, you push the hip forward and squeeze the glute on the loaded side.
The overhead arm should always be locked – in the words of Shawn Mozen of Agatsu “A little bit bent is like being a little bit pregnant.“
Lastly, always look at the overhead arm when loaded. Keep your eyes on that weight like white on rice.
Now that you are intimately informed on the windmill and her inner workings, you’re ready to get down. Grab a kettlebell and get ready to work through the following windmill progressions:
Windmill to kettlebell grab
Windmill to kettlebell grab with arm bend
Windmill to hand on floor
Bottom Loaded Windmill
Full Windmill – Top Loaded Windmill
In the following the video these progressions are demonstrated in order in multiples of three repetitions. Work through the progressions as you are able. Remember to work within the range you have without forcing extra range by compromising form and technique.
Are you ready to windmill? Did this article help you? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Let me know in the comment section below or feel to reach me via the “Contact” page.