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Home › Get stronger and lose fat by adding Kettlebell Circuit Training to a Barbell Strength Routine

Get stronger and lose fat by adding Kettlebell Circuit Training to a Barbell Strength Routine

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By Mike Mahler

I get asked often how to add kettlebell training to a standard barbell routine. There are numerous ways that are very effective. One of my favorite approaches is to do two heavy barbell focused workout per week and two circuit strength training kettlebell workouts per week. This is an excellent approach for people that are focused on getting stronger and leaner. The heavy barbell work well take care of your strength training goals and the circuit training kettlebell work will help ramp up growth hormone levels and increase insulin sensitivity (especially, when done on an empty stomach)

to improve fat loss goals.

 

Just make sure you focus on a diet full of high quality protein, low glycemic carbohydrates (from fruits and veggies is ideal), and optimal fat sources such as coconut oil, nuts, and seeds. Take longer stretches in between each meal such as six hours so you spend more time going to stored bodyfat for fuel instead of relying on consumed nutrition for fuel.

 

Each workout will be a fully body workout so that you get the most bang for your buck .No wasted time on isolation exercises at all! Pure focus on the compound exercises that the strongest men and women have already proven to be highly beneficial. You have a busy life so don't complicate training. Focus on the five pillars: upper body press, upper body pull, lower body press, lower body pull, and torso work (I hate saying core) and you're all set.

 

Do some mobility work before each workout to get prepared for training and then stretch all the major muscle groups after each workout to accelerate the recovery process. No need to make this process complicated either. Do 15-20 reps for the neck, hips, back, and shoulders and get going. Always focus on the mobility exercises and stretches that are the most difficult as those are the ones you need to work on. For example, I always emphasize a quad stretch that my chiropractor showed me. You get into a lunge position and push one leg all the up against the wall behind you. This is a great stretch for anyone with knee issues as tight quads are a contributing factor and this often comes from being in a seated position too long each day.

 

Okay let's get into the program. Here is how it is going to breakdown:

 

Monday:

 

A-1: Barbell Floor Press 3x3+

 

A-2: Weighted Pull-up 3x3+

 

Take 90-second breaks in between each set of A-1 and A-2. Do a set of A-1, rest for 90 seconds and then do a set of A-2. On the last set do as many reps as you can. If you get five reps, increase the weight by five pounds for the next workout. If you fail to get five reps then stay with the same weight for the next workout. If you don't get at least three reps, you're going too heavy and need to reduce the weight. You should be able to use the same weight for all three sets.

 

Barbell Deadlift 3x3+ (two-minute breaks in between each exercise and same rules as above)

 

B-1: Walking Dumbbell Lunge 3x8 each side

 

B-2: Dragon Flags 3x8 (look it up on youtube if you are not familiar)

 

Take 60-second breaks in between each set of B-1 and B-2. Do a set of B-1, rest for 60 seconds and then do a set of B-2. On the last set do as many reps as you can. If you get 10, increase the weight by ten pounds for the next workout. With regards to Dragon Flags, most will not be able to do 8-10 reps with perfect form so don't worry about how to make the exercise harder. If you are the rare person that can rep out on dragon flags just slow down the negative to increase the difficulty.

 

Tuesday

 

Do five rounds of the following:

 

Double Kettlebell Clean and Push Press 1x8 (clean before each push press)

Double Kettlebell Front Squat 1x8

Alternating Kettlebell Renegade Row 1x8 each side

Hand to hand Kettlebell swing 1x10 each side

Plank Hold 1x60 seconds

 

Take very short breaks in between each exercise such as 30-45 seconds. Use the heaviest kettlebells you can handle with good form for ten solid reps. If you only have a single kettlebell then just focus on one-arm exercises such as the one-arm clean and push press. If you need to take longer breaks such as 60 seconds that is fine, just work on reducing the time between each exercise. The goal is to do all five rounds with no breaks between each exercise or round. When you can do that then simply add more reps and start over with longer breaks.

 

Thursday

 

A-1: Barbell Military Press 3x3+

 

A-2: Barbell Bent-over Row 3x3+

 

Take 90-second breaks in between each set of A-1 and A-2. Do a set of A-1, rest for 90 seconds and then do a set of A-2. On the last set do as many reps as you can. If you get five reps, increase the weight by five pounds for the next workout. If you fail to get five reps then stay with the same weight for the next workout. If you don't get at least three reps then you're going too heavy and need to reduce the weight. You should be able to use the same weight for all three sets.

 

Barbell Squat 3x3+ (two-minute breaks in between each exercise and same rules as above)

 

B-1: Glute-ham Raise 3x8

 

B-2: Hanging Leg Raise 3x8

 

Take 60-second breaks in between each set of B-1 and B-2. Do a set of B-1, rest for 60 seconds and then do a set of B-2. On the last set do as many reps as you can. If you get 10, increase the weight by ten pounds for the next workout. To make Hanging Leg raises harder, touch the bar with straight legs on each rep and do slower negatives.

 

Friday

 

Do five rounds of the following:

 

Double Kettlebell Swing 1x8

Alternating Kettlebell Military Press 1x8 each side

Double Kettlebell Bent-over row 1x8 (1 second hold at the top of each rep)

Suitcase Kettlebell Squat 1x12

Flutter Kicks 1x15 each side

 

Take very short breaks in between each exercise such as 30-45 seconds. Use the heaviest kettlebells you can handle with good form for ten solid reps. If you only have a single kettlebell then just focus on one-arm exercises such as the one-arm military press. If you need to take longer breaks such as 60 seconds that is fine, just work on reducing the time between each exercise. The goal is to do all five rounds with no breaks between each exercise or round. When you can do that then simply add more reps and start over with longer breaks.

 

Wrap Up

 

There you have it a simple and straightforward program that combines kettlebells and barbell training. Do not add anything to the program. No extra exercises or any extra workouts per week. Focus on doing a few things really well and you will be able to do many things really well. Try to do many things well and you won't even succeed at doing a few things well.

 

Nutrition Supplement Recommendations  

 

Regarding supplements there are three that I carry that will help:

 

PowerShot: great pre-workout drink to have before each workout. Take a few scoops an hour before training and you are good to go.  Click here for more info  

 

Magnesium Oil: helps increase the stress management hormone DHEA, and free up testosterone levels. Also great for increasing insulin sensitivity (a must for fat loss and health) and lowering inflammation:  Click here fore more info  

 

Exclzyme: The ultimate supplement for improving workout recovery. Systemic enzymes eat up inflammation and have been shown to lower blood levels of c-reactive protein (measure of inflammation). Take in between meals and after workouts: Click here for more info

Need help with program design?

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