Stronger for Longer: Combining Bodyweight & Kettlebell Exercises for Maximum Strength Endurance

A great way to push your conditioning level, develop muscular endurance and dropping fat is by combining bodyweight exercises with kettlebell training. Oftentimes kettlebell conditioning programs rely on sticking to one exercise for example, the swing, for prolonged duration (5 to 10 minutes) for the desired conditioning effect, while this works well in and of itself. The progress can start to halt as time goes, It feels like the workouts got easier and easier, which is great, as this is a sign your body has adapted to a higher demand.

But it also means your body has gotten more efficient in the movement and it has learnt how to exert less force to complete the task. Unless you compete in this particular conditioning drill you are doing, you do not want to become completely efficient in it, you want to stress the system positively so it improves for the better. Change is needed and the stimulation needs kicking start again once you have adapted.

A good way to check yourself is if your same old conditioning routine is going great yet you still feel overly tired in your chosen sport. There is a chance you are probably getting in the wrong direction. Your sport isn’t improving, you just got better at improving your efficiency with your conditioning routine. You might want to switch things up or reassess what you are doing. A good conditioning routine should enhance your sport.

By rotating between a bodyweight exercise and a kettlebell exercise, you change up the breathing pattern constantly and keep the body guessing. Combining an upper body exercise such as a simple push up follow up with a kettlebell goblet squat changes things rapidly. Fatigue builds up at a different level and oftentimes guys will find with this type of combination training their reps drastically decreases.

Also, pairing an antagonistic exercise such as a quad dominant bodyweight exercise, jump squat, with a posterior chain dominant kettlebell exercise like the swing also helps avoid muscular imbalances and make sure you cover all planes of motion.

Here is an example list of combinations, feel free to make up your own, there are all kinds of ways to do this, variations keep things interesting and ensure you keep progressing.
– Push ups/Two-Handed Kettlebell Swings

– Jump Squats/One arm Kettlebell Snatches

– Burpees/Kettlebell Goblet Squats

– Sprawls/One arm Clean and Presses

– Pull ups/Single or Double Kettlebell Front Squats

– Dive Bomber Push ups/Single or Double Kettlebell Rows

– Regular Squats/Kettlebell Thrusters

If you have a particular weak muscle group you would like to bring up you could also pair it with an exercise from the same category to get a brutal and effective workout

Upper Body Focus:
Bodyweight Dips/Alternate Floor Press

Lower Body Focus:
Regular Bodyweight Squats/Kettlebell Kickstand Lunges

You get the idea

After deciding the pairings, you will probably only need 2-3 per workout. The best way to work this is to use a timed format for rounds:

For example if I choose the pairing of Push ups/Swing

Push up 30 seconds
Rest 10 seconds
Swing 30 seconds
Rest 10 seconds

This would be considered as one round, aiming to work with 3 rounds for each pairing. When moving to the next pairing, give yourself 2-3 minutes of rest. After doing 3 rounds of Push ups/Swing, next pairing could be:

One arm Snatch 30 seconds
Rest 10 Seconds
Burpees 30 seconds
Rest 10 Seconds

Either work with a partner or get a gym timer app to make sure you get the time’s right.

The good thing about working with a timed format is that you have to put in the work, how hard you push to get the reps will be entirely up to you and your conditioning levels. You get the results from the effort you put in. Also, for a beginner just starting out, if he can’t rep the push ups or squat at a non stop pace for 30 seconds, he could also hold at the top of the movement or take a short pause if he needs to while others could work at a harder and faster pace. Coaches or experienced trainees should monitor this carefully to ensure the beginning student is not mindlessly going at an exercise in any unsafe manner.

Timed rounds allows the flexibility for the beginner to set the weight down if he needs to instead of aiming for a specific rep. Eventually this person should be aiming to increase the reps and work rate with no pause. Also be careful with the weight you select for the kettlebell exercises, there is no reason to go super heavy and end up doing less rounds or move at a slow pace. Remember this is conditioning, your work rate is very important, keep pushing! You will find that as you get in better shape you will be able to use heavier weight and get even stronger in the process.

Depending on the amount of pairings you do, 5-10 rounds is probably the maximum rounds you should aim for each pairings. If you are going to do 10 rounds I suggest just doing one pairing for the day.

Increasing the duration of time such as going from 30 seconds to 60 seconds is also a way to progress. You may need to increase the rest time as well if you decide to do this. Again, lots of variations. Play with it.

This type of workouts can be done as a stand alone general strength and conditioning program for all levels 2-3 times a week or as an addition for athletes in need of conditioning work. These workouts don’t take a lot of time but can be very challenging and will get your conditioning levels up fast.

Set the timer and get the rounds in!

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