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Cardio Workout With Kettlebell

A fitness trainer completing a cardio workout with kettlebell.

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This cardio and kettlebell workout has been designed to improve fitness conditioning and enhance muscle endurance.


The cardio stations confer the first outcomes while the kettlebell exercises take care of the second.


But this combination of training methods – steady state and resistance – promotes a whole host of additional health and fitness benefits. If you want to learn more, read on. If not, follow the link and start the cardio-kettlebell workout >


Cardio workout with kettlebell fitness benefits

One of the most important health benefits associated with cardio is brought to our attention by Dr Kenneth Cooper, author of The Aerobics Program For Total Well-Being. Regularly participating in CV, Cooper claims, helps to ‘increase HDLs [so-called ‘good fat’] in the blood’ while decreasing LDLs (‘bad fats’). By bringing about a healthier balance between good and bad fats, cardio can ‘lower [our] risk of developing atherosclerosis’ – a precursor to coronary heart disease and all the attending negative implications.


Cooper goes on to say that ‘high levels of aerobic fitness’ have been shown to increase ‘vital capacity.’ And vital capacity, we are reminded, is ‘associated with greater longevity.’


But we’ve barely scratched the surface of the many cardio-related health and fitness benefits. If you’ve read our blog Five Reasons To Start Cardio Training, you’ll know that factoring a few more sweat sessions into your weekly routine can:


  • Reduce total body fat

  • Improve body composition

  • Elevate metabolic function

  • Enhance aerobic fitness

  • Increase aerobic efficiency


Kettlebell benefits

But what about kettlebells? How can training with what looks like a basketball with a suitcase handle stuck to it improve our physicality? I’ve covered this subject in more blogs than I care to count.


So, instead of covering all that well-trodden ground, I’ve encapsulated the primary benefits of kettlebell training in a list. (If you want to know more, this article covers the main Kettlebell Training Benefits >)


  • Boost functional strength

  • Elevates muscle endurance

  • Increases the strength of connective tissues (thus reducing injury risk)

  • Promotes power and augmented athleticism

  • Develops fitness performance in unrelated disciplines


Related: Do you need a Competition Kettlebell?

Cardio workout with kettlebell

The training tasks are weighted toward cardio. But then this is, after all, a cardio workout with kettlebell. Thus, kettlebells take on the ancillary role of diversifying the exercise plan and broadening the scope of fitness outcomes. In the hints and tips section below, I cover a few ideas of how the plans can be adapted to align with specific training objectives. For now, I’ll quickly sketch out the plans.


I’ve developed two workouts for you to try. Though the exercise tasks share many close similarities, the objectives differ considerably.


For example, because the first plan is an amalgamation of steady-state and conventional resistance training, it should be conducted at a low intensity. In your own time and at your comfortable work rate, progress through the 10 stations. This plan is ideal for general fitness conditioning. It can be completed at home as it requires minimal equipment.


The second plan, by contrast, is comprised of a series of fitness challenges. As you would expect, the objective is to achieve the best possible score on each challenge. Because the intensity is near maximal, you should not complete the challenges more than once every two weeks. This workout is ideal for fitness testing and performance monitoring.


Key training points

  • Before undertaking either workout, ensure to warm up well first. (Need an all-purpose gym warm-up?)

  • Select the plan that reflects your target training objectives. If you’re not quite sure which plan is most appropriate for your fitness aspirations, consult the hints and tips section where I’ve outlined a range of common training goals and linked them to the most relevant plan.

  • Use the plan provided to track progress and document performance.

  • Conclude your workout with a cool-down and whole-body stretch. Also, don’t forget to replenish with a healthy plant-based meal >


Cardio workout with kettlebell training plan #1.

Cardio workout with kettlebell training plan #2.

Cardio workout with kettlebell hints and tips

The primary target fitness components of the two workouts are aerobic stamina and muscle endurance. (Of course, due to the functionality of the resistance exercises, a multitude of fitness components are also involved. These include power, submaximal strength, and skill-related components such as agility, balance, and coordination.)


Tailoring the training tasks to focus on a specific component is relatively straightforward. For example, if you fancy your cardio is up to scratch but your muscle endurance is lacking somewhat, simply reduce the CV station duration and increase the resistance reps. The same strategy can be applied in reverse if your cardio needs improving.


A table showing the components of fitness the cardio workout with kettlebell engages.

Kettlebell and cardio exercises

Any exercise in the plans can be replaced or removed. The plan structure can be used as a framework or blueprint around which you can craft your workout. Why might you use the plans in this way? Well, those who only have access to a modest home gym setup are unlikely to own a rowing machine or stationary bike. But that’s not a problem as you stick to running or substitute with skipping (if you happen to have jump rope kicking about).


As for the resistance exercises, beginners may not yet possess the confidence or handling skills to perform complex movements such as the snatch or clean-to-press cycle. Again, not a problem. These exercises can be converted to simple static exercises – deadlifts, upright rowing, and/or shoulder presses. (Need more Kettlebell Strength Exercises?)


Fitness challenge

I’ll conclude with a few suggestions of how you can use the fitness challenges to boost performance. Arguably the single most effective way to use fitness tests is as a method of measuring physiological adaptations during a training program. How might you do this? Let’s say that you decided to embark on the Hungry4Fitness 6-Week Kettlebell Program (which is free by the way).


Before starting, you could conduct Fitness Challenge #1: Kettlebell & Rowing. (Note: the level you select should remain the same for all the subsequent retests.) Concluding the initial test, you would document your result. A retest would cap the end of every second week (weeks 2, 4 and 6). The performance outcomes will inform you whether the training program is targeting the desired physiological adaptations. (For an in-depth insight into how to conduct a fitness test correctly, see the NSCA's Guide To Tests & Assessments.)


Another way to use the challenges is as a form of group competition. For example, military personnel could hold an annual contest where squaddies fight for fitness supremacy. CrossFit proponents could adopt a similar tactic, except that results would be posted on forums. Gym owners could implement a fitness competition leaderboard. A different challenge could be held at the start of each month. During that time, members get three attempts to establish their best score. (To enforce competitive equality, each attempt should be supervised by a member of the gym staff.)


 

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Cardio workout with kettlebell concludes with the book Atomic Kettlebells.

 

About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and fitness coach. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at info@hungry4fitness.co.uk.

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