Updated: Aug 2
I’ve created a week’s worth of kettlebell WODs for you. Don’t sweat it! You’re more than welcome. The workouts are designed to develop functional strength, muscle endurance, and aerobic conditioning. This combination of training methods can deliver a broad range of health and fitness benefits.
For example, the resistance exercises build strength in the major muscle groups as well as the connective tissues – ligaments and tendons. In addition to forging a robust body, increasing functional strength has been shown to reduce injury risk (Advances In Functional Training).
The aerobic conditioning element facilitates fat loss and, with it, improved body composition. Shifting the scales in favour of fat-free mass helps to boost self-confidence and, as an added bonus, decreases disease susceptibility.
I’ve included CV in all the workouts because of the inherent health and fitness benefits. To me, a workout without cardio is a like a meal without cruciferous vegetables – that is, bereft of essential nutrients. But if you’re one of those people that pushes the veg around the plate, feel free to omit the cardio.
What are kettlebell WODs?
Kettlebell WODs, if you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, are workouts that you can do every day. Because they’re a high-frequency form of training, WODs are typically compact and can be polished off in 30 minutes or less.
As you would expect, the kettlebell takes centre stage. But, to diversify the training experience and promote wider engagement, other exercises feature throughout the workouts. This serves another purpose beyond physical development and enjoyment.
Doing the same exercise or training method every day can increase your risk of incurring an overuse injury. Next to warming up and performing safe techniques, mixing up our training routine is one of the most effective methods of mitigating injury.
Related: Tips to Avoid Training Injuries
But what’s a ‘WOD’ though?
I really ought to have mentioned this above. WOD is an abbreviation for ‘Workout of the Day.’ Popularised by the CrossFit movement, from where it supposedly originated, WODs are workouts supplied every morning to members of affiliate CrossFit gyms (sometimes called ‘boxes’).
After completing the WOD, it’s customary for CrossFitters to post their personal performance – and perhaps their opinions concerning the merit and worth of the WOD. Typically, WODs involve fitness challenges or timed competitions that are like super-compact distillations of events that feature in the ‘Games.’
Related: CrossFit AMRAPs
Reinventing the WOD
But none of the above is set in stone. For starters, the workout doesn’t necessarily have to be fashioned anew every 24 hours. I pointed out a couple of paragraphs back that changing our routine is one of only a limited number of weapons we have in the war against injury.
While this is well understood, the change to our workouts and routine doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. It can take the form of subtle modifications of the training intensity, or altering the number of sets and reps performed, or an amendment to one or more of the exercises.
In short, what I’m trying to say is that you do not have to reinvent the WOD every day.
Related: Need more Workout Ideas?
How to use these kettlebell WODs
Strictly speaking, these aren’t WODs. At least they wouldn’t be in the eyes of a puritanical CrossFitter. Why? For the simple fact that, as explained above, WODs are workouts newly created every day. And though you’ve got seven workouts in your hands here (that won’t require you to swing a monthly membership fee), it’s a far cry from 365.
But if we get creative, we can use the seven workouts below as WODs. Here are three creative and not-so-creative ways of reinventing the WOD.
Related: When you're done here, try these 21 CrossFit WODs
Use one WOD a day or week
The first idea I have for you is pure Aesopian low-hanging fruit. Simple cycle through the workouts each day for, well, as long as your patience lasts. Converting the workouts into 30-minute morning routines will provide you with a fuss-free training plan that you can keep doing.
Your second option is a tad more adventurous as it sees you use one workout for a week before changing. This gives you not one, not two, but seven weeks of exercise entertainment! And if your memory’s anything like mine, you’ll have forgotten the first workout by the time you come back around to it. Thus, it’ll seem like a freshly baked WOD straight out of the oven.
Modify your workout of the day
Our final method of WODifying the workouts involves making subtle modifications to the plans. This is the idea that actually requires an element of creativity.
After completing a workout, you would alter the exercises and/or training method. For example, Kettlebell WOD #1 is comprised of a single kettlebell exercise (the swing) paired with a single cardio exercise (rowing). The beauty of such a simplistic workout is that the entire experience can be dramatically altered by changing just one exercise (swopping snatch for swings, say, or skipping for rowing).
In addition to changing the experience, replacing exercises also changes the training outcomes. The example outlined in the parenthesis above shifts the focus from muscle endurance to explosive power.
Kettlebell WODs key points
Before ripping the wrapping paper off your shiny new WODs, you should warm up before giving them a whirl. The warm-up, remember, is a crucial aspect of any workout and one of our strongest defences against injury. And to be effective a warm-up doesn’t have to be elaborate. A couple of kilometres on the rowing machine concluded with a quick kettlebell swing repetition ladder would suffice for most workouts. (Need some warm-up ideas?)
The WODs, you’ll notice, have been numbered one to seven. This is more to make it easier to distinguish the plans, thus reducing the likelihood of completing the same WOD twice on the bounce, and not as a means of designating the days on which they should be completed. In saying that, though, there’s nothing stopping you apply a systematic approach and completing WOD #1 on a Monday, WOD #2 on a Tuesday . . . and so on.
You can approach the WODs in one of two ways. The first is to progress through the plan as you would a conventional gym session. That is, applying the timeless sets-reps-rest-repeat training protocol. There’s no pressure with this approach; the intensity is low, and the objective is to maintain strict form.
The second way is diametrically opposite. You will treat each WOD as a CrossFit challenge. Whereas option one is like a gingerly stroll through a peaceful meadow, option two should resemble a battle scene from a war film. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to complete all the exercises in the shortest time possible. Note, if you opt for option two, it’s good practice to document your times so that you have a benchmark to compete against when you next tackle the WOD.
Kettlebell WODs hints and tips
The WODs primarily involve single kettlebell exercises. This not only makes the workouts more accessible to a wider audience but also makes them suitable for a wider range of training facilities. The few people that possess a competition kettlebell, usually have only one. And, sad as is to say, many public gyms have a pitiful selection of kettlebells. However, and this is the point I’ve been wending this tip too, if you want to use two kettlebells instead of one, you can do so without disrupting the mechanics of the workout.
As I’ve already mentioned briefly above, you can customise the plans to suit your fitness goals, level of ability, and training facility. For example, WOD #6 consists of kettlebell exercises, bodyweight movements, and rowing stints – together making it a great whole-body fitness developer. Let’s say that you’re desirous of habituating the workout as your obligatory morning routine. Why wouldn’t you? After all, it ticks all the right fitness boxes. But alas! you’re yet to splash out on that Concept2 rowing machine that you’ve been eyeballing on Amazon for the past six months. Not to worry. While your erg is in transit, you can substitute rowing for skipping – or running, or just plain old jogging on the spot.
Enjoyed these workouts?
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About Adam Priest –
A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and wellbeing practitioner. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam via LinkedIn or firstname.lastname@example.org.