This workout is dedicated to Joe Rogan. The workout, as is (but the programming can be adjusted), is programmed for someone in very good shape and needs additional conditioning for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the areas of power and cardiovascular endurance. The Power part is programmed to improve power at higher velocities, resistance, and endurance, i.e. move heavy opponents fast and repetitively. The workout is performed with two kettlebells of medium to heavy weight (assuming the exercises have been mastered).
If Joe Rogan would have designed a kettlebell workout I believe it would have looked like the following workout, so, I guess you could say this is a Joe Rogan inspired kettlebell workout. Joe Rogan’s favorite kettlebell exercise is the Gorilla Clean. In the video below, Joe Rogan is using a 70lb/32kg.
As a kettlebell coach, I’d like to point out that his weight selection is incorrect and his technique lacks, in particular, the kettlebell grip and racking. I know that if we could hear from Joe today then he would tell us that if he could do it all over again he would have done it differently. I am going to give Joe the benefit of the doubt and attribute the lack of form and technique to the design of the kettlebells used. The Onnit Gorilla Head kettlebells are extremely cool to look at—I would not mind having one without paying for it—but they’re not very functional.
Here are some of the obvious things that are wrong with the technique for the Gorilla Cleans:
- The kettlebell weight is too heavy
- The kettlebells are banging on the forearms
- Rotational jerks on the elbows
- No hand insertion (friction and incorrect grip) or grip transition
- The kettlebells are just for aesthetics (too tall)
- You’re not supposed to be pulling with your arms (it should be all leg work)
That doesn’t make Joe any less of an amazing character though. We all make mistakes, I have made plenty and still do, and none of us should ever stop learning.
Joe Rogan Kettlebell Workout
As far as I’m aware Joe Rogan has never programmed any kettlebell workouts, so I am going by what he likes and what he would use for the sports he participates in. So, if he did design a kettlebell workout then I believe it would have looked something like the following to work on strength, explosiveness, muscular endurance, and cardio. So without further ado, I hereby dub this workout the Joe Rogan Caveman Workout.
“Prepare to go to battle!” Joe Rogan
Performed with two kettlebells of medium to heavy in weight (assuming the exercises have been mastered).
4 to 6 rounds
5 minutes of rest
10 minutes of full or half pendulum snatch with a light to medium weight, one switch and unbroken.
There is about one minute of intense power work with the Gorilla Cleans, and the Sprawl into Deadlift should be done nice and fast, to be followed by one minute of rest to get the heart rate slightly down. The second task is 3 Dead Snatches on one side followed by the other side with one kettlebell, and then you clean two kettlebells up for 4 intense Squat Thrusters. This last task is all power.
The heart rate spiked on the first task and the one-minute rest got it down a bit. The second task is short enough to put everything in the 3 dead snatches on each side followed by 4 intense double bell squat thrusters. I can tell you, none of this is fun with a set of heavy kettlebells. You’ll feel like you are going to die but in a good way. Then you need to push yourself to perform the active recovery because really, you want to lie down, curl up, and just get your breath back, but instead, you push through and for two minutes you perform the downward into upward dog, followed by one minute of heavenly rest.
For the programming, you would adjust the weight, rest time, and the number of rounds. So, for someone who is unconditioned, you would go with a lighter weight, introduce more rest, and start with the lower end of the rounds. Each round is approx. 6 minutes with 4 minutes of that being active recovery and rest. 5 rounds would be approx. 30 minutes.
The work is to be performed explosive and intense with the heaviest weight possible. You clean the kettlebells into a racking position and wait for the timer to start, at the beep you start your Gorilla Cleans by dropping one side into a hang clean, you pull it straight up while dropping the other side. The reps are kept low so that you can maintain explosiveness. Left + right equals one rep.
Return the weight dead to the ground and immediately move into the sprawl deadlift. The sprawl is bodyweight and doesn’t demand that much as you pop your hips down to the ground, from there you explode up and pull the feet in to place them right in position for the deadlift that follows.
The amount of rest can vary, you want to make sure that you’re recovered enough to put the same amount of intensity in the next round. If your heart rate is still high then you increase the rest time.
The Dead Snatch is my favorite kettlebell snatch variation as it’s the longest (ground to overhead) and most explosive. You perform a squat movement and pull the weight to overhead in one smooth and explosive pull.
The Squat Thruster is again, all lower body-powered and not to be confused with a squat and press. Come in and out of the squat explosive to thrust those bells up overhead. If we wanted to increase the complexity and make this even harder (i.e. the subject has progressed) then I would change the squat thruster to a Dead Clean into Squat Thruster as demonstrated in the video below. Check out a video with just the Kettlebell Squat Thruster.
The Pendulum Snatch is the perfect exercise for some steady-state cardio. You need to have mastered the technique prior to performing 10 minutes of unbroken snatches.
Kettlebell Weight Selection
1) Gorilla Cleans and Dead Snatch. Use a heavyweight that allows you to complete the reps with good form and technique. Reduce weight or reps over rounds as you find that you can’t maintain the same explosiveness.
2) Deadlift. You can use one or two of the weights used for the gorilla cleans or you can have a heavier weight ready, most people can easily use a 70lb/32kg for the deadlift. The deadlift BTW is performed with a squat movement.
3) Squat Thrusters. Use a weight that allows you to complete the reps with good technique and speed but on the heavy side, generally a bit lighter than what you’ve been using for your cleans.
4) Snatch. Use a light to medium kettlebell weight that allows you to complete the work without putting the weight down.
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You can see the gorilla cleans in action in the following workout. The weight selection is heavy but not so heavy that the arms have to do curling/pulling, and I’m able to use just the power from the legs as you’re supposed to for the clean.
Kettlebell Sprawl Deadlift
You can see the sprawl and deadlift in action below, the video also demonstrates ribbons, but due to the heavier weight used in the above workout and we want to keep it explosive, the ribbons are not included.
Kettlebell Dead Snatch
You can see the dead snatch in action in the following workout.
Kettlebell Squat Thruster
You can see the squat thruster as part of the following kettlebell combo.
Kettlebell Pendulum Snatch
This is a video of 10 minutes unbroken full Pendulum snatch with one switch.
If Joe was in need of a little finisher for some reason, well, then I’m sure he would pump out 50 of these babies FOR TIME. Just for fun.
If you’re after some more kettlebell workouts with the gorilla cleans check these out:
- Gorilla Blackback Workout
- Kettlebell WOD SANGRE 1.4
- MUK SIX SIX 300
- Silverback Workout (not exactly gorilla cleans but worth checking out)
Joe Rogan Kettlebell Cardio Workout
In this workout, we have the anaerobic work with the power exercises and 10 aerobic work which both are cardio training. Cardio is an activity that raises your heart rate into your target heart rate zone.
How good is kettlebell training?
To answer the question “How good is kettlebell training?” I’ve asked 20+ random people and their answers can be heard in this video.
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