Kettlebells are not only great for cardio or high-intensity interval training even though it may seem like it. Kettlebells are great for every aspect of training, whether strength, hypertrophy, cardiovascular or muscular endurance, flexibility, etc. But the focus here will be on kettlebells for high-intensity interval training.
There are many kettlebell exercises that are great for HIIT but one of my favorites to quickly spike the heart rate and make the exercise really intense is the clean and jerk long cycle with double kettlebells. Add to that the CrossFit burpee and you have one hell of a torturous combination of exercises.
I have to be honest, we did a workout this week for our ongoing weekly follow-along kettlebell workouts and I did not like the 90 seconds of work. For 8 rounds my mind went something like the following.
8 rounds to go, why? Man up, you’ll be halfway before you know it!
4 rounds in and I’m not sure if I can do another 4! Stop thinking about it and just do it, focus on the next round only, get up!
2 more rounds to go, it’s painful but I can do it. Nearly there.
8 rounds done. Now for the 100 reps finisher.
Of course, these are the workouts you love to hate and feel the best at the end.
The workout was double kettlebell clean and jerk long cycle for 1-minute max reps followed by 30 seconds to complete 6 CrossFit burpees. The burpees had to be completed in that time or the reps did not count. That was 90 seconds of work or less if you’re really fast with your burpees. Those 90 seconds were then followed by 90 seconds of rest, hence interval training.
I also designed a great scoring system to keep track of progress for this workout. The design of this workout promotes going all out with the clean and jerk as those are the reps that count towards the scoring. Then there are 30 seconds to complete a grueling task of 6 CrossFit burpees, there is no way out, they have to be completed or your reps for that round don’t count for your total score. We highly recommend repeating the workouts that we post. There is a library of over 150 online kettlebell workouts and our members pick the ones they like for a while and repeat those to see progression in weight, time, or duration, and of course technique.
Task 2 for our kettlebell workout was 100 reps of something suitable and less intense.