Kettlebell Superset Pyramid Workout

Kettlebell Superset Pyramid Workout -- this is a fun one! The structure makes the time fly by!In theory, I love the shirt I’m wearing in this post (adorable, right?). In practice … not so much. When I try to wear it while teaching or working out, I might as well be shirtless because the thing literally falls down every five seconds. Oh well, it’s certainly not the least practical thing I own *looks at shoe collection* …

Anyway, on to today’s workout. This is the same structure I used in yesterday’s bodyweight workout, but with kettlebell exercises. I loved this workout.

Kettlebell Superset Pyramid Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • 25-lb kettlebell
  • 20-lb kettlebell

Complete each superset as quickly as possible. You’ll do 10 reps of each of the two exercises, then 9 then 8, all the way down to 1 rep of each. Finish one superset before moving onto the next. Rest for 30-60 seconds in between each superset.

Record your times for completing each superset so that you can revisit this workout later and try to beat your first performance!Kettlebell Superset Pyramid Workout -- this is a fun one! The structure makes the time fly by!

SUPERSET 1

  • Bell-to-Floor Single Leg Squat (each side) | As far as upper body goes, I want you to think “deadlift.” Lower body, think “single-leg squat/curtsey lunge.” Start standing on your right leg holding the kettlebell in both hands in front of your body. Start to squat down on your right side, sending the left leg behind you into a hover. Make sure your right knee doesn’t jut out farther than your toes by thinking about sending your hips and butt back and down. Weight should be in your right heel at the bottom of your squat. Lower until the kettlebell lightly taps the ground and then stand back up. As you do this, make sure you’re engaging your abs to avoid undue stress on the lower back.
  • One-Arm Alternating Kettlebell Swings | This is your basic kettlebell swing, but holding on to the bell with only one hand and switching hands at the top. The main form difference is that your hand will rotate with the swing, as opposed to a two-hand grip where your knuckles are always facing out. Start holding the bell in your right hand, feet shoulder-width apart with a soft bend in the knees. Swing the bell back between your legs, thumb-first, leaning forward with a straight back and bending the knees a little deeper. As you explosively swing the bell forward and up, thrust the hips powerfully forward, rotating your hand so that knuckles face forward, bringing the bell up to chest-to-face height. At the top of the swing, when the bell has that quick moment of weightlessness, grab it with your other hand. Swing it back down, again rotating the bell so that your thumb leads the way. Continue, switching hands at the top of each swing. 

SUPERSET 2

  • Goblet Squats | Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes angled slightly outward. Hold a kettlebell in both hands, cradling it at the base of the handle at your chest. Keeping your torso as upright as possible (you don’t want to hunch forward with the weight of the bell), squat down, trying to get your bum lower than your knees. As you bend the knees, they should track in line with the angle of the toes and not jut forward of them. Once you reach the bottom of your squat, weight in your heels, power up to standing, thrusting the hips forward slightly at the top as you squeeze those glutes.
  • Figure 8 Squat Hold | Hold a low squat (weight in your heels, chest open) and swing the kettlebell through your legs, weaving it around one leg, passing off to your other hand in the center, and then around the other leg, in a figure 8 pattern. 

SUPERSET 3

  • Clean ‘n Press (each side) | Start standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart, holding the kettlebell in one hand, arm straight, bell hanging in front of your body. Bend knees into a half squat, and bring the kettlebell from a straight-arm hanging position to being closely held by the center of your chest with arm bent, fingers facing up. It’s a smooth movement, pulling the bell straight up and flipping your grip around the handle from an overhand grip to underhand (it will be cradled in the crook of your thumb and index finger at the end). Use your legs to help you achieve the clean: push up from your feet, straightening your legs for added power as you pull the bell up, and landing softly back into that half-squat as you catch the bell in its new hand position. From there, straighten legs as you stand up and extend your hand and the bell skyward. Reverse the moves to bring yourself back to starting position. Try to keep the kettlebell towards the center of your body throughout this move. When done correctly, this isn’t just an upper-body workout, but great for your core.
  • Hopping Kettlebell Swings | This is a traditional kettlebell swing, adding in a little hop when the bell is at the top of each swing during that little moment of weightlessness when it’s switching direction. For these, I typically use a bell 5-10 lbs lighter than what I normally swing (I’m using 20lbs in this workout). 

SUPERSET 4

  • Windmills (each side) | Start in a standing position, feet wider than hip-width apart, kettlebell pressed above head in right hand. Your right foot should be pointing forward, your left foot pointing out to the side (perpendicular to the right). Slowly bend down, keeping legs and the arm holding the kettlebell straight. Touch the ground by your left foot with your left hand, keeping the kettlebell perpendicular to the ground the whole time. Slowly rise back up to starting position. A good way to maintain proper alignment during this is to look up at the kettlebell the whole time. I used a 15-lb kettlebell for these.
  • Kettlebell Swings | Start with kettlebell on the floor between your legs and lift it up to starting position with both hands, flat back, using your legs to lift. With kettlebell hanging between your legs, use your arms as a pendulum, and swing the bell to chest-to-eye level by thrusting with your hips while keeping your core tight as you stand up straight. Swing back down and repeat. Your knees should remain slightly bent, but the main source of movement is hinging at the hips—not so much squatting. I use a 25-lb bell (but need to go up!).

Kettlebell Superset Pyramid Workout -- this is a fun one! The structure makes the time fly by!

WEARING | top & shorts: Fabletics // bra: c/o PRISM Sports (get 30% off your first order with code ACTPERRY – must use THIS LINK) // sneakers: Nike

Alright, I’m off–got a super busy day of shooting new material for the blog! Enjoy your Tuesday!

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Bodyweight Superset Pyramid Workout

Bodyweight Superset Pyramid Workout - perfect for doing at home!I typically don’t hate on Mondays, but Nantucket was so much fun it’s kinda depressing to see the weekend come to an end. Oh well, I’ve got another wedding to look forward to this coming weekend, so life is good. :)

This is another great workout to do at home (or anywhere) because no equipment is required. You’ll just need a bench or chair—anything you can step up onto. I love the pyramid superset structure because it makes workouts seem like they’re flying by. Quick bursts of work, rest, and onto the next two exercises.

Bodyweight Superset Pyramid Workout

Complete each superset as quickly as possible. You’ll do 10 reps of each of the two exercises, then 9 then 8, all the way down to 1 rep of each. Finish one superset before moving onto the next. Rest for 30-60 seconds in between each superset.

Record your times for completing each superset so that you can revisit this workout later and try to beat your first performance! Bodyweight Superset Pyramid Workout - perfect for doing at home!

SUPERSET 1

  • Logger Jumps | Start with your hands planted on a bench/stepper/chair and your body positioned off to one side (pretend there’s an object extending out in the middle that you will have to jump over). Jump both feet up into the air, shifting your bodyweight into your hands and kicking your feet up and over to land on the other “side” of that pretend object. As soon as your feet hit the ground, bounce off them, up and over back to the starting side. Continue jumping side to side, up and over, aiming to get a little hang time in the air.
  • Step Ups (each leg) | Start with one foot planted on a stepper, bench or chair. This will be your base leg: keep it planted on the stepper with the majority of your bodyweight in that heel through the duration of the exercise. As you step up, lift your back knee up, driving it into your chest at the top. Lower back down, lightly touching your back foot to the floor before driving powerfully right back up.

SUPERSET 2

  • Hand Release Push Ups | I love these because they work the front and backside of your body. Start in a plank position and begin to bend your elbows as if you were doing a push up, but instead lower your body all the way to the ground. From here, lift your chest and hands off the ground, squeezing your upper back. Lower your hands back down to the ground by your rib cage and press your body back up into a high plank position.
  • Jump Tucks | Jump up into the air, using your core to pull your knees up towards your chest. Lower them quickly in time to land. You’ll want to bend your knees, sinking into a squat to prep for the jump, and you’ll land this same way, sinking into a squat to absorb the landing. As you jump up bring your hands in front of your rib cage and try to hit them with your knees. These are tiring—try to do as many in a row as you can; if you need to slow down the pace, add in a little hop or two in between each one.

SUPERSET 3

  • Spiderman Mountain Climbers | Start in a plank-lunge position with the right foot planted on the floor on the outside of the right hand. Jump both feet up, momentarily shifting all your weight into the hands, and land back in a plank with the left foot outside the left hand. Continue alternating back and forth. Beginners: instead of jumping, step your right foot up towards the right hand, step it back to plank, then repeat on the left.
  • Lunge Hops (each side) | Start in a split-stance lunge position: both knees bent to 90 degrees, one foot flat in front; one foot in back, ball of the foot planted on the ground. Keeping the same foot in front/back, you hop a few inches into the air and land softly back into your starting position. Your legs are never fully straightening during this, it’s a small upward hop, pushing off the balls of the feet.

SUPERSET 4

  • Starburst Burpees | Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bringing your hands to the ground by your feet and jump both feet back out wide into a spread-eagle plank position. Do a push up. Quickly jump your feet back in and up by your hands and shift the weight into your feet, bring torso upright into a low squat position. From here, jump up, arms and legs outstretched into the air. Think about really opening up the front side of your body in the air. Land softly on your feet, sinking right back down into a squat and starting from the top.
  • In ‘N Out Crunches | Start in a seated position balancing on your tailbone, hands lightly on the ground by your side for support, feet lifted off the ground and torso leaning back, core engaged. Extend your legs out straight in front of you as you lean back further (feet should be hovering), and then crunch everything inward, bringing your knees into your chest and sitting up a little straighter, abs in tight. Extend legs back out straight to a hover and then separate them out wide, keeping them straight. Bring them back to center and repeat: crunch in, extend out, spread wide, bring back in together.

If you want to make this one harder, do them with your arms overhead: Bodyweight Superset Pyramid Workout - perfect for doing at home!

WEARING | leggings & tank c/o Fabletics // Nike sneakers

Sometimes I’ll use this structure in group fitness classes and have everyone stop after the first three people have completed a superset. This way there isn’t a huge discrepancy in how long everyone is resting, and beginners don’t feel pressured to finish as quickly as the more advanced students. It’s fun because there’s a bit of a race element for those who are competitive.

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Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout

Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout - this one takes just 13 minutes and you'll add on an exercise each roundRound two! If you missed yesterday’s post, I already shared part one of the three circuits in the Power class I teach at Burn (lower body). Now it’s on to upper body! This particular workout is dynamic–upper body is the focus, but there are some full body exercises in there as well (burpees!). The first exercise, windmills, is actually primarily an oblique exercise, but I wanted the class to pay attention to the shoulder joint as they did it and notice how they rotated and controlled it to keep the weight pointing straight up towards the ceiling as they lifted and lowered.

Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout

Equipment I Used:

This circuit will take you just 13 minutes to complete. You stay on each exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds after each round, and add on an exercise each round. Confused? Here’s what the start of the workout looks like:

Exercise 1
Rest
Exercise 1 + Exercise 2
Rest
Exercise 1 + Exercise 2 + Exercise 3
Rest

So the first round is only 30 seconds long (one exercise) and the sixth and final round is 3 minutes long (all six exercises). You’ll do exercise 1 (windmills) six times and exercise 6 (shoulder press ups) only once at the very end. Even though the length of time you’re working gets longer and longer, you only get 30 seconds of rest each time. I set my interval timer for 26 rounds of 30 seconds of work and 0 seconds of rest so that it beeps at me every 30 seconds, but you could also just watch the clock. Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout - this one takes just 13 minutes and you'll add on an exercise each round

  1. Windmills (alternate side each round) | Start in a standing position, feet wider than hip-width apart, kettlebell pressed above head in right hand. Your right foot should be pointing forward, your left foot pointing out to the side (perpendicular to the right). Slowly bend down, keeping legs and the arm holding the kettlebell straight. Touch the ground by your left foot with your left hand, keeping the kettlebell perpendicular to the ground the whole time. Slowly rise back up to starting position. A good way to maintain proper alignment during this is to look up at the kettlebell the whole time.
  2. Overhead Tricep Extension | Hold the kettlebell around the fat weight part with both hands overhead. Tuck your tailbone, engage your abs, and keep a soft bend to your knees so you have a supportive base. From here, bend your elbows, dipping the weight behind your head. When you’ve reached your lowest point, slowly bring it back up overhead. As you do this, keep the elbows glued in to the side of your head–don’t let the elbows bow out in a diamond shape.
  3. High Pull (alternate side each round) | Stand tall, feet about hip-width apart, with the kettlebell on the ground in front of you to one side. Squat down, weight in your heels, grabbing the kettlebell with one hand. This is your starting position. From here, power up to a standing position using your legs. As you do, pull the kettlebell straight up by your armpit, leading with the elbow. Bring the kettlebell back down to the ground softly, tapping it to the floor and going right into your next rep.
  4. Push Up Burpees | Start standing, feet about shoulder-width apart. Squat down, bringing your hands to the ground by your feet and jump both feet back into a plank position. Do a push up. Quickly jump your feet back up by your hands and shift the weight into your feet, bring torso upright into a low squat position. From here, jump up, arms overhead. Land softly on your feet, sinking right back down into a squat and starting from the top.
  5. Shoulder Press to Rotation | Start with arms in goal post position: elbows bent at 90 degrees at shoulder height. From here, press your hands up overhead, bringing weights together above your head. Lower back down, but only so far as brings your elbows back to shoulder height. From here, rotate your palm downward, keeping your elbows bent at 90 degrees (think of closing the lid of a box). When hands reach shoulder height in front of you, rotate from the shoulders to bring them back up to starting position.
  6. Shoulder Press Ups | Imagine your forearms and elbows have magnets on them. Holding a weight in each hand, palms facing your face, hold your forearms in front of you, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Fight to hold the elbows as close to each other as you can throughout the whole movement. From here, you’re going to press your hands straight up, lifting the elbows, keeping forearms close together. Be careful not to shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as you do this. After pressing up as high as you can, slowly return back to starting.

Upper Body Stacked Circuit Workout - this one takes just 13 minutes and you'll add on an exercise each round

WEARING | tank: Spiritual Gangster (old but similar here) // leggings: c/o Eddie Bauer (old but similar here) // sneakers: Nike

Try out the workout and if you’re in the Boston area, get your bum in for a class! I teach every Friday morning. :) signature

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