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The 4-Week Kettlebell Shred Workout Program

Build full-body strength while burning fat with this four-week kettlebell routine.

Kettlebell training has plenty of benefits—namely strength gains, performance increases, and fat loss.

“Kettlebells have perfect ergonomics for key strength exercises like military presses and front squats,” says Pavel Tsatsouline, chairman of strongfirst.com, who trains elite U.S. military and law enforcement special operations units in kettlebell training. “Kettlebells are a lot more forgiving than the barbell, and they promote symmetry." 

Sound good? Try giving this plan a try. Combined with enough protein and adequate rest, an intermediate lifter can put on five to eight pounds of lean muscle mass and get his abs to pop.

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DIRECTIONS

Perform the exercises in the order listed. For example, on Monday of Week 1, do 3 sets of 5 reps of the double kettlebell front squat followed by 3 sets of 5 reps of the double kettlebell press. Rest 4–6 minutes between sets. (That may seem like a lot of rest, but don’t rush your training—this is serious strength training, not a lactic acid smoker.) On Mondays/Thursdays use 5-8 1RM in the double kettlebell front squat and double kettlebell press. For the kettlebell swings, beginners can probably use 53lb kettlebells, while advanced strength athletes use 70-106lb kettlebells.

Note that you will be adding a rep to both series on Monday, then repeating the same workout on Thursday. This is what Russians call “step cycling." It allows you to solidify your gains by staying with the same load for two or more sessions before moving up.

THE WORKOUT

WEEK 1
MONDAY AND THURSDAY
DOUBLE KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
Sets: 3
Reps: 5
Interlace your fingers with one kettlebell in each hand and squat at least to parallel, preferably below parallel. 

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS
Sets: 3
Reps: 5
Keeping your back straight, grip the handles and drive the bells overhead. Lock out your elbows, pause momentarily, and pull the bells down to the rack for another rep. Don't let your shoulders "shrug" up at any time.

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
Sets: 3
Reps: 5

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS
Sets: 3
Reps: 5

TUESDAY AND FRIDAY
WEIGHTED PULLUP (preferably on rings)
Sets: 3
Reps: 5

CALVES/MOBILITY TRAINING
Before the swings, work your calves for 10 minutes or do some mobility training. Work on your ankle and neck mobility, stretch your hip flexors, etc.

TWO-HANDED KETTLEBELL SWING
Sets: 10
Reps: 10
Aim for 10 swings in one minute.
Park a kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Assume a narrow sumo stance, take a hold of the bell with both hands, and throw it back between your legs until your forearms are pressed against your hip adductors. Explosively straighten out your hips and project the bell forward to your chest level. You should end up in a “standing plank.” Let the bell pendulum back between your legs, then explode for another rep.

WEDNESDAY
VARIETY DAY
Wednesday is what we call a “variety day." It’s an old Olympic weightlifting practice meant to allow the athlete to take care of miscellaneous exercises that did not fit into the main training days. You’ll get a chance to do whatever you want in the gym—and hopefully this will help to sustain your motivation to stick with the whole four-week plan without messing with it.

Kettlebell AMRAP >>>

WEEK 2

MONDAY AND THURSDAY
DOUBLE KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 5, 5

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 5,5

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 5, 5

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 5, 5

TUESDAY AND FRIDAY
WEIGHTED PULLUP (preferably on rings)
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 5, 5

CALVES/MOBILITY TRAINING

TWO-HANDED KETTLEBELL SWING
Sets: 15
Reps: 10
Aim for 10 swings in one minute.

WEDNESDAY
Variety Day

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WEEK 3

MONDAY and THURSDAY
DOUBLE KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 6, 5

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 6, 5

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 6, 5

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS
Sets: 3
Reps: 6,6,5

TUESDAY AND FRIDAY
WEIGHTED PULLUP (preferably on rings)
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 6, 5

CALVES/MOBILITY TRAINING

TWO-HANDED KETTLEBELL SWING
Sets: 20
Reps: 10
Aim for 10 swings in one minute.

WEDNESDAY
Variety Day

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WEEK 4

MONDAY and THURSDAY
DOUBLE KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 6, 6

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 6, 6

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 6, 6

DOUBLE KETTLEBELL MILITARY PRESS
Sets: 3
Reps: 6,6, 6

TUESDAY AND FRIDAY
WEIGHTED PULLUP (preferably on rings)
Sets: 3
Reps: 6, 6, 6

CALVES/HEALTH TRAINING

TWO-HANDED KETTLEBELL SWING
Sets: 25
Reps: 10
Aim for 10 swings in one minute.

WEDNESDAY
Variety Day

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