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There is no secret formula. You don’t need to spend your life in the gym or buy any specialized equipment to get bigger, stronger, and slash your body fat at the same time. You can do it all with the right full-body at-home workout. The complete package of functional and aesthetic muscle actually resides on the opposite end of the spectrum. The best solutions are often the simplest, so no matter how technologically advanced gyms become, I’ll go to my grave knowing one thing: Progress peaked with the kettlebell.
With a history that dates back to 18th century Russia, kettlebells lead the pack of old-school training implements that have hit the scene in recent years, with widespread acceptance in the United States occurring over the past decade. The U.S. Navy SEALs, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, and the Texas Rangers are just a few organizations I consult with as the president of the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation, and all have embraced the methods described here.
I train with kettlebells exclusively—no other tool has allowed me to stay lean and muscular at a meager 6% body fat. Best of all, I never need a gym.The kettlebell doesn’t look like much—it’s just a cast-iron ball with a handle—but the asymmetrical displacement of the weight (as opposed to the symmetrical balance of a dumbbell) provides a unique stimulus that most trainees aren’t used to.
The program we’ve provided here will have you training four days a week for six weeks, with one workout for Mondays and Thursdays and another for Tuesdays and Fridays. Swings are one of two movements that you’ll do every day of the program. They are metabolically demanding, recruit a large muscle area, and reinforce key athletic movements: hip flexion and extension. The swinging exercises will also elevate your heart rate right from the start, and the short rest times (30–60 seconds between sets) will keep it there. If your gym doesn’t have a wide selection of kettlebells, I recommend logging on to ikff .net and purchasing the two sets you’ll need for this workout: a pair of 35-pound kettlebells and a pair of 45-pounders.
You’ll also need a 55-pound set for one exercise, but dumbbells work just as well, too. Power exercises like cleans and snatches are included in both sessions and will help you build total-body strength and coordination. They’re not the easiest lifts to master and require just as much technique as strength.
The following pages break down the program step by step. Slower total-body movements like the overhead squat, one-leg deadlift, Turkish get-up, windmill, and farmer’s hold increase your time under tension, so even though these sessions take only 30–40 minutes to complete, there’s enough stimulus here to instigate serious muscle growth. There is no direct ab isolation, but there’s enough core work—as well as a challenging cardio component—to help carve out your midsection.