30-20-10 Kettlebell workout

Is it better to lift heavier or do more reps?

Anyone who lifts regularly has asked this question of themselves more than one time. Should you add more weight and do fewer reps or use a lighter weight and do more reps?

Believe it or not,  both have their place in your workout regiment. 

woman in yellow top doing upright row in group exercise class

Strength training with heavier weights

When you add on the weight, you typically lift on the lower end of reps; it’s as few as 1 to 5 for some people. That doesn’t sound like much, but by doing so, you’re increasing your overall maximum strength and greatly improving your ability to lift heavier weights.

Strength training with higher reps

When you lift lighter weights for more reps, you’re also getting stronger, just in a different way. You’re developing “muscular endurance,” or your ability to exert a certain amount of effort before you get tired.

As a runner, I also have found there are many benefits to strength training. It’s helped me become a stronger and faster runner.

30-20-10 kettlebell workout

Total body kettlebell workout

This total body kettlebell workout is formatted in a decreasing repetition pattern. You’ll start with higher reps and then decrease. 

I’ve found that it’s good to mix up your workouts now and again. And using kettlebells are an opportunity to switch things up.

30_20_10 kettlebell workout image

To complete this workout, in the first round you’ll do 30 reps of each exercise before moving on to 20 reps in round two and 10 reps in round three. 

Exercise descriptions

Crunches: Lie on your back with your legs straight up toward the ceiling. Grasp a kettlebell between both hands and extend your arms up. Brace your core and crunch up, lifting the kettlebell toward your toes. Slowly lower your body and repeat.

Upright row: Begin in a standing position with knees slightly bent, grasping the kettlebell with both hands. Raise your elbows and pull the kettlebell upwards to your shoulders. Lower the kettlebell to return to your starting position. Repeat.

Deadlift: Begin standing with a kettlebell grasped in both hands and your knees slightly bent. Keep your eyes forward and slowly bend at the hip, lowering the kettlebell toward the ground and taking care to keep your back straight. Keep the kettlebell close to your legs and knees slightly bent. Slowly return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes as you come back up.

Kettlebell goblet squat: Begin with feet a bit wider than hip-width apart and your feet turned out slightly. Grasping a kettlebell by its handle with both hands, holding it vertically in front of your chest. Tighten your core, then push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can. Pause at the bottom, then push through heels to return to start. 

kettlebell swings in group workout

Kettlebell Swings: Begin by grasping a kettlebell with both hands and standing with your chest up, core braced and your shoulders back and down. Soften your knees and, keeping your body weight in your heels, lower your butt and then drive through your heels, swinging the kettlebell in an upward motion, pushing your hips forward and squeezing your glutes. Allow the kettlebell to descend and swing back between your legs as you shift your weight back into your heels and hinge at the hips.

How to choose your kettlebell weight

When you’re just starting, it can be tricky to know what size kettlebell to start with. Ideally, try to work with two different weights so you can perform a larger range of exercises and variations: a lighter weight will be useful for exercises like kettlebell overhead presses or swings, while a medium-to-heavy one may work better for squats and deadlifts.

To select a weight start on the lower end and work your way up to a heavier weight, rather than in reverse.

Remember: Listen to your body about what weight challenges you without putting your safety at risk.

Do you use kettlebells in your workouts?

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