Parth: Coach, is it really true that you can burn up to 20 calories per minute with Kettlebells?
Geoff Neupert: Yes, it’s true, to a point. It really depends on the kettlebell workout. And really, the workout has to constantly change, because your body is constantly adapting. But let me give you the background you want based on the numbers, and then some other numbers.
The 20 calories per minute figure came from a study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, using the Viking Warrior Conditioning Protocol, discovered that snatching a kettlebell for 20 minutes did indeed burn 20.2 calories per minute.
The important thing to note is that a specific protocol was used with a specific exercise – the Snatch. This protocol is an advanced protocol and is definitely not for a “kettlebell newbie.”
That being said, one of my Kettlebell Burn customers wrote to me and said that according to his fancy heart rate monitor, he had burned approximately 760 calories during his 40 minute Kettlebell Burn workout. The key point here is that was just during the workout. We know that from the Afterburn Effect (which is created from Kettlebell Burn workouts) that he will burn more than that long after his workouts are over.
So, all that being said, how many calories you burn per minute with your kettlebell workouts will vary from person to person and exercise per exercise, depending on the shape you’re in.
Parth: Interesting, so you might actually burning even more than 20 calories per minute training with a Kettlebell! So back to your program, how many Kettlebells does one require to complete Kettlebel Burn?
Geoff Neupert: Kettlebell Burn is designed in theory, to only need one kettlebell from start to finish. Each phase builds off the previous one. But, because different people have different strengths and different weaknesses, you may need up to three different sizes of kettlebells.
Parth: What are three things you would teach someone starting out with Kettlebells?
Geoff Neupert: This is really a important question – thanks for asking it.
There are three concepts I teach all my clients. Here they are.
1. Kettlebell safety.
– *How to hinge at the hips.* This is critical. Most people pick things up with their backs. They don’t know where their hips are let alone how to use them. That’s why so many people hurt their backs on exercises like the Deadlift and the Squat.
You are designed to move from the hips. Your butt or your *Gluteus maximus*, is the largest, strongest, most powerful muscle in your body, yet most of us just sit on it all day long. Therefore, it doesn’t work the way it was intended. It’s critical for safety and performance to learn how to move from here.
*- How to pack the shoulders.* I’m not sure which is the more common injury among exercisers – low backs or rotator cuffs. (Probably among men it’s the rotator cuff since they love to do bench and biceps and rarely do anything for their legs…) Again, this is because we’re sitting all day long and the shoulders slump forward, making all the muscles on the front of your body short and tight.
This means those muscles can no longer move through their intended full ranges of motion. Their opposing muscles become overly stretched and therefore weak, pre-disposing them to injury. This is the case for the rotator cuff.
“Packing the shoulders” is a term we use in the RKC for teaching your body how to get the shoulder to sit in its socket and control it through your powerful *Latissimus dorsi *muscle – the muscle you use the most in pull-ups.
Explaining more about its role in shoulder mechanics is not an article, but a chapter or two in a book, so we’ll just say that learning how to use the lat to protect the shoulders is very important.
*- How to breathe for performance.* Most people don’t breathe well, again, because of sitting, and some other things, like stress. They no longer breathe from their diaphragm, and breathe from the chest and shoulders instead.
This means that they are no longer getting the necessary oxygen required for optimum cellular function, and that also includes fat storage regulation.
Then they start working out with faulty breathing mechanics and compound those issues which can eventually lead to injuries. (One of the leading causes in neck tension and even contributes to shoulder injuries.) So I teach them how to breathe again from their diaphragms and then incorporate their breathing into their kettlebell training to produce more force and burn more calories.
– The Swing. The foundation. In the RKC, we say the Swing is the foundation, or the “center of the universe.” That is because everything we do is based from being able to move the hips well and the Swing helps us get that done.
The Swing, for those not familiar with it, is where you toss the kettlebell between and underneath your legs. It means you literally fold in half at the hips, and then stand up explosively making the kettlebell react by ending up at arms length in front of you approximately perpendicular to the ground.
The Swing is the basis for exercises like the Clean and the Snatch. And it even teaches important principles about exercises like the Press.
– The Get Up. The framework. If we were building a house of kettlebell exercises, the Swing would be the foundation. The Get Up (Turkish Get Up) would be your framework. The Get Up is performed by lying on your back with your arm extended overhead, perpendicular to the ground. You literally just “get up” from the floor to a standing position, and then back down to the ground, all while maintaining the kettlebell over your head at the end of your outstretched arm.
It is a fantastic exercise for so many reasons, namely because it teaches you to move your body underneath and around a load. It also teaches you how to lock and unlock your ribcage and your pelvis together to produce and reduce force – critical athletic abilities.
It also is an extremely good shoulder rehabilitation exercise. It teaches us how to “pack the shoulder” which I explained earlier.
And finally, from a fat loss perspective, there isn’t a muscle in the body that is left unused in the Get Up. Said another way – every muscle in your body is working and therefore requiring a lot of energy. So you can burn a ton of calories with the Get Up.
3. Training Philosophy.
Most people really want to get a great “workout,” which is cool – I respect that. But I think that many have lost sight of the fact that workouts are supposed to produce measurable results. Otherwise, why bother, right?
So I like to remind people of this important fact. This is because many people are used to long or long-ish workouts. But the cool thing about kettlebell workouts (at least properly constructed ones) is that they accomplish the same thing as regular workouts but in less time – much less time – in many cases up to 50% less time. So many times you have to condition yourself to actually stop.
I’ve given up tracking how many times I’ve answered the question “what else can I do while using Kettlebell Burn?”
Why would you want to workout more when you don’t need to?
This leads me to the concept of recovery. Most if not 99.9% of Americans and dare I say most exercisers, fail to plan this into their workouts. They think about working out more to get more results.
Your body can only take so much stress – and working out is a stress. So you need to balance your workouts with rest.
I could go on and on and on here – again – more articles and book chapters, but hopefully I made the point on the need to change your training philosophy.
Parth: I think poor recovery is certainly a huge problem. Especially for advanced guys who want to train every chance they get! By the way, what are some techniques advanced trainees can learn to take their fat loss to the next level?
Geoff Neupert: Ha! That’s a great question too! Here’s the deal – most trainees haven’t mastered the basic techniques let alone intermediate ones.
Ok, but that being said, from a nutrition standpoint, episodic fasting and carbohydrate rotation are areas to explore.
From an exercise perspective, playing with exercise intensities are where new gains in fat loss will be made. For example, using compound sequences, like Complexes and Chains, and performing multiple compound exercises in a row without rest will produce fat loss for sure.
But I’d just like to emphasize a point here – many people think they are “advanced” or ready for “advanced” techniques. You are ready to move on to advanced levels when you have the basics and intermediate concepts and techniques down pat. In my humble opinion, you’re not ready for advanced fat loss techniques until your a legitimate 10% body fat for a man and 18% for a woman.