So, you’re looking for a way to put your endurance, technique, and fortitude to the test? Then you’re seeking high-intensity kettlebell challenges.
Some of these challenges can be completed in under 10 minutes, while others extend the course of a month. Either way, they’re sure to put your progress to the test and enhance your fitness levels.
We cover some of the most challenging kettlebell workouts in the article below to help you add variety to your routine. Read on for more workout ideas and everything you need to know.
Intense intervals, rigorous circuit training, challenge workouts, and 30-day programs have a few things in common—they push you to the limits mentally and physically and can dramatically improve your fitness level.
You can use various challenges to gauge your progress or increase your motivation to go beyond your limits. The best part? They’re fun!
We’ve compiled some of the top kettlebell challenges you can experiment with to build strength and add variety to your routine.
1. 30-Day Kettlebell Challenge
One of the most popular kettlebell programs is the 30-Day Kettlebell Challenge by Greg Brooks. The routine targets the most muscle groups in the least amount of exercise and time. In fact, the challenge can be finished each day in under 20 minutes and only requires two movements.
The challenge uses the following workout over 30 days:
- 20 x Two-Armed Kettlebell Swings
- 10 x Push Ups
- 20 x Two-Armed Kettlebell Swings
- 9 x Push Ups
- Perform ten intervals and reduce the Push Ups by one rep each round until you hit zero.
2. 100 Kettlebell Swings
Every kettlebell enthusiast is familiar with the KB swing, and many dreams of hitting the 100-rep milestone. The 100 KB Swing Challenge is perfect if you’re looking to test your abilities or hit new records.
The 100-two-handed kettlebell swing challenge requires you to complete all 100 swings without stopping.
Fortunately, if you can’t perform 100 swings, then you can complete as many as you can without taking a break. Afterward, rest for no more than a minute and continue until you hit 100 reps.
If you’re an advanced lifter, you can try 50 one-armed swings on each arm without stopping. If the challenge is too easy, gradually increase the weight until you hit your desired difficulty.
Don’t worry if you can’t hit 100 swings—You can use this challenge as a marker of progress. For example, you might hit 55 swings without stopping in March and finish 80 swings in April. This way, you can measure how much you’ve improved over time.
3. Maximum Snatches in 5 Minutes
The Maximum Snatches in 5 Minutes is a foundational kettlebell challenge that will put your whole body to the test.
The program is simple: You have five minutes to perform as many snatches as possible or a set amount, like 100 reps.
Changing arms as many times as is permitted, but you cannot put the weight down, and you’re only allowed to rest at the top point of the movement. It’s recommended to change hands every ten reps to keep things moving smoothly.
If this is too easy, you can increase the weight or time frame. For instance, you might aim for 200 snatches in under 10 minutes to test your strength and endurance. Alternatively, you can use this challenge as a progress marker similar to the KB Swing Challenge above.
4. The Bull Carry Kettlebell Challenge
Another popular kettlebell challenge is the Bull Carry Challenge. The program combines squats and heavy carries to develop strength across the body. You’ll need around 20 meters to carry the weight, so you may want to perform it in the backyard, park, or an open space in the gym.
- 10 x Double Back Squats
- 1 x 20-Meter Double Rack Carry
- Repeat 10 Times
The circuit requires you to complete ten double back squats, and then a double rack carries for 20 meters. After you finish the 20 meters, finish another ten reps of double back squats and repeat the process. The circuit will work your entire body and put your endurance to the test.
5. 20 Squat, Clean, and Press KB Challenge
This is another challenge that works the entire body while putting your endurance and mental fortitude to the test. It’s recommended to use two kettlebells to get the most out of this challenge.
- With a kettlebell in each hand, complete 20 Cleans, Squats, and Presses without taking a break.
- You can increase the difficulty by returning to the first movement without taking a break. For example, after you finish 20 Presses, you would immediately start with 20 Cleans again.
- Alternatively, you can turn this into a circuit or interval program by placing a 30-60 second rest after each round.
Don’t worry if you haven’t practiced with two kettlebells or you only have one. You can complete a more accessible variant of the challenge with one kettlebell, but be sure to switch hands after ten reps.
6. The IKFF Level 1 Test
If you’re looking for something more official, you can try the International Kettlebell & Fitness Federation (IKFF) Level 1 Test. This certification is designed for beginners and advanced lifters alike and ensures you have the foundations down. Here are the following requirements:
- 100 x Hand-to-Hand Kettlebell Swings
- 32 x Clean and Push Press/Jerk
- 60 x Snatch
- 30 x Front Squat or Goblet Squat
It’s recommended that men use a 30kg (45lb) kettlebell and women use a (25lb) kettlebell. You can adjust these weights based on your body weight or age if needed.
7. The IKFF Level 2 Test
The IKFF Level 2 Certification Test will put your mastery, technique, and strength to the test. The test has several weight variations depending on sex and can help you perfect your form on more advanced lifts.
- Double Kettlebell Jerk: 40lbs x 40 reps
- Snatch: 40lbs x 100 reps (limited to one hand change)
- Double Kettlebell Jerk: 35lbs x 65 reps
- Snatch: 35lbs x 150 reps (limited to one hand change)
- Double Kettlebell Jerk: 50lbs x 30 reps;
- Snatch: 50lbs 70 reps (limited to one hand change)
- Double Kettlebell Jerk: 25lbs x 40 reps
- Snatch: 25lbs x 100 reps (limited to one hand change)
- Double Kettlebell Jerk: 20lbs x 65 reps
- Snatch: 20lbs x 150 reps (limited to one hand change)
- Double Kettlebell Jerk: 35lbs x 30 reps;
- Snatch: 35lbs x 70 reps (limited to one hand change)
Safety Considerations to Keep in Mind
It’s thrilling to dive head-first into a new fitness challenge and put your endurance to the test. Despite the excitement, it’s essential to practice safety precautions to avoid accidents, injuries, or strain. Kettlebell challenges can be complex and taxing on the body if you aren’t careful.
Fortunately, you can use the following tips to have a practical challenge that’s fun, strenuous, and safe.
Always Warm Up Beforehand
It’s essential to warm up before any exercise, but especially for rigorous programs like kettlebell challenges. Warming up increases your heart rate and allows more blood to flow to the muscles, making them more effective in the process.
Ensure you stretch beforehand and loosen your muscles. You may want to perform a few sets with lighter weights to build up to your working weight range.
Use Manageable Weight
Always use manageable weight ranges when exercising. You run the risk of injury, overuse strains, and poor form if you use a weight that’s too heavy. Instead, use comfortable weights that are manageable for your fitness level. This is especially important when executing challenges, as they can be even more taxing on your body.
Focus on Proper Technique and Form
Although many challenges are time restricted, it’s essential to focus on proper technique, body awareness, and the mind-muscle connection. Taking the time to prioritize your form will help you avoid injury and give you the most effective results. Don’t worry if you lose a few reps or seconds on the clock—your body will thank you later.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kettlebell Challenges
What Happens if You Do 100 Kettlebell Swings a Day?
Performing 100 kettlebell swings a day can improve posture, strengthen several muscle groups, and improve overall fitness markers. However, overexertion can lead to injuries or muscle strains. It’s essential to listen to your body and take rest days during these types of programs.
Can You Get Fit Just Using Kettlebells?
Yes, it’s entirely possible to get in shape by only using kettlebells. Kettlebells can be used in various movements that target all muscle groups. The equipment is versatile and can be used to build muscle, lose weight, or improve health markers.
How Long Does It Take To See Kettlebell Results?
It’s possible to see results from kettlebell training in as little as two to four weeks, depending on your diet and program. You might notice improvements to your physique, weight, cardio, mood, and more. That said, it’s very common to see significant results between 8 and 12 weeks of a kettlebell program.