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Hoist a kettlebell to do a military-style workout.
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Kettlebell workouts are ideal to prepare members of the military for combat and for the required physical fitness tests, or PFTs. The types of workouts service personnel perform provide the necessary strength to do the pushups or pullups required on many PFTs. Swings and other kettlebell exercises build the core power needed to pass the PFT situp test, while kettlebell circuits build sufficient endurance and cardiovascular strength to do well on running tests. Even if you're not in the military, you can train like a soldier or SEAL by adding kettlebells to your fitness program. Warm up before a kettlebell workout with five to 10 minutes of light cardio work.
Air Force Workout
Air Force Technical Sergeant Philip Davis' preferred workout includes a set of five kettlebell exercises. He performs four reps with each arm of the long cycle clean and press -- which begins with the kettlebell between your legs -- followed immediately by five single-leg deadlifts with each arm. He follows by doing bulldog windmills and squats back-to-back for five reps each. He concludes the set with 10 bottoms-up pushups, then does four more sets. To emulate Davis you must do the deadlifts with a 106-pound kettlebell, windmills with an 88-pound weight and the remaining exercises with 70-pound kettlebells.
Certified kettlebell instructor Eric J. Moss advocates a basic, six-exercise kettlebell workout for members of the military. Moss' set includes kettlebell swings between the legs plus the Turkish getup, cleans, presses, front squats and snatches. Do the exercises with one kettlebell, except for the front squat, in which you hold one weight in each hand. Perform the six moves in a circuit, with minimal rest between exercises. Do five reps for the getup, press and squat, and 10 or more for the other three exercises.
The Army PRT website also recommends performing the kettlebell workout as a circuit. Perform two sets each of the sumo squat, straight-leg deadlift, forward lunge, step-up, supine chest press, bent-over row, overhead push press and supine body twist. Do six reps per set for the sumo squat and body twist, and 12 reps for the remaining activities. Use 50- and 25-pound kettlebells for the two squat sets, respectively, as well as 40- and 25-pound weights for deadlifts; 20- and 10-pound kettlebells for lunges and rows; 30- and 15-pound weights for step-ups and push presses; 40- and 15-pound kettlebells for the chest press; and 25- and 10-pound kettlebells for the body twist. If you're not under military supervision, check with your doctor before attempting this challenging program if you are new to exercise or have chronic conditions.
If you want to work gradually up to a PRT program, you can follow the lead of trainer Mike Mahler. He recommends a program in which your exercises are divided into five categories: upper body press; upper body pull; lower body press; lower body pull; and core. A sample kettlebell circuit can include 10 reps each of the double clean and push press, plus the one-arm bent-over row; five reps of Turkish getups; six reps of the clean and front squat; and 15 reps to each side of one-arm swings. Rest for 30 seconds after each exercise and for 60 seconds after you complete the circuit. Try to perform five circuits.