10 Minute Solution: Kettlebell Ultimate Fat Burner

Michele Olson
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Kettlebell

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Today I tried Kettlebell Ultimate Fat Burner from the 10 Minute Solution series, led by Michele Olson. I’ve also heard it called the "faux kettlebell" workout – and rightly so. It’s not really a kettlebell workout, more like a kettlebell inspired workout with a dumbbell. The strange thing is that the cover of the video shows the instructor holding a kettlebell, but she uses a dumbbell for the entire workout, and you never see a kettlebell at all. She does mention how to hold a kettlebell for some exercises, like "hold the base" or hold it by the handle. That said, I wouldn’t recommend those new to kettlebells to use a kettlebell for this workout, since a kettlebell has different weight distribution than a dumbbell, and the kettlebell type exercises don’t look quite the same when using a dumbbell. And there aren’t enough form pointers for a beginner either, in my opinion. But this might be a good workout for those curious about kettlebells to try, as it does give you an idea of what kettlebell exercises are like. Experienced kettlebell users that are already comfortable with kettlebells and are familiar with good form may be able to use a kettlebell – but they may also just prefer to use an actual kettlebell workout instead!

Taking that into consideration, and having only done a few kettlebell tutorials so far myself, I used a dumbbell for this workout. My heart rate really stayed up during most of this workout, as there are a lot of compound exercises. It was a nice change for me from traditional compound moves, so I liked the kettlebell flavor that was used throughout each segment. The instructor’s cueing wasn’t always the best, but none of the moves are very complicated and she does build each combo slowly. I enjoyed the workout, but think it would be better with a different title – and no picture of a kettlebell on the cover.

As with all of the 10 Minute Solution workout dvds, there are five 10 minute workouts, and you have the option to play all, or as few or many as you choose in the menu. I always think that these 10 minute workouts would make great add-ons or warm ups, but it seems like I always just end up doing them all in one shot. But, most include cardio, resistance, and abs – so they can be versatile for those that remember to use them that way. I hoping to do two more workouts from this series this week. Anyway, on to the exercises...

Maximum Fat Burner is mostly cardio, and warms up quickly with some easy marching, step taps, and various upper body movements. She alternates the kettlebell style moves with easy to follow floor cardio. The kettlebell style moves include a two handed swing type move to each side with the dumbbell, one arm swings, two arm swings , and a swing-curl-squat-overhead press combo.

Upper Body Power Sculpt contains halos, side twists, one arm swings, high pulls, one arm rows with different balance challenges, cleans , a swing-clean-press combo, and a lunge-knee-press combo.

Thighs & Buns Blaster has a lot of squats! There are squats, two arm swings with a deeper squat, tactical lunges, one arm swings, a swing-clean-squat-press combo, static and regular figure eights, renegade (traveling) squats, and pulsing squats.

Total Body Sculpt combines some of the previous exercises. It includes halos, figure eights , one arm swings, a swing-snatch-squat-press combo, a lunge-snatch-press combo (she calls it a "purse snatch"), and plie squats with an upright row.

Accelerated Ab Toner starts off with push ups. But, thankfully there aren’t too many, heh. The rest of the abs work has what she calls "Turkish style roll ups" – sort of a straight arm weighted crunch with your legs flat, seated Russian twists , and two different side planks with weight; and then you repeat the sequence again, starting again with push ups.

Instructor Comments:
I thought the instructor was just okay on this workout, but I did enjoy the workout itself. I think if she were to do a few more videos, her cueing would probably improve.



A little background on me first: I've done a couple of kettlebell DVDs (Kettlebell Way 1 & Iron Core 1) a handful of times, and I use 15 & 8 lb. kettlebells. I'm no hardcore kettlebell person nor am I an expert by a long shot.

I did like this DVD. I originally pre-ordered it, then cancelled it after all the brouhaha about the title being misleading, etc. After I saw clips, I decided to take a chance. I also had emailed Dr. Olson during that time before the DVD was released and received a very nice email explaining what the DVD was and why they didn't use kettlebells (the reasons have already been noted in other threads here on VF).

I used my 15 lb. kettlebell for most of the moves, except the abs section when I used 8s. On a few moves she said to hold it by the base, but I thought the handle worked much better. I think if you're familiar with kettlebells and doing swings, cleans, and pulls (high pulls? sorry, I'm still learning), you could easily do with the kettlebell what she does with the dumbbell. I thought it was pretty obvious which kettlebell move would substitute. And so many of the other exercises are very easy to use the kettlebell - squats, tactical lunges, figure 8, etc. I did not use a dumbbell, which is what Michele is shown using, so I cannot comment on the effects with a dumbbell.

I think the DVD does a good job of what it was intended to do - give people a feel for kettlebell-type moves that work the whole body at once while using a dumbbell so they can decide if it might be something they'd like to invest in. It's useful for someone who knows kettlebells a bit like myself because I can use my kettlebells and follow her, and get a good workout. I wanted it for the 10 minute sections, to add on a kettlebell LB workout after traditional LB weights or LB barre, for example. This will work great for that. Or I can two or more segments together for a good short workout (or, as today, a good 40-min. sweaty workout!). If you're a more hardcore kettlebell person, then no, this may not be for you. But that's not who they were marketing it to.

She did talk a lot about using the legs to power moves (although she never mentioned the 'hip snap') and not to lift the weight with your arms on the swing-type moves. She also emphasized how this type of workout involves many muscle groups at once. I'm going to try the workout with dumbbells at some point to see how that goes.

Like all 10MS workouts, Michele is alone, and there are five 10-minute segments which are programmable.

Instructor Comments:
Michele Olson is an exercise physiologist at Auburn Univ. and I've seen several workouts she's designed in the pages of magazines such as Fitness. I found her manner to be friendly and felt she gave clear instruction.