Kettlebell Dynamics

Amy Bento
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Circuit Training (cardio and weights) , Kettlebell

Video Fitness reviews may not be copied, quoted, or posted elsewhere without the permission of the reviewer

Show oldest reviews first

I agree with KathAL79’s assessment of this video. It spurred me to add my own take on it from my post in General Discussion on 06/18/09. I’m adding some additional information since I’ve been doing these workouts for over two years now. I still like it a lot and feel Amy did a great job on this even with some of the non-traditional kbell moves. I am now using 2-20lb kbells where I was switching off a 20 & 25 half way through some moves. I never did practice Franz' wood chops b/c I still don't feel comfortable with that move.

There have been questions about the level of this DVD and I think Amy herself labeled this DVD as advanced. She combines quite a few moves together w/ less breaks than other kbell DVDs. Not to mention, she adds a minute cardio after doing the combo three times instead of a minute rest like other kbell w/o's. I speak for myself when I say for me this is advanced. My HR is really soaring throughout the workout. I remember the rests being only 30 seconds whereas in other kbell workouts I would be getting 30 seconds after 1-3 moves and a minute rest at the end of the combo/circuit. I would liken the pace to a bit less intense than the Manmaker w/o on KBW2. However, I think Amy's DVD is great. Amy introduces some innovative combos.

That said, I've been doing kbells since 11/08 and there are things in this workout that I am modifying for my own fitness/comfort level. I only do 1-2 workouts at a time since they are about 20 each and have separate w/u & stretch. I use 20 mostly & 25lb bell sometimes. I moved at my own pace and so did Amy most of the time. She only matched the beat in the cardio sections. Amy also has a skill for picking fun, motivating music with rich bass.

Here's a list of things I remember modifying:

• For pushups on the upside down bell, I just lay 2 bells on their sides with the handles on the floor for stability.

• For running/walking swings, I just stay-put.

• I drag thru that levitation move, literally, legs/feet dragging on the floor and hands on the side-lying bells.

• I started w/ deck squats on the slanted step but I’ve graduated to the flat 6” step even using the bell for propulsion occasionally.

• Farmer walks w/ two bells (used to use 20&25 then switching on the second pass, now I have double 20’s) and/or subbing rack position walks during the 3rd pass and the cardio or OH waiter’s walk.

• I didn’t feel comfy doing the side wood chops w/ bell swinging pass my knees. (One slip and it's curtains, baby!). So, I did a freestyle combo of a swing-high pull-snatch, 4 each side or push presses. I'm glad I trusted my inner voice on this move. Franz Sneidermans' version seems less daunting but I am still concerned about the bell swinging past my knee. I will really need to practice this move indept, as w/ any new move I suppose, b4 doing it in a workout. I am not in any way saying this move is dangerous, I just feel I would really need some practice on it. I like Franz' pointers on it, so I may try it some time.

• For renegade rows, I was using 15lb DBs until I got better. Now, I use 20lb kbells but I balance on the body of the bell not the handle.

• I am subbing kbell moves or low impact moves like mountain climbers for the high impact cardio sections.

• For abs arm bar, I do a figure 8's + hold and for planks on the bell I do supermans or walking planks like Cathe does in Boot Camp.

Instructor Comments:
Amy’s personality makes this workout quite fun though she does talk/smiles considerably more than other Kbell instructors. (No dogs died here.) I guess it's her aerobic instructor background shining thru. Of course this means you can hear her getting quite winded and she clips her words but I’ve gotten used to it now and it doesn’t bother me.



I’m reviewing this workout after doing the whole thing several times.

General workout breakdown: My hat’s off to ddj for her great breakdown of time and moves.
A few comments:
- This has a strong cardio component, even without the added floor cardio segments. As you can see from ddj’s breakdown, you get swings in every workout, for example. The repetitions for strength moves are on the low side, although you generally do 3 rounds, but the pace is quick enough that it’s tempting to grab a slightly lighter bell, especially if you’re doing more than one workout at a time. That said, you’re likely to feel this one in your core, even if you don’t add on the abs portion, thanks to all of those overhead swings and a number of unilateral moves.
- I agree with Emily that Amy moves quickly through some moves, especially in the warm-up (I took some of those moves at half time). I move at my own pace during kettlebell workouts rather than trying to match the instructor move for move, so I’m not bothered by Amy’s pace during the moves themselves (most of the time I’m not far off, anyway). Still, I agree it’s not the easiest to make sure you do 5 reps in roughly the same amount of time that she does 5 reps. (This is one reason I prefer timed intervals rather than specific rep ranges when working along with a kettlebell DVD.) I will note that there are some short pauses in between moves during the actual workouts (not necessarily a bad thing because it allows you to swap out weights if you so choose), but those who love non-stop workouts may find them slightly annoying.

Level: I’d recommend this to experienced int. to adv. exercisers with a solid background in standard kettlebells (meaning you’re used to working with 8 kg rather than 8 lbs.); ideally you’d be at least at an intermediate level of kettlebells, but if you’re knowledgeable enough even though you’re still working up to the full int. level you can find a way to make this work. (If you need ideas, do a search on the forum; you may find jessicavi’s post on the thread “Kettlebellers=Why is Amy's "Advanced"?” a great starting point.) Something to note about the “advanced” label: no matter how advanced of an exerciser you are, this is not suitable for those new to kettlebells or new to standard (as in non-kettlebell lite) workouts, and there are better workouts out there for those of you looking for your first kettlebell or “real kettlebell” workout (try Lauren Brooks’ The Ultimate Body Sculpt and Conditioning with Kettlebells, Vol. 1, for example). The tutorial here only introduces a few uncommon moves and will not teach you the basics. And you must have the basics – as well as some intermediate progressions – down before you tackle this one.
I consider myself an int. / adv. exerciser who’s probably a low intermediate when it comes to kettlebells. I’ve been working with them for almost two years now, but I don’t use them as my primary exercise regime. I regularly use 15, 20, and 25 lb. kettlebells and am overdue for a 35 lb. kettlebell. My most used kettlebell DVDs are those by Lauren Brooks, followed by The Kettlebell Ways (Beth Chamberlin with Anthony DiLuglio). I also have Sarah Lurie’s first Iron Cores, one of Steve Cotter’s, Keith Weber’s two kettlebell cardio DVDs, and Andrea DuCaine’s Kettlebell Goddess. I’ve actually spent more time doing kettlebells in class (RKC / AOS-style) and by myself than with DVDs, however. I guess you could say I’m more of a kettlebell purist because I favoring RKC but also AOS and IKFF instructors and am not into the kettlebell lite workouts (Kettleworx, Kettlenetics, or the versions put out by The Firm, Kathy Smith, etc.). Anyway, as comfortable as I feel comfortable with the basics and beyond I am not yet ready to tackle some of the trickier and more advanced moves. As a result, I substitute or modify some exercises here, although I don’t always mind because my versions also better take into account my physical and space limitations (it’s hard to fit the running swings, aka the “jackrabbit” move, in my little attic room, for example).

Class: Amy alone, instructing live.

Music: upbeat beat-heavy mostly instrumental stuff. It’s a somewhat better than the average kb workout soundtrack, especially since some songs are remade real ones, like “My Sharona,” which plays during the warm-up.
No, Amy’s not always moving to the music, but in a workout like this that’s necessarily not a bad thing. Here’s the tricky thing about music for a kettlebell class or video: it’s best if you move to your own natural pace and not try to force your moves to match a beat, and yet many people want music to motivate them as they work out. I actually tend not to use music when I do kettlebell stuff on my own and would have liked a Music Off option on this DVD.

Set: the 2009 CIA set with yellowish walls and red and blue accents plus, as per usual, a few knickknacks, pieces of furniture, and potted plants neatly arranged around. It’s one of the more visually appealing CIA sets, IMHO, because it’s relatively uncluttered and harmonious in its color choices.

Production: clear picture and sound, helpful camera angles – the usual CIA production.

Equipment: Amy has four kettlebells: one 15 lb., two 20 lbs., and one 25 lbs. She predominantly uses one 20 lb. kb. You can do the entire workout with one kettlebell, although it’s not a bad idea to have two kettlebells of different weights, especially since you can do the double kettlebell moves with uneven weights, switching sides halfway through. I was able to match Amy for most exercises, as I have pairs of 15s, 20s, and 25s. Of course, individual or pairs of 8 kg and/or 12 kg kbs would work for this, if your kbs come in metric measurements. More experienced kettlebellers will find themselves reaching for 30 and/or 35 lbs. or 16 kg, I suspect.
You may want a mat for some moves and the abs section, depending upon your flooring.
Amy does the workout barefoot, as do I. If you feel more comfortable with shoes, wear flat-soled sneakers. (Vibrams Five Fingers are another option for footwear.) You really don’t want a crosstrainer or other cushy-soled shoe, as it’ll make it harder for you to grip the ground appropriately and your foot may even be tilted forward, making it difficult to keep your weight in your heels.

Space Requirements: This requires more space than the usual kettlebell workout. In addition to clearing your surroundings of people, pets, and other things which you’d rather not have a kettlebell fall on or hit (just in case), you’ll need to make sure you can take several big steps from side to side, take a big step back as well as come to the floor for a plank, and lie down with arms and legs extended. If you’re tight on space, you’ll have to keep some moves in place. Oh, and make sure you have room overhead for the overhead swings and snatches.

DVD Notes: The main menu options are Introduction, Preview Moves, Chapters (Warmup; Workout 1 – Combo 1, Combo 2, Combo 3; Workout 2 – Combo 1, Combo 2, Combo 3; Workout 3 – Combo 1, Combo 2, Combo 3; Abdominals; Stretch), NRG Mixes, and Credits.
As Emily noted, there is oddly no premix that includes the warm-up, Workout 1 and/or 2 and/or 3, Abdominals, and Stretch, and there is no way to program the DVD to play in this manner. There’s also no Play All mode. If you want to do the Workouts as originally filmed rather than via premixes, you need to go through the Chapters menu and have your remote handy. This DVD is just crying out for a programmable matrix so you could mix and match to your heart’s content.
I have never done one of the premixes. While the premixes are a great idea, upon preview I can tell that Emily is correct about the choppy editing.

Comments: I’ve read mostly good things about this one on the forum, and I understand why this has many fans. First, it includes some moves not found in many, if any, other kettlebell workouts, even on many of the other intermediate to advanced kettlebell workouts available to the home exerciser. Second, those who like cardio and weight circuits or who just want a little extra cardio get that here. Third, the multiple workout options allow you to get a solid workout in less than half an hour or go for longer, and the premixes remix the combos to keep things feeling fresh. (As mentioned, it’s too bad the CIA hasn’t fully embraced DVD technology and jumped on board with the programmable matrix feature to make the options even more user-friendly.) And, fourth, this is one of the few kettlebell workouts that feels most like a regular, proper exercise video with a charismatic fitness instructor. For those who complain that too many kettlebell workouts are too expensive for what you get with instructors who are too serious (and not mirror cuers), backgrounds that are too dark and dull, and music that is too repetitive, this is a breath of fresh air.

Personally I like but don’t love this workout. As mentioned, I find myself modifying and even swapping out exercises, and I’ll admit one or two of the exercises feel a little too close to being neat tricks rather than functional moves for my tastes. But modifying and substituting seems par for the course for me with Amy’s workouts of almost any genre. I’m willing to do that with her stuff because I enjoy working out with her, and this is no exception. KBD doesn’t have the huge fun factor for me that it has for other folks, but overall I find it enjoyable to do rather than a chore to slog through. I’m ambivalent about the format, which I know some people love because it includes extra cardio, as I tend to favor kettlebell workouts that are primarily exercises using the kettlebell, perhaps because I don’t do kettlebells all that often and because I’m not the biggest cardio & weights circuit fan to begin with. But I’ll keep this one because it does bring something different to the table and provides for a nice change of pace, even if it’s not the first one I’ll reach for on my shelves.

Instructor Comments:
As noted, Amy does not provide a lot of instruction, and what she does give assumes you already have a sense of what you’re doing. IMHO her cuing and instruction aren’t terrible, but I’d willingly concede they’re somewhat inconsistent and neither as clear nor as copious as they could be. She does mirror cue, meaning when she says “right” she means the viewer’s right, not hers. Amy offers some suggestions for modifications, sometimes doing a quick demo of them (especially the lower impact version of the cardio moves). She’s slightly more serious and less talkative than she is in a number of her other videos, but she still exhibits her usual upbeat, encouraging personality.
Amy developed this with Phil Ross, an RKC. Not only are the exercises and form more in line with RKC principles here, in general she’s cleaned up some issues from her Absolute Beginners: Kettlebell 3-in-1 release, where trying to keep up with the beat and using too light of a bell caused more problems than they solved. To this improvement in kettlebell form and knowledge Amy brings her experience as both a group fitness instructor and an exercise video instructor, which you can see especially in her use of mirror cuing (something not often found in kettlebell workouts), her warm-up that fuses typical workout warm-up moves with the joint mobility-type work favored by some kettlebell instructors, a quick cool-down with a few moves to lower the heart rate followed by athletic stretches, a separate short abs segment, and also the athletic cardio segments between the kettlebell exercises. There’s just a general feel of this being a standard exercise video; it’s kind of hard to explain, but those who have workouts both from experienced exercise video instructors and from instructors new to filming videos will have an idea of what I’m talking about, especially when it comes to Amy’s camera presence and style of presentation. I believe this is one reason this workout has so many fans, because it smoothly combines the two worlds: solid kettlebell workouts presented in a solid exercise video by a solid fitness instructor.



Kettlebell Dynamics Amy Bento 1:25:26

Tutorial—swing tap switch, overhead swing, arm bar, cossack-pushup-levitation hold-dip

Warm up (6:19)

Workout 1

2 arm swing (5), 1 arm swing (5 per side), push ups with one hand on bell--horns facing down (5 per side), repeat 2x
Cardio—jog 3, tap back 1 (1 min.)

Hop swing-overhead swing-hold (5), open hand press (5 per side), repeat 2x
Cardio—deck squats (1 min.)

Snatch, descending press, front squat (5 per side), repeat, renegade row (5 per side), repeat
Cardio—4 cross country skis and a double split lunge

Workout 2

Halo (5 each direction), swing tap switch, repeat 2x
Cardio—slam dunk (1 min.)

Overhead swings with 180 degree turn (8), cleans (5 per side), repeat 2x
Cardio—speedbag 4, jack 2 (1 min.)

Cossack (4) push ups (5) jump through into levitation hold, dips (5), repeat 2x (this series uses two bells)
Cardio—mountain climbers, high knee jog (1 min.)

Workout 3

Running swings, overhead swing, turn
Row (holding body of bell)
Repeat 2x
Cardio—bob and weave, hook (1 min.)

Bottoms up diagonal overhead chop (5 per side)
Holding bell in D grip, squat jump side-center-side-center
Repeat 2x
Cardio—no hands turkish get up (1 min.)

Holding bell in D grip, knee up, side lunge, knee up, down
Farmers walk (5 circles, 2 bells)
Repeat 2x
Cardio—3 hops turning and touching the floor, knee up (1 min.)

Abs—halo around the head, around the body, around the knees (1 each, 5 sets per side)
Arm bar (5 per side)
Plank with one hand on bell, lift other hand off floor (5 per side)


Premix 1 (32:35)

Warm up

2 arm swing (5), 1 arm swing (5 per side), push ups with one hand on kettlebell—horns down (5 per side)
Repeat 2x
Cardio—bob and weave, hook (1 min.)

Bottoms up diagonal overhead chop (5 per side)
Hold bell in D grip and jump side, center
Repeat 2x
Cardio—speedbag 4, jack 2 (1 min.)

Hold bell in D grip, knee up-side lunge-knee up-down
Farmer’s walk, 5 circles (2 bells)
Repeat 2x
Cardio—mountain climbers, high knee jog (1 min.)
Cool down

Premix 2 (31:22)

Warm up

Running swings, overhead swing and turn
Row (holding body of bell)
Repeat 2x
Cardio—bob and weave, hook (1 min.)

Overhead swing with 180 degree turn
Cleans (5 per side)
Repeat 2x
Cardio—speed bag 4, jack 2 (1 min.)

Snatch, descending press, front squat (5 per side)
Renegade row (5 per side)
Cardio—4 cross country ski, 1 double split lunge (1 min.)
Cool down

Premix 3 (29:05)

Warm up

Halo (5 each direction)
Swing tap switch
Repeat 2x
Cardio—slam dunk (1 min.)

Hop swing, overhead swing and hold
Open hand press
Repeat 2x
Cardio—deck squats

Holding bell in D grip, knee up-lunge-knee up-down
Farmer’s walk, 5 circles (2 bells)
Repeat 2x
Cardio—3 hops turning and touching floor, knee up (1 min.)
Cool down



Note: This is not a complete review because I only did one of the premixed sections (there are three).

This DVD has one warm up and one cool down, and three separate chapters. Interestingly I was unable to choose a warm up+chapter+cool down but there were three premixes that took selections from all three and included the warm up and cool down. Maybe it was just a DVD player issue. There are three kettlebell circuit sections that had cardio and strength intervals and are about 20 minutes each (so there is about 60 minutes of kettlebell work) along with a warm up and cool down, about 5 minutes each. So the premixes are roughly 30 minutes each, and like I said incorporate sections from all three chapters.

My experience with kettlebells has been fairly limited, I have never had in person training and the videos that I have tried are the 10 Minute Solution kettlebell workout, Kettlenetics which is really more of a fusion workout, the Firm 5 pound kettlebell kit with TransFIRM Your Trouble Zones which uses light poundage and incorporates kettlebell swings with more traditional weight training moves, and Kettleworx which from my dappling has dismal editing. Based on those experiences I found the 10MS workout to have the clearest explanation on kettlebell swing. The Kettlebell Dynamics with Amy Bento has VERY little cuing (if any) and based on that might or might not work for a kettlebell purist (probably not).

I tried the first premix which clocked in at about 33 minutes. I rarely say this about a video but just about every single thing was to my displeasure (see below), and I am so turned off that I am not going to even try the other two premixes (I’m getting rid of this thing asap!)

First off the warm up IMMEDIATELY started with jumping, not even a few step touches or marching in place to get started. Certainly the immediate high impact in the first part of the warm up is bad for the joints. At the very least it was very abrupt.

Secondly, the entire workout (warm up included) was hurried, almost franticly paced, and I was uncomfortable swinging the kettlebell with the quick pace that she was using. For instance for her five swings I would do four swings. She was using a 20# bell (I used 10#) and it looked like an injury waiting to happen.

Thirdly, the editing was very poor in this workout. When the workout skipped to another section, the music was cut off as was Amy’s sentence sometimes. The music would jump to another tune and she might be in a different position than she was before. As would be expected the workout felt very disjointed and disorganized.

Fourth, as I noted earlier, the cuing is nonexistent. She does not give form pointers or explain the workout, and sometimes she stated her poundage (usually a 20# bell) but other times she picked up a lighter bell and did not say what poundage it was. She sometimes used one, sometimes two bells, but she did give a pointer for what to do if you only have one bell. For a kettlebell workout, I think one needs especially thorough cuing, because it is so easy to get injured, and she did not take that into consideration at all. The workout is “Advanced” but even for an advanced workout I think form reminders would be useful, so you get the most out of your workout.

Fifth, the workout was REDUNDANT. This was my biggest frustration (out of many) in the premix that I did. While the reps were quick and it was (I assume) intended to be used as a circuit workout, she did the same strength then cardio move THREE times. I think a two time repeater might have been acceptable, but doing it three times was just really boring. And from the Collage Video clip I thought the moves would be a lot more interesting, but they really weren’t that creative. In no particular order, we did one arm swings and two arm swings, “farmers walk” holding two heavy bells, punching in place, jumps with “speed bag arms”, side lunges with the kettlebell, pushups with one hand on bell. The moves were challenging and got my heart rate up but they were rushed, overly repeated, and not all of the moves used the kettlebell. --->For those that have tried Kettleworx, this is very similar. The clips move quickly and while in Kettlebell Dynamics the actual clips aren’t repeated, the moves are repeated so frequently that it sucks away any fun that you might have had.

Sixth, the music. It was the generic “musak” that you hear in many videos, so that’s not uniquely bad to this workout, but unlike some of the better made videos the music was not synchronized to the moves at all. And as I mentioned, since the transitions from clip to clip was so abrupt that it further interrupted the workout.

Based on all of these negatives, I would not recommend the video. The kettlebell genre (for a general audience – wider produced and less expensive) is still new so there aren’t any other videos that are advanced to compare Amy’s to, but my recommendation would be to wait for other workouts to come out (because they certainly will) because this one isn’t a keeper. Grade D.

Instructor Comments:
I have a couple other workouts with Amy Bento, the one which I use with the most regularity is her 10 Minute Solution DVD Hot Body Bootcamp. She definitely has creative moves but she isn’t my favorite, her 10MS workout is somewhat rushed and disorganized, like Kettlebell Dynamics was (but worse in the kettlebell workout). Her cuing was never the best, but was particularly bad in this workout. She is down to business and does not give any encouraging words, which might appeal to some people, it’s just a matter of preference. From the VF forum it appears that people either like Amy or they don’t. Based on these two videos with her, I am very unlikely to try any of her other offerings.

Emily B.