300 Kettlebell Challenge

Steve Maxwell
Year Released: 2007

Categories: Kettlebell

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The “300 Kettlebell Challenge” is a two DVD set led by Steve Maxwell. Disc 1 “Challenge Exercises” is a 42 min. tutorial that demos and explains the form for the 18 exercises for the workout (and is well chaptered). Disc 2 is the 29 min. follow along “Kettlebell Challenge workout” and is not chaptered. The goal of the workout is to not put down the bell during the entire workout (but when form suffers, can hold bell w/ two hands in front of body & take a rest or put it down), keep the reps quality & number completed consistent, and in the least time possible.

Steve has impeccable form and provides very detailed, clear instruction during the instructional w/ variations of exercises (modifications up & down), goes over what to avoid/common errors for exercises, pacing oneself in the workout, and proper breathing during the exercises. Overall it’s great total body workout that consists of standing & floor exercise w/ classic KB exercises (high tension, ballistic, some w/ variation) and some different ones (new to me). Steve’s version of the deck squat is really cool, I like it much more than a standard deck squat (use momentum of bell not legs), as well as the Good Morning (w/ bell placed on upper back). The pendulum swing is another interesting, challenging exercise & the alternating cossack curl. The only exercise that I did not perform was the crush push-up (bell is vertical, handle on floor), I subbed in push-up on bell (on side), switch sides after half of reps completed. I need to work up to completing that exercise, it’s not something I’m comfortable doing right now.

Set: no-frills, grey flooring w/ white backdrop w/ blue lighting.

Music: none, no audio options.

Equipment: One KB is used for the entire workout, Steve recommends that men use 16 kg/35 lb. bell, or whatever bell can be used to complete 12-15 reps military press. If only able to complete 10 or less reps than use a lighter bell, no specific recommendations were given for women (but the military press advice works for any gender).

Disc 1 (42 min.) Instructional



Around the Body Pass


Good Morning: bell rests on the upper back (between shoulder blades), held by horns (elbows are bent)

Windmill: high tension exercise performed at slow pace

One Arm Swing: does not recommend a strong hip snap because he believes that can cause low back issues, although hips do drive the movement.

Swing High Pull


Cling & Press: described as a mini-snatch, the cling is the bell cleaned w/ base resting on shoulder or a bit below

Circular Cling: pendulum swing w/ cling (pivot to twist to side w/ bell moving in half circle)

Squat Press Combination: full squat (deep) w/ single bell on shoulder, shoulder drops to side when standing, other arm in front for balance. Recommends to break up the exercises into two, if getting tired during the workout.

Cossack Curl: cossack squat w/ curl (lowered position of squat), alternating sides.

Reverse Lunge & Press: opposite side leg, to arm holding bell, lunges back. Free arm moves forward for balance during lunge, knee touches floor during lunge.

Deck Squat: describes as “no momentum” (bell provides momentum, not the legs, as feet do not come off floor), squat> roll back into hip raise w/ bell over head on floor> throw the bell forward & sit-up, stand.

Reverse Turkish Get-up: starts from standing position, not floor. Bell is raised overhead either by snatch or clean & press, reverse lunge w/ opposite side leg, lower to ground in standard TGU (bent knee stays bent, other leg straight) & return to standing position.

Suitcase Row

Crush Press Sit-up: start supine (face up on floor), bell held between palms of hand> lift upper body to sit up, while pressing bell overhead (legs stay flat on floor during exercise, and can have narrow stance or opened to V-shape).

Russian Twist

Crush Push-up: wide stance of legs, bell held between palms of hands> upper body/back rounds over bell at bottom of exercise, handle of bell is on floor (vertically). Modified exercise would be to have the bell laying on it’s side vs. top of handle on floor.

Disc 2 (29:15 min.): This workout follows the same sequence of exercises as tutorial, reps per exercise or side is 5-10 reps. Recommends to move to next exercise, take a rest (holding bell in front of body w/ both hands, on one thigh or one shoulder) or take a rest w/out the bell & pause workout, if form starts to breakdown. The goal is to complete workout a bit faster w/ each time through. Steve states that the exercises are broken into four segments: Warm-up, dynamic ballistic movements to increase heart rate, whole body: hips, thighs, glutes & lower back, core/abs & upper body, but does not cue the latter two when the different segments occur (should be obvious to users).

Instructor Comments:
Steve Maxwell is in top physical condition (54 years-old when this video was produced), and is a very experienced & competent instructor. He has no-nonsense, calm personality, not much smiling (but no yelling or bootcamp personality, either).