Kettlebell Bombshell

Lisa Balash
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Kettlebell

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There are 4 chapters for this workout (although the tutorial & workouts are not chaptered): Instructional, Workout 1/Lower Body, Workout 2/Upper Body, & Workout 3/Circuit Training.

The set is simple & neat, there is a hardwood floor w/ a white backdrop & soft lighting (w/ golden light for tutorial & workout #3, blue light for upper body, & pink light for lower body), and three 3 KBs on each side (2 on steps)- Lisa is in the center. Iím not one who tends to cares if an instructor has on make-up or not (well, if he/she looks overdone or orange from the self-tanner, it may be a little distracting), but Lisa does looks really washed out in the face for all of the workouts (even w/ the soft lighting), she could have used a bit of color/more color on her face from make-up. Lisa counts out all of the reps, and provides clear instruction & good form. Each exercise name is displayed during the workout, and the reps & rest recommendations are displayed before the workout (and the rest period).

Lisa recommends that female beginners use 15-20 lb. KBs, and males use 35-53 lbs. And that the workouts are not performed on consecutive days, but one could vary the bells used (weights, light, moderate or heavy), rep ranges & and alternate the upper & lower body workouts to work out on consecutive days, if desired. She doesnít say which weights that she uses in the workouts but it looks lighter than what she likely uses for her personal workouts. But Lisa does recommend to have different sizes (lighter for the TGU & windmills, but states that regular dumbbells could be used for those exercises, too). She performs mostly the reps for the beginner level (5 reps), and intermediate for some (10 reps), and there are recommendations for advanced variations (reduce rests, increase reps, add another set, also can use a heavier bell w/ the lower rep ranges) and she does discuss the beginner modifications in the tutorial & workouts.

Workout #3 does have short set of two exercises, but the other two workouts do not (just jump right into the work portion). I would think it would be used as a warm-up set, but then there is a 1min. rest after it. There are not any joint mobility warm-ups or cool-downs, so people would have to do their own (but the workouts are short, so it could still be under 30 min. w/ an added w/u & c/d). There is a short intro. by Lisa and Jay Cutler (current Mr. Olympia, and 3 time), heís not in the actual workouts or tutorial.

I think since this a DVD geared towards beginners/newbies to KBs that Lisa should have included joint mobility exercises, seems odd that she did not include that. Or recommend some type of warm-up for her workouts (especially considered newbies to fitness maybe trying this DVD). I also thought that the format of her counting/cueing a set number of reps (generally a low number but not using a heavy bell w/ the generally slow press-type exercises) vs. providing a set amount of time to complete a variable rep range is a negative because for those who want a follow along workout, but want to increase the reps (modify for intermediate or advanced levels), they would be basically working out on their own (because Lisa only does mostly 5 reps per exercise, 10 reps in some of the upper body workout), or would have to fast forward or pause the DVD to catch up w/ Lisa (seems to defeat the purpose of a follow along workout). If one wants a follow along workout w/ more reps, than he/she can just add another set (rewind). I think a timer for the reps would have been better than her counting out each rep because then all levels of fitness could perform the rep range that works for them (and it becomes redundant hearing Lisa count out the reps for all exercises, most people donít have issues w/ counting up to 5 or 10 & staying on track).

I used a 18 lb. KB for most exercises, but used 15 lbs. for the TGUs, and 10 lbs. for windmills & side planks. For the swing variations, Lisa has this deliberate head following the bell/looking down that Iím not familiar with, and I donít perform them like that. And the elbow flexion at the top of the swings is something I donít follow either (recommended for a more relaxed swing). I like the RKC version of high pulls (feels more explosive), the one in this DVD are not like that, itís more a traditional high pull (barbell/power type) but w/out the rising up on the toes. These are fairly good short KB workouts, if one plays w/ the rep ranges, number of sets, & different rests, they can be modified to fit any fitness level. I have done each workout, twice, and can see myself using the Upper & lower body workouts, but the Circuit one was not my favorite (but I think w/ playing around w/ the variables, it can be more enjoyable).

Workout 1/Lower Body is a good a workout w/ a variety of exercises (mostly ballistic, some grind). I thought it would have been better if Lisa had been consistent w/ the rep ranges, staying w/ 10 for all exercises vs. 5 reps for the cleans, high pulls & swing variations. It just seems that 5 reps of those is not enough because the pace is fast, so one cannot use a heavier bell that he/she should for those generally slower paced, pressing exercises like the cleans (and even for the ballistic, 10 swings, seems right for the work load, it felt like the 5 reps was just more of an arbitrary number, especially when considering that exercises/sets do not repeat, so not a lot of work is being done, if the sets repeated w/ 5 reps each that makes more sense to me, which one could do by rewinding the DVD or just repeating on his/her own). And Lisa does recommend that more advanced add more reps to their sets, but I think she could have performed more vs less in this workout.

I really liked the workout 2/Upper Body workout, it has a nice flow (cardio effect in the beginning w/ the ladder exercises) of isolated & combination, standing & floor resistance exercises (the exercises were well sequenced, just enough time, not rushed).

Workout 3/Circuit felt rushed, after the lunges (for the continuous exercises performed on one side, the pace is fast, and so some exercises feel like a heavier bell was needed but one is supposed stick w/ the same one through out the sequence). And if one was to follow the 5 reps set that Lisa cues, shortening the rests to 15-45 seconds, this could make it more challenging & by using a heavier bell. I did not follow the 2-3 min. rest rather used 30-60 seconds. Itís odd to have that rushed feeling, followed by a very long rest (was designed to move quickly from one exercise, but I think shorter rests w/ a bit less rushed pace would have been more fluid).

Instructional (30:50 min.)- Lisa demos an exercise facing front & the side, she does perform 5-10 reps of each exercise. And she recommends that newbies to KBs perform 10 reps of each exercise to make sure that they have the form down.


Anchor Squat (plie/sumo squat w/ KB)

Two-Handed Swing: this version has elbow flexion at the top of the swing for a more relaxed swing (Lisa states that people can keep straight arms if they prefer), and the head follows the bell as it swings.

One-Handed Swing & Alternating Swing: recommends to start w/ weaker side first (for this & any unilateral exercise),so that one does not perform more reps on the stronger side. Lisa does the head follow bell in this swing variation, and the free hand swings forward to meet the bell (right next to it) at the top of the exercise. The elbow flexion at the top is there, but less pronounced than w/ the two-handed swing.

Two-Handed High Pull: Cued as an Anchor squat (plie/sumo squat:wide stance of legs, feet turned out, shoulders are relaxed) w/ momentum, donít move the bell w/ arms (ďnot a rowing exercise,Ē pull bell up the center of body, like a zipper) rather use the lower body. Looks like a barbell high pull but w/out the rising onto toes at top of exercise, not like the RKC high pull (w/ the elbow pull to back and lower body starts in similar position as swing), although the drive/power does come from the lower body, too. RKC high pulls feel more explosive to me (w/ elevated heart rate), not Lisaís version.

Single Arm High Pull & Alternating High Pull

Cleans: Single arm

Clean, Squat: add a squat after each clean

Clean, Squat, Push Press

Suitcase Deadlift: Lisa has a narrow stance w/ legs

Stiff Legged Deadlifts & Single Leg Deadlifts: very similar to a standard straight-leg DL, Cues a narrow stance w/ legs, slight bend in knee/s (not a big bend like the suitcase DL) w/ a flat back

Racked Lunge: Reverse lunge w/ same side arm in racked position

Woodchopper: Forward lunge w/ chop to outside of leg (same side arm to leg lunging leads the chopping movement). Bell is held ďbottoms upĒ position w/ both hands in front of one shoulder (one arm is bent, vertically, close to body, other arm that leads the chop is crossed, horizontally, over the chest). Eyes follow the bell w/ the movement.

Figure 8: an under leg pass w/ a squat between each rep

Windmill: modification (those who cannot hold a bell overhead) lift heavier bell from floor vs. overhead, and demos the variation holding a bell in each hand.

Burpee: squat thrust w/ a push-up or plank hold

Turkish Get Up: demos the half Get Up (TGU sit up), just the first part of exercise (floor portion), and demos the same sequence w/ the hand on ground & a body lift.

Russian Twist: feet stay on floor, pace is slow & controlled.

Workout 1/Lower Body (18 min.)

Rep recommendations based on level of fitness: Beginner 5 reps, Intermediate 10 reps, Advanced 10 reps w/ 30 second rest.

2 Handed Swings (5 reps), 1 Arm Swing (5 reps each side), Alternating 1 Arm Swing (cues 5 reps total beforehand, but actually does 10, to not end on odd number), then 1 min rest.

2 Handed High Pulls (5 reps), 1 Arm High Pull (5 each side), Alternating 1 Arm High Pull (5 reps each side), then 1 min rest.

Clean, Clean/Squat, Clean/ Squat/Push Press: 5 reps per exercise, complete on one side, 30 second rest, repeat sequence on other side, 30 second rest.

Racked Lunges: Bell is held in racked position w/ the left arm, Forward Lunge (right), Reverse lunge (left), curtsy lunge (left), repeat 4 times. Perform one side, repeat sequence on other side, then 1 min. rest.

Woodchops: perform reps on side, then repeat on other side. Rep range recommendations- beginner 10 reps, intermediate 15 reps, advanced 20 reps. Lisa performs 10 reps per side.

Windmills: from the bottom,10 reps per side, advanced exercisers can repeat the set once, if desired.

Workout 2/Upper Body (22 min.)

Rep recommendations based on level of fitness: Beginner 5 reps, Intermediate 10 reps, Advanced 10 reps w/ 30 second rest.

2 Handed Swings w/ Burpees Ladder: start w/ 5 swings & 1 burpee, each time through, add another burpee to the set (will perform 5 burpees in last set). Rest (2 min. displayed), repeat ladder. 3 min rest displayed. Recommends to add another ladder or increase number of swings (to 10) and/or burpees, when one needs to increase intensity or challenge.

10 reps per side or total:
Chest Press- single arm
Triceps Extension (skull crushers)
Close Grip Triceps Press
Pull-Overs- straight arms, tap bell to ground
1 min. rest

Half Get-ups: alternate sides (1 rep each), pace is slow, 2 reps each side. Then can add body lift (straight leg off floor, bent leg hip/glue off floor, straight arm/hand on floor), 1 rep each side, if desired. Lisa alternates a few reps of the HGU, and mixes in some w/ the body lifts. 5 reps per side.
1min. rest

Bicep/Tricep Combination w/ Shoulder Press: bicep curl in bottom up position (both hands holding bell by the horns) into tricep extension (French Press), 10 reps>10 reps bicep curls>10 reps tricep extension.

Workout 3/Circuit Training (24 min.)- complete reps for all exercises on one side, rest, then repeat on other side, rest.

Rep & rest recommendations: Beginners- 5 reps, 2 min. rest then alternate, Intermediate- 10 reps, Advanced- 10 reps w/ 1 min. rest. The timer on the video provides 2 mins for rest after each side completion, and 3 mins, after each round completion.

Warm-up set: Anchor Squats- 10 reps, Figure 8ís- 20 reps, 1 min. rest.

Exercises: Lisa performs 5 reps each on one side, one after the other, and uses the same bell for the entire circuit, 2 min. rest, then repeats on other side. 3 min. rest after both sides completed. Circuit repeats once.

One Arm High Pull
Clean, Squat, Push Press
Racked Reverse Lunge
Suitcase Deadlift
One Arm Row
Stiff-legged Deadlift

3 min. rest.

Russian Twists: 10 reps, each side
Side Planks: 5 reps each side, bottom arm is bent (elbow), top leg crosses in front of other (both legs straight), and top arm holds bell in racked position. Lift bell overhead w/ the lift of exercise.

Instructor Comments:
Lisa is in fantastic shape, is knowledgeable and has great form. I liked her no-nonsense personality, she gives good form pointers, no sexy body talk (that I donít find motivating). I did not like that she counted each rep out, it felt like a kindergarten teacher instructing. I hope she does consider making another KB workout but one that is more advanced (like how she trains), and w/ chaptering in each workout, timed sets, less of exact counting of reps & joint mobility exercises.