KB Squared

Amy Bento
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Kettlebell

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KB Squared is a new interval workout from Amy Bento Ross which combines kickboxing and kettlebells. I am a high intermediate exercise who loves both kickboxing and kettlebell (although I am still relatively new to the latter), so this DVD sounded perfect for me. Amy works out here with just a single background exerciser, Uchenna. At some points, Amy and Uchenna use two kettlebells (12kg each), but an inset comes onscreen to show how to modify with dumbbells (you can also use a single kettlebell and switch sides). They are in a large, open studio with wood floors, and the music is fun and upbeat.

The Main Menu on this reads as follows:
*Play All
*Modify Only

The main workout alternates between kickboxing combos and kettlebell intervals; there are four of each. I have provided time breakdowns and a brief overview of each segment below.

WARM-UP, 8 minutes
Amy gets things moving immediate with kickboxing moves. She starts with a hi-lo jab to the side; this is followed by four alternating punches, four alternating "jawbreakers" (huge uppercuts) moving forward and then four uppercuts moving back. Gradually adding on, she includes two hi-low hooks to either side, a triangular foot pattern (with "quiet" arms), alternating knees with a triple step in-between, and then an alternating block to finish. Amy runs through this combo several times one side before switching to the other; she finishes by alternating.

COMBO 1, 9 minutes
This first kickboxing combo starts with a forearm strike, a half-turn retreat, and a hook/uppercut. Amy gradually builds on this, adding two knees, four jabs, and finally, four kicks, with an optional jump kick to the front and ending with a roundhouse kick. She teaches the moves all on one side before moving to the other, then switches between the two. Although the moves sound fairly simple, I actually found the choreography to be a bit tricky for this segment; I STILL didn't have it quite down by the end (and the switching back-and-forth didn't help!).

INTERVAL 1, 4.5 minutes
For this segment, Amy uses a single kettlebell for a high pull, snatch, and middle getup combination (the latter is sort of a part Turkish getup in reverse with a bridge hold).

COMBO 2, 5.5 minutes
For this second combo, Amy and Uchenna set up facing to one side. They begin with a jab-jab-cross followed by a head block and parry block. This is followed by a side kick, double front kick, and then jump back to re-set. Again, Amy switches to the other side, then moves back-and-forth. I found this second combination much easier to follow, and it was my favorite of all of the kickboxing segments.

INTERVAL 2, 4.5 minutes
Here Amy and Uchenna use two kettlebells for double swings, double cleans, and front squats.

COMBO 3, 6 minutes
Amy beings this section with right-left-right quick jabs, finishing with a hook. She then steps forward for two uppercuts and a jawbreaker. These are followed by two different knee blocks, a roundhouse kick, and finally, a jumping back kick. As with previous segments, she alternates sides once she has taught the entire combination. This was a bit tricky too, although I mostly had it by the end. However, it went on and on...Amy kept saying "just 4 more," "2 more," but then she kept continuing beyond those points!

INTERVAL 3, 5 minutes
Here Amy uses one kettlebell for four push-ups, four renegade rows, and then two walks forward and back; after a brief rest, she performs a second set, then switches to the other side.

COMBO 4, 7 minutes
This last combination starts with a jab-jab-cross, performed twice. Amy adds three turning kicks to this (knee crescent kick, roundhouse, back kick) and then a full crescent followed by three roundhouse kicks, alternating sides. The combination is first practiced on one side before moving on to the other. After finishing the kicking combo on both sides, she performs a brief punch combo--upper-upper-hook-hook--16 repetitions per side.

INTERVAL 4, 4 minutes
Using double kettlebells, Amy moves from clean to rack, finishing with double cleans. She then performs overhead press with a step back lunge hold.

COOL-DOWN, 3.5 minutes
This is a standing segment which includes dynamic flows, mainly moving from horse stance through moves such as standing lunge, glutes stretch, etc.

STRETCH, 5 minutes
This lying segment continues the stretching on the floor, beginning with a lying pretzel twist and moving into a seated forward bend, child's pose, shoulder stretch, and hip flexor stretch.

This DVD also includes several premix options; the Premix menu breaks these down well, but briefly, they are as follows: Quick Power, 38:30m; Bell Power, 44:21m, and Full Power, 63:23m.

Overall, I have enjoyed this DVD quite a bit so far. I love that Amy made it mostly low impact (the jumps are optional, and she recommends that you go barefoot for the workout). I am also impressed that Amy obtained her RKC certification, which I understand she did NOT have for her earlier kettlebell workouts. As I mentioned above, however, I did find some of the kickboxing choreography to be a bit tricky--this may have just been me, as I have trouble with directional changes, but those who prefer simpler choreography like myself should take note. Also, while I enjoyed Amy's kettlebell work, she spent quite a bit of time setting up the kettlebell moves, making those segments even shorter than the time estimates I quoted due to the time she spent talking. In the end, however, this DVD has great chaptering, fun moves, and plenty of variety, and I know I will get a lot of use out of it. Final rating: 4 1/2 stars.

Instructor Comments:
I think I originally tried Amy in one of her very first workouts (All Pump); at that time, I liked her, but I remember thinking that she was sort of like "Cathe lite." Since then, however, she seems to have developed her own unique style, and I think she does a very nice job with this workout. I particularly like that she mirror cues, something you do not find in most kettlebell workouts.

Beth C (aka toaster)


“KB Squared” led by Amy Bento Ross is a 63 min. workout that alternate kickboxing combinations and kettlebell intervals (4 of each). The kickboxing exercises are mix of variations of punches, kicks, knee lifts/strikes & blocks. The kettlebell intervals consist of complexes, 1-2 sets of exercises are sequenced in each complex (set of exercises using the same weight/load completed consecutively, brief rest after all exercises completed), w/ mostly 4-8 reps (some have 2 reps) per exercise for 1-2 sets. Two of the kettlebell intervals incorporate double bell exercises (cues to use single bell if needed/all user has), the other two have single bell exercises, and there is a window in the right hand corner that demos the dumbbell variations for KB exercises (can be viewed at the “Modify only” option in the chapters for the 4 intervals). There are 3 premixes (all include w/u, c/d & stretch). Amy does mirror cue in kickboxing combinations & KB intervals.

This is my first experience w/ an Amy Bento Ross workout, and I enjoyed it a lot (fun workout). This workout interested me because of the double kettlebell exercises, and the kickboxing for cardio (something different). It moves quickly, the combinations & intervals are not complicated to learn but are mentally engaging. I have not used a kettlebell workout that has kickboxing exercises for the cardio or bodyweight exercises portion, and this one really works (has a good flow, and each sequence moves smoothly into the next). Amy is very energetic, discusses & cues good form pointers & safety tips often, and her form is great (she recently became an RKC/certified Russian KB instructor, I avoided her previous KB offerings because of odd form & no certifications). But it is assumed that the user is familiar & comfortable w/ basic kettlebell exercises because there is no instructional in the workout (but users can perform single bell variations & the dumbbell option is shown & she seems to be using light weights so that could work for newbies, too). She does say “yeah,” and “Are you with me?” (to her cast member) often, and use her hands to echo what she is saying, but those weren’t annoying to me, just occurred often.

Equipment: double bells, mat

Cast: one female background exerciser w/ Amy

Music: upbeat w/ driving beat & vocals

Set: wood floor, beige walls, wood outline for windows (view of trees), green curtains, few plants, equipment in background (balls, bar), one wall is covered w/ black & white/black curtains.

Warm-up (8:15 min.)

Bob & weave> high, low jab punches to side (right) w/ plie/sumo squat> alternating step tap w/ jabs to front> alternating high jawbreaker (elbow strike, start left) travel forward, alternating upper cuts (start left) & travel back> double high, low hook punches (bend knees on low, start left)> Triangle (on balls of feet): two quick steps forward, two back w/ tap to shin w/ foot (tapping foot/leg turned out)> Fast Feet: alternate step knee (face side) then triple step> alternating forearm strike (bent arm, 45 degree out to to side, soft knees, lower body static)> repeat on other side.

Combo 1
Start facing right: Forearm Strike (front arm/left), retreat (rotate body to face other side, half circle), hook punch (right), upper cut punch (left), rotate to other side to repeat pattern.

Face front: alternate knee strike (start left, step knee lifts w/ overhead pull down arms), alternating jabs (start left), then jumps in place to return to face side (left).

Alternate kick front (right), back kick, then jump kick front (right), roundhouse kick to side (left)> shuffle in place> repeat entire sequence on other side> repeat both sides.

Interval 1: Single bell, 4 reps per exercise for first two, 2 reps for the third exercise.
High Pull


Middle Get-up (don’t lower body to lie down floor): bell is held overhead, lower back leg to touch floor (lunge), extend leg to front into bridge (hips lift) for static hold, then reverse motion, pace is slow.

Combo 2
Start facing right side (left foot in front): two jabs (left), cross (right), Head Block (bent elbows/turned out, hands touch behind head, alternating sides), Parry Block (cross bent arms a bit under chest level/in front of body/palms face down, alternating sides).

Hop (front foot turns out), side kick (right), then turn to face right, front kick twice, step or jump back to re-set> repeat sequence on other side> repeat both sides.

Interval 2: double bells or single bell (if only have that), 8 reps per exercise, 2 sets.
Double Swings

Double Cleans

Double Front Squat

Combo 3
3 alternating jabs (start right) to the front, hook (left)> upper cut twice (right)> high jawbreaker (right), step through knee lift to front (left), side knee lift (chamber knee before kick), 3 alternating round house kicks (start right), jump back kick (left)> repeat entire sequence on other side> repeat both sides.

Interval 3: single bell, 4 reps per exercise, work through one side then other, 2 sets
Push-ups (one hand holds handle of bell)

Renegade Row: one hand on floor, other holds onto handle of bell.

Walk forward & back in plank position w/ bell (2 reps each direction), static hold in plank position.

Combo 4
Start facing right: jab (left), jab (left), cross (right)> inside outside crescent kick (left) to face left, roundhouse kick (right), back kick to the front (left, turn around w/ movement to return to starting position).

Full crescent kick (right), 3 alternating round house kicks (start left)> repeat entire sequence on other side> repeat both sides.

Upper cut (right), upper cut (left), hook (right), hook (left)> repeat w/ other side leading.

Interval 4: double bells single bell (if only have that), 4 reps per exercise (the last two), 2 sets
Double Clean (backswing/hike pass) to rack position (one time).

Double Press

Lunge hold: double bells held overhead, rear leg steps back into lunge, both sides.

Cool-down (4:03 min)
Alternating step tap> plie/sumo squat> hold in lowered position of sumo squat w/ arm extension front (palms together) & pull back> split stance legs: lower to floor w/ flat back, place tips of hands on floor (palms together, arms extended forward) & hold> Runner’s lunge> Figure 8 hold (one leg turned out & bent, w/ that foot resting on thigh of other leg, bent arms/palms together at chest level, standing leg is bent), both sides> Hindu Squat: squat w/ flat back and arm sweep down to cross in front of body, w/ lift arms sweep overhead, then out to sides.

Stretch (5:08 min.)
Roll back into supine position w/ bent knees, arms out to sides> rotate both knees to one side> Pretzel: then lift top knee to same side shoulder & hold (toes on floor)> lift other side shoulder & foot off floor, grab onto foot w/ same side hand & pull it back, then hold (while other side is held in place), both sides.

Hug knees into chest> knee circles.

Seated forward bend (hands on floor)> hold onto toes of flexed feet.

Child’s pose> low lunge (knee on floor), then lift lower leg off floor (weight in foot) & hold> overhead arms w/ inhalation, reverse motion.