Calorie Burner Workout with Kettlebells

Gin Miller
Year Released: 2008

Categories: Kettlebell, Total Body Workouts

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I picked up this DVD at used book sale without knowing anything about it: on the outside of my copy (which is just a cardboard sleeve), it says "Bonus Kettlebell DVD & Workout Guide," and it also carries the Danskin Now label. On the inside, however, it contains instructor Gin Miller's information, and the DVD itself is titled Calorie Burner Workout with Kettlebells, the same as what is being sold here under different packaging. After doing some research, I learned that in addition to being sold separately, this DVD is included with the purchase of all Danskin Now (Empower) kettlebells, which come in 5, 8, and 10 lb. increments.

Gin works out alone in a bright studio with wood floors. The screen sometimes splits into double or triple views to show different angles. The Main Menu for this DVD appears as follows:

Safety Guidelines
Workout 1
Workout 2
Workout 3
Cool Down/Stretch

If you select the Safety Guidelines, Gin appears within a small inset screen on the main menu. I was disappointed in this brief (<3 minutes) overview, mainly because Gin suggests starting with very light kettlebells. She seems to be suggesting weights consistent with the Empower brand (i.e., 5, 8, and 10 lbs.) rather than recommending the heavier weight ranges that most certified kettlebell instructors usually suggest, even for beginners. NOTE: Gin is NOT a certified kettlebell instructor.)

I was further disappointed in the Warm-Up. Here Gin walks viewers through what she calls kettlebell "throws" (I have no idea why she uses her own terminology rather than to simply say kettlebell swings). Gin's form for the throw/swing is totally incorrect, as she bases the move on a squat rather than on a deadlift; attempt this move with a lighter kettlebell only further exacerbates the problem. I am very concerned that those with no prior kettlebell experience might follow Gin's poor form and learn bad habits which could potentially lead to injury.

Each of the three workout segments is meant to stand alone; in fact, you are automatically returned to the Main Menu after each ends (there is no "Play All" option). I have broken down each segment in greater detail below.

Workout #1, 9 minutes
Gin begins this segment with her version of the kettlebell swing, kettlebell "throws." Not only does she perform the swing move incorrectly, but also she doesn't even hold the kettlebell by the top of the handle--she holds it by the handle sides. I simply substituted correct swing form while she was doing her version. Other exercises included chest press (holding the kettlebell in both hands), overhead shoulder press, and upright rows with side toe tap. The final move is a squat side to side to which Gin adds a swinging high overhead pull; this seemed somewhat unsafe to me, so I just did squats with cleans instead. Similarly, she performs swinging bicep curls that I skipped.

Workout #2, 14 minutes
This section was my favorite of the three. Gin starts here with lunge and row, adding a row with throw; I stuck with just the row. Next comes a series that begins with passing the kettlebell under one knee; this is followed by a one-leg deadlift-type move, touching the kettlebell to the floor. Gin then combines these two moves together, passing the kettlebell under the knee, doing the deadlift, and passing the the kettlebell back again. Gin finishes with some triceps overhead presses.

Workout #3, 14.5 minutes
For this segment, Gin begins with a back lunge, first not using the kettlebell at all. She then adds the kettlebell to hold, progressing to an overhead chop (I stuck with the hold). In-between sides, she stretches the back/hamstrings with a hip hinge. She also performs a Figure 8 move that involves weaving the kettlebell to either side (but not under the legs as with other kettlebell workouts). The final move is what she calls an "angel squat": basically a plie moving into lifting the kettlebell overhead.

Cool Down/Stretch (5 minutes)
Gin leads the view through some basic standing stretches here, beginning with stretching the sides/torso, moving on to the hamstrings (using the kettlebell to assist with balance), including the arms/shoulders, and ending with a few deep breaths.

I describe this as a "fusion" kettlebell workout both because it is appropriate to be performed with a slightly lighter kettlebell (I'm talking 10 lbs., not 5 lbs.) and because many of the exercises are not unique to kettlebell work. Unfortunately, however, Gin simply does not do a particularly good job with this DVD. She gets the fundamental kettlebell exercise, the swing (her "throw"), TOTALLY wrong. Those who have experience with kettlebells like myself will be able to make their own adjustments, but beginners could risk trouble if they attempt to follow along with Gin.

If you are new to kettlebells and are looking for a fusion-type workout, I would recommend Angie Miller's Kettlebell Bootcamp or perhaps one of the Paul Katami DVDs (which I haven't tried). I will keep this DVD (for now), as I think I can modify the one workout I liked to meet my own needs. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it.

For more information about this DVD, visit the Empower web site at On the following page (scroll down to the bottom), you can link to both the insert which came with this DVD ("Kettlebell Workout Guide") as well as a YouTube sample clip of this workout ("Try our Kettlebell Workout"):

Instructor Comments:
I like Gin well enough. I certainly think that she is usually a competent instructor, and she holds several fitness certifications in other (non-kettlebell) areas. She does mirror cue.

Beth C (aka toaster)