Kettlebell Conditioning System

Steve Maxwell
Year Released: 2011

Categories: Instructional / How To Videos , Kettlebell

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Steve Maxwell’s “Kettlebell Conditioning System” is a tutorial (supposed to be over 3 hrs of material, I think it was about 3 or a bit less) that demos 59 (single and double) kettlebell exercises, and it is well chaptered by each concept or exercise. It is a companion to the book of the same name (book has several action photos for each exercise & descriptions) that also contains an 8 week program and 8 specialty workouts to follow. Steve’s instruction is excellent w/ clear form pointers, he discusses each exercise in detail, and shows the exercises performed at different angles (side, front or back). He discusses breathing techniques, muscles engaged, purpose/benefits of exercises, pain scale for injuries (recommends to listen to body for any pain signal) and the different concepts (level change, grips, terminology & anatomy of bell) when applicable to specific exercises. The kettlebells are used for cardio, endurance, strength, mobility & stability, so there’s a great range of exercises to learn & work with. I have a couple of Steve’s workouts (300 KB challenge, 300 Spartan & recently acquired Encyclopedia of Joint Mobility), and really like his style of teaching/instructing, variations on exercises & his workouts. Steve's very knowledgeable & experienced/skilled, and it shows in his videos (he’s really great in this one, shares a wealth of information). This tutorial would be excellent for newbies to kettlebells and experienced people who want to learn new exercises and/or refine their technique, very well done & thorough.

Kettlebell Anatomy: handle, horn, ball, base

Kettlebell Terminology: discusses swing, clean, press, snatch, rack position. lockout position

Level Change Theory: hip & hamstring dominant exercise/swing, thigh dominant level change: squat.

Grips: discuss bringing bell through hand/ sits on heel of hand for swinging motion, hook, bottoms ups, bottoms down, crush.

Breathing: anatomical match breathing: inhale lift, exhale lower (high reps, light loads), performance breath: inhale lower, exhale lift (heavy loads)




Good Mornings: bell placed on upper back (between shoulder blades)

Spinal Wave: hold bell by base in standing position> spinal roll to lower bell w/ straight legs, bend knees to reverse motion.

Lockout Stretch: other hand/arm assists bell into rack position & press> static hold overhead.

Chest Opener: bell held behind body (hamstring level)> lift chest & head, bell slides down.


Goblet Squat

Shoulder Rotations: hinge at hips, grab onto bell, let it hang> perform small shoulder circles

Overhead Squat: sumo/plie stance (wider, turned out stance than I’ve seen or used before)

Cossack Squat

Reverse Lunge: opposite side arm holds bell in rack position

Hack Squat

Deck Squat: squat> roll back into hip raise, straight arm pullover> throw the bell forward & sit-up, stand.

1 Hand Swing & 2 Hand Swing

Alternating Swings

Walking Swings: two steps forward or back w/ upswing (2 hand & alternating swing)

Standing Russian Twist: 2 hand swing> on upswing, let go w/ one hand & swing bell (torso rotation) to that same side shoulder (free hand catches it briefly


Circular Cleans: clean bell, pivot to face other side, punch & swing bell across to other side into rack position.

Reverse Circular Cleans: pivot to face same side as racked arm.

Halo Chops: pendulum swing (low thigh level) into halo.

High Pulls (Judo Pulls)

The Snatch: breaks it down into swing>high pull>snatch for practice (3 reps each, 1 rep each)> snatch. Discusses spiral (hand/wrist rotates to unravel bell/used for KB sport) & flip (up & over hand) release at top of snatch.

Upright Rows: isometric tension w/ grip (not just a lift), “imagine pulling handles apart”

Military Press

Suitcase Rows

Crescent Rows: 1 arm row in bent over, lunge position

Crush Push-Up: perform while balanced on bell (handle, vertically on floor)

Crush Curls

Reverse Turkish GetUp: start in standing position

Reverse Turkish GetUp Armbar

Reverse Turkish GetUp Side Plank

Handle Planks: balance on bell (hands on corners of handle, elbows rolled in)> static hold w/ leg lifts, circles or rock back & forth w/ bell.

Seated Russian Twists

All of next exercises use double bells:
Russian Sit-Up: start supine, bell held between palms of hand on chest & between feet> lift upper body to sit up, while pressing bell overhead.

Windshield Wipers: arms extended to sides/hands hold onto handles of two bells (laid on sides)

Leg Raise to Plow: arms extended overhead/hands hold onto handles of two bells


L-Seat Push-Up: perform L-Seat, lift legs up & jump back into plank position for 1 push-up, reverse motion.

Sprinters Lunge: bells placed on outside of front leg, hands holding them w/ legs in split stance> alternate switching legs (in air w/ a jump).

Single Leg Deadlift (assisted): rear leg elevated on a box (chair or step).

Single Leg Deadlift

Single Leg Deadlift (elevated): one leg elevated on low block/step, other leg hangs down/held in air.

Double Swings

Double Cleans

Double High Pulls (Judo Pulls)

Double Snatch

Double Military Press

Double Push Press

Double Jerks

SeeSaw Press: version has a side bend (on side of bell in rack position)

Double Power Press: backward lean w/ gaze up (ceiling) & chest engagement

Double Bent Over Rows: bells on inside of legs

Double Front Squat

Double Jump Shrugs: squat jump (roll onto balls of feet, toes stay on floor), shrug on lift.

Plank (Renegade) Rows: demos row & variation w/ push-up

Bear Crawls: start in bent over position holding onto handles of bells> alternate opposite arm & leg traveling forward in position (on toes).

Farmer’s Walk

Double Turkish GetUp: start standing w/ bells in rack position (stay racked during entire movement)