Kettlebell Challenge Workout

In Guest Articles, Kettlebell Mastery by admin9 Comments

The following is a guest article from Forest Vance on how to do Kettlebell Challenge Workouts.

A big mistake a lot of folks make who are training for general, “aesthetic”-based fitness goals like fat loss, muscle gain, etc. – is that they set zero performance-based targets.

So – let’s say your main goal is fat loss. Your biggest measurement of progress should be your weight, body fat %, measurements, etc., for sure. But setting performance-based goals for yourself should be a key part of the process as well. You need a way to see if you are getting stronger and making progress in your workout program.

BUT – being specific, and knowing the best way to measure your workout progress, can be tricky. You know that, for example, doing swings with a given weight is getting easier – but are you really getting stronger/getting in better cardio shape/etc.?

Well, we use kettlebell challenge workouts for this exact purpose at my Sacramento, CA boot camp.

Challenge workouts, done somewhat infrequently (every two to four weeks), are a great way to test yourself both physically and mentally, and see how your overall fitness level is progressing.

And I got one for you today that you are going to love!

Read the workout overview. Watch the video. Give it a go. And let us know how you do –

Kettlebell Challenge Workout

2 Clean and Presses on each side
4 Snatches on each side
12 Goblet Squats
16 Hand to Hand Swings

Repeat this circuit 5 times as fast as possible.

Watch this video for a complete breakdown of the workout:

*Official KB weight for this challenge is 24k (men)/16k (women).

That being said, do NOT attempt the workout with the official weight unless you have an adequate level of strength and conditioning. Meaning, quite simply, that you must be able to handle the load safely and under control for the duration for the workout. If you’re not ready yet for the official weight, no worries – do the workout with a lighter weight that you know you can handle, but will still challenge you.

Bottom line, use good judgement, and work out safely. Enough said 🙂

*Time standards

Done with good form, non-stop, each round/circuit will take you approx 1:30 to 1:45 to complete. With that in mind, here are some general guidelines for time:

14 mins or less = good
12 mins. or less = great
10 mins. or less = elite

To sum up, kettlebell challenge workouts are an awesome way to test yourself both mentally and physically, and see how your overall fitness level is progressing. The workout we’ve covered in today’s article is a great one to get you started. Give it a go, and let us know how you do.

Forest Vance, MS, RKC II
Forest Vance holds a Master’s degree in Human Movement and personal training certifications through the American College of Sports Medicine and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is also a Level II Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certified Instructor, Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist, Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist, and Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach. Over the last 8 years, Forest has experience as a personal trainer, group fitness/boot camp instructor, fitness manager, and health club general manager. He currently works as the owner and head trainer at his Sacramento functional training gym. He also maintains a network of fitness-related websites, makes regular guest appearances on many others, has been featured in national newspaper, radio, television, and other media. He is the creator and author of numerous books, DVD’s, and digitally delivered workout programs and systems. To learn more and to get a free copy of his Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training, check out his website at

Logan here. I decided to give this workout a shot today since I was looking for something a bit different. My end time was 7:04 with the 24kg kettlebell going non-stop through it. Overall great fun! Here’s the video.

If you’d like me to try this with a 32kg bell let me know. I’m seriously thinking about it…


  1. I will try this Friday and see post how it went! I will have to use a dumbbell though.

  2. Very interesting indeed… Now BEFORE I’ll go through this 5 rounds circuit, I want to know and be sure on HOW LOW to go on the Goblet Squat… That is, is it cool if I go ONLY ’till mid-range and then move on back up?! Just like Forest himself did over here, or should I go rock bottom ass-to-the-grass style on the Goblet Squat?!

    Now since Forest himself didn’t go ass-to-the-grass on the Goblet Squat himself, I’m guessing that I don’t need to go ass-to-the-grass neither… But just to make sure about all of this shit, I thought I’de ask!

    Thanks in Advance and looking forward to KILL and OBLITERATE this Circuit!

    1. Hey Matti –

      The standard we use at my boot camp is thighs parallel to the ground.

      As long as you can maintain your neutral spine position, you can certainly go lower.

      Hope that helps!


  3. Yo Forest –

    Thanks for letting me know what the deal is with all of this, I appreciate it, man! NOW I know what I can do and what counts as a Goblet Squat…

    That being said, now obviously it’ll be easier to go ONLY halfway/thighs parallel on the freaking Goblet Squat… and thus the time to perform them will be faster and of less significance!

    And since I’ve seen Logan go ass-to-the-grass with his Goblet Squats, I guess that I have to do the same from here on out, huh?! Screw you, Logan… Haha!

    Hell Yeah Logan, NOW go out there and kill this shit with a 32KG Kettlebell… As I’m about to do the exact same! Good luck and power to you, comrade!

    Thanks once again for the response, Forest!

    Have a good one.

    1. Thanks a lot man… I’ve DONE it today though and didn’t do that bad, If I may say so myself! 😀

      Yeah I know that I said that I would do it way earlier, but you know how this shit goes… I had to let my hands rest a little AFTER I succeeded in doing 319 Snatches in 10 Minutes with the 24KG Kettlebell… Although they were Non-Fixated/Unlocked Snacthes… But Snatches nontheless… My Hands were ripped in some places and I thought that instead of going after this challange immidiately and the following days after, I’de might as well rest a little longer and let my hands heal a LOT more and a LOT better as well…

      So that’s what it is man, now I’m here with the video of myself going after this Challenge as well! It was a TON of fun man, something I’ve never tried before in my OWN Training Journey… and I enjoyed it a lot! Good stuff, man! I’ll be doing it very soon with the 32KG as well… You got my word on that, 100%!

      All that being said, here’s the video, check it out!

      That’s it, my friends! Check it out and let me know what you think!

      Thanks in Advance!

      1. Thanks man, I appreciate it! It was a shitload of Ferocious FUN indeed! This one is definitely tougher and way more BRUTAL than it looks… This one is definitely NOT to be underestimated!

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