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Rich Man's Gym: Train at Home With Kettlebells and Calisthenics

Passionate about fitness and weight-lifting, and sharing what I know.

Open-air, outdoor training is the way to go at Rich Man's Gym.

Open-air, outdoor training is the way to go at Rich Man's Gym.

Kettlebells + Calisthenics = Killer Workout

Body weight training or calisthenics can give you one hell of a workout. But when you add kettlebell training to the mix, all bets are off. Body weight training programs mixed with kettlebell training routines are a lethal combination for building functional strength while shredding the fat and packing on lean quality muscle. There is no reason you can't get in a full body workout with just a kettlebell and you.

Open-air, outdoor training is the way to go at Rich Man's Gym. Find a park, your back yard, anywhere there's fresh air with open space and healthy grass is a Rich Man's Gym facility.

If your gym resembles more of a nightclub than a shed of courage or it feels like a sardine can with treadmills and you're over it, then welcome to Rich Man's Gym. I imagine, if you're reading this now, you're serious about taking your strength, conditioning, and fitness to a whole new level. Since the social scene of the gym is not your bag, by all means, Rich Man's Gym is open for you.


Combining Kettlebell and Calisthenics

How do you combine kettlebell training with body weight exercises? Well, there's an endless supply of choices there. I'm going to give you a few suggestions and drill combinations that you can work with and make your own.

The idea here is to skip the isolation exercises and use your body as a unit. If you have to throw a man over your shoulder, those dumbbell kickbacks you did last week ain't gonna help. At Rich Man's Gym, we want to build functional strength and conditioning. And trust me on this one, you will see BETTER results from developing functional strength than taking a quick-fix approach to fitness.

#1 - There is no quick fix

#2 - The solution is hard work and consistency

How To Warm Up

Get your body and mind in tune and ready to tackle the challenge you're about to lay before it. Do something that gets your joints and muscles warm and raises the heart rate a little bit. Also, find something that puts your game face on. If you just had a crap day on the job or a fight with your spouse, you want to dissipate that energy before starting your training session. A distracted mind and a kettlebell is an injury waiting to happen.


  • 10 minutes of jumping rope
  • Jumping jacks alternated with cobra stretch
  • Pavel Tsatsouline's super joints

Here’s Some Hard Work for You...

It's on you to supply the consistency.

Before you start any workout, make sure you prepare to train. Warm up, get loose and ready. I'll post some warm-up suggestions to the right.

Workout A:

  • A1. Snatch to rack - 5 per arm
  • A2. Walking lunge - 10 per leg

Set a timer for 20 minutes and perform these drills alternating between them. Get as much work done as possible in those 20 minutes. Record your effort and subsequent progress.

The kettlebell snatch-to-rack is where you snatch a kettlebell overhead and lower it to the rack position before re-snatching. This is really two drills in one so make sure you're proficient with both before attempting this drill. A great place to learn both is Pavel Tsatsouline's book, Enter The Kettlebell.

The walking lunge is rather self-explanatory, but you can see it off to the right.

After the 20 minutes, go do three sets of hanging leg raises and call it a day!

Workout B:

  • B1. Double front squats 5 reps
  • B2. Weighted dips 5 reps

This workout will make you want your mommy and will hit your entire body. This is pure strength training. 10 sets of this circuit. The only rest you should have between drills is the time it takes to set the bells down and get to the dip bars. In between circuits, start your rest periods at three minutes and each time you come back to this shave time off the rest period until you're at a minute between sets. Now if you only have one kettlebell, do five reps per side, kick the weighted dips thing, and up the dip volume to 10 reps. That little tweak will make it more strength endurance and less strength. Which is fine because that will tone and shred. Enjoy this one. It's a favorite of mine!

Finish this with hanging leg raises like in Workout A.

Workout C:

  • C1. Pull-ups
  • C2. Bulgarian split squats

The Bulgarian split squat is an amazing exercise. It will strengthen your legs and work on your core strength as well. Pull-ups compliment this drill nicely. In Enter The Kettlebell, Pavel teaches us about ladders. So for this workout, we're going to do ladders.

What's a ladder? Here, let me tell you.

Go do one pull-up. Then go do one Bulgarian split squat per leg. Now take a quick break. After the brief rest, it's time for two pull-ups and two B.S.S. per side. Take another breather and then do three, then four, then five. How do you feel? Take a longer break, regroup and then start back at 1.

Three to five ladders for you is the challenge. At five ladders that's 75 pull-ups and 150 total Bulgarian split squats. Get there and see what's in the mirror looking back!

Guess what you'll finish with? That's right, hanging leg raises. Why? They're good for you, your spine, your dear abby's, and the lot! Do them now, and thank me later!

Workout D:

  • D1. Burpees 10 reps
  • D2. Two-handed kettlebell swings 10 reps

This setup may cause projectile vomiting if not taken seriously. Remember the 20-minute setup from Workout A? Do that! Keep in mind, this will JACK your heart rate into next week, hammer your endurance, melt all fat from your body and boost your metabolism. There are serious benefits to this combination of burpees and swings. A few tips and reminders though. Make sure you're doing your swings with perfect form. Regardless of the size of the bell you use, treat it with respect and swing it with the same intent and focus as you would a 100-pound kettlebell. Burpees must be executed with strict form as well. If you start getting sloppy, stop. Form first, volume second. Got it? If you need to, drop down to sets of five and work up to 10. How many perfect sets can you do in 20 minutes? So, do one round, get your wind back and then do another. Record your progress. Commit to the whole 20 minutes, though. That means if you do one set and it takes four minutes to do another, that's fine. Keep working at this until 10 perfect rounds are under your belt and tell me how you feel.

I'm sure it'll be a nice mix of love AND hate!

After this nightmare, do your leg raises and that's a wrap!

Now What?

How do you plug this in to your world? Based on your current level of fitness and experience with kettebells, my best advice is to do what's best for you. But here are a couple of ideas to help.

-Train every other day. Workout A, day off, Workout B, day off, Workout C, day off, Workout D, day off, then back to A.

-Perform Workouts B and C every other day for 4 weeks and then perform workouts A and D every other day for 4 weeks.

-If you're an advanced trainee, try 2 days on and 1 day off. A,B, off, C,D, off.

Some drills here require equipment. If you don't have dip bars, pull-up bars, or a power tower, use portable Olympic rings. That's what I do mostly. Just know that dips on a pair of Olympic rings hanging from a big old oak tree in the park are quite different from dips between two parallel bars. Same goes for pull-ups. So adjust your repetitions accordingly.

If you get a question popping up on you, feel free to leave a comment below, and by all means share any success you have with these routines!

Thanks for reading and good health to you!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.