Kettle bells for Boot Camps with Forest Vance

How’s your training going? Do you need to spice things up? I checked with my friend, Forest Vance, for some tips on adding kettle bells to your boot camp. He one up’d it by providing us with a workout too 😉

I’ll let Forest take over from here:

Kettlebell Boot Camp

Kettlebells are an AWESOME tool for blasting fat, building lean muscle and taking your conditioning levels through the roof.

That being said, they can be tricky to program into a fast-paced, boot-camp style workout.  Things like picking the right KB exercises for your fitness level and sequencing the movements in the right order make a BIG difference in the results you get …

Over the last four years, I’ve researched and learned about kettlebells every day through written and video instruction … I completed my RKC level 2 certification last year and I’ve attended multiple other kettlebell workshops and events … I also personally lead about 15 kettlebell-based boot camps per week at my Sacramento training facility.

The point is that through these experiences, I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t in a kettlebell boot camp! So whether you’re training with kettlebells by yourself at home, or you’re a current boot camp instructor, I’m confident that the kettlebell boot camp workout tips and best practices in this article will help you get better training results.

1.    The order of the kettlebell exercises is important

This goes for any kettlebell training session but it’s particularly important in a boot camp setting. It’s very important to structure the order of the kettlebell workout carefully.

For example, it’s best to place highly technical moves- like the long cycle clean an jerk or viking push press- at the beginning of the workout. This will ensure participants are fresh both physically and mentally. Once people get fatigued at the end of workouts, form can suffer and lead to injuries.

Another consideration is to put exercises that the group is unfamiliar with into the warm up period. If you build these exercises into the warm up they’ll have a chance to practice the movements with good form at a slower speed.

2.     Choose kettlebell exercises based on fitness level

You must choose your kettlebell boot camp exercises carefully when dealing with folks with different ability levels. Kettlebell exercises are technical in nature so you need to think about how much time it will take to explain the moves and possibly work through a progression.

The Half Turkish Get Up is a good example of a move that can be tricky to use with a large group. Many folks are unfamiliar with this exercise and there are a lot of steps involved to get the movement right.

The Half Turkish Get Up is an alternative exercise that I typically use in a boot camp setting. Because the steps are much easier to teach it keeps the workout going faster than trying to explain a full get up.

Here’s a video showing the steps for a Half Turkish Get Up:


3.    Finish your KB workout strong

I’m a big fan of finishing a kettlebell workout with a “bang”.  High intensity exercises added to the end of a workout for a metabolic boost are great for a little extra fat buring – and just for improving moral and feeling great!

So here’s an example of a kettlebell warm up, workout, and finishing sequence:

(warm up)

8 KB halos (each way)
8 KB slingshots (each way)
8 KB figure eights (each way)

(kettlebell/body weight strength circuit)

15 two hand KB swings
7 burpees

(Get as many rounds of this circuit as you can in five minutes)

Then, end the workout with the following sequence:

10 KB squat cleans
5 KB renegade rows
10 walking overhead KB lunge

Get as many rounds of this as you can in ten minutes

I almost always use a sequence like this at the end of boot camps – and campers love it!

To sum it up, kettlebell boot camps are a great way to get into shape, lose fat. and build muscle. However, there are specific considerations that should be made when putting together the workouts that can make all the difference in their success. I hope these kettlebell boot camp exercises tips in this article help you reach your ultimate fitness goals fast and effectively!

Thanks for reading, and train hard-

Forest Vance, MS, RKC II

About Forest Vance

Forest Vance holds a Masterís 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, and is the creator/author of numerous books, DVDís, and digitally delivered workout programs/systems.


If you’re new to kettle bells and need some support, Forest has a program called the Kettle Bell Basics Swing Manual

challenge workouts

You’ll learn:

  • How to master the fundamentals of the Hard Style swing, and all of its variations – you’ll be able to get and teach a fast, efficient swing workout.
  • A 12 week “swing mastery” plan – a complete workout program to take you and your boot campers from KB newbie to Hard Style ninja.
  • You’ll learn some of the most common kettlebell swing mistakes – and how to fix them.  The most common KB training problems, solved. VERY important to keep your clients safe.
  • Turkish Get Up basics – you’ll  learn the basics of how to do and teach the Turkish Get Up.
  • And much more!

It’s a great way to spice up your boot camp and keep your clients sweating and coming back with their friends. You can grab it HERE.