Tactical Kettlebell Workout For Athletes, Military & First Responders

No piece of training and fitness equipment screams “tactical” more than the kettlebell. Maybe it’s the old black and white photos from 1930’s Russia with bear sized men training with these archaic sized round balls that would later be known as kettlebells. Could it be that early mixed martial arts conditioning programs heavily emphasized kettlebell use?

Is the answer in the exact definition of what “tactical” loosely means? Before the “operator” beards and fancy gear, tactical loosely defined a physical conditioning that was strong, flexible, mobile and lean to handle a variety of demands. The kettlebell fits in with that definition merely from the fact that it is an unstable platform in comparison to barbells, dumbbells and bands. All those implements are excellent and should be included in your program but the kettlebell should make up the majority of your tactical workout programming.

Here’s the four principles that went into designing our kettlebell tactical workout.

1) Each workout must include a heavy movement.

Save up money and get yourself a 100 pound plus kettlebell. You won’t be doing much with it but what you will do with it will pay dividends in spades. One of the many unique advantages of a kettlebell is that it severely stresses your grip and forearm strength. Not only do most common exercises not target these areas but unless you specifically utilize forearm exercises and regularly deadlift and pull heavy barbell weight, your forearm strength is always going to be a limiting factor.

I’ll argue that both the Russian and American kettlebell swing (the only difference being is that the American version goes above your head) is the most functional tactical exercise. Having access to a heavier than normal kettlebell will allow you to tax your posterior chain from the base of your neck to your calves. Kettlebell swings are also very stress releasing.

You may also be able to perform one arm suitcase deadlifts,which tactically, makes a lot of sense, as you want to stress your core in your training especially in terms of carrying odd objects.

(You might also like our tactical weight vest workout or our dumbbell EMOM workout our our tactical games training plan)

2) You must perform double kettlebell exercises.

For some reason or another most kettlebell exercises only utilize one movement and I understand that it’s often a equipment limitation but get yourself two kettlebells of the same weight. Push presses, double arm snatches, double arm low Russian swings and thrusters are just a few of the exercises in your tactical training that will both elevate your heart rate forcing you to work under stress but they will also pack muscle on.

3) You must press overhead

I’m not telling you to press heavy over head but you do want to perform a variety of kettlebell overhead presses since the weight will shift backwards as you press, this will force you to stabilize your shoulder in different planes of motion.

4) Lunges are essential tactical exercises
This can easily be said for any programming but with kettlebells you get a little something extra on lunges. The ability to clean the weight to your shoulders, hold to emphasize your traps or perform unilaterally gives kettlebell lunges a interesting look. Additionally, as you move the weight you’ll have to stabilize your front foot.

Tactical Kettlebell Workout For Athletes, Military & First Responders

“Freddy Krueger”
• 21-15-9 Reps for Time
• Kettlebell Swings (70/53 lb)
• Burpees

“Bad Karma”

I had to throw some barbell curls in here

• For Time
• 50-40-30-20-10 reps of Barbell Curls (45/35 lb)
• 10-20-30-40-50 reps of Kettlebell Swings (1.5/1 pood)

With a running clock, as fast as possible, complete 50 Barbell Curls and 10 Kettlebell Swings. Then 40 Barbell Curls and 20 Kettlebell Swings. Alternate movements in this manner until the round of 10 Barbell Curls and 50 Kettlebell Swings.Score is the time on the clock when the last Kettlebell Swing is completed.

• 5 Rounds for Time
• 20 Kettlebell Swings (55/35 lb)
• 400 meter Run

“Evil EMOM”
• EMOM for 14 minutes
• Odd: 10 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
• Even: 20 Kettlebell Swings (54/35 lb)

With a running clock, each minute on the minute (EMOM), athlete starts by performing 10 thrusters, then rests until the second round (starting at 1:00). Then athlete completes 20 kettlebell swings. Continue, alternating each minute, for 14 total minutes.

“Dennis O’Berg”
• EMOM for 14 minutes
• Odd Minutes:
• 15 Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)

• Even Minutes:
• 10 Deadlifts (275/205 lb)

There you go. Get after it.