Seeking an ideal strength training regimen to supplement my running, kettlebell workouts seemed intriguing. A number of people have recently lauded the efficiency and effectiveness of using the kettlebell exercises to build strength and cardio fitness. About 12 weeks ago I came across the KettleWorX program and decided to give it a try. Before providing a review of the advanced program, it is important that I outline the goals I had when I started.
- A program that focused on building core strength.
- Would not sub-optimize my running training.
- Minimal time commitment, no more than 2 hours a week.
- Engaging and fresh.
- Build lean and toned muscles instead of bulk. As a runner, bulking up slows you down.
- Minimal equipment and expense.
Twelve weeks ago I completed the basic KettleWorX program (see post for first review). After concluding the basic program was beneficial to my running, I decided to purchase the advanced program. Having just completed the second six weeks using the advanced workouts, it has confirmed my belief that the KettleWorX is an excellent strength training program for runners – and personally the only strength training I will need.
The advanced program is not substantially different from the basic program. The workouts are still 26 minutes each with three sessions a week – resistance, core and cardio. Although the program trains the entire body, including legs and arms, the primary focus is on the core area of the body. For runners, strengthening core muscles allows you to run smoother and faster, with fewer injuries. The advanced program introduced a number of new and more challenging kettlebell exercises, so the routines were more difficult than the basic program. Other than that, there is not a lot of difference between the basic and advanced programs.
Although the results haven’t been startling after 12 weeks of doing KettleWorX, they have been noticeable. Here is a summary of the positive changes I’ve experienced.
- I’ve been running some of my best race times – and I just turned 40.
- My posture has improved, it is easier to sit-up straight instead of slouching.
- More definition around the core area, six-pack more visible.
- Fat loss. My weight has remained about the same, maybe even gained a pound or two, but I’m definitely more leaner and my pants are looser.
- Legs feel stronger when running and I can run a few miles longer before the fatigue sets in.
From a runner’s perspective I’m sold on kettlebell training and feel KettleWorX is an excellent program to get started. The program has been fun, not overtaxing, efficient, and easy to incorporate into your running training plans. Although the workouts were only three times a week for 26 minutes each, I had sweat pouring off me toward the end of each session. Unlike some of the extreme programs out there such as P90X, this program did not sub-optimize my running training.
The best part of the program was the convenience, minimal equipment and reasonable costs. I did my workouts in front of the television in the morning before heading off to work. You don’t need a lot of space and the only piece of exercise equipment is was a 20 pound kettlebell. The total cost for the kettlebell and basic and advanced program was less than $100.
The next question is where do I go from here. As far as I know, there is no KettleWorX program above the advanced level. I plan to go through another six week cycle using the advanced DVDs and maybe in the future I’ll invest in a heavier kettlebell. Given that this is only supplemental training to keep my core strong for running, I’m not convinced I need to go beyond the advanced KettleWorX program and may just keep cycling through it every six weeks until I’m ready to try something else.
Keep in mind that my review is from a runner’s perspective and my goals my be substantially different than yours. If your goals are to lose substantial weight or bulk up, KettleWorX may not be the program for you.