Thursday, September 25, 2008

How to Guarantee Intensity & Burn 26 calories a minute with Kettlebells!

Using a Stopwatch:
Intensity = Meet or Beat Your Previous Time

In an effort to keep my workouts productive and intense I've been using a stopwatch to time each ladder I perform of Clean and Presses. On Mondays during my first ladder I will try to meet or beat my time from the previous week, Wednesdays I compare to the previous Wednesday and so on. During the second ladder I try to meet or beat the times from the first ladder, you get the idea. Not only do I time each ladder but I am also recording the times it take me to complete X ladders and then meet or beat it next week. This guarantees that I am continually compressing both my work and rest periods as much as possible. As I've been recording my workouts I've noticed that my first ladder is usually the slowest and my last ladder is consistently the fastest.

Using a Heart Rate Monitor:
Calories burned per minute as a measure of Intensity

With the help of my heart rate monitor I've started tracking calories burned during each portion of my workouts as well never letting my heart rate drop below 130bpm during rest periods. This has turned out to be yet another fun and challenging way to ensure that I keep my Kettlebell workouts intense and on track. My Nike Heart Rate Monitor takes my age, gender, weight and heart rate to calculate a running total of calories burned during my workout. With each Ladder of Clean and Presses I record the time it takes me to complete the ladder as well as my heart rate at the end of the ladder. My rest period between ladders is equal to the time it takes for my heart rate to drop no lower than 130bpm and start my next ladder, at times this can translate to little or no rest between the 1st,2nd and 3rd ladders.

In addition to limiting my rest periods my Heart Rate Monitor allows me to track the calories I am burning per minute during each workout. Using my Heart Rate Monitor I record the number of calories burned each workout and calculate the number of calories burned per minute each workout. Each week I will try to improve upon one or both number each workout.

Here are my results from today's workout.

Calories Burned per pound of body weight per minuteKettlebell Clean and Presses: = 0.074
Kettlebell Swings and snatches = 0.159*

*Note: 0.159 x 164lbs (my body weight) = 26.076 calories/minute!

I was curious how this compared to other exercises and found a "Calorie Burn Chart" at

This chart lists the calories burned per pound of body weight per minute for 37 exercises. I dumped all the data into an excel spreadsheet, added my Kettlebell Grinds and Kettlebell Ballistics data to this list and found the following:

My method of performing Kettlebell Ballistics (Swings and Snatches) are superior calorie burners compared to all other 37 exercises listed and superior to my method of Kettlebell Grinds (Clean & Presses).

My method of Clean & Presses came in 4th out of 39 and outperformed Weight Training/Free weights which ranked 27th.

Here is the full data:
Keep in mind that heavier person will burn more calories per minute than a lighter person.
Calories burned
per pound per minute
33Bicycling (5.5 mph)0.029
24Bicycling (9.5 mph)0.045
16Climbing hills (with 22 lb. load)0.064
20Climbing hills (with 9 lb. load)0.058
18Dance, Aerobic, intense0.061
23Dance, Aerobic, medium0.046
37Dancing, ballroom0.023
34Grocery shopping0.028
10Jumping Rope (125 jumps per minute)0.08
7Jumping Rope (145 jumps per minute)0.089
13Jumping Rope (70 jumps per minute)0.074
1Kettlebell Ballistics (Swings/Snatches)0.159
4Kettlebell Grinds (Clean & Press)0.097
22Mowing the lawn0.051
35Raking leaves0.025
3Running (6-minute mile)0.115
6Running (8-minute mile)0.095
8Running (9-minute mile)0.087
39Sitting Still0.009
15Skiing , cross-country, walking0.065
2Skiing, cross-country, uphill0.125
11Snowshoeing, soft snow0.075
12Swimming, breast stroke, fast0.074
14Swimming, crawl, fast0.071
19Swimming, crawl, slow0.058
32Table tennis0.031
30Walking, normal pace, asphalt road0.036
29Walking, normal pace, fields & hills0.037
26Weight training, circuit training0.042
27Weight training, free weights0.039

How Calories Could You Burn performing Kettlebell Swings?
Kettlebell Swing Calculator
Your bodyweight lbs.
Minutes Kettlebell Swings
(35lb KB @ 45 sw/minute)
Calories Burned

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Did you Know?

Head strength coaches for Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins have taken and passed the RKC.

World Power Lifting Champion Donnie Thompson is an RKC.

World renown physical therapist and creator of the Function Movement Screen, Gray Cook is an RKC.

Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Danish Olympic Team, Kenneth Jay is a Master RKC.

Olympic Silver Medalist, Mark O'Madsen is an RKC.

World Famous Strength Coach Dan John is an RKC.

RKC Quotes

"Kettlebell training will make you a better man.. even if you're a woman. If you don't know how, I'll show you. If you don't want to, I'll make you! " - Pavel Tsatsouline
"The Swings WILL continue until morale improves!" - Banner hanging at Lone Star Kettlebell in Lubbock TX.
"Anyone can swing a Kettlebell, but not everyone knows how to do the Kettlebell swing." - Master RKC Brett Jones
"Strength is a skill, so is endurance, so is flexibility!" - Pavel Tsatsouline

Scott Stevens, RKC & Pavel Tsatouline