Fitness Tips: A Sledgehammer, Two Kettlebells and Rock and Roll

Here’s a great fitness tip for you on this fine Memorial Day weekend.  In 30 minutes, on any day of the week, combine three diverse elements – a sledgehammer, kettlebells and rock music – to create a challenging, time-efficient workout.

When the weather’s nice there’s nothing better than exercising out doors, and there are no better out door workout tools than a sledgehammer and kettlebells.  Add some good old fashion rock and roll to the mix and you’ll get a great workout in which time flies by.


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If you’re in the mood for some great, no-nonsense rock and roll with a healthy southern influence, there’s nothing better than Dan Baird’s, Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired.  This classic album from the former Georgia Satellites front man can serve as the perfect musical backdrop for any of these 30-35 minute workouts.  Give it a listen.

Here’s what I did on my Memorial Day Sunday.

I started out with 120 swings with my 10-pound sledgehammer, taking 10 swings per side, and then performed one-hand kettlebell overhead presses for 8 repetitions per hand.  After taking a 90-second rest, I repeated this circuit.

Let me take a little detour here to give an outdoor fitness tip that can help make your workouts more challenging.  As long as you have good footing and aren’t standing on a slick or otherwise dangerous surface, don’t worry about finding level ground to stand on to perform any of these exercises.  Standing with a slightly off-kilter stance can help your abs, back and other stabilizing muscles work harder, and is a very effective way to strengthen these muscles.

Back to the workout.

After this second circuit, I switched to my 20-pound sledgehammer and took 10 swings per side until I reached 60.  Rather than one-hand overhead presses, I performed 8, two-handed presses in a “see-saw” manner.  To do this, start with the left hand in the overhead, completed press position and as you start to press the right hand upward, lower the left hand as if the two were connected.  This method of pressing keeps constant tension on the muscles involved and force the stabilizing muscles of the trunk to work harder.

Once you get into this third circuit take 3 minutes rest after completing your overhead presses. If you don’t have two sledgehammers, continue along with the 120 swings per set with your 10-pounder and stick to 8-10 reps in the overhead press, but take the same amount of rest in between circuits.

The fourth circuit is the same as the third, and for the fifth and final circuit perform overhead presses where both hands press simultaneously.

If you stick to the clock on this routine, and don’t go too slow or take too much rest during the circuits, you should finish the workout in exactly 30 minutes and just as Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired is winding down.

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