...in addition to how badass you will look.

Kettlebells, those Russian 18th century material weights that have made their way to fitness centers and YouTube videos worldwide, are also the perfect item to add to your “must-haves” for the workplace.  Kettlebells are gaining in popularity in many fitness programs because they’re no-nonsense and efficient.  Once you learn from a certified, professional trainer, kettlebells are a safe, effective, and fun way to incorporate strength training into your daily routine.

Here are 5 reasons to bring a kettlebell to work:




1. Compact + Portable

Kettlebells are small, simple, nearly indestructible, and they’re inherently portable.  (The handle is included!). This means that unlike that giant balance ball, you can stash away one small kettlebell nearly anywhere in a cubicle, office, or workstation.  Carrying a kettlebell - (farmer, suitcase, asymmetrical, rack, overhead, or goblet) is an excellent foundation exercise.  It may not break a fierce sweat, but that's ok if you're in your office work wear.  You may not need a shower after carrying a kettlebell, but you're getting quality training time in for your abs, glutes, and forearm grip strength as well as improving your posture and balance.  Take your kettlebell with you to an empty conference room, or better yet, take your kettlebell for a stroll outdoors!  By carrying your bell with good form and posture to your break spot of choice, you’ve got some quality strength training time in without adding agenda items to your day. 

When you get your bell to your break spot, add a few squats, dead lifts, and kettlebell swings at your destination, and then walk back.  Your walkabout break now just transformed into a strength training opportunity.  In Transference of Kettlebell Training to Strength, Power, and Endurance, published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, by Manocchia, Spierer, Lufkin, Minichiello, and Castro, the authors state:

...kettlebells are smaller, require less physical space, are more accessible and are perhaps less intimidating than barbells and weight plates. These qualities may make kettlebells more available to more diverse populations with vast ranges of lifting experience. Kettlebells are currently used across a broad spectrum of strength and conditioning programs, from recreational to elite levels.
KETTLEBELL SWINGS: Single arm, double handed, or double bell, KB Swings are not only efficient, but they're a great way to blow off steam during the day.  

KETTLEBELL SWINGS: Single arm, double handed, or double bell, KB Swings are not only efficient, but they're a great way to blow off steam during the day.  

2.  Efficiency Matters

Efficiency is probably THE workplace holy grail.  We all want to get as much done as we can in as short amount of time as possible.  It makes sense for our customers so that they get the most value and best service.  But, it also makes sense for us - the more efficiently we work, the more time we have for our family, friends, and activities.  

This quest for efficiency ties right in to strength training with a kettlebell.  In terms of fat loss, the kettlebell is one of the most efficient tools available.  The kettlebell swing, a ballistic exercise, combines strength and resistance along with cardiovascular and endurance training - simultaneously.  

 Published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Comparison of Cardiorespiratory and Metabolic Responses in Kettlebell High-Intensity Interval Training Versus Sprint Interval Cycling by Brian Williams and Robert Kraemer, the authors state:

    ...existing research suggests that KB training may influence a greater response by the cardiorespiratory system than traditional resistance exercise. Thus, this form of training may be used as an effective mode of training for maintaining or improving aerobic conditioning.



Go Outside for a Few Rounds Today!


3.  Versatility: You Only Need One.

There are a lot of options for exercise and strength training at work.  Some have access to an on-site fitness facility, and in future posts we'll discuss all of the equipment-free possibilities that exist for those without that option.  You can also take your routine to the next level with one kettlebell.  Just one kettlebell to open up your options for strength training in the office infinitely.  What kettlebell is the one that is right for you if you are to choose only one?  

For the most versatility and practical use, go light.  I recommend choosing a kettlebell that meets your needs for the exercise that you need the lightest kettlebell for, then scaling everything to work around that.  Here's how I found my perfect "at work" weight.  For the RKC "Big 6" Exercises - Kettlebell clean, swing, squat, press, snatch, and get-up, the press is what dictates for me.  The military press for me is a go-to weight of 16kg.  Cleans and snatches are 18kg, get-ups are 20kg, and swings and squats are 24kg.  So, my "go to work" weight would be 14kg, given that I like to practice throughout the day and wouldn't want to sweat through my work tops. That is a weight that I feel 100% comfortable doing reps with for all 6 exercises for a couple of rounds throughout the day.

When "The Machines" try to take your time, repurpose the wait.  Turn "LOADING..." into training time by bringing your Kettlebell to work!

When "The Machines" try to take your time, repurpose the wait.  Turn "LOADING..." into training time by bringing your Kettlebell to work!

4.  Time Management.

In PART TWO: How Long it Takes to Lose 130 Pounds, I talk about how the number one hurdle to making change in our lives is "making time."  It really is the hardest part.  I challenge you, not to add one more "to-do" item to your day, but rather to utilize the time that "The Machines" take from you.  Next time you've got "the blue circle," hanging out on your screen, make that your "you time."  

If you're updating your software, uploading files to the FTP, or the internet is re-booting, take that time for you.  How many rounds of 5 goblet squats can you fit in while your phone software updates?  How many rounds of 10 swings can you do while you download that video file?  Not only will you be conquering the demon that is "I HAVE NO TIME!" but you'll also be surprised at how much less stress you carry around by breaking up your day and not fixating on the "beachball," "status bar" or "hour glass" that tells us that the computer is "thinking."  

5.  Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Keeping your kettlebell as a part of your workspace decor will keep it in view, and when the kettlebell is in sight it will be at top of mind.  (Spoiler Alert: You'll be more likely to do some deadlifts when you're waiting on the Adobe Flash Player to update if you see the kettlebell sitting there in plain sight vs. if it's under a dirty hoodie.)

Your kettlebell will also become a conversation piece for visitors to your space.  Share what you are learning and work together!  Try “I-Go-You-Go” (IGYG) sessions with a friend or two and share the equipment.  Laugh together and have fun - even a 5 minute squat session is your YOU time.  Keep the environment friendly and encourage each other.  Model healthy behavior and others will join you.  Here are some great “IGYG” Options!  


Parter 1: 5 Goblet Squats

Partner 2: Plank while Partner 1 completes Goblet Squats

Switch for 3-5 rounds and high-5 each other when you're done!


Parter 1: 5 Deadlifts

Partner 2: Wall-Chair Sit while Parter 1 Completes Deadlifts

Switch for 3-5 rounds and high-5 each other when you're done!


Parter 1: 10 Kettlebell Swings

Partner 2: 5 Push Ups

Switch for 3-5 rounds and high-5 each other when you're done!

How do you use your kettlebell at work?  Share your story and pictures!  

I believe in you!


About the author.

Karen Gasparick worked for 20+ years in design offices.  While slaying PowerPoint presentations and bringing bad-assery to the holiday potluck lunch, Karen also found fitness and real, honest wellness.  Karen lost 130 pounds, and gained ROBOT Level Strength!  

Karen is now “H.R.I.C.” (Head Robot In Charge) at The PurpleROBOT Network.  Contact us to learn about workplace wellness workshops, seminars, and training today!  Karen is an RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor, loves outdoor adventures, and lives in Milwaukee, WI.  She can be reached via email at: karen@purplerobot.biz

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