Question From The Blog: Kettlebells?


"Tom, I was watching one of the saltwater experience episodes from season 12 and when you went to grab a net out of your truck before launching the boat I caught a glimpse of a kettlebell! I'm guessing 24kg... Awesome "on the go" fitness tool! I have a few of my favorite kettlebell workouts, could you post one of yours? Thanks!"

-Isaac Molin

Hi Isaac,

You are very observant!  Yes, you are correct, that was a Kettlebell in the back of my truck.

As a professional guide, I had to learn the hard way that it is incredibly important to stay in excellent physical shape.  I have written on this blog a fair bit about my workout routines, nutrition and hydration, but I also maintain a daily blog on exactly what I am doing on a daily basis as far as training.  Check it out if you like at

I always bring some gear with me on every single trip and find it more important to get my workout in on the road than back at my house.  If traveling by plane I will pack:

-Workout Clothes and running shoes

-1 Jump Rope

-2 Jump Stretch Bands

-1 Lacrosse Ball for Mobility

-1 Deck of cards

With this small kit, I can stay in shape anywhere.

If I am in my truck, I take all of the above plus:

-2 Kettlebells, 53 lbs and 70 lbs,

-1 Sand Bag, 45 lbs

-1 portable pullup Bar and 1 set of rings

-A barbell and 250 lbs of weight if there is room

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The Kettlebell is a perfect travel item.  As requested, here is my favorite Kettlebell workout:

Dan John 500 Kettlebell Swing Workout

This one is super simple, but also beautifully designed to make something that seems impossible at first glance, actually not that bad.

The workout is 500 kettlebell swings and 30 pullups and it looks like this:

10 swings/1 pullup

15 swings/2 pullups

25 swings/3 pullups

50 swings/:30-1:00 rest

x 5 rounds

I have done this workout several different ways and in parking lots all over the United States.  There are two styles of kettlebell swings; American which takes the kettlebell completely overhead until the bottom of the kettlebell is parallel to the ground.  There is also the Russian Kettlebell swing which takes the kettlebell only to eye level.

The first time I tried this workout I did American swings and finished in 41 minutes.  The second time, I did Russian swings and finished in 27 minutes. 

You can also choose different accessory movements like Goblet Squats, Pushups, Burpees, Pullups, or really anything else.  Today we chose Pullups and the Russian style of swing.

I finished in 25:55 on the last with a 53 lb kettlebell in a hot parking lot in Stuart Florida before filming with Ryan Nitz.

This one is a favorite because of the way it is laid out.  10 swings is not hard and the pullup is actually a little break, then it is easy to get 15 swings and 2 pullups.  Most people can get 25 on the first few sets but may break it into 10 and 15 followed by 3 pullups.  The set of 50 is definitely tough, but 10/15/10/15 is very doable and then you get to rest.  By the time the rest is up, 10 swings are again possible, 15 as well.  Then, by the 5th set, a lot of people are breaking this into chunks of 10s and 15s to accomplish the workout.  Soon, there is light at the end of the tunnel and you are on the last set. 

Once finished, there is a great sense of accomplishment having completed 500 swings.  At first glance, it looks very difficult if not impossible, but by chipping away at it in manageable chunks, it is really not that bad.

I find that this workout is a general microcosm of so much that life throws at us.  If you look at the overall goal or task, most of the time it seems very difficult or impossible.  Most people stop there.  However, if you take the first step and get started, then break it into manageable chunks, all of the sudden you are well on your way to accomplishing the task and even exceeding the goal.

Training like this is easily translated into every day life and that is a major part of me and my group train for on a daily basis.  Certainly physical training is important, but it is absolutely not the only goal.  Mental training is equally important.  Overcoming 500 Kettlebell swings at 5:30 am sets the tone for the day and creates confidence and durability.  Soon, no task is overwhelming.

Isaac, try this one out and let me know how you like it.  Also, please post your favorite one in the comments and I will give it a try.

All the best,

Tom Rowland