Guest Blog - The Mountain Foundry - Charley Radcliffe

The benefits of Kettlebell Workouts



About the Author: Charley Radcliffe is a personal trainer based out of Chamonix, France. As a skier, climber, and trail runner he started The Mountain Foundry to work with athletes of all levels to best prepare them for their challenges and objectives in the big mountains. You can find out more about Charley and his PT sessions HERE


Kettlebells - They're pretty useful!


Kettlebells are an incredible exercise tool that have exploded in popularity recently. For me, I love this as I believe the more people swinging kettlebells the better. I use them regularly to build both strength and power with my athletes here, for their mountains sports such as trail running, climbing, and skiing.

Here are three workouts that I use to work the 5 fundamental human movements; the squat, the hinge, the press, the pull, and loaded carries.



KB Swings & Box Jumps



This super set is simply awesome, firing up the hamstrings and glutes with the kettlebell swings then testing your quads, glutes, and calves on the box jumps.

It is a simple workout but incredibly effective, especially generating the transitional strength needed for running here in the mountains where you often find yourself climbing steep steps followed by fast, flat sections. This works as either a great partner workout for beginners or completing sets for time with your more advanced athletes.

I have found the following weights and reps work best:

3 rounds

20 kettlebell swings (16kg for women, 24kg for men)

30 box jumps (24”)



Clean and Press + Pull ups



Another great, time efficient workout that works the antagonist muscle groups of the upper body.

I use the workout very effectively with rock climbers and alpinists, sometimes even performing the pull ups on a fingerboard to train finger strength as well as pure pulling strength. Different numbers of sets and reps work well here and, throughout the week, you can scale the volume to make great strength gains in both movements.

As a standard set, I work with 3 rounds in a ladder format:

1, 2, 3 Clean and Press (each side, 16kg for women, 24kg for men)

1, 2, 3 Pull ups

So 1 clean and press left, 1 clean and press right, then one pull up. Then 2, 2, 2. Finally, 3, 3, 3. Rest for 2 minutes (or as long as your partner takes to go) and go again. This can be effectively scaled up to 5 rounds of up to 5 reps on the ladder, providing a huge volume.



The Cook Drill 



Nothing beats kettlebells for the breadth of loaded carries you can perform and The Cook Drill hits the main three. Introduced to this protocol by Dan John, it was created by Gray Cook. It is, once again, simple yet effective.

You have three loaded carry holds; the overhead hold, rack hold, and suitcase carry. Begin by getting the kettlebell up into the overhead position - via a snatch or clean and press - and then just walk around. When you fatigue and need to lower the weight, drop it to the rack position and carry on walking.

Once this position fatigues, it is down to the suitcase carry position and you walk with the kettlebell down there until you cannot hold it any more. Once one side is complete, it is onto the other. Two rounds of each side of the Cook Drill will leave you knowing you’ve worked hard!

A good weight to aim for is 12kg for women and 20kg for men.



Need Some Kettlebells?



All the kettlebells in the above workouts are our very own Again Faster Team Kettlebells, as used by and recommended by Charley Radcliffe at his Mountain Foundry!

Prices start at £15 and we're currently fully stocked in all weights! Click the image above to shop now.