What is the Portable Kettlebell Sandbag (con't)?


I couldn't believe it!  I had gained close to ten pounds of muscle by working out a mere 3 days a week for ten minutes a day.  And the only tool I had used was a single 20 kilogram iron kettle bell!

It didn't happened over night but took close to 5 weeks, and I'd followed not only a precise workout regime (Occam's Protocol) as perscribed in the mind-body fitness tombe, 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferris.  I had also abided by a specific diet, high in the right foods and calories (more details on this in a separate post, or pick-up a copy of Tim's book). 

But only one kettlebell?!  The idea was not born from any tests or studies but was rather the bastard child of necessity.  It was the only weight I had.  I adapted the recommended routine to a single weight as follows:

Workout 1

  • Sigle-arm Yates rows: palm up gripping the kettle bell tightly, perform 7 reps with a 5 second count during both the upward and downward movemnets. Key: 7 reps is the objective, I was able to reach at minimum 6 reps in all exercises.  My final rep was to failure, i.e. the upward movement could not physically be completed, plus I lowered the weight with control.  I didn't just drop it.  If done right, your arms are pulverized for a good 30 seconds :)  Rest 1 minute 30 seconds and repeat with other arm.  Rest 3 minutes and continue with the following exercise.
  • Single-arm shoulder press: same numer of repetitions as above.  If you can perform more than 7 reps, continue until you reach failure, maintaining a 5 second count during the upward and downward movements.  

Workout 2

  • Single-arm incline press: from chest level to full extension.  I didn't have an incline bech, so I used a sturdy chair and leaned it against a table at what I determined to be a stable angle.  Use your best judgement here, I'm not claiming this is the safest alternative but it workd for me (knock on my head).  Rest 3 minutes and continue with the following exercise.
  • Goblet Squat: supporting the kettle bell close to your chest and just below the clavicle, squat to below parallel and back to full extension, maintaing a 5 second count in both directions to at least 6 reps or to failure.  
  • Alternative to Goble Squate: my arms would often get wasted before my legs, so I would clean the weight and rest it on my shoulder, then switch shoulders, or support the kettle bell with both hands in a comfortable position behind and below the nape of my neck (as in a tricep extension position).  

I performed Workout 1, rested 3 days, then performed Workout 2.  In between, I ate 4-5 meals a day.  I occasionally performed a 3 minute core workout following the prescribed workout routines, depending on how I felt.  These consisted of either plank holds, flutter kicks, KB swings or a combination thereof.  

That's it!  No running.  No junk food.  Four to five weeks later, I was noticeably bigger and stronger!

That's nice John, but what does this have to do with the Kettlebell Sandbag?  Remember, in my previous post I mentioned I was working as a product and event manager for an outdoor gear supplier.  This entailed traveling for 2-3 day events in remote, off-road friendly, desert areas.  I had plenty of space to workout, but I had no weights.  

Bodyweight exercises just weren't providing me with the same bang for my effort as I obtained via the kettlebell.  Although I had packed the iron KB on a couple of trips, once I sold the car and was left with my motorcycle... the kettlebell was staying home. 

At these off-road events, there was plenty of sand, dirt, stones... nature offered up a plethora of massive, weighty objects.  All I needed was a tool to manipulate them, and so the Portable Kettlebell Sandbag (TM) was born.  Several iterations and tests of kokoro later, I had put together what you now see advertised on this website.  A tool reviewed, used and tested by active and former Navy SEALs, U.S. Marines, elite CrossFit athletes, garage gym scrappers, adventure athletes, kids, moms... 


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