How to Replace Expensive Equipment with Kettlebells

by Laurel Blackburn on June 21, 2017

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Laurel Blackburn and Adrienne Harvey Diy Fitness

I started my boot camp business in 2005 on a little patch of grass in front of a gymnastics gym. I didn’t have much money and spent what little I had on a few bands. Our workouts were mostly bodyweight with a few exercises done on the picnic table in front of the gym.

I had to be creative and think outside of the box. Before the TRX came out, I was already doing many of the exercises with beach towels wrapped around trees. I also bought PVC pipes and filled them with sand to use for presses, squats and deadlifts.

As my business grew, I spent almost all of my money on purchasing more equipment. I bought some kettlebells, I picked up logs on the street, and used whatever else I could find as exercise equipment.

Slowly as I earned more money, I bought more equipment. Once we moved from the patch of grass into an 800sqft space, I bought a few more kettlebells, some medicine balls, and I had a friend build a pull up bar.

After a year, we outgrew that space and I moved to a 2,100sqft building—then we moved up to my current 5,000sqft location. Now, I was able to buy a lot of equipment and I spent a fortune on stocking my gym. Every cent I made went back into the gym as I bought more equipment.

As a fitness professional and gym owner, I constantly receive tons of catalogs in the mail full of equipment to buy. I started looking at how I could use what I had to replicate new exercises but at a fraction of the cost. Soon, I became a regular at Home Depot and Lowes!

I found that I could replace everything from sleds to the popular earthquake bars dirt cheap.

A couple of months ago, I went to Orlando and met up with Adrienne Harvey. I packed my car with name brand portable sleds, my earthquake bar, kettlebells and my homemade equipment.

Adrienne and I filmed exercises using my expensive equipment and then filmed the same exercises with better options using my homemade equipment and kettlebells.

I wanted to show gym owners and exercise enthusiasts how they can get creative on the cheap by using kettlebells and a few items from a hardware store.

Here is what I used to make the equipment I used for part 1 of this series.

For sleds:

Lowes SmartStraps 2-in x 20-ft Tie Down ($19.98)

Watch the video, go to the hardware store, grab some kettlebells and get creative.

I’d love to hear how you’ve improvised, created new exercises and workouts with your kettlebells.

Stay tuned for part 2. I will show you how to make your own earthquake bars at 1/8th of the cost.



Senior RKC, Laurel Blackburn owns Boot Camp Fitness and Training and Tallahassee Kettlebells.  Look for Laurel at or

In her early fifties, Laurel is out to prove that age is just a number. Her goal is to motivate and inspire people everywhere, both young and old that strength, flexibility and mobility can get better with age. Follow her adventures on her blog:


Why I Like Hardstyle Kettlebell Training

by Florian Kiendl on June 14, 2017

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Florian Kiendl RKC Kettlebell Pistol

Whenever I use the phrase “Hardstyle kettlebell”, I find it funny that it is very descriptive if you know the style of training, but at the same time it’s very confusing for someone new to kettlebell training.

An outsider might infer that Hardstyle is a very harsh and intense style of kettlebell training. But, this is not the case. Obviously, any kettlebell work is relatively intense—and the only limit to that intensity is your own physical ability. But, that’s not the point of Hardstyle.

Hardstyle doesn’t defined how hard we train, instead it describes how hard we move. How hard a given workout seems will depend on the volume (total reps), density (time) and intensity (weight or variation) you choose. On the other hand, how hard you execute every single movement does not describe the overall intensity of your training session. A single Hardstyle swing feels more intense than its competition style counterpart, but that still does not depict the whole training session. In the Hardstyle community, we frequently joke about “being lazy” since we do fewer reps harder instead of more reps with lower intensity.

There Are No Hardstyle Kettlebell Competitions…

With Hardstyle technique, it is difficult to compare one athlete with another. For example, performing 100 true Hardstyle swings is a challenging workout, while doing the same number of 90% less than Hardstyle swings will feel much easier. An athlete using competition style technique might choose the same 100 swings as warm-up because his movements are intended to conserve energy.

Even in our well known and feared RKC snatch test, we do not ask for 100 true Hardstyle reps. This is not because it’s nearly impossible to work at the required pace with 100 % pure Hardstyle technique, but because it takes a very experienced referee to see the difference between 90 % snatches and 100 % snatches. The test is still hard enough—believe me. You can’t “win” the snatch test, it’s pass or fail only.

Florian Kiendl RKC Kettlebell Windmill

Why I Like Hardstyle Kettlebell Training

As Max Shank regularly says, “We are all unique little snowflakes and therefore everyone is different.” Some people can work with the same three exercises for years and make incredible progress, while others need to switch their program every four weeks to stay on track. Some people will need a clearly defined goal to work towards, while others work like mules day in and day out. Competitions can be a strong motivation for training, but that same motivation can come at a high price. Whenever you compare yourself with others (who naturally may be younger, bigger, faster, etc.) you will need to overcome your own limitations to defeat them. It is one thing to move past your limits through dedicated training as opposed to working past them by sheer will, or guts to win a competition. It all gets easier with practice, but you must pay your dues. Considering that most elite athletes quit competing before age thirty, the physical price must be high.

Florian Kiendl RKC Kettlebell CleanIn my opinion, it is wiser to train in a way that gradually builds you up over time. Work for your health while prepare yourself for whatever might come.

Are You Against All Competitions?

No. If you are motivated by competition, then you should definitely make that personality trait work for you. And even if you don’t like competing, it is still a good idea to try it now and then to gain a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. But don’t compete in your training. Hardstyle kettlebell training can provide you with the physical and mental fortitude to succeed in almost any athletic discipline. Use it to prepare yourself for competing in your chosen sport. Obviously, you will also need to train the skills of your sport, but be careful not to mix skill training and physical preparedness. To improve your skills, you should always try to train when you are relatively fresh. When physical preparedness is the goal, you will need more load to force your body to adapt.

Have fun, train safely, and compete wisely!


RKC Team Leader Florian Kiendl is a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and runs a Martial Arts Gym in a small town close to Munich (Germany). He made it his mission to help his students to improve their movement and overall health. In his search for ways to overcome the movement restrictions of his students (and his own) he found the RKC and now works together with Master RKC Robert Rimoczi and others to help as many people as possible to gain back their Strength and Agility. He writes a regular Blog at and offers workshops all over Germany teaching the RKC kettlebell exercises: If you have questions or comments on the article feel free to email him at 


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