Descending Ladder Kettlebell and Sandbag Burpees Workout With How-To Video

Originally I wrote a version of this sandbag and kettlebell workout for one of my very fit clients. Halfway through her session, I realized I was envious and would be doing a version of it myself that very evening!

Descending Ladder Workout with Kettlebells and Sandbag Burpees!

Descending ladder workouts are a lot of fun AND they let you get in a ton of high quality, strict form reps. When I write a descending ladder workout for someone, or for myself, I choose a rep range that allows me to perform each with precision, even if the last few get a little challenging. The idea is that since each round drops off either one or two reps, you never get to the point where you're sacrificing good form just to get in the numbers.

While I'm more than happy to stop a set if I feel like things are not going to go well for the next rep, some personalities out there are resistant to that idea--and all too often well meaning group fitness trainers, or mainstream fitness folks will just push people to get the numbers - no matter how ugly the reps end up looking.  WELL, that does NOT happen on my watch... I'd rather someone build good movement and strength habits than just complete an arbitrary number of reps at any cost. BTW "someone" also absolutely includes me.

Sandbag burpees are somewhat of an intermediate-advanced move, so feel free to swap those out with sprawls*

Taken on it's own this is a pretty short workout (I'd been working on pull-ups throughout the day...) but a lot of fun. Next time I try it, I might see how long it takes me to complete it all correctly, then try to beat the time the time after that--again only with good reps.

For the workout below, I chose a medium-light sandbag - the Ultimate Sandbag "Power" bag with about 25lbs of rice in it. (50lb bags of Thai jasmine rice had been on sale, if you toss the bag too roughly on the ground, the smell slightly wafts through the seams and you'll want to go out for Thai food after the workout...) I also chose a reasonably heavy kettlebell 32kg in fact for the short sets of swings, and a pair of 14kg kettlebells for the double kettlebell thrusters. I also like to alternate descending reps with a few constant sets too as you'll see below. That works well with this particular workout to make it a good use of time.

OK before the workout, here's a short video about how I like to do sandbag burpees. After the workout, there's a video about burpee scaling and alternatives like sprawls.

I did more than my fare share of joint mobility exercises then got to work:

Let me know if you try any of this - it's lots of fun!

*Sprawls and scaling sprawls and burpees video!

**Go slow and controlled with the hanging knee raises and you're basically doing bar hangs at the same time. Speeding through these would be a waste, don't give up a bonus chance to train your grip!