6-Pack-Abs & Kettlebells

This guy doesn't do cardio.

This guy doesn't do cardio.

For years fitness “experts” have been telling us to do endless crunches and sit ups to get great abs.

Combine that with the latest low fat diet and hours upon hours of slow boring cardio and – BANG!  Instant 6-Pack Abs, right?

It’s amazing how, if you say something over and over and over again, people – even the most well-informed and educated people – will believe it as the truth.

But as TT KB Revolutionists we know better, right?

So when I get asked, almost on a daily basis, how to lose fat and get six-pack-abs, my answer seems to confuse the “general population”…

1. Perform full-body exercises.

2. Train your abs the way they were meant to be trained (by forcing them to stabilize your torso, not move it or rotate it).

3. Use some form of interval training instead of long boring cardio.

AND THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE OF ALL…

4. Eat REAL, clean food focusing on fruits & vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats limiting grains and refined carbs to a minimum.

That about sums it up in a nutshell and it doesn’t get any simpler than that.

When it comes to training with kettlebells, getting that six-pack is easy if you follow the rules above.

And one of the best exercises to get that 6-pack is the Turkish Get-Up or TGU.

Simply put, TGUs involve you laying on the ground holding a KB vertical with one arm and then performing a series of movements to get you standing upright.

It sounds simple enough, but rest assured, if you use a heavy enough kettlebell and use proper technique, it’s as hard an exercise as they come.  And it will challenge you like no other KB exercise out there.

There are 2 variations on how to perform the TGU.  Take a look at the video below and see which variation suits your abilities best.

Remember, we train with kettlebells to simplify our lives and to give us an alternative to going to the gym and wasting the precious time it takes for us to drive, park, change, etc, etc.  Time that can be spent doing more meaningful and impactful things – like spending time with our families & friends.

The truth about training to get 6 pack abs and a low % body fat is that our results aren’t so much dependant on what we do IN THE GYM, but what we do the other 23.5 hours in the day.

Are we getting enough sleep?

Are we able to handle our stress levels?  (Notice how I said, “handle” and not “eliminate” stress.  Fact is that stress is a part of life and it’s next to impossible to completely eliminate stress.  Learning how to properly handle stress is more realistic.)

Are we eating whole, natural foods?

Don’t get me wrong, exercise plays a vital role in getting lean.  After all, it’s still just a matter or calories in vs. calories out – of EAT LESS, MOVE MORE.

But if you’re using KB exercises and training at least 3 times per week, then, from an exercise standpoint, you’re on the right track!

Chris

27 Comments

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Doug

    Great demo of the Turkish Get Up.
    I have added TGU to my workouts, doing them twice a week.
    It is a great total body exercise that at first glance looks a little silly…
    but leaves you dripping in sweat. I do them in 5 sets of 5 with 2 minute water breaks between sets. It is a very challenging exercise. This is why I limit them to twice a week. I also like to throw in a superset of 1-arm snatches and pull ups.
    This is a great addition for anyone who is trying to cut bodyfat and gain lean muscle.

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Leon Morris

    Hi Chris,

    I’m thinking of using kettlebells on myself and my clients(I’m a PT in England by the way) my current goal is to get bigger(more muscular) and stronger, I’m averagely strong I think at the moment I weigh 157lbs and bench 220lbs for 6-8 reps usually. What weight kettlebell do you think I should go for? Also what would be get good weight of kettlebell for the average woman?

    They can be expensive to buy over here, especially the heavier ones so I can’t afford to buy a full range at the moment. Anyway if you have the time to reply to me I be grateful.

    Kind Regards

    Leon

    • Reply September 27, 2009

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi Leon

      For you, I’d definitely start with a 16kg and really get used to the movements.

      For a beginner woman, I’d say 8kg. If you have women that are keen and are relatively strong, I’d say go with a 12kg.

      Hope that helps,
      Chris

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Concetta

    Chris-This is one of the best demonstrations I have seem of TGU. They are one of the hardest exercises I have done. Thanks for showing the variations.

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Mark

    Very Nice. The first variation looks a lot more challenging than how I perform the TGU. Thanks for the informative vid

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Jerry

    Chris,

    Good work on the kettlebell turkish get-up explanations. Do you ever practice the squatting version of the get-up?

    • Reply September 27, 2009

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi Jerry

      Sometimes, just for fun I’ll try the squatting version. I like to try it with 2 KBs (usually my 16kgs, rarely my 24kgs). However, I don’t really recommend them for clients and that’s why I haven’t done a video of them.

      Chris

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Annette

    Hi Chris,

    Thank you for giving such detailed information such as how to set your shoulder blades. I enjoy learning from your videos. Fitgirl

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Jack

    Chris,

    Thanks for sharing the video….quality stuff.

    Here’s another question about buying kettlebells. I have experience using them, but I hadn’t added any into my facility over the past few years. I’m thinking that it is time to branch out and add the benefits of them to all of my other tools.

    Obviously progression is the eventual name of the game, but quality precedes quantity and intensity, especially with something like TGU’s. As such, I was thinking about going with kettlebells from Muscle Driver, starting with their 4 kg bells, and going up to their 24 kg bells in 2 kg increments (so this would make 10 pairs of bells in total).

    Cost is not an issue, so is it reasonable to get the KB’s in 2 kg increments and to only go up to 24 kg bells for now?

    Some would probably say that I’d be wasting my time getting all of those extra pairs of KB’s, but do you think that the 2 kg progression would be optimal to allow for smooth progression, as opposed to going with jumps of 4 kg or more? While certain big movements might allow for that, the smaller jumps seem especially beneficial for exercises like TGU’s.

    As for going from 4 kg to 24 kg, I figured that this would cover my bases from my least experienced clients on up, and I can always add heavier KB’s over time as needed. But I have gotten the feeling that 24 kg bells would be more than enough for most people, especially on movements like the TGU and when used in a conditioning capacity (not to mention I already have much heavier dumbbells to work with on significantly heavier loading.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated, however I understand if your busy schedule or this medium (comments section) does not allow you to respond.

    • Reply September 27, 2009

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hey Jack

      If cost isn’t an issue (and I believe you said it is not), then I would go with the increasing increments of 2kg for the exact reasons you mentioned. (easier progression of 2kg rather than 4kg).

      24kg are a good weight to master for anyone and, like you said again, you can always buy heavier ones if you see the need.

      Chris

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Keri

    Wow! Thanks for the tips! I was just going through another plateau because I’m FINALLY as skinny as I’ll ever get, but I’m not gaining muscle & I still have some extra flab I just can’t get rid of. The past few days I knew I was eating wrong but wondering what the right way was & wondering how I’d ever get sexy abs. This post just answered all my questions! Now I just need to stop doddling & buy myself some kettlebells! Thanks again!

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    john

    hi chris, finally got to try this , but ran into a small problem. right side went ok, but when i switched sides my hamstring ,which i tore 6 years ago(i`m 47) .told me no way!any way to improvise or modify the drill? thanks your info is great

    • Reply September 27, 2009

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi John

      Did you try version #2 in the video (the less hip-mobility-intensive version?). Also, I would really work on getting some soft tissue work done on your bad hamstring (either using a foam roller, a “rolling stick” or having a chiro or PT work on it) and then stretching it (after the soft tissue work).

      As much as your instincts tell you to work around it, I’m a huge believer in doing what you can to get it back to as close to 100% as you can so that you won’t be limited.

      I hope that helps,
      Chris

  • […] => Kettlebell Ab Exercises […]

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Jack

    Chris,

    Thanks for sharing the video.

    Not sure if my comment went through earlier, so I will ask again. This is another question regarding buying kettlebells. I am looking to add some to my facility. Cost is not an issue, so I was thinking of going with the bells from Muscle Drive in 2 kg increment, starting with 4 kg KB’s on up to 24 kg KB’s. Would this be reasonable to allow for the smoothest progression, while also covering most clients’ needs (especially in terms of finer movements like TGU’s or for conditioning purposes)? I figure that heavier KB’s wouldn’t be necessary for most, and I have much heavier dumbbells in the facility already.

    Any thoughts you might have on the range and the increments I was thinking of purchasing would be excellent to hear.

  • Reply September 24, 2009

    Jack

    Great stuff, Chris.

  • […] 6-Pack-Abs & Kettlebells […]

  • Reply September 27, 2009

    Cyd

    Great job breaking down this move! It has helped me pay attention to the steps and stages so that it is more effective when I do TGU myself. When you do these moves correctly, they are so powerful. Thanks Chris!

  • Reply October 5, 2009

    dilandinga

    59twLG I bookmarked this link. Thank you for good job!

  • Reply October 13, 2009

    Diane

    Hi Chris, what can you offer as far as advice on how to really work my tummy? I’ve had a hysterectomy and wow Ive gained 22 pounds in 1.5 years. I think its all in my tummy and I’m trying really hard but nothing seems to get me back where I was. I didnt have a tummy that I was proud of but now its really bad. All the advice I’ve seeked and nothing yet. I’m still here trying everything including skipping meals which is probably the worst but it keeps my clothes from fitting so tightly. Please help, I’m desperate. I’m not sure if you can but I will try anything you advise. Thank you!

  • Reply March 16, 2010

    Paul

    Excellent, clear description. Thank you for posting.

  • Reply March 17, 2010

    aj

    Hello,

    I used to do brazilian jiu jitsu sometime back and hurt too many parts to name, tore alittle this and alittle that..recently ran into someone mentioning ‘keddlebells’in some articles regarding mma.

    Anyway, long story short, got one of the wife’s handbags, put about twenty pounds in it and secured it with all my underwears so the weight don’t bounce around….I did some of the things I learned from youtube (never from the beginners but from the experts like that russian dude fedoriako or whatever)..

    Anway, did the swings, thats all and Man! that was a great workout for only ten minutes. Ofcourse I added somethings of my own, push ups and lunges and what not. But within twenty or so minutes got a great work out.

    I’m sold, now I have to get me some real ones..kinda pricey?

    My question is, the next day I felt great! My bad knee felt great, bad back felt better, achilles, etc… I take it some of these moves help in a way rehab tendons and ligaments and what not?

    My question is, cause of my bad shoulder I chose not to take the handbagkettle above my shoulder for obvious reasons and from what I understand probably did the right things..

    So I’m just sorta going to stick with the swings (hopefully with some real kettles) and I’m wondering what exercises, and if I can sorta get a routine from you that would be great…

    I’m 193 pounds and I’m thinking of getting something like twenty or twenty five pounder cause of the shoulder…

    any advice would be greatly appreciated and sorry for the long story

    aj

  • Reply July 7, 2010

    guy with abs

    There are many sites on abdominal training but I have found your wp site highly informative and excellent reading. I have made a note of your site and was wondering if there any other websites that can provide the same quality of information on abs training and core stability particularly in sports performance?

Leave a Reply