In The 4-Hour Body, I profiled Tracy R., a mother of two who lost more than 100 pounds.
The secret wasn’t marathon aerobics sessions, nor was it severe caloric restriction. It was the Russian kettlebell swing, twice a week for an average of 15–20 minutes. Her peak session length was 35 minutes.
This post will explain how to perform the two-handed kettlebell swing, and it will offer a cheap $10 alternative.
Beyond fat loss, this movement will help build a superhuman posterior chain, which includes all the muscles from the base of your skull to your Achilles tendons. For maximum strength and sex appeal in minimal time, the posterior chain is where you should focus. From “violent hips” for power sports, to the perfect ass for aesthetics, I suggest one starting point:
Reps and Sets – Less is More
Long before I met Tracy, I met “The Kiwi” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In early 2006, he happened to be taking a private Spanish lesson in the same café where I was finishing the manuscript for The 4-Hour Workweek, and we quickly became close friends. He had competed in elite-level rugby in New Zealand but was equally proud, I soon learned, of applying his BSE in exercise physiology to perfecting the female posterior.
He told me the story over a bottle of Catena Malbec. His obsession started when he saw a professional samba dancer in Brazil balance tequila shots on top of each butt cheek in a dance club. Lamenting the lack of similar scenes in his own country, he set off on a mission to isolate the best exercises for creating buttocks worthy of tequila shots.
By 2000 he had refined his approach to a science. In four weeks, he took his then-girlfriend, an ethnic Chinese with a surfboardlike profile, to being voted one of the top-10 sexiest girls out of 39,000 students at the University of Auckland. Total time: four weeks. Other female students constantly asked her how she’d lifted her glutes so high up her hamstrings.
If The Kiwi could have answered for her, he would have said, “Add reps and weights to the swings.”
In 2005, my interest in kettlebells reinvigorated, I returned to the United States from Argentina and purchased one 53-pound kettlebell. I did nothing more than one set of 75 swings one hour after a light, protein-rich breakfast, twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. In the beginning, I couldn’t complete 75 consecutive repetitions, so I did multiple sets with 60 seconds between until I totaled 75. Total swing time for the entire week was 10–20 minutes.
I wasn’t trying to balance tequila shots on my butt cheeks. I wanted clear six-pack abs. In six weeks, I was at my lowest bodyfat percentage since 1999, and l’d reached my goal. I’ve since worked up to 50+ reps with the 106-lb. “beast” (video), which has directly transferred to 100-lb.+ gains in the deadlift.
The king of exercises—the two-handed kettlebell swing—is all you need for dramatic changes.
Here are a few guidelines:
• Stand with your feet 6–12 inches outside of shoulder width on either side, each foot pointed outward about 30 degrees. If toes pointed straight ahead were 12:00 on a clock face, your left foot would point at 10:00 or 11:00, and your right would point at 1:00 or 2:00.
• Keep your shoulders pulled back (retracted) and down to avoid rounding your back.
• The lowering movement (backswing) is a sitting-back-on-a-chair movement, not a squatting- down movement.
• Do not let your shoulders go in front of your knees at any point.
• Imagine pinching a penny between your butt cheeks when you pop your hips forward. This should be a forceful pop, and it should be impossible to contract your ass more. If your dog’s head gets in the way, it should be lights out for Fido.
75 total reps, 2-3 times a week, is the recipe.
Odds and Ends: An Appeal
George Bush 691 vs. The 4-Hour Body 427 –
Since the book came out, I’ve fantasized about having more Amazon reviews than George Bush. Now, it’s actually possible! The ask: If you’ve enjoyed The 4-Hour Body, could you pretty please take 30 seconds to leave a short Amazon review here?
I’ll toast some wine and do a thank-you video this weekend if I crush The Decider. Thanks in advance — it’s been an exciting few weeks, and this would really be the icing on the cake.
Much more to come soon…
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.
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928 Replies to “The Perfect Posterior: Kettlebell Swings and Cheap Alternatives”
Cool. Would you recommend (for the NON GYM GOING TYPE) using that 2.5 Gal of water jug?
That’s about 20 pounds. Use a dumbbell and hold it vertical instead until you can build up your strength to use a 10kg or 14kg kettlebell. Using a water jug just makes the movement awkward. Hope that helps.
I’ve got some solid metal dumbbells. Do you think these will do for now? Other thant he potential for them to go flying, anything else I should worry about?
Would you recommend kettlebell sings to crossfit workouts for someone who wants to improve in BJJ?
Ricardo, I do Crossfit and we do kettleball swings fairly often our gym. They definitely help my core.
I am a CrossFit Trainer who does A LOT of Kettlebell Swings as they are great. Even better I have found are Turkish Get-Ups for my grappling. Google them for details.
Thanks for posting the videos on the swing. I tried to do them off the pics in the book but it hurt my back. Adjusted my posture a bit and makes a big difference
Kay would you mind describing how you changed your posture? My wife is having some back pain when she swings, and I have been unable to cure it. Thanks.
That $10 fix will like be what gets me into Kettleballs. My gym doesn’t have them and I ain’t buying them. Have bought weights before and they were more trouble than they were worth.
That was the only exercise during that time? What’s amazing with the 4 Hour Body and this blog is that there are so many options to get us the results. Thanks Tim.
Dude, tell me your recent tweet about vbulletin is a hint that you’re working on a community platform for 4HB readers.
Awesome. That’s the opportunity to discuss our 4HB experiences/ideas that I’m sure a lot of us are waiting for.
Do you have an ETA on this?
Hey Man. You should Use Vanilla Forums it is a Free Open Source Forum It is just amazing I started up a test one here. http://forum.thehealthymonk.com – If you want I will put one together for you Tim. Just say the word. It is 100% better than VB and allows for Facebook Connect and the works.
I’ve been with you since the beginning. I’m in insurance and you inspired me to start my own agency. While it isn’t the 4 hour work week I’ve used several principles to free up my time to get more prospecting done and cut down my work week.
On another tangent I was curious if you’d be willing to look into anything involving hair loss? I’ve still got a full head of hair but its receding and a thinning spot on the back of my head is worrying me a bit. I don’t want to go the Rogain method, nor do I want to take a pill every day for the rest of my life (and that has the side effect of potentially Errectile Disfunction). I’m wondering if you’ve done any research or plan to in the future.
Sorry this isn’t really in the spirit of this article but I’m really curious to see how it goes.
More on topic I’m going to be doing a 30 day video utilizing the strategy of the 4HB and tracking results meticulously. Currently overweight and out of shape so I’m a fresh ginnea pig ready for testing!!! currently 6’2″ 246 lbs with a champion size beer belly. I’m hoping to reduce inches and overall fat with your strategies. Wish me luck and I’ll send you the results!
Thanks for the comment. Can’t wait to see your tracking!
I might look into hair-loss prevention/reversal methods, but — like you — I find the side-effects of most approaches to be worse than simply going Jason Statham. I’ll keep you posted.
I find bald men to be quite sexy!!! And I’m not the only lady out there either fellows.
Remember: there are few perfect heads out there, the rest God covered in hair.
Also, consider that many men with balding have higher levels of testosterone. Not that my method is scientific, but my experience with bald men has shown them to be quite virile.
Shaved my balding head a few months ago. Should have done it years ago!
FYI freshly shaven, smooth scalp is an amazing clitoral stimulator…
what do you think of collagen for hair loss?
I just read your book and am excited to see some results. I do have a question in regards to the kettle balls . How much weight should you start off with in the beginning? I’m about 145 pounds and have about 25 lose. I couldn’t find anywhere in book how much weight to swing? Thank you so much!
Same question, I would like more insights, maybe make some posts for responding to this questions? But overall the book is the best I’ve been reading in a while.
It says Tracy used the kettlebell swing 2-3x a week can you do it more or would this be to much? I do the workout you said you used in the kettlebell chapter, but I think that the kettlebell is such a great overall exercise I would like to do it more.
I have been doing Tracy’s workout and her new top 40 since the first of this year. I have lost 2 dress sizes. Yes, I’m also dieting but the swing has shaped my body like nothing else. Needless to say, I have inspired a number of people at my company and many are now using the kettlebell. I just had my 62nd birthday and never thought I would look like I do. This all came about because of Tim’s book (thanks so much). I will now be in the best shape of my life for the rest of my life as I will continue to do KETTLEBELL.
After reading 4HWW myself and a business partner went to work looking for what works for re-growing hair – we found scientific results that support hair growth from topical application of l-carnitine (a compound that is created in the body from amino acids). We developed a L-Carnitine Shampoo by learning the shampoo formulation process on our own, then took our products to expert chemists to finalize – the result is our muse, Hewley – we sell L-Carnitine Shampoo and a Saw Palmetto Conditioner. As a founder, I have been using both for the past 2+ years and I have never had a thicker head of hair. Tim highlighted my muse on his blog about 8 months ago (search Tim’s 4HWW blog for for Hewley).
I’d be happy to work with you if you ever want to get a jump on the hair regrowth biz.
Help!!! I have started the slow carb diet but haven’t had much time to exercise. I am not overweight according to my height. I am in my mid 40’s. I am about 5’7″-5’8″ and about 134 lbs. But I have BIG, fat, ugly legs!! Definitely pear shaped-with horrible cellulite and saggy skin which makes them look worse!! Pockets of cellulited fat at hips–not just thunder thighs!! It goes from buttocks to knees and is slowly moving on down. I don’t look good in pants and for sure not shorts!! I’m too young to look like this and was hoping for some insight in your book! I saw where you had the left out chapter on spot treatment for thighs but all I could find that talked about cellulite is that you said women can get rid of it. BUT HOW!!! IS this diet and the kettle ball exercises going to make a difference? I was hoping the exercises would tone me and reduce but when I read of Fleur’s results in the book and her thighs only went from 10.4mm fat thickness to 10.2 mm over 5 weeks, I was disappointed. I’ve heard about some supplements but I can’t spend as much as it was going to be!! I have a big event in 3 mths and was hoping for some help. Please!!!!!
About hair loss: 8 months ago I started to use the pagg stack and at the same time i started to follow the cure for low testosterone level, adding coconut oil to the stack. I’ve experienced a dramatic change in my hair, they are thicker and stronger. I don’t know if this two things are directly connected but it happened! 😀
Could you elaborate a little bit on the cure for low testosterone? I’ve recently heard a lot about coconut oil, and I’m very curious about it.
I got way into kettlebells last year because of you, for that am I totally thankful.
I built the T-Handle you mentioned in the book, and while you mention the other moves I could do with one, I’m afraid the only thing I can really use it for are swings. Are there any other resources to working with T-Handles besides the swing out there?
Also, is the financial benefit with T-Handles is that I could go to a gym with the T-Handle and just use the gym’s plates? I bought my own plates, and even with cheap, used plates, I feel like the financial benefit is negated if I need to keep loading it with plates that I would cop to do stuff. I still think it’s an awesome, awesome idea though, I guess it’s not the all in-one gym solution I was hoping for it to be.
PS: I’m down twelve pounds since getting back on the Slow-Carb train on 12/27 along with the other wight loss stuff you mentioned in 4HB! I lost thirty additional pounds between April and August of last year doing Slow-Carb! On the tail end of an AMAZING cheat day today.
Thanks for everything, Tim.
I suggest using the T-bar at a gym, or using it to determine your ideal swing weight before purchasing KBs. Once you guy those, return shipping would costs nearly as much as buying another.
I also own multiple KBs but use the T-bar for really heavy swings. Other good movements — and you can also make a longer-handled version — bent rows, reverse curls, squats (if you hold it between your legs with wide stance and post on blocks), etc.
Why not use 1-1/2″ inch Wrought Iron pipe instead of 3/4″?
The OD on 1-1/2″ pipe is 1.9″ vs the 3/4″ pipe’s 1.050″. if you’re using Olympic plates (which have an ID of 2″), the fit would be much better. Standard plates have an ID of 1″ though, which maybe fit very snuggly with the 3/4″, but I haven’t tested.
I found an Adjustable Kettlebell Set on eBay. It’s great. You can adjust the weight by removing plates that are inside the casing. You can change it from 12kg’s right up to 48kg’s. Quite easy to adjust too. I’m in Australia so they came from gymandfitness.com.au, but via eBay. Though I’m sure they’re available all over the world.
Check it out.
$30 45lb Kettlebell!!!
Ive been looking high and low for a kettlebell that wont break the bank and my search ended when i found out lombardi sports in SF does price matching from the internet. I got a $60 for $30 groupon for lombardi (these deals happen every couple of months). Went to lombardi and the kettlebell was $90 for a 45lb (pood?) Proceeded to checkout and at the counter i pulled out my phone, did a quick search for the cheapest 45lb bell that was the same as lombard’s (CAP) and the search showed $58. combine with groupon and it was $30 45lbs kettlebell!
BTW, love everything you write. got into a big argument about the 15 minute orgasm with a mate the other day.
I picked one of these up the other day, opted for 7x 5 lb weights since they’re skinnier swinging between my legs and it’s pretty much double the price for 10 lbs anyway: http://i.imgur.com/sYcx8.jpg
Day 5 of occam’s protocol and feeling great, thanks!
Damn, its been about a year since I read 4HB. Occam’s proctocol principle was applying the MED thing correct? I’m doing research now. Anyways got two kettle bells in today and did 4 sets of 25 reps with the 24 Kg. I’m tired. Can’t wait to see how sore I am tomorrow. tomorrow is running day, after that hopefully I can do sets of 35 reps or something. Trying to do the no gym thing and keep workouts 30-40 min
This is awesome – Dude.. you said it – Simple works.
Hey Tim! Quick question: Can you use dumbbells to do the same type of swing?
Yes, but it can be a bit challenging. If you flip the DB vertically and hold on around the plates, it duplicates the movement more effectively, but don’t kill anyone by letting a DB fly.
Enjoy the pain!
I asked this same question below, but am also thinking that physically speaking, you lose a great deal of weight by holding one half of the dumbbell in your hand, rather than all of the weight being concentrated at the end of a pendulum as in the T-Bar setup.
I was taught to do swings several years ago, using dumbbells in this exact manner. Effective.
I’ve been using those and they work just fine. T-Bar eventually comes along next.
For me, I swing it by the foot of my bed just in case…
If my goal is to bulk up as much as possible + have low bf (six pack #’s), is the best way to first reach my target weight with “geek-to-freak”/occam’s and then transition into kettlebell training for more rapid fat loss?
Some Feedback (hopefully helpful):
4HB was a nice read and I am in the midst of doing a geek-to-freak HIT-style training. Hope to share my improvements at the end of the month (hurray self-tracking).
2 potential pitfalls:
1)The 5/5 cadence when lifting is in my opinion, the most difficult aspect to get used to. I’ve had to reduce the weight for most lifts in order to even do 5/5, yet surprisingly, I feel more burn doing 1 set of slow 50lb DB bench than my old, stale 3 sets of 70lb DB bench (w/ no thought about cadence).
2)Counting to 5 mississippi’s (or 5 one-thousands) twice, 8 – 12 times each set feels like an eternity and sometimes seems impossible with some exercises. The reverse-curl for example – my t-rex stub forearms could only handle 15lbs (the tiny plates =) on each end of an ez-bar. Which brings me to the 2nd potential pitfall: gym ego…especially for the guys that have worked out in the past, but not with this infrequent, HIT-style.
Anyways, I’m sucking it up and doing the work (really enjoying it actually). Just offering a newbie’s POV.
P.S. I love eating.
Thx for the comment. I think going G2F to target weight, then leaning out with KBs could work well for you. And I agree on all new POV for the slower cadence. Takes some getting used to, but it absolutely works.
I want you to start/affiliate a gym chain based on 4HB.
Thanks for the videos. The pics in the book don’t do the exercise justice. Going to Depot tomorrow to pick up the pieces for the t bar. First week on the SC diet and I’ve stopes 7 lbs. No exercise, just the diet. Next week dropping in some cardio and t-bar work and seeing what results I get.
This really is a body hack, fun to see the week to week results. Trial and error, but with no real downside.
Tim, I discovered the joy of oolong teas and a great oolong chai with loads of cinnamon in it. Is cinnamon beneficial for metabolism or just seem like it? Also I work for Lowe’s (preferential to the depot) and will be making a t-bar, how much weight should I start with for a 34 year old male 6′ ? I’ve lost 7 pounds over ten days with the slow carb diet! Thanks!!!!
The oolong chai with cinnamon is great, but beware any soy or dairy added to the mix. For a healthy male your size, 40 lbs. would probably be the minimum to start with for swings.
I’ll return a product recommendation for you
As a fellow tea lover, I highly recommend the $19 IngenuiTea teapot.
I am not affiliated with Adagio in any way, no friends or family either…
Hey, Tim! I read about Tracy in your book which I pre-ordered and enjoy a lot!
It’s really great and the only slightly negative feedback I would be able to give (if you don’t mind receiving it of course) is that it lacks kind of big picture, advise for experienced (not advanced/professional) athletes and a customizable approach.
Just to give an example.
What would kind of 1-10 years plan should one chose if he/she is already at about 10-15% bodyfat, squatting about ~120-140kg, bench pressing & deadlifing ~90-110kg with own weight ~70-75kg who is absolutely fine eating strict diet without binges and his/her goal is to:
1 priority: achieve optimal long-term health (energy, feeling, longevity);
2 priority: +15-20kg to own weight while maintaining the same bodyweight in the next years with corresponding increase in strength (let’s say +50-100%)
3 priority: endurance.
Would it be just Occam / Body by Science repeated over and over again? Or Occam+Tabatas? Or cycles of Occam & “Becoming Superhuman” strength training? Or just strength training? If cycling is best way to go, then what are the principles & timings. What corresponding changes in diet should be made and how it should be synchronized?
Is it possible to pursue all of the 3 goals simultaneously if one is 100% fine that it will take few years instead of few months or you need to focus on only one at the time? Then, what’s the right sequence?
Would eating represent more of a paleo / “slow carb” but with increased protein+fat consumption or dairy + protein shakes and complex carbs found in grains are absolutely necessary to achieve the 2 goal (regardless potential negative health effects)?
Would it all be possible if doing intermittent fasting every day (leandgains style) or not? Would it be a good idea to do intermittent fasting once a week in this case or not? Would you suggest the same supplements to somebody who never weighted more than 75kg? Should somebody who deadlifts 150% of his weight do kettlebell swings? How should it be integrated into Occam/Strength training? Etc, etc.
Of course, I don’t expect you to answer all the questions personally (although I would be more than happy to see your perspective ;), but this is the kind of questions that constantly raise in my head when I read 4HB and and that I didn’t always find answers to. I know answers vary from person to person and probably one should find them himself by experimenting but I’m still craving some chapter that would put it all together and explain all the contradictions (obligatory breakfast vs. intermittent fasting for life extension; no dairy in slow carb vs. butter to increase testosterone, etc).
Hope you’ll find it at least a little bit useful. Thank you very much again for the great work. Aside from that it’s just freaking great!
Thanks again for some great advice, but I now have so much information that I need a bit of help sorting it out.
I’m currently 160 lbs, app. 13% bodyfat – I’m looking to put on at least 15 lbs of muscle and hit 10% bodyfat.
Which protocols should I start with – losing fat or gaining muscle, and would it work to mix and match?
Would using the PAGG stack work while simultaneously doing Occam’s protocol?
I’m not necessarily looking for instant results, I’d just like to know the best place to start and where I progress from there.
Thanks again for all your hard work and dedication – it means a lot to all of us!
From my experience and from reading Tim’s answers to similar questions: cut fat first, then add muscle.
Enjoying the book and trying the different parts. I even also bought a signed copy!
2 quick questions if you have a chance:
1. Are the bonus chapters around somewhere? I can’t find them 🙁
2. What’s your regular supplement, food, and exercise regimen now that you’re done with all the experimentation?
1. A few are up already, but I’ll be putting up the rest over the next few weeks.
2. Ah, that’s a longer answer. I’ll reply to that in my next impromptu Q&A 🙂
Thanks for the quick reply Tim 🙂 I’ll keep an eye out on your blog for future Q&As.
Love the book, KB’s, PAGG/AGG, etc. I lost about 30 lbs in about 3 months doing them. Dropped 2 full pant sizes (38″ -> 34″) and continue to refine my workouts to reach other goals!
Did you ever describe what you do for your “normal” diet/exercise routine?
Are you wearing the new Merrell barefoots in the T-bar vid?
If so, what are your thoughts?
Nope. Inov-8 running shoes.
The t-bar idea is really interesting. I’ve got a few clients who either don’t have the cash or are too cheap to purchase an actual kettlebell. What is the bottom piece that that weights are resting on and which the pipe is attached to?
A floor flange.
You encourage checked and NOT carry on? Was this a mistake? I thought you love packing light and doing carry ons?
Please clarify that bro 🙂
Im pretty sure he encourages checking it because our beloved TSA will more than likely confiscate them if you try to carry them on.
Would you want to explain a collection of pipes in your carry-on to airport security?
He’s talkin about just the pipes, not plates. That is packing light. Plus of course checked. Like they want anyone on a plane with access to pipes.
If you do not like tape get a set of mountain biking grips and slide them over the ends. Also use hairspray to put them on. It helps lube them on and then tacks them when it dries.
Great idea if you can get the proper diameter piping. I believe I’m using 3/4″ but 4HB will have exact specs.
Hockey tape will work as well. It will get a bit grimy, but it will save your hands.
Another idea regarding the handles:
You typically get a free pipe cut @ the big hardware chains so you can buy 1 8″ double threaded piece and have them cut it in the middle. That way you get rid of the threaded ends where you’re gripping the handle. File off any sharp places on the cut.
You’ll probably still want to use gloves or sports handle tape for better grip, tho.
I found that I had to use 1/2″ piping to fit into the hole in my plates and cost me $15 at OSH. The T-bar really helped me get into kettle bells. I was able to buy old plates from Play It Again Sports for nearly half the cost of new plates.
Also, if you plan on trying to do something for hair loss, I recommend visiting the website I created for bald people. I put the address in the form so that it’s not spammy.
Love the book and all the info in it. Can’t wait to get into the kb training. My only frustration is that I have kindle version and can’t find the weblinks easily. Other lessons from the book that have been good for me- thinking and trying outside the box is valuable, and when something isn’t working, just try something else. Thank you for writing this…
I have the kindle version as well — it’s simple, download the Kindle app for PC (or Mac), and login with it, then download your book onto it.
It’s the best of both worlds — I get to carry my Kindle around & read on the go, but then I find when I’m trying to put together information from multiple sections, or making a shopping list, I open it on my PC where its much faster to search & jump around sections.
Do you know if they have something like that for the Nook?
I’m on the Kindle also. My solution was to dl the free Kindle-for-PC client from Amazon and review the links on it – they are clikable. The PC client can sync with your Kindle if you want.
IPAD with Kindle App works great.
Do you still also do Snatches? Or have you replaced them entirely with Swings?
Love the kettlebells! as a stay at home mom, they are a great way to get exercise in without being able to hit the gym. Just made the jump to the 35 pound bell… certainly won’t be ready for the beast for a while!
I’ve been using a rock tied to a copper pipe with yarn. Work OK for me (light exercise in the morning — try to get as many reps in before the coffee’s done — and before bed). PERFECT exercise if you live in an apartment like me.
Is there a specific breathing technique I should be following?
Inhale on the downswing, sharp exhale on the upswing. The exhale should be sharp such that it contracts your abs – this helps to keep everything locked down and protect the spine.
Actually, that’s paradoxical breathing, helpful for lifting really heavy weights but not very energy efficient. Kettlebell sport athletes use anatomical breathing, inhale on the way UP, exhale on the way DOWN. It goes with the body’s natural rhythm and will exponentially improve the number of reps you’re able to do.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have kettlebell tutelage from some of the world’s most elite girevoy sport athletes straight out of Eastern Europe. This is what they teach for maximum efficiency, and my own experience has shown that it works.
Instead of increasing the weight once you’ve mastered single two-handed kettlebell swings, I would suggest simply buying a second kettlebell of the same size and advancing to double kettlebell swings (one kettlebell in each hand) to get more bang for buck.
You can then do things like double clean and press or renegade rows which you can’t do if you’ve got 2 kettlebells weighing different amounts.
As an intermediate step, as outlined in my routine in 4HB, you can also graduate to single-arm swings with the weight originally used for two-handed swings. I still do most of my work with single KBs. Doubles are great, but I’m usually doing all of this in the hallway of my house! Limited space and double KBs take up room with the wider stance.
For a great ab blaster, try double KB swings with different weights, i.e. 24 kg in one hand and 12 kg in the other. Forces you to engage the core to keep yourself stabilized.
Not recommended for beginners!
What weight did you use when you first started the KB exercises?
anatomical breathing IS more efficient for higher repetitions but it can also play havoc on the lower back as provides very little support in the bottom position. Although the weights used in a kb swing are not large the forces can be so those taking your advice should be careful.
What kind of shoes are you wearing in that video? Do you typically wear those for most lifting exercises – squat, deads, etc?
Those are actually Inov-8 running shoes with minimalist soles. For lifting, I generally wear wrestling shoes or Chuck Taylor’s (Converse). The goal is to have a firm, level sole.
What is your brand choice for long distance running shoes? I recently ordered the Inov-8 RoadX’s (haven’t received them yet) but hear rumors of being a little too minimalist of a shoe.
Bought my kettlebells today. Keen to see how it helps me on the bike as well as improving my posterior chain.
I bought and assembled my own t-bar-bell as well. Didn’t like the glove idea so I bucked up and bought Gorilla Tape to wrap the handles. Also, what I really like is that not only can you test the weight before you buy a real one (although I think the t-bar-bell will do me just fine), but it’s also nice to be able to switch weights easily between my girlfriend and I. She is starting out at 25 lb plate only to get her form down then will move to suggested 45 lbs total, I think I will start with 25 + 10 lb plate and work up to 25 + three 10’s and maybe more eventually.
On the slow carb diet again as well. First time around I dropped 20 lbs in about 35 days. Already down 5 lbs since Tuesday this time around. Also this time around using Evernote to track weight, record measurements, and take pictures of what I eat. Will add my t-bar-bell swings to track that as soon as I start that regimen tomorrow.
Thanks Tim for all the great stuff in the book! I still can’t put it down, and have been blabbing to all our friends about it.
Best of luck to everyone!
You are my hero! 2.2kg weight loss with Slow-carb in one week and now adding in kettlebell swing – is this ok with a bad back?
Also, my boyfriend is starting to get jealous of me spending so much time with your book… Have you ever looked into best (if any) hair re-growth for men? I think you would be his hero too if you could work that one out!
Are you coming to Australia any time soon?
I would also like to know if this would help with a back problem, I need to build up strength to protect a disc injury, L5-S1 compression, it seems like it would help from what I have seen and read here so far.
Tim, does it have to be a 53lb kettlebell like yours? Would the exercise be as effective with a lighter weight? What size kettlebell would you recommend for a 5’3 115lb female? Swinging 53lbs seems like it would hurt my back? Thanks!
A 53lb/24kg bell is the standard weight for men, unless very deconditioned. Women will feel more comfortable with a 12kg/26lb or 16kg/35lb, depending on their strength and experience level.
Samuel: I use a 20 kg bell and I’m not overly strong – I just break up the set as needed. I think 12 kg will be too light for most women. Also, starting with a slightly heavier bell should mean you don’t need to buy the next size up in a month. 😉
I hear you Vanessa. In the RKC community (one of the leading kettlebell instructor organisations – I’m an HKC, Tim is also part of it as an RKC level 2) the standard advice is as I said, so that’s where I’m coming from. We see a lot of unfit guys starting with the 16kg, although most will start with a 20 or 24. Strong blokes might advance quickly and go heavier, but generally the 24 is a comfortable weight all round. With that in mind, there’s not usually an expectation for women to pick a 20kg up straight away comfortably. Generally a 16 is what I would think for any fit females, although a 12 is definitely very common in those who tend to be deconditioned and overweight. It’s really one of those things that are best done when you can see the person and have them try different things. If a 20 works for you, that’s great. You may be a little modest about your fitness though. I train with a girl who’s in great condition and 20 is her regular swing weight, although I’ve seen her go as heavy as 32kg for low reps. This is really one of those things that are best to err on the side of lightness though. I’d rather not see someone get something too heavy and keep using it and risk injury rather than feel they wasted their money. Also, if anyone wanted to use the kettlebell for anything besides swings, a slightly lighter weight makes it more versatile.
Ah right! Thanks for that Samuel, very interesting to know.
I wasn’t being purposely modest: I can’t do a pull-up, I do push-ups on my knees, etc. But maybe with the KB swings a kickass core and strong legs are more important? Maybe I’m strong after all! Waha! 😀
Anyway, you’re right that it’s better to start a bit easier rather than start hard and get discouraged. I guess I was just thinking of how expensive KBs are – but Tim’s T-bar solution nixes that problem anyway!
So many smart, informed people in these 4HB comments. I’m really enjoying them. Can’t wait for the forum!
The kettlebell guys recommend an 18-pound KB as a starter for women. You work your way up to 35-pounders.
I bought a 20 kg kettlebell after reading 4HB. I actually went and bought it riding my bicycle, I can tell you it was not the easiest bike ride home! But somehow I managed to get home without crashing the bike. I tried a few different weights at the store and even though this felt pretty heavy I decided it was better to buy one I could grow into (as Tim also recommends in the book). As it turned out, it was spot on with me being able to do 20 perfect reps but not 30 with this weight.
I love to do the swing, and now I do 3 x 25 swings with 1 minute breaks 3 times a week.
I’m doing the slow carb process from the 4HB as well. I’m pretty heavy (290 lbs, 37% fat). I guess I’m basically in a cutting phase before I can try the Occam’s or the geek-to-freak muscle building parts of the book, and I don’t want to do chronic aerobics either and screw up the dieting (and the PAGG process you outlined).
Would a few KB workouts a week like these be a good substitute? It’s going to take a long while, probably, to cut all this fat off and I feel like I should be doing some regular exercise in the meantime.
Loved the book. I implemented the testosterone protocols (the cold, the nuts, cell moving and the supplements) and there’s been a physiological change already – enough so that to take care of it is almost annoying (when I’m not loving it). Great job!
Just bought my kettlebell on Thursday and had it delivered today based on your recommendations from the 4 Hour Body. Awesome book so far and my first workout with it was challenging! I’m focusing on form right now and trying to get my reps up.
For anyone else looking, I got a 50lb kettlebell from WalMart for around $70 with shipping and tax. By far the best deal I found online.
Also bought an Orbitape and hope to start using that soon when it arrives!
If you are struggling with form, try lowering the weight. 50lb is pretty aggressive for starting out.
Walmart is a great source for basic weights and KBs. In many cases, you can take advantage of their FREE ship-to-store option and save all shipping costs.
Less is definitely more. My 70 reps twice a week hasn’t felt like enough to do anything, but last Thursday I was able to do 10 more reps at once than on the Sunday before that. I was quite surprised at the sudden ease of it.
The videos were very helpful. I found bike handlebar tape is also very useful for the grips.
Congrats on the success of your book. I bought it pre-release and it only made it to Australia in the New Year. That’s all part of living a long way from the action I suppose.
I am 6’3″ and weigh 218lbs. I am happy with my weight but really want to do some ‘recomposition’. My BF is around 24% and I would like recomp that 20lbs you target in the opening of the book. That would get me to around 15% BF.
You have chapters on ‘subtracting fat’ and ‘adding muscle’ but the book assumes people will either want to lose weight or gain weight… not stay the same weight.
If you want a zero-sum approach, what is the best path?
As I have said in previous comments I am absolutely loving the book! I really enjoyed the Q&A. Didn’t get to see it live unfortunately, but I got a lot out of it thank you.
I have a question for the chapter Occam’s Protocol in regards to food intake. I am currently doing the Slow-Carb diet with “Building the Perfect Posterior” (Really love the KB swing with Ab exercises) as I would like to lose some weight of course (already lost about 3-4% BF in 3 weeks), but I would also like to add on a bit more muscle. If I were to start doing Occam’s Protocol instead of “Building the Perfect Posterior” would I have to change the slow-carb diet to include starch? Or would I keep to the rules of the Slow-Carb diet and just increase my intake instead to match the calories (approx. 3000) I would need to consume?
Lastly would I be able to perform the Pre-Hab exercises with Occam’s Protocol or would it be recommending to start and finish the Pre-Hab for 6-7 weeks sticking with “Building the Perfect Posterior” before getting into any major workout?
I’d appreciate some info on this as well — I’m doing slow-carb diet (no starch) w/ Occam’s Protocol right now, and I’m wondering if I could work some KB into that for additional fat-burning without screwing up my recovery.
190 @ 24% BF right now, haven’t seen barely any change in weight or BF from 3 weeks on the slow-carb diet approach, (did add about 6″, or 4%, to my Total Inches) so my BF scale might not be giving me the full truth.
I wouldn’t add KBs to Occam’s, but it’s another experiment you could test after a 4-week Occam trial with sufficient protein/calories.
Follow up question for this comment. 4HB says you can add KB swings and 6 min abs to occam’s protocol. Are you suggesting that should not be done? And do you think that swings combined with occam’s will improve athletic performance? Thank for your work!
Cheers to you and Kia kaha to “The Kiwi”!
David – from what I’ve ready, “body fat” scales are a waste of money, they don’t / can’t credibly measure body fat. That may explain your results.
Hey David – Jon is right. Went for BodPod on Saturday morning and my body fat was 19% – on quite expensive Tanita scales it shows 32%. Rubbish! Could be useful for comparison -but if you are serious about tracking you can’t go wrong with bodpod. Fast, easy and excellent.
How would you suggest incorporating these with Barry Ross’s speed training?. And did the kiwi have his girlfriend change her eating habits or just add the swings.
World’s worst exercise… Tim I’m just posting this because I thought you would find it HILARIOUS. 4hb approved? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOi7g7NQdAA
Hahaha… I highly discourage doing those.
I literally cried because of laughing.
Thanks for this 😉
wow, my achy knee nearly blew out just looking at the first rep
Great to see this blog post! I’m a personal trainer, NASM-CPT, & Level 1 Kettlebell Instructor through Kettlebell Concepts. I really respect all your work and I’ve applied numerous principles from your findings in a variety of disciplines, including starting up my own private personal training facility here in Brooklyn, NY and creating an ebook/audiobook “How To Choose A Personal Trainer” (as 1 of my muses). I learned directly from Adam Cronin here in NYC. I was also instructed by Yuri and Alex of Health Factory USA in that course.
I noticed that on your freeze frame at 3:38, your neck is actually up on downswing rather than down, and this pattern of oppositional pull repeats throughout your swings until the end. I think this should be noted, explained, or amended if you have a reason for doing so.
While it may not cause injury or harm with lighter kettlebells, or for an experienced lifter like yourself with strong traps, the ideal form (especially for beginners) would be to gaze slightly down on the down swing so neck spine and back are alligned through the entire swing which you actually did if you freeze at 3:47-3:49 when you stopped…the only thing was you stopped!
Your neck and back should be alligned like that on the downswing, otherwise the oppositional pull/jerk could really put bad stress on cervical flexors as well as traps, neck, and spine. Just a subtle observation that makes all the difference for safety as well as efficient biomechanics. The way Adam Cronin taught us to remember, was to put an object like a coin on the floor and look down at it on down swing. If student doesn’t look down keep pushing coin back between feet until person is forced to look down, thereby preventing neck injuries. Hope this is helpful!
Just finished reading through 4HB, what a pile of great ideas! I get the importance of the HIT workouts, but I’m wondering if fitting in yoga a couple times a week would interfere with the recovery time that’s a part of them? It makes a pretty big difference for my calmness throughout the week, so I don’t want to give up or minimize it unless it will have a negative impact on my muscle growth.
Looking forward to my own experiments with body engineering.
Tim, like the others I’ve gotten a great deal of value out of the book and the advice about kettlebells in particular. Thank you. While researching kettlebells I also became interested in clubbells and recently bought a pair. I actually find them more fun and challenging than KBs. Do you have any experience with clubbells? What about other weight swinging devices like macebells.
Kettlebells ROCK! I use them every day, and already added several pounds of muscle. I’ve noticed an insane increase in speed in my running, also (from 9 km/hr to 12 km/hr).
One question: I now do 50 swings in morning, 50 before lunch, and 50 in the evening. In your book, you’re talking about “sets” of swings. Would it be more benificial to do all my swings once a day (several sets), instead of 3 x a day?
Great vids, Tim. KB’s are great but proper form is crucial to prevent injury. Seeing it done is far more effective than writing about it.
Hi tim, been reading your blog for a while now, love it. I am a 32 year old guy, with a rare condition called ankolosing spondalitus, which gets me really down and depressed. I have been down the route with drs in the uk nhs care. But really gets me no where, so im hoping you are aware of this disease and know anything tricks to improve my life.
All the best
I’m not a doctor, but my only advice based on a bit of reading is: remove all grains, starches, and gluten from your diet. Search “Robb Wolf” on this blog for a related post.
“The majority of patients with AS exhibit the HLA-B27 antigen and high levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA) in the blood. The HLA-B27 antigen is also expressed by Klebsiella bacteria, which is found in high levels in the feces of AS patients. A theory suggests that the presence of the bacteria may be a trigger of the disease, and reducing the amount of starch in the diet (which the bacteria require to grow) may be of benefit to AS patients”
Best of luck!
Just curious, would your “binge-day techniques” help in this case, too? Would they reduce the amount of starch/sugar that gets to the bacteria?
Tim hit the nail on the head. I self diagnosed myself with AS back when I was 18, after repeatedly seeing docs that couldn’t figure it out. As soul crushing as it was when they finally confirmed the AS, it made me scour every text I could get my hands on concerning the disease.
After several really nasty episodes of flare-up, I started low carbing (following the diet my schools wrestling team espoused, which was basically Atkins). Within 3 months all joint related flare ups were gone, and as a bonus I was 30lbs lighter. Since then I’ve advised other mild/moderate AS sufferers to do the same, and they’ve all made vast improvements in controlling the flare ups. If you don’t have a ton of fusing, make sure you stay limber with stretches on a daily basis. Once those flare ups are under control, you’ll barely even remember you have AS- a normal life without all the crazy drugs is totally possible if your fusing isn’t too advanced.
Kettle bell question por favor? Is it bad form to raise the kettle bell above your head? Your description in the book has the exerciser stop when their arms are parallel to the floor. (in the basic kettle bell lift)
I know this is popular with some CrossFitters, but I do not see the benefit. I prefer to user heavier weights and focus on the hip drive. This isn’t intended to be a shoulder movement at its core — keep the posterior chain the focus.
Hey Tim, this is fantastic! Exactly what I needed.
It’d be fantastic if you could do another blog post on the two six-minute abs exercises, just to make sure I know what I’m doing.
Ditto. both are a bit confusing from what’s provided in the book.
The Cat Vomit Excercise is very similar to a yoga exercise (which I forget the name of and didn’t find in 5 seconds on google) except the move is performed standing upright in a mountain pose with the same breathing. I’m sorry I only remember from one of my Mom’s yoga books that I flipped through like 12 years ago, I found practicing the breathing pattern standing helped before doing the actual excercise on all fours.
When reading about kettlebells on the internet it often mentioned that it’s easy to hurt yourself with them.
What do I have to keep in mind to avoid injuries?
Great videos! If anyone has read this but hasn’t gotten the book – what are you waiting for! This is a small nugget in a treasure trove.
I’ve been training with kettlebells for the better part of a year and can definitely vouch for their effectiveness! However, proper form is absolutely crucial.
If you’re serious about training and want to make sure you don’t injure yourself, find yourself a certified RKC Trainer (Russian Kettlebell Trainer at http://dragondoor.com) in your area and do a 1 hour session with them. The cost is worth it.
(note: I have no affiliation with dragondoor or RKC – their kettlebells are simply fabulous and their certification process is hard-core.)
PS: Week 3 of the Slow Carb diet and making great progress. This last 10% fat has been a pain to get off, but it’s coming off!
Just a tip regarding the T bar. If you have the “standard” plates at home, and not Olympic plates that have a wider center hole, the 3/4″ pipe will not work, the 1/2″ will work for those. So the 12″ center piece and bottom flange will need to be 1/2″ and you can still use 3/4″ for the handle parts, just make sure the T is 3/4″ on sides and 1/2″ for the center. There’s probably some plumbing term for this part, but IANAP.
Good point. Thanks!
used 3/4″ on the 12″ on the standard weights, worked
Hey Tim, I got the book and have been doing slow carb for 2 weeks and lost 10 lbs and some waist fat too, LOL
Started kettlebell swings 5 days ago and cannot believe how much they kick your ass!! Good stuff man, thank you!
what a great surprise to pull up your blog and see such a great picture of my wife staring back at me,lol. The swing is the thing, that’s for sure and Tracy sure is living proof of that.
Love, love LOVE the book!
Mark, you wife looks fabulous – what a transormation!
the key is that almost everyone can do it,the swing and eating real food is the ‘secret’.
Mark — I agree! I was so excited to see Tracy’s face here. You guys are amazing.
Are you ever going to post anything non-four hour body related again? I really think you should separate the two as some people aren’t interested in the body stuff and are much more interested in the business stuff.
Yessir. More coming on business soon.
Thanks Tim! You’re the man.
I’ve been searching for a perfect workout to boost my core for golfing. This looks amazing for strengthening all the muscles that result in huge distance.
On behalf of golfers everywhere, thank you!
Just wanted to tell you how much I love the Slow-Carb diet and Occam’s Protocol in the new book. I’ve already dropped 10 lbs. and 11″ TI in the first week. I got a FitBit too, and am tracking everything so I can improve and tweak in the future.
Quick question: The LifeExtension Mega Green Tea Extract (Decaffeinated) 725 mg (326.25 mg EGCG) supplement recommended in your book says in big letters “DO NOT EXCEED RECOMMENDED DOSE (1 capsule per day)”. The PAGG stack in the book says 3 Green Tea extract per day. Can you comment on any potential side-effects or downsides of 3 per day rather than LifeExtension’s recommended 1 per day???
I’ll double check on that. It probably relates to potential medical contraindications, as per my warnings in the chapter.
When in doubt, I’d follow the lower dose w/ that brand. You’ll get best bang for the buck first thing in the morning.
I was wondering this as well. Your protocol calls for 325mg 4 X per day, but the link to the Life Extension Green Tea is 725 mg, and as Matt says it clearly states 1 per day. If we were to consume 4 per day, that would be 725 mg x 4, which seems drastically high. Currently I am only taking the one in the morning but would like to take more if safe.
Love the book!
Stick with the lower doses unless cleared by your doctor or supervising nutritionist. It will still help, and you can use the other ingredients at other times.
Tim, what do you do? Do you use a different brand? Or just take the risk of the higher doses?
I’ve been a long time fan of yours and have been reading each and every article for the past couple years.
That being said, I was just talking with my girlfriend and expressing how when I see an article from you on “fitness”, I don’t feel so inclined to read. I’m heavy in the fitness arena and have had my “sources” over the years that I go to for all my info, and the top of my list, naturally, hasn’t been you (no offense). I come for all the other reasons I am sure everyone else has come, a place to think outside the box and tap into resources as to how to optimize our own passions and put them to work in the world of business.
Now, all that being said… I want to tell you that I really enjoyed this article! I almost feel I should apologize to you for even mentioning to my girlfriend any doubt that I had in you to bring an entertaining and informative piece of writing to my eyes this fine Sunday morning. I look forward to your fitness pieces and ultimately collaborating with you in the months and years to come on this topic (as it happens to be my specialty :)).
I’m currently walking/biking the East Coast, but the Four Hour Body is next on my list to carry with my on the big Trek!
Cheers to you Tim,
I love idea of a simple exercise, and aside from running or walking nothin’ gets more rudimentary than kettlebells. I’ve used them in the past and the one thing I couldn’t help but notice is how damn winded I got from swinging those weights around. But I never incorporated them into the core part of my consistent work out routine – so I was never able to determine their benefit. Tim, thanks for the inspiration – I’ll give em’ a try once again!
Love the new book and I’m digging in to a few of the principles. I’m female and vegan. My goals are to build tone/muscle lose about 5 lbs body fat and of course do it efficiently. Currently following your kettlebell and ab exercises. The slow carb sounds like a winner but the idea of excluding fruits, bread (even brown) and rice (even brown) really cuts a chunk of my healthy vegan needs. I know you have thoughts in the back of the book on vegans but for the slow carb/ body fat loss section in the front would you have any suggestions on modifying for vegans? Hope you do. FYI, I consume 70-90g of plant based protein per day. I’ll be blogging on this as I figure it out and would love your input!
Great stuff Tim, like usual.
I have only recently started (4 times the last 1.5 weeks) doing the kettle swing with a milk jug full of water. I started with super light weight just to get the posture correct and the fact that I suffer from SI Joint Dysfunction in my right hip that I did not want to over do it. I have found that the kettle swing has dramatically helped with my SI pain.
I have not got to that part in your book yet, but have you come across any others that have had joint issues where the kettle swing has helped or hurt.
I read this post today and am really excited to try an exercise that will transform my body so well and requires a relatively small amount of time. I’m also in love with the fact that I will be able to do this at home. I intend to build a tbar soon, but my question is how much weight should I start with? I’m 33 year old woman, 5’6″ and 200lbs. Any suggestions?
Have you addressed the use of raw eggs in the morning meal? Its my understanding once the food is in the stomach it is mixed with hydrochloric acid, secreted by the stomach itself, and pepsin. Together these break proteins down into water soluble amino acids. Cooked proteins are relatively indigestible, however this is not widely accepted as cooked proteins are so tasty. When protein chains are heated, the protein structures are altered into physical shapes that the enzymes cant latch on to, the perfect example is of this is when and egg is fried. The eggwhite is albumen, when it gets heated it shrinks and gets hard, while raw and liquid it is easily digestable. I’m just sayin…
So glad you brought this up as I’ve been thinking about this too and doing some basic research. Any recommendations for further research on this? Thanks.
Yes, I agree, raw eggs are super. All the nutrition remains intact including enzymes. I so want to make the point that Dr. Hulda Reiger(sp?) Clark in her book the cure for all diseases said that in all tests she knew of the rare salmanella issue with raw eggs was from the outside of the shell. So look carefully for any cracks in the eggs prior to use and just wash off the outside of the shells before breaking with warm water or even hydrogen peroxide. People don’t need to let worry prevent them from consuming raw eggs. Great blended with fresh -squeezed lime juice, or raw organic milk.
Just thought I would comment on your comment 🙂
Be very careful about eating raw eggs. I have a friend who has a phd in diatetics/nutrition and apparently when consuming raw egg it contains a glycoprotein called avidin, which binds to eggs’ supply of the B vitamin biotin very tightly, preventing its absorption. During the 80’s when this was popular with bodybuilders, alot of them had Biotin deficiencys.
Raw egg advocates will argue that the biotin that’s naturally available in the egg’s yolk will make up for the deficiency, but they are missing the point: the avidin in the egg white has already bound with the biotin in the yolk, rendering it useless to the body.
A 1997 study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that the protein in cooked eggs was actually 40% more bio-available to the body than when uncooked. In practical terms, this means that you’d have to eat seven raw eggs to absorb the amount of protein available in five cooked eggs. So cooking actually ehances the biological value (BV) of eggs, versus degrading it.
I suppose everybody has there own ideas about nutrition and whats right for them, but I like to use the info that has conclusive studies from people that have scientific backgrounds
Just to comment on the salmonella, it can be inside the eggs as well. The infected chickens get the salmonella in their ovaries, thus letting the salmonella get inside the eggs before they’re formed.
The best writing I’ve seen on the whole raw food vs cooked food debate is Richard Wrangham’s CATCHING FIRE: HOW COOKING MADE US HUMAN.
He cites several studies showing the bioavailability of cooked foods is much, much higher than raw foods and that main thesis of the book is that our ancestor’s development of cooking with fire is what gave us the evolutionary and nutritional jump forward to modern humans.
Fascinating book and I checked it out from my local public library.
I plan to combine your two books for a full ‘life transformation’.
The goal is to get to 9% body fat using the slow carb diet and combining that with the kettlebell work and my Muay Thai training whilst simultaneously building an online business..
By the way how do you find this diet affects performance in anaerobic activities such as Muay Thai?
Also you talk about overtraining – do you think 3x Muay Thai sessions per week – plus the kettlebell work will over do it?
So within 3 months tadaaa – a new improved body and life!! 😉
Cheers in advance
The idea is to transform these s areas of my life in 2011
Want to keep it short and sweet because I’m in the process now of doing what you were doing 5 years ago. I got a lot of momentum right now.
I am a few years behind. I JUST picked up 4 hour work week. I wanted to thank you – you have inspired me. I am currently taking steps towards creating an online business, and look forward to stepping into the word of a mobile lifestyle within the next few years.
I will let you know how it works out.
hey tim….check out the amazon post i just published for your book……
This book simplifies my intruction to people on a daily basis. I am a fitness trainer for a large company that has a corporate wellness program for its employees. I have been a fitness trainer for 7 years and am always searching for simplest, most efficient way to motivate and prescribe effective fitness information for my clients. With that said, this book has done that 10 fold! I can now with confidence instruct eager to learn clients the “minimum effective dose” of exercise, nutrition, better sleep tips,etc..
Thanks to Tim Ferriss.. for all his hard work to get this book complete. It is a must buy for people in the fitness industry as well as any one else interested in mastering their bodies.
thanks again for creating this book-tim!
you have inspired me to write a “best seller” one day!
I’m going for the pga tour 1st….then focus on writing..
I know, random ending to this blog post…
Thanks so much, Jeff!
Outstanding contribution here to the correct way to perform a swing! Hopefully, this will battle down some of the idiocy of what we see concerning the swing on the internet. You did a nice job walking through the basics.
Your book is the “Book of the Month” Discussion over at my forum on davedraper.com. I had hoped the conversation would continue on some of your approaches to fitness goals (body fat loss, speed work, jumping) using this method of deep immersion that you use. I usually work with people that, for example, have been throwing the discus for four or five decades and are still looking for that elusive “secret.” I would love to have you join, if you wish. The first question relates to that point:
“First general question: Tim is a “dabbler.” He does a lot of things at a pretty good level then moves along.
What is the benefit of dabbling? (I would suggest you look at the Swing (Perfect Posterior) chapter, the Barry Ross chapter on sprinting, the Combine Chapter with deFranco, and the Pose chapter…toss in Grey Cook’s too…)
What is the downside of dabbling as you look over the whole work.
You don’t need to finish the book for this first part of the discussion, just discuss the concepts behind the questions.”
The concept of “dabbling” comes from the book “Mastery” which many of us discussed last year. (Don’t think that the term is negative, it is simply the term that George Leonard used…)
Again, excellent post.
Thanks so much, Dan! It’s great to see you here. I tried to reach out a few months ago but couldn’t reach you via phone. Now that you’re in my neck of the woods in CA, it’d be great to train together sometime.
For those who want to see unbelievable kettlebell capabilities, Dan John is you man.
All the best,
As a fitness instructor for almost 20 years (almost 20 years ago), my immediate concern is the snap stress on your hips. Could that move possibly be safe? Where will your hip joints be in 20 years?
Where they are right now…..if done properly with proper programming. You should worry more about all the millions upon millions of people “limping” through the local 5k running races, much harder on many more joints while trashing your hormonal and immune system, not to mention making you weak!
Just wanted to say thanks for the video, it really helps make kettlebells less intimidating and costly for newbies.
One thing that you didn’t mention in the video, but that you did mention in the book, is that you recommend replacing the T-handle every six months. Just thought I’d throw that out there to prevent those who haven’t yet purchased the book (shame on you), and those that do have the book but tend to skip over warnings, from breaking through drywall or killing cats.
To Aaron’s question – I believe, and Tim can verify, that Tim suggests packing the T-handle in checked baggage rather than carry on because of its resemblance to a pipe bomb. The big men at airports respond rather unfavorably and forcefully to such situations.
Headed off to film a shiver walk. Given that it’s about 10 degrees here today it should be too difficult to accomplish the shivering part, just hoping to make it back 🙂
Crush it Tim, and crush it my 4-Hour friends!
Thanks Tim, just. started kettles n children Are trying with five. pounds!
Read the 4HRWW-loved it.
Getting ready to buy 4HB.
Age 51, used to be a buffed Navy Diver, but now, need to drop 20lbs
and firm up.
Herniated a disc at age 28, but can still work out.
Do you think the KB swing is safe for me?
Lee from Seattle
Is Quinoa included in the no-white foods ban? It is low GI and high protein.
Tim doesn’t specifically mention quinoa in his book, but my feeling is that much of the slow carb diet is derived from the Paleo principles. I remembered a previous post from Robb Wolf of “The Paleo Solution” on this site, and since picked up his book. Robb says this about quinoa:
“Quinoa is botanically not a grain, but because it has evolved in a similar biological niche, Quinoa has similar properties to grains… The bottom line is if you think grains or grain-like items like Quinoa are healthy or benign, you are not considering the full picture…” “The Paleo Solution”, pg 87
I’ve found this resource helpful in “fleshing-out” the principles of the Slow Carb Diet to a further extent, and would recommend Robb’s book if you’re serious about this diet. I’ve been following it since the start of the year, am really starting to realize and enjoy the benefits.
True, Ryan. The bottom line: if it looks like a grain, don’t eat it except for cheat day.
I am wondering though how cheat day fits in with what Robb said in his post:
“You only need to be exposed to things like gluten once every ten to fifteen days to keep the gut damaged. This can bedevil people as they “cut back on gluten” but do not notice an improvement in their overall health. I’m sorry but there is not a pink “participant” ribbon given out for doing this “almost correctly.”
While this was given in the context of him talking about his 30 Day Paleo challenge, I’m curious as to your thoughts with regards to the Slow Carb Diet and allowing a cheat day.
Do you view this diet as 80/20: That most of the benefits of eating Slow Carb can be derived from about an 80% compliance?
Thanks Ryan & Tim.
BTW, 2 quick “slow carb” questions.
Do you thing it would be equally effective to binge with potatoes&fruits once a week instead of Snickers and that kind of stuff (don’t really like them) provided that I consume enough carbs and no protein, low fat during this day?
You suggest consuming a lot of legumes that are usually not recommended within paleo community (which you supposedly, we all remember Robb Wolf guest post, support). Do you think that their negative effects are largely exaggerated? Can you suggest any alternative but paleo-friendly source for insoluble fiber?
I’m not Tim, nor do I play one on TV. With this out of the way, what I understood is that on binge days everything goes. If you want to eat pizza or a pint of ice cream, go for it – same for OJ and pastries, etc.
Yeah, one more. I really cannot stop today 🙂
Would you recommend any significant changes to diet if no organic/grass-fed food is available or not?
Loving the 4hb. On the slow carb diet, except I am drinking more red wine than recommended. Still, I am losing weight slowly and sleeping better than I have in years! Any thoughts on why my sleeping has improved?
On another note…I read that you spent some time in Nicaragua. Have you written any blogs on places to stay, dress codes or other recommendations? My wife and I are planning a trip.
Better hurry up with that vbulletin site so the 4HE becomes the #2 resource on helping people follow your advice.
The 4HB is the most useful book on my body I have ever read, but some parts need clarification, like the whole thing about “avoid dairy, but eat butter, is butter dairy?, cottage cheese is OK, avoid lactose”-mess or telling people to not cheat in the lunging hip-flexor stretch by maintaining strict form and not leaning forward.
The site you spotted is a fake — yes. Nothing to do with me.
The point on dairy is simple: minimize lactose. The less lactose consumed, the more fat loss. Not sure what you mean on the stretch. The form is key.
your introductions to hip flexor stretching are very very short, essentially two pictures and “hold for 30 sec” with no pointers to further resources.
I believe that in this case 20% of the introduction may be yielding less then 80% of the results. More information might be beneficial to those of your readers who don’t already know how to stretch.
Be sure to see more in “Ultraendurance.”
What do you recommend that I do about morning protein. Many protein shakes require milk/taste better with milk. Should I use water instead and suck it up? Also, what is the gram limit to be considered slow carb? Is it 30 grams or is that for ketosis like on Atkins?
Hey Tim, what’s the status of the fourhourbody.com/ultra link at the end of Ultra-endurance II chapter?
There should be a “coming soon” note there, but I’ll have updates on that soon.
Ok thanks, anxious to hear your results. Love the book!
yes i’m looking forward to hearing about your 50k too! -former LSD junkie cum CFE monkey
yikes, i have no idea how “now” turned into “cum”. wrong chapter.
If you haven’t run the 50k, let me know which one you are planning, I’ll run it with you. Targeting the 50k in Sunnyvale on Aug 18th (tentative). I’m flexible to any race from July on (need three months after running a 10k in March).
Videos aren’t playing either here or on the linked site. Probably an overloaded server somewhere. Will check back.
I’d love to see folks post their age and sex when sharing their results. I seem to be circling, though I have a measurable loss on my arms. Since I’m strictly following the diet I’m going to guess it has something to do with my age (upper 40s and all the hormonal issues that go with it). I’ll keep it up, though because even small results are better than no results.
I’ve been incorporating the kettlebell swing into my workouts since reading your book and am working on learning the proper technique at this point. My gym does not have kettlebells heavy enough, and I’ve been using about a 50 lb dumbbell. I’m wondering what you think about this approach? I’m guessing the biggest loss is that a decent portion of the weight is not out on the pendulum, but is actually in your hands…
Thanks for all the great content, and the videos above are very helpful.
How small are those kettlebells?
You might try double swings with one kettlebell in each hand.
Widen your stance and concentrate, controlling two kettlebells is a bit trickier than controlling one.
Do you think that slamballs (used in Crossfit) would offer a good alternative if you don’t yet have a kettlebell? I have a 30lb slamball that isn’t getting much use these days.
Tim, thanks for writing your books.
Since I have them around, I tried doing the KB swing with a 20lb ankle weight wrapped around an 8 lb dumbbell, for about 12kg of weight. I wouldn’t call this an ideal setup, but it works.
As far as the Slow Carb diet, I started doing something similar last summer, after my doctor found my blood sugar to be in the mildly diabetic range. By eliminating most high GI carbs (and eating only tiny portions of the others) I lost 15 lbs in 6 weeks. Since then, I’ve lost 5 pounds more, but I’ve been less careful about diet and I also think winter (I’m in New England) is causing me to conserve weight. I may try a week with no grains/milk products to see if I can lose more.
I look forward to the 4HB forum, or another blog post where I ca ask about which milk products are acceptable (I love cheese) and for make-ahead breakfast recipes.
My wife and I are trying to get a bunch of slow carb recipes together, to help the 4-hour community stick to the diet with food that tastes good. You should be able to click my name for the link. We also need people to submit recipes…
Since you’re looking for make-ahead breakfast, there’s a good breakfast recipe for Spinach Quiche (using cottage cheese but no others) that you can make ahead and then heat up in the mornings.
Half way through the book and loving it. Quick question: I followed the slow carb diet for about 6 months in 2010 and loved it, but I sometimes had a dilemma. What do you do when the inevitable botched meal happens? For example, I sometimes showed up at a friends who was supposed to cook dinner, and the only option was pasta. What do do? Continue with cheat day any way? Do a dialed down cheat day?
Hey Matt, if I may contribute my two-cents –
I’ve found that there’s no situation in which I cannot stick to my eating plan. For one thing, I make sure my friends and family know what I’m doing so I DON’T encounter an unplanned pasta meal. But let’s say I did. Surely they must have salad? Veg? Couldn’t you have the pasta sauce (assuming it’s not some Alfredo or creamy thing) on top of salad? I often do this at home and it’s pretty tasty. If there’s no meat you could have a bedtime snack that’s a better balanced.
My spin on this would be to take that as a cheat meal and then spend another week eating clean slow carb =D
Wow ~ really appreciated the kettlebell demo and your other related videos on the bodybuilding website. This morning I did the move that works your hip flexors, where you start in “bridge pose”, (sorry, don’t remember what you called it) and it is deceptively hard — i.e. you make it look way too easy!
I used to laugh at the whole kettlebell thing when they first hit the gym, jokes on me it seems! Tomorrow, I will be pick one up and try your moves! (Btw, if you read this, any thoughts on starting kettlebell weight for female at 115lbs?) Thanks!
Starting weights for swings:
8Kg for the average,
12Kg for a fit and
16Kg for an unusually strong woman.
Less for other exercises like get-ups.
Alexander ~ fabulous, thanks so much! I’m pretty strong for my size, ergo, I would have gone for a much heavier kb. Can’t wait to try it out, ~ a
Thanks for the lifestyle hacks, Tim. Just want to contribute an idea. One of my own lifestyle hacks is text-to-speech. I’m a lawyer and use this all the time. It helps me avoid lots of time with my eyes glued to a page or screen. But the Kindle version of your book has text-to-speech disabled, even as the audiobook is abridged to some 3 hours. I hope your next great book will have text-to-speech enabled. Have a great 2011.
Thanks for the comments on Text to Speech.
Which software do you use?
Do you use it with writing emails, as well as in Word?
“Everyone” mentions Dragon speech, but reviews I found on the internet, as well as from my laywer, are mixed.
Any comments would be helpful.
I use the Windows desktop version of Dragon. Once you train it, it works well, unless you are a mumbler. (the phone version doesnt’ work all that well)
You can even it train it to enter large text blocks by creating a shortcut phrase (i.e., ‘standard disclaimer goes here’ could pull a full paragraph of disclaimer text). That’s the best way to enter web addresses as well, since they aren’t normal words and phrases.
I’ve actually been following this regiment since I picked up Four Hour Body about two weeks ago. However I’ve been wanting to add something in between the kettlebell sessions in the middle of the week.
My first idea was to do the Yoga X workout from P90X on Wed. and kettlebells on Mon. and Fri., but I’d rather not spend 70+ minutes on an ancillary workout every week. So what would you recommend for a MED once a week workout to increase flexibility?
Any comments on Foam Rollers?
I’ll go check in the book again…
Trying to fix my back arch, damn computers.
Thanks so much for introducing me to kettlebells. Picked it up on Sat and 1st workout is today(!). Am expecting severe fatigue, aches and stiffness tomorrow!
Quick one on quinoa. Is this defninitely outon the slow carb?
Tried leaving a comment regarding the hungarian core blaster on your previous post, but it was apparently blocked by the moderator. I would love to hear why. If you or someone else could contact me off forum, I would really appreciate it.
Not a question about this post exactly, but i am going to start doing what this post describes as well and i am really looking forward to it 🙂
As a veggie, i am trying the slow carb diet and wanted to ask if Quorn is allowed as i am not sure about it?
I watched a video on how to do a kettle bell swing and this is much clearer. I built the T-Bar with supplies at Lowe’s and plan on incorporating kettlebells into my workouts on Mondays and Fridays along with the myotatic crunch and cat vomit exercises.
On Wednesdays I’m thinking about doing the bodyweight exercises found in Primal BluePrint Fitness from Mark’s Daily Apple. This should be enough to get me started.
I know you mentioned tension exercises 1.5 hours after a cheat meal. Would you recommend an especially high-calorie meal 1.5 hours before doing the kettlebell?
Not if your goal is to primarily lose fat.
See workout #4 in this article: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/explosive_neural_drive
Hey Tim, are Barnes n Noble having problems shipping to the UK? I ordered 5 signed copied and they apparently were shipped on 14 Dec but I have nothing…, and the messages above are just one big tease!
I’m in Europe and I’m also still waiting for a number of shipments from the U.S. (including Tim’s book) to arrive. I wouldn’t worry too much; with the recent heavy snowfall in Europe, the delay may well be a result of that.
Here’s hoping both our books arrive soon! 🙂
I had to google “Kia kaha”. Now I know. Sounds appropriate. Thank you google and wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kia_kaha
I read a la carte, and now reading straight through. There’s so many things I want to try with my patients!!! I’m definitely integrating a few exercises for my back sufferers, and those who want to improve their posture. Thanks for doing the research, countless will benefit. Please keep up the great work!
I’m doing Occam’s protocol and seeing great results. However, I’m curious about two parts of your supplement regimen that aren’t addressed in much detail in the book.
What purpose do the Slo-Niacin and Chromemate serve?
P.S. Looking forward to some sort of reader forum to share 4HB tips and tricks.
Tim, So the 4-HBtalk forum is nothing to do with you?
What about the PAGG supplements being sold are they legit:
Hey Tim! Loving the book/ slow carb diet! Just a quick question:
What sort of things would you recommend to eat for competition days? I’m a wrestler so I want high energy for short periods of time. Would it change for non-cheat days?
Great article and I’m going to make that T-bar, as it’s a great tool to take with me to the gym. I do have one comment though, kettle bells are actually a scottish invention, originally an iron handle attached to large rocks for the highland games. The whole soviet training secret was nothing more then marketing or maybe the old strong men of the circus were actually communists.
I had my first cheat day yesterday and it was AMAZING!! The best part was I didn’t feel one ounce of guilt!!
I’m going to start the 75 KBswings tomorrow!!
Fellow 4HWWer’s & 4HBer’s:
If you are too busy/lazy to make that trip to your local hardware store or aren’t mechanically inclined, I’m putting together some T-Bars as part of my first muse. For further details, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where are you based? Country, city…
This is a question for anyone that can answer.
Where in the book does it talk about eating more slowly? As in, page number. I can’t find it.
Chapter “The Glucose Switch”, page 145
Your delivering this content and knowledge is great, but why use the worst picture you could find for the post. The color is hideous, the girl I am sure is attractive, but the angle, lighting, grooming and actual information in the shot all lack the same thing: Design. Now that you have assembled the beginnings of a good body of work, I’d suggest getting onto the design end with similar rigor. You are falling way behind.
Howard and DOON
Being bitten is beautiful
I’ll do my best, but the photo was used for proof of efficacy, not aesthetics. Sometimes you have to choose one or the other.
Hi Howard, you know your stuff. Nice composition on DOON.
I’d like to point something out that might be easily missed though. Picture the depicted lady 100 pound heavier, angry that she got there by what felt like an irreversible trend. Perhaps even depressed that she got stuck with a one way ticket there.
Now, the emotion in the shot is pure joy. A woman who has found the way back, determined even now to keep the body she wants. See the resolution in her eyes? The color and lighting may not amplify it, but if you have been fat and back it is the first thing you see.
This photo of Tracy was taken at 6 am in our garage gym where she trained for over 3 years while losing her weight and developing her swing methods.She never expected it to be used for anything other than one of her blog posts.She didn’t light it, or do her hair and makeup it was a real deal shot from a real deal workout.
And she looks terrific! Speaking for all those women who have hauled their *ss out of bed at 5 a.m. to attempt to get a workout in. She’s an inspiration!
Because of Tracy, I’m down 2 dress sizes (also diet) but I’m in the best shape of my life. I just turned 62. I got out of bed this morning at 5:30 to do her “TOP 40” and absolutely love it. She inspired me and I told so many ladies here at my job. We are all doing the Tracy Reifkind method of Kettlebell. I started at 198 lbs. and am now 176 lbs. I started off with a 15 lb. bell and now am using a 20 lb. bell. I am amazed at how my body has changed…my husband is too.. :).
Thank you Tim and Tracy for the many lifes you are changing.
Howard, I think your posting lacks “design.”