Exercise DVD Review: Bob Harper’s Kettlebell Cardio Shred

When I heard Bob Harper was making a kettlebell workout video, my heart sank a little.  After the disastrous results of Jillian’s attempt to cash in on last year’s trendy fitness fashion, I was worried that Bob, who produced the best workout videos I’d ever seen with his Inside Out Method DVDs, would make the same mistakes and tarnish his reputation like his training partner.  So, it was with great trepidation, but still hope, that I fired up the DVD and got to work.

I’m going to break the review into two sections: one about the workout itself, and one about the kettlebells.  Your partner (along with Bob, of course) is my nemesis, Becky.  Anyone who makes me do extra work (see my review of Bob’s cardio DVD) by being a smart ass doesn’t make them particularly high on my list of favorite people.  Still, on the plus side, you get to see Bob run her into the ground, so that’s something, although it’s a bit less comforting when you are ready to puke yourself.

Yes, the workout itself is hard.

If you’ve done Bob’s other Inside Out Method workouts, then you will be familiar with most of the moves here.  Mountain climbers.  Lunges.  Oh, and swings.  And swings.  Then you do some swings.  Then some more swings.  Honestly, I expected a lot, since the swing is kind’ve a kettlebell staple, and he gives them to you over the course of the workout.  It lasted about 54 minutes or so, but the countdown timer from the Inside Out Method DVDs is gone, both a curse and a blessing.  Just when you think the workout is over, and Bob has you do some stretches, you then start on the ab work.  It’s disorienting, and my look of puzzled hurt bafflement as I went into crunches was probably quite funny.  It wasn’t at the time. 

Bob is impish and fun as always.  He’s a natural teacher, one of those people who are enthusiastic about instruction and are just naturally gifted at it, and who never actually take a teaching job in school or college, which instead goes to someone who knows a lot about a subject but not a goddamn thing about how to actually instruct someone else about it, but I digress.  Bob made me laugh out loud multiple times – well, it was more of a hissed chuckle, since I didn’t have the breath to actually laugh per se – and cemented his place as the best DVD excercise instructor I’ve come across.

I used handweights instead of kettlebells.  I will not be buying a set of kettlebells now or at any time in my foreseeable future.  You will get a workout without them, don’t worry.  There are some moves in this DVD that are probably more difficult with a kettlebell, but therein lies the problem.

Here we go.

With kettlebells, the proper form is very important, or you will injure yourself, your cat, and possibly your neighbors.  Saving your wrists and forearms from devastating injury and possibly surgery requires that you do the moves properly and well.  Bob does a better job than Jillian with instructions about form.  He admonishes you to be careful, and shows you over and over the proper form.  However, there is one thing that Bob, Jillian, and anyone else on a DVD can’t do, and that’s correct your form.  They can’t see you.  Generally speaking, you aren’t the person to judge your form either.  I’m lucky in that I have Lady Aravan next to me, and we can check each other’s form for a lot of exercises.  Unfortunately, neither one of us is a kettlebell expert, and so we aren’t the best judges of form either.  This is a serious problem, and one that is inherent with any kettlebell DVD.  Several times, Becky is doing it wrong, and Bob corrects her.  You will be doing it wrong, only no one will be around to do the same for you.

My advice is this: if you really want to use kettlebells, find a local trainer near you that is certified by one of the recognized kettlebell organizations.  Learn the right technique and form from them if you want to use kettlebells.  Otherwise, you are risking injury.  It’s that simple.  Hurting yourself isn’t worth whatever additional benefit that using a kettlebell instead of a handweight will bring.

Originally, I was going to close by saying that at least Bob’s DVD did feel like an infomercial, like Jillian’s did.  See, Jillian was hocking her Adjustable Kettlebell Set with Added Consumer Ripoff Features during her DVD.  Bob didn’t say a word.  I remarked several times about the kettlebells he was using, which are contoured differently than normal, and looked more comfortable.

See, that WAS going to be what I closed with.  Then, this morning, I saw this post from Bob on Facebook: “Have you tried my NEW contoured kettlebells? They are available @ Target! Don’t forget to check out my workout DVDs while you’re there!”  Sigh.  Nevermind.

Bottom line: they are good exercise DVDs.  I don’t like them as much as the Inside Out Method.  You will sweat and pant and get your heart rate up.  If you are looking for variety, pick them up.  Skip the kettlebells unless you are properly trained to use them.

Other Bob Harper Review Links:

About Alan Edwards

Former cancer caregiver. Husband of the most magical and amazing person who ever lived.

Posted on January 5, 2011, in Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the review. I remain a huge fan of Bobs Inside Out Method, and do his Cardio Rev daily, but, I think I am going to pass on this DVD for now. It just does not sound like it would work for me. I will stick with his cardio one and keep doing my dumbell snatches and swings.

    I hope you guys had a nice Xmas and New Year. I upped my routine a bit and added a customized workout from NFL Training Camp for Wii after my daily Bob Cardio Rev workout. Also got a neat thing called an S2H Replay watch as a gift from my parents. Every 60 minutes of excercise it records gives you a code which you upload and get rewards. My kids got a Kinects for the Xbox360 and that thing is a lot of fun. The only bad thing is we have 3 dogs, so it does pick up the non-listeners in the room who refuse to sit down and/or go away. I bet you guys would enjoy it. Lots of fun.

    Take care. Thanks for the review.

    • Xmas was great, but getting sick during the New Years’ Eve party was a real downer. Ah well. I hope yours was toy-filled and illness free! Heh.

      Thanks for mentioning the dog/Kinect issue. I never in a million years would have thought of that as being a potential problem, and there is no earthly way that our mutts would leave us alone with it, heh. I really want to try that NFL training camp thing, too. Hrmmmm. May need to dog-proof the living room somehow.

      • As far as the Kinects goes, if you have smaller dogs, it might not be an issue at all. We have two boxers and a french bulldog. The boxers always set the motion thingy off if they wander in front of you while playing, but then they are big boys. We have only done sports games and an animal type game, but I have heard the BL game for it is OK.

        The NFL Training Camp game is for the Wii. That is the system I actually prefer. Those workouts can be killer. I customized one that is honestly one of the hardest workouts I have ever done. If you do pick it up and want to work really hard, focus on the Linebacker and RB challenges, add on a few hard level condiontiong ones and QB ones to give you a rest and you still burn almost 900+ in an hour.

        I am a bit disappointed to hear about the Kettlebell DVD, but, I am not surprised at all. I wonder why they are all being drawn to the same thing and doing it in an unsafe or just plain wrong manner.

  2. thanks for your review! I skipped this one as well and went with Ilaria’s “Atletica” instead. The only drawback is that my husband refuses to do that one as he is scared by that woman. 😀

  3. Kettlebells are great equipment. I feel that it’s better in firming your muscles since it works on almost the whole upper body itself. I’ve been using a 25 lb kettlebell and it’s certainly not easy but is well worth it.

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