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Switch Up Your Workout: Full Body Exercises Using SteelBells

Switch Up Your Workout: Full Body Exercises Using SteelBells

Written by
June 10, 2016
Updated February 13, 2019

When you have big fitness goals, getting stuck in a training rut is one of the worst things you can do for yourself. The same ol’ workout of full body exercises eventually grows stale, and not just because you could do it in your sleep.

The human body is incredibly efficient – it wants to do the least amount of work possible to perform a given task, so it builds new muscle fibers, creates neural pathways and develops muscle memory to perform the same job more efficiently over time.

As it gets better at doing each “job,” the energy required to perform the task is reduced so that the body doesn’t have to continue making changes to improve efficiency.

In other words, if you keep doing the same workout over and over again, you’re going to stop seeing the same results because your body doesn’t have to continue adapting to improve its efficiency.

That’s why regularly switching up your workout – changing the frequency, intensity, time and type of exercises you perform – is so important. Your body actually needs variety.

Benefits of Full Body Exercises with Steelbells

One of my personal favorite ways to switch up my workouts is to use a new piece of fitness equipment. If you haven’t tried SteelBells yet, you’re in for a treat.

These heavy-duty neoprene discs are filled with steel shot, and because the shot constantly shifts and moves within the neoprene, SteelBells can be lifted, thrown, swung and gripped, opening up an almost endless number of possible exercises.

Plus, as the steel shot constantly moves within its neoprene shell, your brain has to remain alert during each exercise to make small changes in muscle engagement to account for the SteelBell’s change in center of mass.

This type of mind-muscle awareness plays a key role in neuromotor control, developing balance, coordination and overall proprioception – key factors in sports-related fitness.

SteelBell Workout and Exercises

Switch Up Your Workout: Full Body Exercises Using SteelBells

You can put yourself through a fast, effective workout using the following SteelBell moves. These are all full body exercises, and because many of them are plyometric in nature, they work as part of a HIIT routine.

Try performing each move for 30 seconds, followed by a 15 second rest. Continue in a circuit format, and cycle through the circuit 3-5 times.

SteelBell Slams

1. Place the SteelBell on the ground between your legs, your legs spaced slightly wider than hip-distance apart.
2. Squat down and grasp the SteelBell with both hands, immediately pressing through your heels to rise to standing as you raise the SteelBell overhead, ultimately rising up on the balls of your feet, so your body is fully extended from fingers to toes.
3. With as much power as possible, slam the SteelBell to the ground between your legs as you press your hips back and swing your arms down and behind you, ending in a squat.
4. Continue the exercise, picking the SteelBell back up before continuing.

Curtsy Lunge Slams

1.  Start standing, holding the SteelBell in your hands in front of your body, your feet hip-distance apart.
2. Lift the SteelBell over your head, and without rising onto the balls of your feet, swing your arms down toward the ground, slamming the SteelBell to the ground between your legs.
3. Perform a curtsy lunge, stepping your right leg backward and behind your left leg, planting the ball of your foot and bending both knees as you lower yourself toward the floor. Just before your right knee touches down, reach down with both hands to pick up the SteelBell.
4. Pressing through your left heel and the ball of your right foot, return to standing, and as you do so, lift the SteelBell over your head.
5. Slam the SteelBell back to the ground, and repeat the curtsy lunge, this time to the opposite side.

Squat with Overhead Toss

1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart holding the SteelBell in both hands at your waist.
2. Keeping your core tight, press your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your glutes toward the ground.
3. When you’ve gone as low as you can, forcefully press through your heels and return to standing, but as you rise, press your arms upward, tossing the SteelBell above your head.
4. Catch the SteelBell and continue.

Weighted Pushups

1. Kneel on all fours on the ground and place the SteelBell across your shoulder blades. Step your feet behind you to a full pushup position.
2. Keeping your core tight, bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor.
3. Press yourself back to the starting position.

Weighted Squat Jump

1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Hug a SteelBell to your chest with both arms.
2. Squat down, pressing your hips back and bending your knees as you lower your glutes toward the ground.
3. From your lowest position, press forcefully through your heels, rising up onto the balls of your feet as you jump into the air, fully extending your body.
4. Land softly on the balls of your feet with knees and hips slightly bent before lowering your heels to the ground. Immediately squat back down and continue.

SteelBell Skaters

1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, knees slightly bent, gripping a SteelBell in your right hand at your side.
2. Hop your left foot laterally to the left, crossing your right leg behind your left leg as you reach your right hand (gripping the SteelBell) toward your left foot.
3. Just before touching the SteelBell to the ground, reverse the movement, hopping your right leg laterally to the right as you row the SteelBell toward your right shoulder and begin crossing your left leg behind your right leg. When you’ve pulled the SteelBell to your right shoulder, release it and catch it with your left hand, extending your left hand (gripping the SteelBell) toward your right foot as you finish crossing your left leg behind your right one.
4. Continue this side-to-side skating movement as fast as you can.

SteelBell Slam and Burpee

1. Place the SteelBell on the ground between your legs, your feet roughly hip-distance apart.
2. Perform the SteelBell Slam as detailed above, but instead of immediately picking the SteelBell up from the floor after performing the slam, you’ll perform a burpee.
3. Plant your palms on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Hop your legs behind you, landing in a full pushup position. Perform a pushup, then hop your feet back to their starting position.
4. Pick the SteelBell up from the ground after performing the burpee, and continue the exercise by performing another slam.

Renegade Row and Pass Through

In a plank position, row the SteelBell with one hand, then reach across with the opposite hand and pull the SteelBell to the opposite side; perform a row on this side, and continue.

1. Start in a high pushup position, the SteelBell on the ground just outside your left hand. You may want your legs spread wide for greater balance.
2. Shift your weight to your right palm and grip the SteelBell with your left hand. Row it toward your chest, bending your elbow and keeping your upper arm close to your side. Reverse the movement and return the SteelBell to the ground, planting your left palm on the floor.
3. Shift your weight to your left palm and reach your right arm under your body, grabbing the SteelBell and pulling it across the ground to your right side.
4. When the SteelBell is positioned under your right shoulder, use your right arm to row it to your chest. Return it to the ground and continue, this time reaching under your body with your left arm to pull it back to your left side.

Want More Full Body Exercises Using SteelBells? Try These Challenges

Onnit SteelBell 360 Challenge


The Onnit SteelBell is a versatile tool that you can use to perform movements originally restricted to unconventional implements like the Steel Mace or Macebell. One of those movements is the 360 exercise. This exercise engages your shoulders and core like few others can.

The Onnit SteelBell 360 Challenge is to perform 100 reps (50 in each direction) as quickly as possible. Men use 40lb and women use 20lb or less. Post your scores! Good luck!

Post your result on Facebook

Post on Twitter #SteelBell360

Onnit SteelBell Back Lunge Slam Challenge


One of the best things about the Onnit SteelBell is the ability to slam it on the ground with explosive movements. The Back Lunge Slam engages your entire body in a single, coordinated movement that will have you sweating quick.

The Onnit SteelBell Back Lunge Slam Challenge involves performing as many reps as possible in a minute. Men use 40lbs and women use 20lbs.

Post your result on Facebook

Post on Twitter #SteelBellLungeSlam

Onnit SteelBell Stairway to Hell Challenge


The Onnit Steelbell is an extremely efficient tool that engages the entire body at once using explosive and compound exercises. The Stairway to Hell Challenge involves a Power Slam and Thruster exercise in a high intensity ladder set.

The Stairway to Hell Challenge requires that you perform a ladder set, performing as many rounds as possible in a 3 or 5 minute time period. Ladder sets involve two exercises starting with 1 rep Power Slams and 1 rep Thrusters, then 2 rep Power Slams and 2 rep Thrusters, etc. See how high you can get on the ladder! Men use 40lbs, women use 20lbs.

Post your result on Facebook

Post on Twitter #SteelBellStairway

Onnit SteelBell Burpee Challenge


Onnit SteelBells are extremely functional, dynamic workout tools that challenge your entire body with each movement. The Steelbell Burpee Challenge forces you to work conditioning, power, and agility all at once. Perform 25 reps as quickly as you can and post your time here. Women use 30lbs; men use 50lbs. Good luck!

Post your result on Facebook

Post on Twitter #SteelBellBurpee

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Laura has a master’s degree in exercise science from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She works as a full-time freelance fitness writer and has had bylines in publications such as Men’s Journal. As a recent widow, she believes strongly in the healing power of fitness. She can often be found surfing in Costa Rica, running in San Diego, or wrestling at home with her four dogs. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter, @lwilliams_exss.
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