My kettlebell routine

When I started my current workout schedule, I wanted to try something with the kettlebells and see how far I could take it. So far consistency has been a non issue, and the progression in difficulty also has gone quite nicely.

Reading all the old books gave me the basic template for how I was going to do this.

  • Take a weight, perform x number of reps. Add one rep each week until you hit x number of reps, then add weight and start over.

Pretty simple. Here was what I started with:

  • 24kg kettlebell
  • 3+3 x 3 one hand swings
  • 10 x 3 two hand swings
  • 3+3 x 3 one hand cleans
  • 3+3 x 3 snatches
  • 3+3 x 3 one hand press

(#+# x # reads as L hand+R Hand x 3 sets)
I could choose to do this 1-3 times a week, but the reps stayed the same, as did the weight. How many times I did this was based off my other workouts, and how the body was recovering. Going through this one time at least was mandatory per week. (there was no set day of the week to do this, just whenever I could fit it into the 14-16 hour work days)

Every week I added a rep per hand, and 2 reps for the two handed swings. The sets stayed the same. This week’s totals are:

  • 24kg kettlebell
  • 9+9 x 3 one hand swings
  • 22 x 3 two hand swings
  • 9+9 x 3 one hand cleans
  • 9+9 x 3 snatches
  • 9+9 x 3 one hand press

Tomorrow I will add my final rep of the cycle. Later this week, I will start over with the same template I started with, but will be using the 28kg bell instead, until I hit 10reps each hand, and then on to the 32kg.

It is my hope that by years end I am using the 36kg+ bell and getting strict presses for reps. Time will tell.

Harry Paschall, George Jowett, Earle Lieberman, etc all have a basic progression of performing 6-8 reps with a weight, adding reps each workout until you reach 10-12 reps. Then add 5lbs to upper body exercises, and 10lbs to lower body exercises. These were not change your body over night, or 10 minutes to a miracle programs like to see on tv and in the magazines. These were smart, long term strength routines where lifelong progress was the goal. Once you built your base, then you could start trying “limit” lifts, and feats of strength.

Consistency in a program was the other key. Jim Wendler’s ‘5/3/1’ book hits on this as well. He lists the principles of his system, and they are just about as old time as you can get. He emphasizes:

  • Big multi-joint exercises
  • Starting light and building up
  • Slow progress
  • And beating your personal bests to stay motivated and seeing the progress made

These are the same things the old timers focused on as well.

If you are looking for an easy program to follow, for a long time, ‘5/3/1’ by Jim Wendler’s, will fit the bill nicely. Basic Lifts, slow progression, long term scheduling (plan out the year, not just weeks).

Till next time, take care and good lifting.


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  1. Is it weird that I have grown to NOT like doing anything with KB?? Initially when I found KB’s I did enjoy doing work with them but over the past four years or so I have grown to not like them anymore. I don’t have much equipment in my garage, but I happened to pick up a few KB’s over the years that just sit and collect dust not getting used…maybe I should revisit this modality.

    • Not weird. It is a different style of lifting, and I have a hard time putting it any any single definition of workout. what I really like is how much use you can get out of one piece of equipment. No plate changes, no spotters, anywhere any time.


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