Strength: noun. the ability to overcome.

The Forgotten Kettlebell Exercises

by GEOFFN on February 9

I have a confession to make – I’m a junkie for all “new” strength training ideas, methods, and programs. I mean, I eat that stuff up like a fat guy at a buffet who’s lost his “full mechanism.”

When I was younger, all you had to do was stick “Soviet” or “Eastern Bloc” or “Bulgarian” on it, around it, or even near it and I’d gobble it up. My bookshelves are stuffed with books, programs, manuals, and journals on strength training. The more exotic it sounded, the bigger the sucker I was for it. Seriously, I even bought a book called “Power Training For Sport” about 7 years ago – it was a second edition and it cost me almost 100 bucks!

Unfortunately, after scouring through all that information, there really isn’t anything “new.”

Except maybe this (they’re new if you’ve never done them or spent any time at all on them…) –

There are a series of “forgotten” kettlebell exercises that most of, myself included, have been ignoring in favor of the “sexy” and “shiny” exercises and programs – the ones with all the fancy “science” backing them.

There are two people that I know of – two very smart people – Dan John and Andrea Du Cane, who routinely include these “forgotten” exercises in their own programs and that of their clients and athletes. And for good reason – these exercises plain old work! And when I say work, I mean, they work your abs, your legs, your hands, your heart and your lungs. They work everything!

What are these “forgotten” kettlebell exercises?

Kettlebell Carries.


Not sexy.

Not shiny nor bright.

But downright brutal when performed correctly.

What are the Kettlebell Carries?


  • Carry in the hands by the sides (one hand or two).
  • Carry in the rack (one hand or two).
  • Carry over head (one hand or two).

Each one challenges different parts of your body differently. Each one tells you what’s going on in your body and equally important, if not more so, what’s not going on that should be.

How Do You Implement Them?

Here are three options that work great –

1. Warm ups.
2. Finishers.
3. “Extra” workouts.

And of course there’s the fourth – structure your training around them for a season, which is what I recently did.

Here’s what I just started doing and have committed to keep doing for at least 8 weeks, maybe 12 (for very specific reasons I’ll save for a future post).

Two days per week, carry a pair of 48kg KBs approximately 40 yards. Put them down. Rest, Carry them back. Perform either 20 rep Deadlifts with one 48kg KB or Swings with one 48kg KB. I’ll be doing this until I can carry these beasts relatively easily for 100 yards. I do this for 30 minutes, but no more.

I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what to expect as a result.

Overall you’ll feel more “put together.” You’ll have stronger abs, stronger grip, better posture, and stronger lungs. And the best part is you can even get your nature fix in by doing them outside (works for me).

I’ll post again middle of next week – I’m off to San Diego for a conference.

Drop your comments below about your experiences with Kettlebell Carries and how you’re going to implement them into your program.

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