5 Reasons you’re not seeing the results you want to from your Kettlebell workouts

5 Reasons you’re not seeing the results you want to from your Kettlebell workouts

If you’ve been hoisting or slinging ye olde Kettlebells and you’re not getting any stronger…

Not losing any body fat…

Not improving your conditioning levels…

And feel like Sysiphus pushing the rock up that hill only to have it roll back down and do it all over again and again and again and again…

Here are 5 reasons you might want to take a closer look at:

#5 – Random Acts of Variety

Some people just make up their workouts as they go. 

One day, Swings, the next Presses, the next, a whole hodge-podge of exercises.

Your body isn’t sure of the adaptation you’re asking it to create.

There’s no “continuity of the training process.”

For example, if you want a stronger Press, you have to Press – A LOT.

Not Swing. Not Squat. Not Snatches. (Ok, well, maybe Snatches – with the right programming.)

But you get my point.

Adaptations are specific.

So, there needs to be some direction and organization in your programming.

#4 – Recovery.

Adaptation happens as a result of REST.

Stimulation (your workouts) drive the adaptation.

If you’re not getting enough recovery, there is no “supercompensation” – no stronger, leaner, faster.

So, sleep at least 7 hours a night. 

Science is now clear: Anything less and you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

Another way to manage recovery?

Shorter workouts.

Most of my clients use between 30 and 45 minutes, 3x a week.

Some use workouts as short as 15 minutes, because they prefer working out daily.

(Most don’t know there’s an inverse relationship between “frequency” and “duration” – usually the more frequently you train, the less time you need or can train per training session/workout.)

#3 – Poor Nutrition.

To get stronger and / or leaner – you must use the proper fuel.

Potato chips, pretzels, ice cream and beer – no matter how stressed out you feel, aren’t going to get the job done.

They’re just “gumming up the works” and slowing down your progress.

Eat a protein-first/protein-rich diet.

No excuses.

#2 – Poor / Bad Technique.

This one should go without saying, but apparently it doesn’t.

During the early days of the Russian Kettlebell Revolution, a new (to many) term was coined:

“Strength is a skill.”

Skills are learned through practicing technique.

Like playing the piano.

Or painting.

Or playing soccer.

Or getting your black belt in BJJ.

Strength training – kettlebell training – is the same.

If your progress has stalled, make sure your kettlebell skills are on point/up to snuff.

For example, it’s amazing what happens to your Press when you learn how to use your breath… your gluts… your legs… instead of “just” your shoulders and arms.

The final one is completely counterintuitive…

#1 – You’re Trying TOO HARD.

Many of us were “conditioned” (maybe “brainwashed” is a better term) that if we don’t go all out – train to failure (or beyond), then our workouts were “no good” or “wasted.”

The problem is that this backfires on us when we get older.

And that’s because remember, workouts are a stressor on your body and mind.

And now that we’re not 18 or 21, our minds and emotions are dealing with a lot more stressors, which impact and inhibit our bodies, which slows our recovery. (Remember #4.)

So we need to be smarter.

I’ve been recommending “autoregulation” for the last 12+ years or so.

Autoregulation is when the output during a training session is governed by the athlete/trainee, based on a “loose” or predetermined set criteria or guidelines.

One of my favorites, my coach taught me 25+ years ago:

Bar speed.

Or in our case, bell speed. 

When your speed slows, stop your set.

These days, this concept is called VBT – Velocity Based Training.

I recently read a study comparing VBT to PBT (Periodization Based Training), where you hit your sets and reps no matter what.

The results?

50% greater strength increase in the VBT trainees compared to the PBT trainees.

Dorrell HF, Smith MF, Gee TI. Comparison of Velocity-Based and Traditional Percentage-Based Loading Methods on Maximal Strength and Power Adaptations. J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Jan;34(1):46-53. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003089. PMID: 30946276.

Interestingly enough, using autoregulation as a guiding principle speeds up recovery, especially if the rest of your programming is dialed in.

There are other forms of autoregulation I routinely use along with bar/bell speed. 

RPE – Rate of Perceived Exertion is one and it too is a game changer.

More on that one some other time.

For now, I hope you found these reasons helpful and that one or more of them applied to you and that you now know what to do to start seeing the results you want.

If you need a plan to follow, instead of something random, that tightens up your technique, and leaves plenty of room for recovery, so you start seeing results, this one always delivers.



Stay Strong,


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