5 Things Training College Athletes taught me about getting STRONG & LEAN w/KBs, Part 2

5 Things Training College Athletes taught me about getting STRONG & LEAN w/KBs, Part 2

Rutgers University, and Rutgers Athletics used to do really stupid things – self-defeating things in its athletic program.

For example, in 1990, they hired Doug Graber as their head football coach. 

His previous position was the Defensive Coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the worst team in the NFL, known for having the worst defense in the league.

Brilliant hire.

So was anyone shocked when Rutgers Football had a massive losing streak?

They did something similar with their Men’s Track & Field team, which was one of the teams I was responsible for as the Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach for Olympic Sports.

The team’s head coach was a nice enough guy, and the team usually finished the season in the middle of the pack.

But the administration overlooked the diamond they had staring them in the face:

Tony Naclerio, the Throws Coach.

Coach Nacrlerio was the 1992 US Olympic Team Throws Coach and had produced multiple champions. Yet he was only part time, and not the Head Coach.

Another stupid administrative decision in my opinion, but what did I know? 

One thing I did know was that I was going to take advantage of Coach Naclerio’s 40+ years of experience.

And here’s where that applies to you:

Coach Naclerio used 3 methods to train his throwers, apart from actually practicing the events:

1- Heavy, compound strength movements: Squat, Bench, Rows

These were usually done 3x a week pre/off season, and 2x week in-season.

2- Explosive Olympic Lifts and their variation: Cleans, Snatches, Pulls, Push Presses

These were also usually done 3x a week pre/off season, and 2x week in-season and were combined in the same training session as the heavy work.

3- Plyometrics: Jumps and Medicine Ball Throws

These were done 1-2x a week, depending on the season.

… And would you be shocked to learn that his athletes all continued to excel, break their own records, and even place in the conference championships?

Coach Naclerio believed that not only did his throwers need to be strong, they also needed to be EXPLOSIVE.

So, his priority during the season was to maintain strength work, and focus on the explosive work.

As a result, his athletes excelled.

As a by-product, they were also lean.

Even “Woj” – John Wojechowski, the 6’1” and 240lbs shot putter had at least a 4-pack.

And that’s the takeaway:


That means every Swing… every Snatch… every Clean… Push Press… Jerk…

Is performed with MAX POWER – as fast as possible.

In most cases, you’ll want to use “lighter” kettlebells, something between 25-35% of your bodyweight. (I think the real numbers are 26-32%, but who’s counting?)

For most people, the KB you can Press for a 5RM is usually the one you can do most of your Swings with.

But here’s the key point which almost everybody misses:

There’s a point of no-return that indicates when to stop your lifts.

We’ll talk more about that next time.

But in the meantime, take a page out of Coach Naclerio’s coaching manual –

Keep the reps of your explosive lifts low to medium…

… Between 5 and 10 on your kettlebell ballistics.

And make them as “crisp” as possible.

(Like a “checkmark” to once again quote Dr. Squat.)

Two of the “best” KB lifts for lifting explosively are the Swing and the Snatch.

You can become more explosive, stronger, and even strip off body fat using “just” those 2 lifts –

A steady diet of “only Swings” or “only Snatches.”

Sounds kinda “crazy,” but the guys (gals) who commit to it, swear by it.

Here are 10 “Swing Only” programs you can test out.


And here are 3 different “Snatch Only” programs if you’re ready for that “next level.”


(Personally, I prefer the Snatch 9.9 times out of 10 to the Swing.)

And if you really want to challenge yourself, learn the KB Jerk, and then run a cycle of Clean + Jerks, just for “fun.” (I refer to the repetition double KB Clean + Jerk as the Real Muscle-building Fat-burner.)


So remember, don’t be stupid like the Rutgers Athletic Department was in the 1990s and use losing strategies.

High rep, weak-hipped kettlebell ballistics may be “great” for building “endurance” or getting your MetCon on, but they won’t make you explosive.

Use your kettlebells to their fullest potential and be as explosive as possible on every rep.

Watch your strength and conditioning levels increase. And in many cases your body fat decrease.

Stay Strong,


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