Ok, here’s the deal – you won’t give up your barbell training but you want to use kettlebells. You’ve got a bunch of the ball-things lying around and you want to incorporate them into your traditional training. I get it. Been there, done that. Still do it. You can too.
The more options you have available, the more likelihood you’ll find a variation that fits your temperament and the more success you will have.
There’s some scientific evidence that unilateral movements have a stronger stimulatory effect on the nervous system – i.e. make you [temporarily] stronger – than bilateral movements. Not only that, but the theory goes that over time you can correct side-to-side imbalances, addressing the “parts of the whole” if you will, and make the bilateral movement stronger.
I want to look at the short-term stimulatory effects of unilateral movements – specifically the kettlebell movements, and show you how to incorporate them into your training for greater gains in strength and muscle.
These are called “feeders.”
Yet, unlike “feeders” in other forums, these actually give instead of take. They add to what you already have instead of subtracting from it.
“Off the reservation” fitness guru, Paul Chek, once suggested years ago (c.1998) that you could make stronger gains by structuring your programming the following way – in a way that he felt was more challenging to the CNS –
Unilateral –> Semi-unilateral –> Bilateral Independent –> Bilateral Fixed
Now, I don’t remember his original article, but I remember the spirit, so some of those terms I just made up.
Unilateral – one limb at a time. Ex: Single arm Press, Single leg Deadlift
Semi-unilateral – primarily one limb, but with opposite limb support. Ex: Lunge, Spiderman Push-up
Bilateral Independent – both limbs working but not conjoined by one object. Ex: Double KB Press
Bilateral Fixed – both limbs working and conjoined by one object. Ex: Barbell Press, Barbell Squat
So here are some examples of how you’d set up your “feeder” program for maximum strength benefits:
Upper Body Push:
A. Single Arm KB Press
B. Double KB Press
C. Barbell Military Press
Upper Body Pull:
A. Single Arm KB Row
B. Double KB Row
C. Barbell Row
Lower Body Hip Dominant:
A. Single Leg KB Deadlift
B. Single Arm Swing
C. Barbell Deadlift
Lower Body Quad Dominant:
A. KB Pistol
B. KB Lunge, arm overhead
C. KB Front Squat
D. Barbell Back Squat
Now those are just examples, designed to follow the “spirit” of feeders. Should you do those programs *exactly*?
I don’t know, so please don’t ask.
You should do the program based on the following:
1. Your goals.
2. Your current limitations.
3. Your current strengths.
4. Your current obligations and time commitments.
So look to set up your mix of barbells/kettlebells as a feeder program.
Just remember, in the short term, your barbell lifts may decrease. The key phrase here is “short term.” But in the long term, after your body adapts, you can expect to be stronger in those lifts.
Give the “feeder” concept a shot and post back your results.
Speaking of mixing kettlebells with other things, Pavel is doing a seminar this November on mixing kettlebells, bodyweight resistance, and the TRX. The bad news is that today is the last day to get a discount. If you’re interested in seeing what kind of “evil genius” Pavel really is, then you should go.
I can tell you this for sure, Pavel unleashed a Pull-up progression at the RKC 2 this past July that no one saw coming, but everyone felt and saw improvements in their Pull-up strength. I can guarantee you that this information is only contained in two places – Pavel’s brain and the RKC 2 Manual. But now you can at least access some of Pavel’s brain.
If you want access to Pavel’s brain, click here.
Next time, we’ll discuss “Finishers.”
Part 1 – https://chasingstrength.com/5-ways-to-successfully-mix-kettlebells-with-barbells/