What Is The “Kettlebell Sandwich?”

When I was a kid, and even well into college, I lived off sandwiches. My favorite as a child was Oscar Meyer salami, Velveeta cheese, and Kosciusco mustard (if that’s how it’s even spelled – it’s been so long). Man, I could eat tons of them! In fact, there was awhile when I was a wee one that it was the only sandwich I remembered that I would eat! So good!

In college I moved on to more exotic things, like Gyros from the “Grease Trucks” at Rutgers. Man that tsziki sauce is great! But I never did man up and get a Fat Cat – 2 burgers, cheese, fries and some other stuff all on a sub roll.

Of course you have your favorite sandwiches and of course you’re probably wondering what sandwiches have to do with kettlebell training, if anything at all.

Lots, actually.

The “Sandwich” is #4 on the list of “5 Ways To Successfully Mix Kettlebells And Barbells.”

4. The “Sandwich”

Essentially, the Sandwich is placing kettlebell work before and after your barbell work – “sandwiching” your barbell work between them.

My current favorite Kettlebell Sandwich is to use the Get Up as “movement prep” – actually more of  a “systems check” – to ensure that everything is working correctly, most times, it is. But on the off chance that something is stuck or glitched up, the GU lets me know where to go to fix it. Then, when my barbell work is through, I use the GU again as yet another “systems check” – to let me know that I didn’t do anything stupid under the bar and if I did, what to correct. More often or not, the Get Up is a powerful correction in and of itself anyway.

But that’s just me.

If I was really into “conditioning” right now, I’d toss in some Swings after my barbell work and hit some intervals. I may even throw in some Snatches and see what I could get in a certain time period.

It doesn’t matter really how you do it, as long as you do what’s right for you at this current stage and phase of your training. Mixing kettlebells into your barbell training shouldn’t be haphazard – it should have a purpose and that main purpose is to move you further ahead to achieving your goals.

Here are three samples of how to build your own Kettlebell Sandwich:

1. Movement Prep/Finisher. You warm up with some movement prep pertinent to your main goal, then perform barbell work du jour, then pick your favorite kettlebell finisher to end the training session to focus on conditioning.

Here’s an example:

A. Movement Prep: 1/2 GU, 1/2 Kneeling Windmill w/ Press, Get Up

B. Barbell Work: Heavy Pulling – High Pulls, Rows, etc

C. Finisher: H-2-H Swings, 10 minutes, as many as possible.

2. Movement Prep/Movement Recap. Touched on this with the Get Up. But you could also use other exercises like the RKC Armbar, the Windmill, the Single Leg Deadlift, etc. Here is an example:

A. Movement Prep: RKC Armbar, 1/2 GU, SLDL, Windmill – 3-5 reps each.

B. Main Training Session: Heavy Pushing. Barbell Press. Barbell Incline Press. Board Presses.

C. Movement Recap/Screen: RKC Armbar, Get Up – reps by feel.

3. Feeder/Finisher. You could use kettlebells as feeders for your barbell work (see this post) and after your barbell work was done, use the kettlebells as finishers.

I’m sure there are many more ways to build your own Kettlebell Sandwich, but these three should be a good start for you. Agian, let me once again say, that you should sandwich your kettlebells around your barbell work in a way that makes sense for your goals. It shouldn’t be willy-nilly. (Did I just type “willy-nilly?” Wonder where that came from…?) There should be a point and you should be able to measure progress from it, in both the kettlebell work, your ability to move, and more importantly, your barbell work.

Next time we’ll be invetigating the idea of “blocks.” It’ll be good. It’s my favorite way to mix kettlebells and barbells.

Part 1 – https://chasingstrength.com/5-ways-to-successfully-mix-kettlebells-with-barbells/

Part 2 – https://chasingstrength.com/5-ways-to-successfully-mix-kettlebells-and-barbells-part-2/

Part 3 – https://chasingstrength.com/5-ways-to-successfully-mix-kettlebells-and-barbells-part-3/

5 comments… add one
  • Eric Moss Sep 9, 2010 @ 18:15

    I enjoy sandwiches…especially the high iron variety 🙂

    • GEOFFN Sep 10, 2010 @ 8:17

      Ha! “High iron variety…”

  • Min Sep 10, 2010 @ 0:55

    Nice affirming post here. I’ve been using the some of the same ideas for my own training, nice to know I’m on the right track. What I did today:

    Get ups – Half kneeling work – 1 L 1 A DL
    heavy Barbell DL
    Single arm Swings and snatches
    Get ups

    • GEOFFN Sep 10, 2010 @ 8:17

      Very nice – how are your results so far?

      • Min Sep 10, 2010 @ 22:30

        Very good. I’m in the process of working on healing my left shoulder while trying to gain some strength in the deadlifts. I feel like the work done prior to the barbell lifts really has me dialed in for some heavy bilateral barbell lifts in terms of symmetry and coordination. Looking forward to putting on some mass with the KB Muscle program though once my shoulder heals, then it’s time to train for the beast challenge at the RKC II next year!

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