Fighting ‘Rocky Balboa Kettlebell Workout Mode’ Over 40

Fighting ‘Rocky Balboa Kettlebell Workout Mode’ Over 40

Remember Rocky III and Rocky IV? 

They had some of THE BEST “training montages” of ALL TIME.

“Eye of the tiger, Rock.”

“There is no tomorrow! There is no tomorrow!”

Great lines by Apollo Creed to Rocky in Rocky III.

I LOVE the soundtracks… the music.

“Eye of the Tiger”

“Burning Heart”


“No Easy Way Out”

The “Training Montage”

ALL excellent workout music. 

I’ve been listening to those songs for the last 25+ years at various times in my training.

Very few songs get me amped up like those do.

Perhaps you know what I’m talking about?

Problem is, controlling the adrenaline… the “psych”… the “arousal” levels…

And still staying focused on the program at hand, without going nuts and going “for it.”

That was a real problem when Alfonso structured many of my Olympic lifting training sessions around near-daily RMs.

Crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and locking the door was always good for an extra 5-10kg or so on any given lift, on any given day.

But for us “over 40-somethings”?

“Danger! Danger Will Robinson!”

(To quote another oldie – the Robot from “Lost In Space.” Daggum… I’m showing my age…)


I use these songs to help me remember that I am still capable and still strong.

And that I’m still capable of getting stronger.


I don’t use them to psych up. 

I still use autoregulation – bar speed, ease of movement, nasal breathing (OK, that one’s hard for someone with chronic sinus issues), RPEs… 

All the things / parameters I recommend you do.

I still use set * rep prescriptions, when necessary.

(Sometimes they are necessary – depending on load, personality, training outcome…)


Now that I’m older and grayer, and hopefully a little wiser, I realized that using the Rocky soundtracks to “go harder/heavier” when I was younger, physically hurt me.

I just pushed harder and faster, and through too much pain (NOT discomfort – PAIN) than I should have.

I ignored things like a drop in bar speed… technique change… and “grinding” reps…

Which caused me more pain from breaking parts of my body.

No pain, no gain is a lie.

Especially once you’re over 40.

And that’s because it takes 2-3x as long to recover, if ever.

Remember, as great as Rocky was, all that head trauma and crazy training led him to make stupid mistakes:

He let Paulie, his bum of a brother-in-law, “manage” his finances and he gambled everything – and lost it all – on a real estate scam.

And he ended up with the shakes in Rocky V, broke and broken, and ended up poorly managing Tommy Gunn, who he had to fight in the street.

And he ended up partially estranged from his son in Rocky VI.

So, keep the Rocky Soundtracks where they belong:

As a wonderful memory of your misspent youth.

And if you’re going to train with them in the background? 

Use them only as a reminder to keep going, but use the wisdom of age and autoregulation this time round.

“Eye of the Tiger, NAME. Eye of the Tiger.”

If you want “Rocky-like” focus on your strength training, the “Strong!” program turns your Clean + Press 4 Rep Max to 60 reps in a workout. 

All the programming is done for you – no autoregulation. You’ll learn to balance the “There is no tomorrow!” mindset with the “Live to fight another day” mantra. But you’ll have to fight for it.

And once you hit that 60 reps?

You might not scream, “DRAGO-O-O-O!!!” at the top of your lungs standing on a mountaintop.

But you’ll probably feel like it.

You can find “Strong!” in the description below, Champ. ;-]

👉 Kettlebell STRONG! – 

*Movies mentioned in this video
Credit: “Rocky III,” United Artists, 1982.

Credit: “Lost in Space,” Irwin Allen Productions, 1965-1968.

Credit: “Rocky V,” United Artists, 1990.
Credit: “Rocky Balboa,” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), 2006.

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