Getting Serious: LEVEL 4 Kettlebell training

Getting Serious: LEVEL 4 Kettlebell training

After you’ve spent some time – a season or more – mastering your single kettlebell work, and working your way through LEVELS 1,2, and 3, you may be up for a bigger challenge.

Enter LEVEL 4: Double Kettlebell Training.

I have written for the well over the last decade about the benefits of double kettlebell training.

In fact, it’s kind of what I’m “known” for.

(My first book, Kettlebell Muscle, published in 2010, was about building muscle with nothing but a pair of kettlebells. Rumor has it it might be republished later this year…)

And if I had to boil down all the emails and articles I’ve ever written, it would come down to just two words:


I’ll explain why that’s true in a moment.


There’s a BIG CAVEAT here:

The assumption is that you are ready to use the double are as follows:

<img draggable=  Physically healthy – no current ongoing “issues,” like a bum shoulder, bad back, trick knee, or anything of the like

I especially recommend you have no asymmetries – like one shoulder you can put over your head, and the other that doesn’t quite get there. 

This is because unlike single KB training that has multiple “degrees of freedom,” double KB training “locks” you into one plane of motion. 

And if you have asymmetries, your body will “look for a way out” and you could end up injuring your lower back, or shoulder.

An example is being able to lean sideways with a single KB Military Press, and turn it into a hybrid Side Press if you don’t quite have the shoulder mobility you need.

You can’t do that with a double KB Military Press – at least not without risk of injury.

<img draggable=  Know your way around a kettlebell – you’re familiar with the single KB exercises

This is because the double KB exercises are built from a foundation of single KB exercises. 

You learn the techniques with a single KB first, because there’s more margin for error, which is especially necessary when dealing with “power” exercises like the Swing, Clean, and Snatch.

This is true even if you have an athletic background, unless you’re currently a professional athlete, familiar with the Olympic lifts – more on that in a moment. 

And that’s because kettlebell training is a skill that needs to be learned, just like regular weight training. But most people don’t let that little-known fact bother them. 

Remember, modern kettlebell training is built off the Swing, which teaches you how to use your hips and load your posterior chain (the muscles that run up the backside of your body which are responsible for running, sprinting, and jumping).

Failing to learn this skill is a great way to injure your lower back.

Failing to learn this skill and then using a pair of KBs is a great way to injure your lower back faster/sooner and to a greater magnitude, ensuring a much longer and more painful recovery.

<img draggable=  Or you are skilled with the Olympic lifts (this is a pretty big shortcut)

This was the secret to my success with kettlebell training.

Once I got the single techniques down, primarily “the wedge” on the 2-H Swing, and avoiding the “flop” onto the back of the wrists with the Clean and the Snatch, I was off to the races.

I already knew how to move my body, weights around my body, and my body around weights.

The other exception I mentioned earlier was if you’re currently a professional athlete who’s familiar with the Olympic lifts. 

For example, back in 2008, Pavel and I worked on a project together that involved an NFL fullback. He was already 240lbs(109kg) and had a monster Squat and Power/Hang Clean. 

Learning the double KB lifts for him was a piece of cake.

But remember, this is the exception not the rule.

Why Double Kettlebell Training Delivers Faster Results

This is a simple concept to get:

There is a greater demand for change (overload) placed on your body with a pair of KBs than with a single KB.

For example:

You can press a 24kg for 5 sets of 5 in 20 minutes.

That’s 600kg of load lifted.

Now chances are better than good you will not be able to press 2x24kg for 5 sets of 5.

But you’ll most likely be able to press a pair of 16kg for 5 sets of 5 in the same 20 minutes.

And that’s 800kg of load lifted – or 33% more load moved, or work performed. 

800kg is a bigger stressor on your body than 600kg.

And that means you’ll have a bigger adaptive response – or bigger results.

Again, this does not diminish single KB training or its transformative effects on your body. 

It’s just that double KB training takes single KB training to the proverbial “next level.”

Speaking of “next level”…

One of the BIGGEST MISTAKES I see guys (especially – not so much women) make all the time is jumping straight from LEVEL 3 to LEVEL 5 training / workouts.

They don’t take the time to learn the lifting techniques for the double KB exercises.

They automatically assume they can use the same techniques for the single KB lifts and apply them to the double KB lifts.

Then they write to me and ask me what they should do for their newly acquired elbow tendonitis, or their bum shoulder that didn’t hurt when they were using a single KB.

Although similar to their single KB siblings, double kettlebell lifts are not the SAME.

And that’s because you’re using more total weight, so you require different leverage.

We’ll get more into this concept next time.

In the meantime, if you want to get a head start on your double KB lifting, go here.

Stay Strong,


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