How “STRONG” is “Strong Enough” Using Kettlebells? [Benchmarks Inside]

How “STRONG” is “Strong Enough” Using Kettlebells? [Benchmarks Inside]

This is a question I’ve been mulling over… rolling around in my head since I saw it posed on social media last month.

What exactly is “strong enough?”

I believe it’s simply “strong enough” to tackle anything life throws at you so you can throw back.

It’s “strong enough” to chop a cord of wood without being overly sore the next day…

… To grapple without getting [too] gassed…

… To pack out your house at a moment’s notice…

And probably even run faster, further, than your friend when being chased by a p*ssed off Momma Grizzly Bear, who’s cubs you just scared while traipsing through the woods. ;-] 

So, after 20+ years of experience, here’s what “Strong Enough” looks like to me:

[1]  10 sets of 5 reps Double Clean + Press with 2x32kg in 20 minutes or less

[2]  10 sets of 5 reps Double Front Squat with 2x32kg in 20 minutes or less

[3]  10 sets of 10 reps of 32kg Snatches in 10 minutes (that’s 5 sets of 10 each side)

Now, this is after 20+ years of experience.

And yes, it may not seem “fair” to hold lighter guys to the same standard as bigger guys, but that’s because lighter guys usually have greater “relative strength” than the bigger guys.

Which is to say, they can lift more weight relative to their bodyweight.

For example, Naim Suleymanaglu, the “Pocket Hercules,” Clean + Jerked 190kg (418lbs), weighing 60kg (132lbs), at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. That’s 3.15X his bodyweight – the highest ratio of Clean + Jerk to bodyweight of all time.

(IMAGE: 1994 World Championships, C+J 182.5kg @ 64kg. Courtesy of Bruce Klemens.)

By contrast, Lasha Talakhadze, world champion superheavyweight, Clean + Jerked 267kg (587.4lbs) in the 2021 World Weightlifting Championships, weighing 168.6kg (371lbs). That’s not even double his bodyweight.

Even 1980s Superheavyweight Anatoli Pisarenko (my favorite), “only” Clean + Jerked 265kg weighing “just” 123kg in Varna, a “mere” 2.15X bodyweight, in the 1984 Friendship Games.

So, I think the 2x32kg is a good load around which to form these benchmarks.

Can you do more? 

Of course.

You’d be a Beast if you could use a pair of 40s (2x40kg) and a single 40kg.

Admittedly, this may look like a lofty – near impossible goal from where you stand.

And that’s ok.

Start where you are.

Some good interim goals:

GOAL #1: Use 2x16kg for the C+P, DFSQ, and 16kg for the Snatch.

GOAL #2: Use 2x20kg for the C+P, DFSQ, and 20kg for the Snatch.

GOAL #3: Use 2x24kg for the C+P, DFSQ, and 24kg for the Snatch.

GOAL #4: Use 2x28kg for the C+P, DFSQ, and 28kg for the Snatch.

The important part is that you embrace the process and get started.

Assuming of course you too want to be “strong enough” for whatever life throws at you.

If you need a program to help you do that, use this one.

Stay Strong,


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