“Hybrid” Level 1 Thru 5 Workouts? (Kettlebell + …?)

“Hybrid” Level 1 Thru 5 Workouts? (Kettlebell + …?)

As we’re about to wrap up this series we need to address “Kettlebell PLUS…” programming.

You know, KBs PLUS other modalities (a.k.a. “Hybrid KB Programs”):

[+]  Running / Rucking / Walking

[+]  Bodyweight

[+]  “Cardio”

[+]  Barbell work

Where do these fit into the 5 LEVELS?

How do YOU fit them in if you wanted to?

Well the very first thing to do is run a “Needs Analysis.”

[1]  What’s my goal?

[2]  What’re my current limitations?

[3]  How can I align the two?

For example, you may want to run and swing your KBs.

But maybe you have a gimpy ankle…

Or you love to bench, but your shoulder doesn’t…

Or you love to barbell squat, but you don’t have a bar and a rack at home, and you can only get to the gym once a week…

Or you want to add in Pull Ups, Chins Ups, or Pistols…

Things of this nature.

In the first two cases, the gimpy ankle and the sour shoulder, pick KB exercises that work around those issues, and if possible, either directly or indirectly strengthen those areas.

Gimpy Ankle Example:

Turkish Get Up (LEVEL 1)

Single Leg Deadlift (LEVEL 2)

Sour Shoulder Example:

Turkish Get Up (LEVEL 1)

Military Press (LEVEL 2) 

Do these instead of your preferred exercises, and then slowly add your running or your bench press.

In the last two cases you either “sub out” or “add in.”

Barbell Squat “Sub Out:”

Goblet Squat (LEVEL 1)

Single KB Front Squat (LEVEL 2)

Double KB Front Squat (LEVEL 4)

If you prefer squatting more than once per week, and want to strengthen your neural connections for the squat pattern, pick one or more of the above and perform it 1-2x a week before hitting your Barbell Squat.

You can do this with any lift you want.

Find the corresponding KB lifts, and plug them in your schedule’s holes.

Other “Add On’s:”

Pull Ups

Chin Ups



This is where things can get “tricky.”

Any time you “add something to” your current workout / training plan, you have to take into account your ability.

As I’ve said ad nauseum, it’s not how much work you can do, but rather, how much work you can recover from.

Here’s how you do this:

You DON’T “Add On”…

Rather, you “Add IN.”

Here’s what I mean…

Set a training / workout duration – say 30 minutes.

Then, ADD IN your new exercise or exercises of choice, and put them along with your other exercises, into a circuit, or something similar, like alternating sets.


  1. Clean + Press, becomes:

A1. Clean + Press

A2. Chin Ups

Just remember, your total volume for both exercises will be lower than you expect, because you’re now “splitting your focus” from one or two exercises, to multiple exercises.

And that’s ok.

Or you could switch to an A/B split:

Workout A: Clean + Press

Workout B: Chins

Also, don’t pick exercises that “compete” with each other in the same session, like Presses and Handstand Push Ups.

[NOTE: Personally, and professionally, I’m a BIG fan of mixing bodyweight exercises like Pull Ups, Chin Ups, and other bodyweight exercises with KB work – especially LEVEL 4 and LEVEL 5 work. A couple of my over 50 clients are thriving with these combinations. 

It gets them really strong and leans them out, without making them feel wiped out.]

What about “Adding On” things running or rucking?

The same thing: Recovery is still your biggest issue.

My recommendations are to do your KB work on Days 1,3,5… And your running/rucking (or whatever mix of the two you prefer, if you mix them) on Days 2,4,6. Take Day 7 off.

And start easy. Don’t try to win a marathon or tie your old personal bests on day 1. Or even day 30. Grow into it.

The ONLY Exception:

There is ONLY ONE exception I can think of here, and that’s “Restoration” work.

Things like stretching or mobility work if you like that sort of thing.

Personally I haven’t found stretching or traditional mobility work useful in the long term for “restoration” work – being able to move better and recover faster from my training / workouts.

I use these “overly simple” bodyweight drills instead.


In fact, as a result, I’ve hit 3 recent PR’s (Personal Records) – 1 lifetime, and 2 bests that I haven’t hit since I was training for Olympic lifting competitions back in 2015/16 and I was in my early 40s. 

(They’re also very good for decreasing both short and long-term soreness and stiffness.)

Here’s how you can “Add On” your restoration work:

Days 1,3,5 – KB work + 5-10 minutes of restoration work

Days 2,4,6 – 15-30 minutes of restoration work

Hope this helps.

Stay Strong,



P.S. If you want a program that combines bodyweight exercises with LEVEL 1, 2, and 4 exercises, that can turn into LEVEL 3 and 5 workouts, you’ll like this one.


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