Kettlebell Workouts – The Proper Sequencing For Maximum Results?

Unfortunately, due to our current state of sitting on our butts all day long, we cannot or even should not, as much as we’d like to, just grab our kettlebell and start swinging.

That’s a ticket to Injuryville.

Of course, being informed by so many RKCs, you probably know that.

Your workouts probably have some sort of structure to them like this –

1. Warm up – mobility /flexibility work
2. Main focus
(3. Secondary focus)
4. Cool down

If they don’t – do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200 until you start implementing that sort of structure.

But here’s the thing –

What do your workouts look like over the course of a year? Two years?

In Power To The People, Pavel wrote about cycling as the most powerful force for making progress in your training both in the short run and the long run – three steps forward, one step back, etc.

But how do you cycle you kettlebell workouts?

What’s the best method for progress?

Is it ladders?

Alternating Grind days with Ballistic days or incorporating them into the same day?

The Program Minimum or the Right of Passage?

Yes. It’s all that. But it’s more. And less.

Here’s what I think is the best and most logical sequence for your training – the one that will give you all the results you’re looking for:

1. Structural
2. Strength
3. Fat Loss
4. Hypertrophy
5. Strength

I’m going to stop right there because I think a certain amount of reflection is in order. Do you recognize that structure in your workouts? Or are you like some us, who’s names will remain anonymous (clears throat) who tend to focus on just one aspect each and every year?

Feel free to leave your comments on what you’re currently doing and why and whether or not you agree with me.

I’ll be back later breaking this sequence down even further and give you some ideas of what each individual cycle could and should look like.

3 comments… add one
  • Billy Meyer Mar 18, 2011 @ 16:39

    I’m not a professional but here’s my unprofessional opinion based on how kettlebells, being a good student, and hard work with the bell have done in my life. I think this structure work for most individuals. To me hypertrophy and fat loss are “aesthetic” things. I think your sequence is very logical for most people. I think that just doing theEnter the Kettlebell principles and following the “RKC minimum” lays the foundation for the most important element #1- structure, and then #2- strength follows and increases as does your endurance, and then #3) fat loss will happen unless you eat very carelessly, and if my brothers are right #4) hpertrophy happens as well whether you like it or not, then, and only then, (IMO) if all is still structurally sound even more of #5) can happen. I have to believe this is very individualistic. But with any plan as long as you increase your work load – as you’ve laid out plans on hear before, I think with even the most basic of plans… your list is how things must progress, naturally. It’s hard to imagine a workout that involves swings, getups, and some form of press, and a moderate intensity/work load not giving you those results. In my opinion if your goals change , then a structural check is a prerequisite to moving forward, and I would also put hypertrophy as a low priority. If you get stronger and lose weight and have a foundation of good structure, then I wouldn’t worry about it… you’ll probably get the hypertrophy. Personally, every time I focus too much on hypertrophy, I wind up pushing to hard, not listening to my body, doing a structure check, and getting hurt… and hypertrophy is really intoxicating which isn’t healthy for me anyways in large doses. I’m not an instructor, I’m just going on what my body tells me after I’ve been on a 4 month crash course and a bunch of instruction and hard work and moving a kettlebell. They haven’t ceased to amaze me and I was a powerlifter/hypertrophy gym rat before it, wait I, tore my body to pieces. Anyways… keep the good info coming as I think this article is both conceptually and practically, huge.

  • Russ Moon Mar 18, 2011 @ 20:05

    1. Warm up – mobility /flexibility work – (hips – I want a smaller degree angle of hinge to accelerate deeper into the backswing…I think there are some G’s there.
    2. Main focus
    (3. Secondary focus)
    4. Cool down

    I like the Grinds separate for maximum energy for developing strength, and the ballistics for enduring strength, particularly cycling the work:rest ratio. So many dimensions to cycle, it is fun.

    I am not seasoned enough to recognize the full value of “light” work so until I develop my mind further I’m telling myself I am “patterning”. Better form for more speed, my mind can accept…”light” it cannot and I know that is wrong. I’ll get there.

  • Michael Apr 6, 2011 @ 4:15

    I’m trying to understand what you listed as the most logical sequence. Are you saying to work on Form only, then Strength only, being Lean only, Gaining Muscle Mass only, Strength only, then repeat?

    I tend to alternate between focusing on form and focusing on strength, so I can see how changing the focus of workouts can help unify the body. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us.

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