Rethinking the “PERFECT” Kettlebell Workout Plan (3 Ingredients) – PART 3

Rethinking the “PERFECT” Kettlebell Workout Plan (3 Ingredients) – PART 3

In today’s video, we’re going to finish up our series on “Rethinking the ‘PERFECT’ KB Workout Plan.”

Yesterday, in Part 2, we covered the importance of managing FATIGUE and its role in you getting the results you’re after.

Today we’re covering “O________”.

So let’s dive in. 

The “O” is formed from: 

[1]  Volume

Which is the total amount of work performed (sets * reps * load)

[2]  Intensity 

Which, to quote Dr. Fred Hatfield (I think), “is not a grimace and backwards baseball cap” but rather the percentage of your maximum load – or Repetition Maximum – 1RM, 2RM, 3RM, 5RM, or 10RM… or any RM.

[3]  Effort

Which is what most confuse with “intensity” as in, “High Intensity Training.”


As we’ve already seen, volume is the number of sets * reps * load used.

It’s often broken down:

Per exercise, per training session, per week, per month… And sometimes further.

What’s important to know is that the more work you do, the more fatigue you create, so the more rest you typically need.

This is why 5-6 day a week plans are normally not a good idea for most of us over 40. 

We just don’t have the recovery ability we did when we were in our teens and 20s. Our energy goes into our jobs and families.

And it’s also why IF you’re going to train with this level of frequency, I recommend SHORT training sessions – 15 to 20 minutes a day – so you can recover.

That way you can stack up a fair amount of volume – more than you can in one training session – and do it without killing yourself.

Volume is necessary to build strength.

Actually, to build physical capacity.

You have to “get the reps in.”

The key is doing so in a manner that doesn’t tear you down physically, psychologically, and emotionally, so that you can still function as a spouse and parent, and a productive member of society.


Again, this is what most bodybuilders and bodybuilding magazines mean when they talk about “intensity.”

“Bruh, that workout was intense!”


“Brother, that training session was a high effort.” LOL

The problem with EFFORT is the harder you train, the more recovery you need. 

I’ve found it makes sense for most of us over 40 and 50 (and yes, even 60 and 70) to use the RPE scale – Rate of Perceived Exertion of 1-10.

1 = Sitting on the couch flipping through TV channels

10 = All out, maximum effort, can’t give or do any more

Most of the time, we need to keep our RPE between a 7 and 8, maybe 8.5.

Usually, the higher your INTENSITY, the higher your EFFORT – by default.

And the larger the demand for recovery from your body.

Using RPEs is my favorite way to use “autoregulation” – the daily management of output based upon daily energy levels and psychological state. 

On some days, you can push hard cause you feel good, and everything feels easy. 

On other days, you feel like garbage and everything is a grind. 

It doesn’t matter because this creates a “waviness” to the loading – ups and downs – which, back in the 1970s, Soviet researchers Vorobyev and Ermakov, discovered produced greater strength gains than traditional loading.

Speaking of “loading,” let’s look at –


The Soviets found that strength is best gained and kept by primarily using a range of 70-85% of your 1RM.

My coach, Alfonso Duran, trained by the great Soviet Weightlifting World Champion and Weightlifting Team Coach, Alexey Medvedyev, found that this range is extended for everyday Joes and Janes to approximately 60-90% of your 1RM.

Who’s right?

What I’ve found in the last 15 years or so is that those ranges work even better if they’re based upon a 4RM or 5RM instead of a 1RM.

(Actually, when I was coaching at Rutgers back in the late 1990s, I based most of my athletes’ training cycles off a 4RM – or roughly 90% of a 1RM. Roughly.)

And that’s because the arousal levels / psyching up necessary to hit a 1RM, even if it’s a 1TM – a “Training Max” as we’ve further refined / defined our terminology – take too much out of most “every day” folks.

And as a result, the weights / sets / reps of the following cycle become too heavy for many to complete. 

Therefore, I prefer to use the 4RM or 5RM or even 10RM because even though they may require some “psyching up,” they’re not overly taxing on your nervous system, so you can perform the subsequent training cycle usually with no problem, especially if you have your frequency right.

Which is why you’ll see those RM’s as the foundation for most of my training programs.

The management and balancing of VOLUME, INTENSITY, and EFFORT create the “O________” – 


So, the PERFECT PROGRAM – or “ALMOST PERFECT” PROGRAM for you, {first_name},…

The one that produces OPTIMUM RESULTS – that “Sweet Spot” right in the middle, is the “Perfect Blend” of 


And it’s important to note that this “Perfect Blend” –

[1]  Changes depending on YOUR goals 

[2]  Changes based upon YOUR season of life

[3]  Varies from person to person, based upon their injury history / training background

Which begs the question this New Year:

What’s the “BEST PROGRAM” for you, {first_name}?

Well, it depends on YOUR goals and YOUR limitations (physical, lifestyle, or otherwise).


It also depends on where you find yourself on the 5 Level Kettlebell Training Pyramid. 

(Remember that, right?)

If not, I’ll include a link in the description below this video.

And I’ll also leave links to program ideas for you based on what we’ve discussed the last three days and the 5 Level Pyramid in the description.

If you found this video helpful, please …

Until next time…

Stay Strong my friend

LEVEL 1: Swing, Get Up, Goblet Squat


Simple and Sinister

LEVEL 2 (and 3)*: Clean, Press, Goblet Squat, Push Press, Jerk

Kettlebell Burn 2.0 / Kettlebell Burn: RELOADED

The King-Sized Killer


(*NOTE: These programs all start as LEVEL 2 programming, but also include LEVEL 3 power, power endurance, and strength endurance programming.) 

LEVEL 3: Single Kettlebell Power, Power Endurance, Strength Endurance Training 

Kettlebell Burn 2.0 / Kettlebell Burn: RELOADED

The King-Sized Killer

LEVEL 4: Double Kettlebell Training


(*NOTE: ‘THE GIANT’ is used as both a single AND double KB program.) Kettlebell STRONG!

  • – GOAL: Strength, conditioning, muscle-building, fat loss
  • – Nearly 4 hours of deep-dive video tutorials for all the major double kettlebell lifts
  • – Includes the 3-phase “Strong!” program, based upon the Double Clean + Press
  • –  Includes the brutal “One” Double Swing conditioning program
  • – Learn more here 

Kettlebell RMF* (Real Muscle-Building Fat-Burner)

(*NOTE: Kettlebell RMF starts as LEVEL 4 programming, but also includes LEVEL 5 programming.) Kettlebell Burn EXTREME!

LEVEL 5: Double Kettlebell Power, Power Endurance, Strength Endurance Training Kettlebell HARD!

All-In-One LEVELS 1 through 5: Kettlebell W.O.D. (Kettlebell Workout Of the Day)

  • – GOAL: Everything – Strength, extreme conditioning, muscle-building, fat loss
  • – 53 week long program (yes, just over one year)
  • – 5 days of workouts per week
  • – 15 minute workouts
  • – Starts with LEVEL 1 and progress over the year through all the levels
  • – Learn more here 

Wishing you stronger, healthier, happier 2024,


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