The “CORE” of your Kettlebell workouts/training?

The “CORE” of your Kettlebell workouts/training?

“Honestly, most people just don’t care,” my wife responded.

I frustratingly think she’s right.

About what?

More on that in a minute…

First, in this video, thanks to a request by one of my good customers, Bruno, we’re covering the “5 Levels of Kettlebell Training” and more importantly, what that means for you getting results.

Last time we covered Level 1.

If you missed that, go back and check it out.

Today, we’re covering Level 2:

The Clean, Military Press, Snatch, Push Press, and Jerk.

What you don’t see here is that typically, I split up this level into 2A and 2B:

LEVEL 2A: Clean, Military Press, Snatch

LEVEL 2B: Push Press and Jerk

And that’s because 2B requires more coordination and mobility.

And those are usually only achieved through spending time in LEVEL 1 and 2A.

Let’s take a closer look:

The Clean:

The Clean is a delivery system to get the KB into the “rack” – the spot where your chest and shoulder meet.

The rack is the starting point and ending point for other exercises like the Military Press or the Single KB Front Squat (not shown in LEVEL 2, but technically a LEVEL 2 exercise).

It is also the starting and end point of the Push Press and the Jerk.

The Clean also works your arm(s), the backswing from the rack under the legs puts a powerful stretch on your biceps and forearm muscles. 

That by itself makes it a valuable exercise for some.

And the Clean teaches you how to accept and redirect force – something that’s incredibly valuable for combat and collision sports like BJJ or Football (American, not Soccer).

It also works and develops your upper back muscles (your traps), for that “power look.” 

The Military Press (MP):

A.k.a. Shoulder Press, is a powerful upper body developer. 

Great for building upper body muscle, it works your shoulders, upper chest, triceps, biceps, and even upper back.

Due to the asymmetrical loading (one side only), it’s also a powerful abdominal builder.

You learn how to “stay tight in the middle,” creating a stable platform upon which to hoist your KB over your head.

Your obliques, which are responsible for twisting/rotating, side bending, and resisting those movements, also get some “love” from the MP.

Pressing correctly also involves your legs and hips, as they are forced to contract isometrically (none of this goofy 1990s “bent knees” to take the pressure off your lower back nonsense).

The Snatch:

A.k.a. – The Tsar (King) of Kettlebell Lifts, is a great total body developer.

In the original research published in the 1980s by the Soviets, the Snatch was one of the exercises responsible for increased pull up numbers, faster run times, and better endurance.

However, in order to learn the Snatch correctly, you need:

<img draggable=” />  The proper hip drive which is built from the Swing

<img draggable=” />  Mastery of the trajectory of the KB – “taming the arc,” which comes from the Clean

<img draggable=” />  To secure the proper overhead lockout position, which is built from the Turkish Get Up

<img draggable=” />  The proper overhead KB path/trajectory which is built from the Military Press (and for some, the Push Press)

It really is the culmination of many skills.

Skipping the learning sequence results in injured shoulders, elbows, wrists, and lower backs.

The Push Press (PP):

The Push Press is like a cheat Military Press where you use your legs to get the weight overhead.

However, the reason I categorize it as a 2B exercise is that most people “let their middle go” – release the tension/pressure in their abdominals when doing this, which is a skill that is practiced and hopefully mastered BEFORE you get to the PP.

If you can’t stay “tight in the middle” during the PP, there’s a very good chance of hyperextending your lower back and getting hurt.

The Jerk:

The Jerk is arguably the most athletic of the KB lifts.

I’m not going to go into deep detail here, other than to say you better have great shoulder mobility and thoracic spine mobility to perform these.

Most don’t.

And most of the folks I’ve worked with don’t care to spend the time recapturing the lost mobility and learning the technique.

The “juice isn’t worth the squeeze” as they say.

Especially when you can get 90% of the Jerk’s benefits from the Push Press.

Still, it’s a skill and exercise worth mastering to some (like me).

I’ve taken the time to detail these LEVEL 2 lifts because for most, this will make up the core of your kettlebell work for your first year or more of training with KBs.

Don’t let that discourage you as you look up the pyramid to what some perceive as the more “sexy” double kettlebell lifts.

The reason why is simple:

You can forge a powerful physique with “just” these single KB lifts.

Think about how your body and your abilities would change if you could check off the following boxes:

<img draggable=” />  Turkish Get Up with ½ your bodyweight – for multiple sets

<img draggable=” />  1-Hand Swings with ½ your bodyweight for 10 sets of 10 reps in one training session

<img draggable=” />  Snatching ⅓ of your bodyweight for 10 sets of 10 reps (26-33% of bodyweight is the “power” zone)

<img draggable=” />  Military Press ½ your bodyweight on each arm

<img draggable=” />  Clean + Press ⅓ your bodyweight on each arm for up to 100 reps in a training session

<img draggable=” />  Clean + Push Press ½ your bodyweight on each arm for up to 100 reps in a training session 

… Are just some ideas to get your imagination going.

If you can check off those boxes, you’ll have the skill and foundation for the more advanced double KB work in LEVEL 4.

LEVEL 2 Programming:

In LEVEL 2, we’re focused on building strength, so reps will be low-ish.

Grinds (MP): 1-5 reps per set.

Ballistics (Clean, Snatch, PP, Jerk): Up to 10 reps per set.

Unfortunately, most people, like my wife said, don’t care about being this systematic.

They don’t care about learning proper kettlebell technique and doing things right.

They just want a “good workout” – something that makes them sweat, breathe hard, and wake up sore the next morning.

They’re in it for the short-term…

The “rat in a cage punching the button” dopamine hit.

Which is why people often say things like, 

“Oh, I tried those kettlebells and I got hurt.”

LIke it was the kettlebell’s fault?!

That’s like saying, “Oh, I tried that driving thing and I got in an accident. Not for me.”

Yeah, but you were texting and driving!

But I digress.

As far as programs go, I recommend the most popular single KB program I ever wrote: 

Kettlebell Burn 2.0.

It’s a comprehensive program for getting leaner and stronger, while simultaneously improving your conditioning.

It works so well that many have used to prepare for – and pass – their level 1 kettlebell certifications.

You can check it out here.

It also uses LEVEL 3 programming which we’ll cover more next time.

Stay Strong,


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