The TOUGHEST and most VALUABLE Kettlebell workouts you’ve NEVER done?

The TOUGHEST and most VALUABLE KB workouts you’ve NEVER done?

There are several “brutal” kettlebell workouts that stand out in my head.

<img decoding=” />  The first time I swung a 32kg – 20 reps, the now “American” Swing – where the kettlebell finishes up over your head

This felt like I’d been punched in the stomach and my lungs had been turned inside out and yanked out of my body. It was similar to wrestling practice.

<img decoding=” />  Training for the old RKC Snatch Test (74 reps non-stop with a 24kg) – worked up to multiple sets of 15+15 (15 reps each hand, no rest) using a 32kg

These workouts made my heart pound in my ears.

<img decoding=” />  That time when I Clean + Jerked a pair of 32s for 20 reps, non-stop, on a bet from an old friend

I had to lie on the floor and couldn’t catch my breath for about 8 minutes. I continued sweating for hours after.

What do these three workouts have in common?

They all are examples of power-endurance workouts.

The first two are examples of LEVEL 3 workouts.

The last is an example of a LEVEL 5 workout.

And all three are examples of something you have to train toward.

As a reminder, here’s the 5 Levels of Kettlebell Training Pyramid:

LEVEL 3 workouts and programs train you for the following:

<img decoding=” />  Produce more power (work) – which can make you stronger, more explosive, and even build more lean muscle mass

<img decoding=” />  Build strength-endurance – the concept of “all day strong,” like a bricklayer, or farmhand, which of course means you have all-day energy and never get tired

<img decoding=” />  Develop power-endurance – the ability to produce high levels of power/work over a set period of time, or set periods of time

<img decoding=” />  Improve your health – they make you more glucose tolerant and insulin sensitive (fights off Type 2 Diabetes), and build a stronger, healthier, heart and cardiovascular system, so you fight off heart disease and live longer, in a younger body

<img decoding=” /> Reforge your physique – they burn fat, and build muscle, without pumping out multiple reps of multiple exercises for each bodypart or spending hours on a treadmill in the “fat-burning zone” 

This is the REAL WORLD functionality of kettlebell training – where the rubber meets the road.

These types of training programs make you EVERYDAY STRONG.

This is the type of strength that you can use in real world, daily activities, as opposed to say, training for powerlifting exclusively.

(TRUE STORY: I once spent an afternoon training a world champion powerlifter. He could barely get up and down off the floor without assistance from a stationary object, like the power rack.)

And this type of programming prepares you to fully live out an active, healthy, even athletic lifestyle, including:

<img decoding=” />  Hiking in the Rocky Mountains

<img decoding=” />  Mountain biking

<img decoding=” />  Trail running

<img decoding=” />  Grappling sports like BJJ

<img decoding=” />  Digging out from under the most recent monster snowstorm

<img decoding=” />  Being the “go-to-guy” who gets called when a buddy needs some help moving stuff

<img decoding=” />  Spending an afternoon in the pool tossing the kids or grandkids around

… all without “paying the price” the next day of overly-sore muscles, or achy joints, or days of exhaustion.

And, LEVEL 3 training programs build your capacity and resilience to tolerate the tougher LEVEL 4 exercises and training programs.

Here are several different examples of LEVEL 3 programs:

<img decoding=” />  Training OTM (On The Minute) with low(er) reps

Example Plan: A+A Plans – Uses repeated sets of power exercises to build your anaerobic and aerobic system and thus your overall strength & endurance / work capacity

<img decoding=” />  Simple to Complex – Using lower reps to medium reps and/or single exercises to compound exercises (Clean → Clean + Press → Clean + Press + Squat)

Example Plan: Kettlebell Burn 2.0 / RELOADED – Uses both LEVEL 2 & 3 programming through power and strength exercises to simultaneously rip off body fat, build strength, and endurance, (many report putting on muscle at the same time) and it’s one of my all-time favorites 

<img decoding=” />  High Power Repeats or Serial Repeats: 90%+ effort with high speed eccentrics

Example Programming: The Quick & The Dead – Although this is a LEVEL 3 plan, it works best for those who are already strong, not people who are new to using kettlebells and strength training in general 

<img decoding=” />  Low to Medium reps, high power, medium to heavy loads, using combo exercises for multiple repeats: 

Example Plan: ‘THE GIANT’ – Quickly becoming a classic, this program uses the Clean + Press to build strength, muscle, endurance, and strip of fat; BJJ guys really love these programs 

<img decoding=” />  Minimalism at its finest: Single exercise, heavy load, high power variable length repeats with increasingly longer sets

Example PlanThe King Sized Killer – A 3-phase “Snatch only” program that builds wicked power-endurance; perfect for the those who like minimalism and are time-crunched 

At the end of the day, I think everyone should spend a season or two using LEVEL 3 workouts, whether to prepare for LEVEL 4 or to use “same but different” training for a change of pace.

If you have any questions about the best type of KB programming for you, hit “reply” and I’ll get back to you in about 24-72 hours, depending on how stacked my inbox is.

Stay Strong,


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