What is “Holy Grail” KB training?

What is “Holy Grail” KB training?

One of the dumbest movies I’ve ever seen was Monty Python’s Quest For the Holy Grail.

It was stupid to watch, but funny to talk about after the fact. 

My college roommates and I memorized large parts of the script, which was the primary reason for the internet in the mid-1990s… and laughed hysterically for hours mimicking the main characters.

“I told them we already got one.” 


The real Holy Grail, however, part of the Legend of King Arthur, was the cup – the chalice used to catch the blood of Christ at the Crucifixion.

As a result, it supposedly held mystical powers, granting eternal youth and happiness.

We tend to look for workouts / workout programs – especially inside the “Kettlebell World” that are like the Holy Grail –

They “do it all” –

[+]  Make you strong like ancient Men of Renown

[+]  Peel the fat from your body, revealing rock hard, muscle definition, like a Greek god statue

[+]  Grant you ‘android-like’ work capacity, so you can run, ruck, race, and bike nearly forever barely breaking a sweat or getting out of breath

But like the Holy Grail, these programs are stuff of legend.

Or are they?

Before I answer that question, here’s another one:

What’s the difference between those who experience massive success using kettlebells and those who don’t?

I’d say it’s 3 things:

[1]  The ability to follow directions

[2]  Stick-to-it-tiveness – the ability to follow through, persevere

[3]  The program design itself

The first one I can’t help you with. That’s binary. 

Do it, or don’t.

The second we’ve discussed a lot lately.

And the third?

This is what makes a “Holy Grail” KB program a “Holy Grail” program.

Notice how I said “A” not “THE.”

And that’s because it changes from person to person at different times in his or her life, depending on his/her circumstances.

Read that last sentence again.

Because it’s critical you get that concept.

Your “Holy Grail” KB program will most likely change over the course of your life.

Here are some examples of what I mean: 

Example #1:

 ‘THE GIANT’ is a single or double Clean + Press program that’s becoming – dare I say it – legendary. (It has the largest thread of all time on the StrongFirst forum) but it doesn’t “work” for everyone.

Guys report packing on muscle on their upper bodies and stripping fat from their waists in near-record time. 

Many also report nearly doubling their 5RM or 10RMs on the Clean +Press (with some reporting more).

Yet, it’s not for everyone.

Just last week I got an email from a gentleman who had a pre-existing shoulder condition who used ‘THE GIANT.’ The Presses caused him pain, he pushed through anyway, he got worse, and eventually he had to stop.

Not surprisingly, he didn’t get the results he was looking for because active pain increases systemic inflammation which research has shown causes muscle loss and fat gain.

As a result, he was disappointed that he could “only” do TGUs, Goblet Squats, and Swings. 

But he was shocked that he’d lost ¾ of an inch off his waist.

What happened?

He stopped pushing into pain and started reversing the inflammatory response.

And as a result, the things that were supposed to happen, actually happened – he started losing fat from his waist.

Example #2: 

Timed rest periods & fixed sets and reps vs. Autoregulation

When I first started lifting, I never timed my rests. I did my next set either when I felt ready, or when my training partner was done with his set.

I made exceptional gains.

Then I started timing my rest periods – 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 90 seconds, 60 seconds… between sets.

Gains were ok.

Then I accumulated LOTS of injuries, partially because I got it stuck in my head that a 2-minute rest was “enough” based upon a misinterpretation of my first weightlifting coach’s ideas on rest.


I primarily use autoregulation – resting between sets and doing as many sets as I like based upon qualitative factors – fatigue, heart rate, physiologic state, etc.

Many others over 35, 45, and into their 50s and 60s have found the same thing:

Autoregulation of a training program produces better results than programs with strict sets, reps, and rest periods.  

Example 3: 

45 to 60 minute workouts vs. 20 to 30 minute workouts

When I didn’t have kids, 45 to 60 minute training sessions were common. 

Then we had my son and my training sessions dropped to 20 to 30 minutes due to increased stress and lack of sleep – a deadly combo against ‘Da Gainz.’

Shockingly, I felt very much refreshed after the shorter workouts.

That empowered me to put more effort and more focus into each training session.

And that of course led to more of ‘Da Gainz’ than I ever expected.

Imagine that: Less time, more results.

It’s something that most of us can’t wrap our heads around because we’ve been brainwashed by the Mainstream Fitness Media – bodybuilding mags, etc.

Point being, there are times when you not only want, but need the longer training sessions. But usually, those times are pre-kids, late teenage years, and once the nest is empty.

For the 15 or so years in between, many, if not most of us have found the shorter workouts are more productive because we can recover from them.

So look, if you’re looking for the “Holy Grail” of KB workout programs, the closest thing I can offer you, especially if you’re a busy dad, want the “usual” –

[+]  Stronger, more muscular upper body so you don’t look like the Pilsbury Dough Boy with your shirt off (and you actually look like you work out when your shirts are on)… 

[+]  Less body fat – especially in the stomach, so you don’t look like you’re carrying a spare tire around your middle…

[+]  More energy so you’re not sucking wind after getting to the top of the stairs and you can chase your kids around the backyard or park without feeling like you need to call 9-1-1 because you’re not sure if you’re having a heart attack or not…

Then I suggest keeping it simple:

Hop over here and check out my new training app of ‘THE GIANT’ which just makes life so much easier for you.

All you have to do is –

[1]  Open the app

[2]  Follow the workout directions

[3]  Do the workout

… And the app does all the rest for you, including tracking and logging all your data, in real time, so you don’t have to worry about anything, and more.

Check it out here.


Stay Strong,


P.S. As always, if you just purchased a program from me, please FINISH it, and then send me your results before you purchase anything else from me. (Unless of course you need help with your technique or rehabbing an injury or issue… Then go here for help.)


Credit: “Monty Python’s Quest For the Holy Grail,” Python (Monty) Pictures, 1975.

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