How to Combine KB Training with “Regular” Weight Training

I received a great question over email yesterday about how someone, who has access to the gym and won’t give up their conventional weight training, can incorporate kettlebell training into their routine.

So instead of just answering the question outright, I’ll show you how I’ve constructed my winter training programs (because that’s when I use "conventional" weight training).

This type of program can be considered a weight training/KB training hybrid that I’ve found is incredibly effective and something that I use both on myself and on my clients.

In fact, I have one client on a program designed using this template who’s put on almost 20lbs of muscle (and he’s 45!) and has become freakishly strong in comparison to where he was at when we started.

First, here’s a look into my 3-days-per-week barbell/KB hybrid program that I just finished in April…

 

Day 1 – Monday

1) Box Jumps (3 x 5)

2) Squat (3 x 3-5)

3a) Chin-Ups (3 x AMRAP)

3b) Pistol (3 x AMRAP)

4) 2-Arm KB Swings x 100 (in as few sets as possible)

 

Day 2 – Wednesday

1) Med Ball Slams (3 x 5)

2) Military Press (3 x 5-8)

3a) KB Rows (3 x AMRAP using either a 32kg or 36kg KB)

3b) Dips (3 x AMRAP)

3) KB Snatch (AMRAP in 5-8 minutes)

 

Day 3 – Friday

1) Power Clean (3 x 3-5)

2) Deadlift (3 x 3-5)

3a) TGUs (3 x 5)

3b) GHRs (3 x AMRAP)

4) Bodyweight Circuit, Burpees, Tabata or KB Swings

 

The Breakdown

First, I’ll always start off with foam rolling and then static stretching my hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and pecs. 

Then I’ll do some glute & abdominal activation exercises like band walks and various planks & bridges, followed by a thorough dynamic warm-up.

Then to start off the workout I’ll do something explosive (to fire up my CNS) and help with power production.  I’ve been obsessed with my vertical jump since highschool (in my volleyball playing days the highest they measured me was 38"), so on my squat day I’ll start off doing some type of plyometric – box jumps, depth jumps or hurdle jumps. On my dead lift day I’ll do either power cleans or hang cleans.

****One note on plyos – and I’m teaching this to my 12 year old daughter right now – LEARN HOW TO LAND FIRST. The majority of injuries to athletes occur during some kind of awkward landing (and usually on one leg), so if you’re going to do plyometrics or any type of jump training, make sure you know how to land – both on 2 legs and on one. Also, if you’re new to training, focus on getting STRONG before you even attempt plyometrics. If you look at the power equation (FORCE x Acceleration), then getting stronger will naturally increase your power output.  I found this out in highschool when my volleyball coach just made me squat without doing any plyos. I went from barely touching the rim to standing underneath it and jumping up and hanging on it.*****

Then, I’d go to my major lift for strength usually working up to 3-5 reps of as much weight as I can handle.  For my upper body strength day I’ll do military presses. I’ve renounced the bench press as my major upper body because 

1) it doesn’t help me in any way in my life (I have never had an experience in my life where I’ve been lying down and have had to life something off my chest) and

2) I’ve got a bad right shoulder that gets put into awkward positions when I bench so I’ve just focused on doing push-ups for my horizontal pressing exercises.

Then I’ll follow with a combination of KB exercises and bodyweight exercises for assistance.  This is where I’ll start to get creative. I’ll use rings, blast straps, maybe a stability ball for hamstring curls or ab exercises. When it comes to assistance work I’ll do whatever I feel like for that day (for the most part) but still try to challenge myself.

And finally, I’ll finish the workout doing some type of high-rep KB finisher or bodyweight circuit. Again, creativity reigns supreme with this, although I have a tendency to be boring with this part and just stick to KB swings or snatches (by "bread & butter" finishers).

Some Important Notes:

-make sure you record everything (from your major lifts to the finisher and everything in between)

-you have to record your workouts because you need to know where you were and where you currently are (that means break records each and every time out)

-on 3 of your off days do something active for at least 30 minutes – play pick-up basketball, take the dog for a walk, go for a bike ride, snowboarding or skiing, yoga

-take ONE FULL DAY OFF for recovery

-make sure that you’re eating real food

-get 8-9 hours of sleep

-manage your stress levels by doing some deep breathing or meditation

If I could, I’d train like this year round.  The only problem is that I can’t stand being inside when the weather’s great so I’ll opt for Kettlebell & Bodyweight Training outside for 5-6 months out of the year.

So, until October rolls around I’ll be working on my tan, while lifting Kettlebells.

-Chris

 

21 Comments

  • Reply July 8, 2010

    Body Workout 101

    How to Combine KB Training with ?Regular? Weight Training ……

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  • […] H&#959w t&#959 Combine KB Training w&#1110th “Regular” Weight Training … […]

  • Reply July 8, 2010

    Jody

    What are TGU’s

  • […] H&#959w t&#959 Combine KB Training w&#1110th “Regular” Weight Training … […]

  • Reply July 9, 2010

    Pamela

    what are GHR’s

  • Hi Pamela

    GHRs are “glute-ham raises”. I don’t think you’ll find a better bodyweight exercise for your butt, hamstrings and low back. You should definitely try getting these into your routine.

    Chris

  • Reply July 9, 2010

    Rob

    I tend to alternate between traditional barbell workouts and kettlebell workouts. Although I do find that if I’m going heavy with squats and deads then I’m pretty much done for. So usually get kettlebell training in first. Great article BTW

  • Reply July 9, 2010

    victoria boer

    Thanks a lot buddie im kind of enlighted about this combinations.

  • Reply July 9, 2010

    Jeanne Herbert

    Can you describe how to execute a GHR? Thanks!

    • Hi Jeanne

      I think a video would be more appropriate as there are different variations of the exercise. I’ll film one this week and make sure to post it.

      Chris

  • Reply July 10, 2010

    Cindy

    What’s AMRAP?

    • Hi Cindy

      “AMRAP” means “As Many Reps As Possible”.

      sorry I wasn’t more clear in the description.

      -chris

  • […] H&#959w t&#959 Combine KB Training w&#1110th “Regular” Weight Training … […]

  • Reply July 13, 2010

    Erik

    I was able to google the TGU and GHR, even found some videos online. Tried to perform a GHR and, well….it didn’t happen. I’m in okay shape, so when you post your video, can you please add some tips to help perform the lift? I’d appreciate it very much. Thanks!

  • […] How to Combine KB Training with “Regular” Weight Training … […]

  • Reply July 18, 2011

    Mike

    Very useful info as always

    Best wishes

    Mike

  • Reply July 18, 2011

    Marci

    This is an awesome post! Thanks for being openminded to include it. So many just say “no, this way is the ONLY way and you’re dumb if you don’t do it.” I appreciate your wisdom and easy to understand posts. Thanks!

  • Reply July 19, 2011

    Zsuzsa

    Hi Chris! Awesome post! Very-very useful informations! It’s very nice to you, to share it. This will be challenge me, but I try. :D I do functional, bodyweight training, but also do KB workouts. I really like your ‘Rozanne Workout’ :)(I named one of your fat loss workout for your wife, and I combine it sometimes with my training – 15 Sw, 5 pu, 15 sw, 5 goblet squat… ) Thanks!

  • Reply February 15, 2012

    Jeff Clark

    Appreciate any heavy kettle bell info any kettle bell info at all !!!!!
    I seem to actually enjoy kettle bells which is first time in my life I have ever enjoyed working out , imagine that !!!!!!!

  • Reply November 10, 2014

    James Kopniske

    Chris

    New to your site and love the approach. This sounds like a great winter workout approach!

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