Kettlebell Training Everyday – Part 2

It was a long weekend up here in Canada, so we took the kids to the beach on Sunday to watch the sunset.  It was beautiful.

On the 3 hour drive home, I got to spend a lot of time thinking – since everyone was asleep.  And one of the thoughts that came into mind was how I could train with kettlebells everyday, but make it incredibly simple.  Not having to worry about intensity or measuring volume or anything like that.

I’ve always been an advocate of taking one FULL DAY OFF where you don’t do anything other than rest and recharge, so that leaves 6 days of training.

And with 6 days and 6 foundational kettlebell exercises, you’ve got yourself a program.

The major advantage of having to do only one kettlebell exercise per day is the FOCUS element.  You can concentrate fully on what needs to be done, how tight your form is and how to master every aspect of that exercise.

Remember, it’s about PRACTICE and not TRAINING.

The only thing that I would add is some upper back/ pulling work for posture and because I’m a HUGE proponent of training the back for both performance and aesthetics.

You’ve got to remember that kettlebell exercises can be divided into both BALLISTIC and GRINDING exercises – ballistic being explosive and grinding being more "strength" based.

So if we assume that we’d be training from Monday to Saturday and taking Sunday OFF, I would split my routine up like this…

Monday – Military Press & a Rowing variation

I’m a big fan of combining overhead pressing with rows.  I think that the 2 movements compliment each other very well and I personally have gone pain-free in my shoulders for 4 years now thanks to doing lots of rows.  For rowing exercises I like doing bodyweight rows on rings, but my favourite rows right now are Kroc Rows.  This involves taking my 36kg kettlebell and doing as many reps as I possibly can in one set.  This works my grip, my biceps, and my upper back like nothing else.  Check out the video below and watch Matt Kroc (the originator, I suppose) do a set of 25 with a 225lb dumbbell…

 

 For the Military Press, depending on how heavy of kettlebells you have access to, I would aim for multiple sets of 5 reps per arm.  For the rows, I would do sets of 10-12 in between each set of Military Presses and then once you’ve done all your supersets, I’d rest and do 1 all out set of Krocs with as much weight as you can handle.  Remember, especially with the Kroc Rows, your goal would be to beat your previous number in the next workout.

Tuesday – Swing

The swing is a great "break" (and I use that term lightly) from the rigors of doing some like Kroc Rows.  True that the swing is a grip intensive exercise – but what kettlebell exercise isn’t? – but swinging on your 2nd day and as your first ballistic day is great for 2 reasons…

1. It will get a lot of blood into the potentially sore and tired muscles you worked yesterday – your upper back and shoulders and

2. It will allow you to really dial in your technique and prepare for the more technically demanding ballistic exercises to come – the clean and snatch.  Getting that hip snap and rooting is critical in cleaning and snatching your kettlebell with proper form and it’s best to clean that up and get it in-tune sooner than later.

I like doing swings for lots of reps, so I would aim to try to do 100 in a few sets as possible.  Once you master that – ie. once you can do 100 without stopping – start adding reps in increments of 10-15 per workout.

Tuesday will be a short, but intense, workout.

=>Get More Short and Intense Workouts HERE

Wednesday – Get Up

The Get Up is probably the most technically demanding of all kettlebell exercises and it’s the one that works your entire body the hardest.  That’s why it isn’t paired up with any other exercise.  It can also get very cardio intensive if you do enough of them and you use a challenging weight.

The Get Up is the one exercise that I am adamant that you PRACTICE.  Really focus on doing each rep and element of the exercise perfectly and with control and you’ll get a great workout.

I would just alternate singles of the get up and do as many as I can within a specific time period – say 20 or 30 minutes.

Thursday – Clean

I love this exercise, especially with double Kettlebells.  There’s no better kettlebell exercise for total athletic development than double KB cleans.  

My personal clean workout is simple…

Double 24kg KBs.  50 Cleans in a Row.  No Stopping.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

My goal is to get to 100 straight.

Friday – Squat & Chin-Up

Squatting is the most primal of any exercise out there and depending on your technique and how much KB weight you have access to, you can do them for high reps.  

I, however, prefer to use squatting as a mobility exercise when I do them "Goblet" style and really focus on "prying" my hips open at the bottom of the movement.  I’ll do 5 reps making sure that I’m getting nice and low and that my chest stays high and my back stays straight.

In contrast, I like to do lots of chin-ups.  Being able to do 20 almost-dead-hang chin-ups is like wearing a badge of honor and I pride myself on being able to do that.  

For chin-ups I like to keep things pretty simple as well…40 reps in as few sets as possible, NEVER going to fatigue in any of the sets.

Saturday – Snatch

Saturday is the day that I like to get a little crazy and just go all out.  I do this because I know it’s the last day of the training week and because I know that I get rewarded with a day off the next day.

These days I’m doing VO2 Max training with my 16kg kettlebell.  But in the past, I’ve gone back and have attempted to do the RKC snatch test with the 24kg and have done sets of triples with the 32 and 36kg.

I’ll get creative on "Snatch" day and make sure that I track my progress.

 

So based on the 6 Foundational Kettlebell Exercises, that’s how I would program if I was to train everyday.

Would you do anything different?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Chris Lopez, RKC

15 Comments

  • Reply August 2, 2011

    Jonathan

    Chris, that looks like a good plan. I like the staggering of the ballistic and grinding exercises. What clean workout would you suggest for someone without double kettlebells (but one of everything from 2-32Kg)? Also, if you only wanted to work out 5 days, not 6, which day would you cut out? Thanks!

  • Reply August 2, 2011

    Dave Mac

    I would add a couple of warm up sets of a press-up variation to every other workout, just to aid shoulder stability and give the chest muscles something to do. I’d also add a dead lift variation, a few sets of single straight leg Double KB dead lifts before you start on the TGUs on Wednesday would make for a beast of a total body workout.

    Other than that its pretty solid, I’d just say that its important to up the weight when you feel able to do so, otherwise you begin to lose out on some of the benefits of the big compound exercises. Nice post, keep it up.

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Thanks, Dave and that’s great insight. I’ll consider those reccomendations when I’m writing a new program!

      Chris

  • Reply August 2, 2011

    pradeep

    Hi,
    can we do kettlebell worl outs while suffering from tennis elbow? kindly give your opinions.
    Regards
    Pradeep

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Hi Pradeep, I think it all depends on the exercises you do and what feels good and what doesn’t. It may be a matter of trial and error for you. I may avoid cleans & snatches, but swings should be fine – but again, trial and error.

  • Reply August 2, 2011

    Derek

    I’m stoked to see that the 5day week I set up using your power sets is ver similar. I go Sunday: press, rows Monday: swings/ squat, Wed: easy run/cycle or rest Thursday: clean, squat, Friday: Snatches, Saturday: long run/cycle. How does this look. I also do push ups with every workout doing 10-15 between every KB set. I just like them, is that a good idea or should I gone them a rest sometimes? I’ll probably do this for four weeks then start getting ready for 10k running season with more runs after it cools some.

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      The program looks great, Derek. I think maybe I would add one uni-lateral leg exercise – it may help you with your running – like a lunge, pistol or get up. Other than that, the plan looks great! Good luck this running season! -Chris

  • Reply August 2, 2011

    gina

    Hey Chris, this work-out seems like a good one, although I’m still in the beginner stage of kettle- bell work-outs, I’ve never had such an intense work-out out in the short amount of time, so I thank-you for your program and for finding it. Thanks

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      No problem, Gina. I’m glad you’re seeing the benefit of kettlebell training! If there’s anything that I can help you with at all, please don’t hesitate to let me know. -Chris

  • Reply August 2, 2011

    Anita

    Hi Chris, Looks good to me to. I prefer to just concentrate on 1-2 exercises myself as I am a runner so don’t want to dedicate more than 1/2 hour to kettlebells, but wish to get more definition (also started lifting) – look forward to your e-mails!

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Thanks, Anita. I like the simplicity of 1 or 2 exercises per workout as well. It allows me to work harder knowing that I just have to focus on 1 or 2 movements.

  • Reply August 2, 2011

    Chris

    I think its a nice routine except one thing im used to is actually doing to workouts to work on two different areas of muscles for example if i worked out chest muscles I would probably add a biced workout for balance and i think everyday a small routine of leg squats is important to help keep the body balanced. I have been told this is critical in men as we workout our legs we release testoterone which helps the body muscles grow. Now that may not be true but i always did a leg routine in all my workouts and was very fit up until my illness which took me out of the training routine for a few years. I am still struggling with my health but was able to do you section A routine with minimal struggling.

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Hey Chris,

      That’s great and good luck on your journey back to optimal health. If there’s anything that I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

      As far as your squat question is concerned, I think that doing squats is essential as well. However, I think it’s important to add resistance to them. That’s why I love double-KB front squats. The hormonal benefits of a tough squat workout are through the roof. That said, bodyweight squats everyday are great for mobility and overall conditioning, but I’d suggest you try to get in one or 2 loaded squat workouts per week.

      Chris

  • Reply August 2, 2011

    Raymond-ZenMyFitness

    Thanks Chris, Looks like an awesome functional routine you have listed which I’ll adopt straight away.
    I don’t access to a large range of Kbs so I’ll probably have to swap some with DBs.
    Thanks
    Raymond

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Chris Lopez, RKC

      Hey Raymond, Great to hear from you again. How are things going over at zenmyfitness.com? Yes, it’s too bad some gym don’t carry wide array of KBs, but I’m sure that’s about to change. Which exercises would you have to sub in dumbbells for?

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