Editor's Note: Today we have an editorial/opinion piece from my good friend and coach – Master Kettlebell Instructor, Geoff Neupert. Geoff has a knack for taking the most complex subjects and making them very simple to understand (which, according to Einstein, is the definition of “genius”). So read the article below and see how you can apply the lessons learned by one of the best in the business. -Chris
The “Best” Kettlebell Progression?
by: Geoff Neupert, author “Kettlebell STRONG!”
“What's the ‘BEST' Kettlebell Progression?”
… for what, really is the answer, isn't it?
So let's assume you're looking for the best progression to use with your KBs to achieve all-round awesomeness –
You know, the stuff of legend:
- Extreme conditioning
- Brute grip strength (I'm sure this is what every woman secretly desires – “I wish I had more brute grip strength…”LOL)
- Legs and a lower back that won't quit
- Shoulders, upper back, and arms that are chiseled from granite – you know – that “hard” look
- And abs – well, we'd all settle for abs that aren't covered by a layer of fluff
So here's how you go about achieving that legendary all-around awesomeness.
1. Learn the basic single KB lifts.
- The Swing – The foundation for KB lifting
- The Get Up (not really a KB lift per say, but certainly useful to improve shoulder health, which is absolutely necessary for awesomeness)
- The Press – Teaches you how to move the weight overhead
- The Clean – Teaches you how to get the KBs into the rack
- The Goblet Squat – Again, not really a KB lift, but good for restoring mobility to the hips and restoring proper function of the pelvic floor
- The Snatch – The King of the single KB lifts – great for hacking off body fat, improving conditioning, and developing shoulder strength
Depending on how committed you are, and how high your mileage is, you should be able to do this from scratch in about a year.
Especially if you have a “practice” mindset – where you're training – practicing your KB lifts every day – 5 days a week – taking weekends off so you can spend time relaxing.
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They're not that hard once you have the single KB lifts down, especially if you have a great resource like “Kettlebell STRONG!” to teach you.
Focus on the Clean and the Push Press first.
Once you have the Push Press down, go for the Jerk.
Both the Push Press and the Jerk build phenomenal coordination, total body strength, and hack off the most stubborn body fat when combined with a sensible diet.
Sure, it goes without saying that you can use the Clean + Press.
And you should too.
Remember, simple to complex is a progression.
No dip in the knees – the Press – simple, before a dip in the knees – the Push Press – complex.
If you're starting from scratch – this will probably take you two years, realistically, adopting the “practice” mindset, and assuming you have a clean bill of health with no major limitations or pre-existing conditions, like a wonky shoulder or trick knee.
“Wow. That looks like a lot of work and looks like it'll take a long time.”
Yeah, you're right. It is a lot of work. And it will take some time.
And that's why most people look average (average in America is now “overweight”) and feel less than average (70% of Americans are on at least one medication according to a recent Mayo Clinic study).
Look, the next 1-2 years are going to pass whether you actively choose to participate in them or not.
Why not make them count for something?
Why not, as Vince Lombardi, the great NFL Hall of Fame coach said, “shoot for the stars and if you miss, at least hit the moon.”
“Shoot for the stars and if you miss, at least hit the moon.”
Why not create your own legend?
Why not become awesome?
Why not become the very best you can physically be?
The double KB exercises – especially the Clean + Push Press and the Clean + Jerk will help you create your
own legendary story.
P.S. What if you can't get “all” this done in 2 years?
No big deal. Just keep going.
I've been on a journey the last 4 years.
I have a vision in my head and I just won't quit.
Because I'm not average.
I don't want to be average.
And as long as I have anything to say and do with it, I never will be average.
So I just keep going until I hit my goals.
No matter how long it takes.
Never give up.
Always keep moving forward.
An inch at a time if necessary.
Speaking of moving forward –
If you're already proficient with the single KB lifts and want to go to the next level, learn the double KB lifts here.
Geoff Neupert, CSCS, Co-Founder of Original Strength
Geoff has worked in the health and fitness industry since 1993 in various roles: Personal Trainer, Division 1 Strength & Conditioning Coach, owner and operator of his own training facilities, author, and presenter. Geoff is the co-founder of Original Strength Systems, the world’s fastest, easiest, and simplest movement restoration system. He is a former Master Kettlebell Instructor with StrongFirst and the RKC and is considered one of the nation’s top kettlebell instructors and is well-known for his cutting-edge kettlebell training programs.
Geoff has authored several books and programs including Kettlebell Strong, Kettlebell Muscle, and Kettlebell Burn; and has co-authored Original Strength and Original Strength Performance. He is well-known for his cutting-edge program design and has worked with people from all walks of life: From grandmothers to professional athletes and everyone in-between.