How To Restart Kettlebell Training After Taking Time Off

For some reason, I thought I was coming home in April…

It is, of course, April 12th, but with the all the snow and the sub-zero temperatures going on right now in Toronto, we’ve come home to the second coming of winter.

After 2 months in Costa Rica and then immediately getting on a plane to Los Angeles the day after to hang with my friend & mentor Jason Ferruggia and teach an Original Strength workshop, I’m back in the city totally confused.

But that’s neither here nor there.

And I’m not complaining because, afterall, we missed the bulk of winter and got to spend 2 months in a beach town soaking up the sun, surfing and living the Pura Vida life.

Now that we’re home, we understand how lucky we are and are coming home with a more relaxed attitude and an outlook of positivity and a stress-free lifestyle that we adopted during our time abroad.

I was speaking to a friend last week and she doesn’t think it’s going to last…

…my Zen-like, chilled out demeanour.

“I give you 2 weeks”, she said, “until the stress and pace of the city catches up to you and you get back to being ‘too busy’ and stressed out like the rest of us”.

So with that, I’m in a constant battle to stay focused on my health and managing my stress levels – which haven’t picked up at all since we’ve been back.

Speaking of which…

I haven’t picked up a kettlebell in almost 3 months either.

(I’m not counting the set of 16kg presses to get a pump that I did in Gold’s Gym in Venice with Jay Ferruggia a couple of weeks ago).

But I’ve been asked to assist at the first Toronto StrongFirst Level 2 Certification in September and in order to do that, I have to be able to perform all my Level 2 skills with ease.

That means…

  • Do a windmill with 24kg on each side.
  • Perform sets of 5 double jerks and double push presses with 32kgs.
  • Perform 5 double snatches with 24kgs.
  • Press 1/2 my bodyweight with one arm……which right now is the 40kg kettlebell (if I can get my weight down to 168, I can press the 36kg… I’m 171 right now.)
  • And do a bent press with the 40kg as well.
  • Plus the snatch test and all the Level 1 skills.

So there’s a lot of work to do over the next few months leading up to the cert.

Getting back into it, I’ve hired my good friend Ric Garcia to be my coach and to help me develop a plan to get me stronger using a combination of Original Strength & Kettlebell Training.

But not having picked up a kettlebell in 3 months, the important thing is to NOT overdo things.

It’s tempting to jump right back into it… but especially as we age, we need to ease our way back in and re-establish a good foundation.

So what’s the best way to re-introduce yourself to KBs after a few months off?

You do the 2 exercises that cover ALL the fundamental movement patters – push, pull, squat, lunge & twist…

The 2 exercises, that if done consistently, will get you strong, stable and explosive…

The 2 exercises that every athlete should do that will cover all their bases for the strength & conditioning needs…

I am, of course, talking about swings & get-ups.

Those of you familiar with hardstyle kettlebell lingo will know this as “The Program Minimum”…

…or more recently “The Simple & Sinister Protocol”.

You do your swings first – every minute on the minute for 10 minutes gradually building up the volume as the weeks go by…

Then you do your get-ups – 10 of them total, 5 per side alternating.

In the end, your goal is to make your total training time 20 minutes.

Ten minutes of swings, 10 total get-ups in 10 minutes.


And Sinister.

Start with your snatch size KB (or whichever kettlebell you can handle).

When you’re able to get to the 10-10 bench mark, move to the next size up.

Imagine being able to do that with a 32kg…

Or even the BEAST (48kg).

How strong would you be?

How lean would you be?

It doesn’t take a bunch of fancy exercises or sophisticated rep or set schemes.

Just hard work, patience and a big picture outlook.

Because life is complicated enough…

…so why make your training complicated too?

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