Working Class Fitness: A Fresh Look at Old School Kettlebell Training

January 20, 2013
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Working Class Fitness LogoKettlebells are a very popular tool that many people now like to integrate into their training. While not the proverbial “end-all, be-all” to working out, they can definitely be a very valuable addition to your workout if you have access to them.

However, many people are under the wrong impression on how one should progress with their kettlebell workouts.

Too many are under the impression that you need a wide variety of different sizes of kettlebells, and need to be able to progress in an incremental fashion with them on an individual exercise – much like you would with dumbbells or a barbell.  But this isn’t the case, and really, isn’t how kettlebells were originally intended to be used.

Those that are relatively new to kettlebells might not realize or remember this, but back when kettlebells started to become re-popularized in America, there were only 3 sizes available – 16kg, 24kg, and 32kg.  Now there are a ton of different sizes – not unlike a dumbbell rack.

As such, many trainers treat kettlebell programs as if kettlebells *were* dumbbells, and everybody has access to various different kettlebells.  While this might be true for some that go to a kettlebell studio or a gym that is stocked with kettlebells, not everybody who buys their own has a bunch of them lying around.

So the question then becomes how can you progress if you only have (or were going to buy) a couple kettlebells?  Simple – do it like they did back in the (kinda) old days… back when kettlebell training first started becoming popular in America again.

First, don’t worry about making small jumps from one kettlebell to the next – the “original” kettlebell sizes were 8kg (a little more than 17 pounds) apart.  That meant you’d stick with one weight for quite a long time.  So instead of progressing on one exercise and changing the weight (going from lighter to heavier), you progress on one weight, changing the exercises (going from easier to harder).

For instance, say you want to Press a 32kg kettlebell, but can only Press a 24kg ‘bell. No problem – start off with Jerks. When you get good at that, start doing Push Presses. When the Push Presses become easy, you can start playing with strict Presses.

Or say you wanted to do Snatches. Start off with 2-hand Swings. Then move on to 1-hand Swings. Then you could do Cleans. Then do High Pulls. Once you’re good at that, you’re probably ready to start doing Snatches.

This will allow you to progress through several progressively harder movements that all target the same body parts and movement patterns, yet won’t require you to spend hundreds of dollars on a ton of different kettlebells.

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Before you go to the gym again, you owe it to yourself to find out what kind of MMA workout pro fighters, boxers, recreational MMAists, or just the “regular guy” who wants to be in shape like his favorite fighter *should* be doing.  (HINT – it’s not the crap you see in the magazines.)  To discover the truth, hit up Wiggy at www.workingclassfitness.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/matt.wiggy.wiggins.

(Physical exercise can sometimes lead to injury. WorkingClassFitness.com and MMAWeekly.com are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or fitness advice. Please consult a physician before starting any exercise program, and never substitute the information on this site for any professional medical advice or treatment you may receive or the assistance of a fitness professional.)

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