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The Kettlebell Solution For Size And Strength

Can you get bigger and stronger with kettlebells?

Yes, if you use heavy kettlebells and know what exercises to do. I started training with kettlebells over three years ago and was always interested in lifting heavy kettlebells for strength and power. Doing tons of reps with light kettlebells never appealed to me. While my goal was not to get bigger, it happened as a side effect of hard training with heavy kettlebells.

While I am not giving any of the Venice Beach Bodybuilders any competition (Not one of my goals and I doubt that it is one of yours), I have shown clearly that you can build a strong, muscular, and flexible physique with kettlebells. When I first started lifting kettlebells, I could barely press two 70lb kettlebells three times. Now, I can press two 88lb kettlebells five times at a bodyweight of 195lbs.

Lets go over the best kettlebell exercises for size and strength and a sample program to get you started.

Mahler’s Kettlebell Arsenal

  • Double Front Squat
  • Double Swing
  • Double Snatch
  • Double Windmill
  • Turkish Get-up
  • Double Military Press
  • Double Bent-over Row
  • Floor Press

It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that most of the above kettlebell exercises require two kettlebells. Why? The reason is obvious. More resistance equals faster hypertrophy and strength gains. Lets use the example of the Double Military Press to illustrate this point further.
When you press one 70lb kettlebell overhead your body is working against 70lbs total. When you press two kettlebells overhead, your body is working against 140lbs. I say body, as the military press requires a full body effort when executed properly. To lift the most weight overhead, you need to flex your butt, legs, stomach, lats, shoulder, triceps and bicep. The more weight that your body has to work against, the more intense the exercise is and the more hypertrophy will be developed. If lifting one kettlebell were superior or even just as effective, then why do thousands of bodybuilders and athletes focus on basic compound barbell exercises? Why not do one-arm bench presses instead of two-arm barbell bench presses? Unilateral exercises are great for addressing imbalances and have a place in a training regimen. However, focusing on compound bi-lateral exercises is the way to go for maximum size and strength. Lets use the example of the kettlebell front squat to drive the point home.

Do you really think that front squats with one 88lb kettlebell will be as effective as holding two kettlebells? Sure with one, your core has to work hard to maintain balance, but you are only working with 88lbs. With two kettlebells, you have to work against 176lbs and believe me this is harder than it sounds. Holding two big kettlebells in place for full body squats requires concentration, a strong upper body, and some strong wheels. The payoff? You get bigger and stronger legs.

The only exercise listed above that is done with one kettlebell is the Turkish Get-up. The TGU has many benefits. One, TGU’s builds a strong core, which is mandatory for heavy leg and overhead work. Two, TGU’s build up shoulder flexibility and stability, which is critical for strong pressing. The double windmill will work as well for building the core and shoulders. However, the TGU is still a wise choice to implement.

Next, lets go over s sample four-week program to get you started.

Mahler’s Plan Of Attack

5×5 (Five Sets Of Five)

Weeks 1-4

5×5 training is a standard protocol that has been around for many years. It is also an extremely effective way to pack on some size and strength. It was a favorite of legendary bodybuilder Reg Park who just happens to be Arnold’s idol. Here is how it works.

Pick a training weight and do five sets of five reps. If and when you can complete all sets of five, increase the weight by five to ten pounds and shoot for five sets of five again. Take three-minute breaks in between each set. Obviously incremental weight increases are not possible with kettlebell training so we have to look at other factors to manipulate.

One factor to manipulate is time under tension. When you can do 5×5 with a quick tempo, increase the negative to four seconds and the positive to two seconds. When that becomes easy, try five seconds up, a pause at the bottom and five seconds down.

Another factor to manipulate is the breaks between each set. Instead of taking three-minute breaks in between each set, take two-minute breaks. When that becomes easy, decrease the breaks to ninety seconds. When that becomes easy, go to sixty seconds. When you can do 5×5 with one-minute breaks and slower tempos, I have no doubt that you will be ready for some heavier bells.

A third variable that can be manipulated are the training exercises. When you can do 5×5 on the standing Military Press, work on 5×5 on the seated press, and then 5×5 on the Sots Press. When you can do double swings easily with 5×5, move up to double snatches. There is always something that you can do to make an exercise harder or a training regimen more effective.

Here is a sample 5×5 kettlebell Program:

Monday

A-1: Double Military Press

A-2: Kettlebell Pull-up

Do A-1 and A-2 back to back. In other words, do one set of A-1, wait a minute and then do a set of A-2, wait a minute and then do another set of A-1 and so forth. Keep going back and forth between A-1 and A-2 until you have completed all five sets.

B-1: Double Kettlebell Front Squat

B-2: Double Kettlebell Swing

Same directions as A-1 and A-2

Wrap up with:
Double Windmill 5×5 l,r (left and right) Take two minute breaks in between each set. One complete set equals five reps on each side.

Wednesday

A-1: Double Floor Press

A-2: Double Bent-over Row

Same directions as above

B-1: Double Front Squat

B-2: Double Snatch

Same Directions as above


Wrap up with:
TGU 5×5 l,r (left and right) Take two minute breaks in between each set. One complete set equals five reps on each side.

Friday

A-1: Double Seated Military Press

A-2: Kettlebell Pull-up

Do A-1 and A-2 back to back. In other words, do one set of A-1, wait a minute and then do a set of A-2, wait a minute and then do another set of A-1 and so forth. Keep going back and forth between A-1 and A-2 until you have completed all five sets.

B-1: Double Kettlebell Front Squat

B-2: Double Kettlebell Swing

Wrap up with:
Guard Sit-up 5×5 l,r (left and right) Take two minute breaks in between each set. One complete set equals five reps on each side.

Take a day off in between each workout. In other words, do day one on Monday, day two on Wednesday, and then Day 1 again on Friday.

There you have it. The best kettlebells exercises for getting bigger and stronger and a sample program to get you started. Make sure that you ramp up your caloric intake if you want to pack on some muscle. For more programs and tons of techniques on how to lift the heaviest kettlebells possible, be sure to check out my new DVD, “The Kettlebell Solution For Size and Strength.”

About The Author

Mike Mahler is a strength coach and kettlebell instructor based in Los Angeles, Ca. Check out Mike’s website at www.mikemahler.com for updates and for more information on his workshops and products.

For more information on Mike Mahler and
his Aggressive Strength System,
please visit his website at:

http://www.mikemahler.com

Mike Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Products:

Kettlebell Solutions for Size and Strength DVD
90 minutes of size and strength exercises and programs
and an accompanying 123 page ebook!

More Details Here
Kettlebell Solutions for Speed and Explosive Strength DVD
90 minutes of speed and explosive strength exercises and
programs and an accompanying 123 page ebook!

More Details Here
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