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How Much Kettlebells Per Week

author
Christina Perez
• Monday, 07 December, 2020
• 23 min read

If you’ve been wondering how many kettle bell workouts per week you should be performing then this is the guide for you. I’m going to reveal the right weekly schedule for you but first let’s cover a few factors that will affect your decision.

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Contents

The better your nutrition and your ability to assimilate your food and drink the quicker you will recover from your previous workout. If you struggle to sleep well and for a good 7 – 9 hours per night then this will affect the speed at which you recover from your workouts.

As we age our metabolism slows down and with it our ability to heal from injuries quickly. As workouts cause micro-trauma to the muscle fibers the quicker you can heal the more frequently you can exercise per week.

All of these activities may determine how quickly you recovery from your kettle bell workouts. General fitness may include: maintaining muscle mass, challenging your cardio and improving movement skills.

The best way to start is by beginning with a lighter schedule and then adding more workouts if necessary. First it is important to realize that you are going to have to listen to your body and make some adjustments as you navigate your way through your workouts.

If you start feeling overtired or don’t seem to be making any strength, rep or time gains then you are probably exercising too often per week. For most people I recommend starting with the 3 times per week schedule for the first month just to get used to how your body reacts.

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Unfortunately the body always needs time to recover from exercise and just working hard too will often lead to over training and ultimately niggling injuries. If you have a scheduled rest day but feel like you want to do some form of exercise then try something that doesn’t conflict with your kettle bell workouts : cycling, walking, rowing, swimming, gardening are all good options.

Ultimately you need to listen to your body and make adjustments as you go either adding more or less workouts per week. The American Council on Exercise reports that kettle bell training can produce twice the benefits in half the time of traditional weightlifting.

Unlike workouts with barbells and dumbbells, kettle bell training uses dynamic movements that require stability and core control and combine several muscle groups in one exercise. The variations of kettle bell training are effective for full and total-body workouts that you can do two to six times a week, but they can also complement any existing cardiovascular or weight-training program.

Two to three workouts a week allows for more recovery time since soreness can be expected, particularly with each new movement you learn. Kettle bell training incorporates movements that many fitness enthusiasts, even avid weightlifters, don't regularly use.

Technically, you can work out with kettle bells daily, especially if you alternate major muscle groups. However, because kettle bells use many big compound movements, such as a clean and push press, that activate several major muscle groups, it's best to schedule at least one but preferably two days off a week for recovery time.

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At this level, the kettle bell gets heavier and the combinations become more advanced, such as a roll back to a press. The kettle bell swing is a move that builds power and explosive strength in all the muscles at the back of the body, known as the posterior chain.

These muscles include those of your back, glutes, hamstrings and calves. The amount of time you should rest between sessions depends on your fitness level and how hard you're working, notes strength coach Marc Perry.

For instance, if you constantly try to swing a heavier kettle bell for a low number of repetitions and work to fatigue, you'd definitely need those rest days. Many kettle bell advocates actually recommend performing swings daily.

Pavel Tsatsouline, who popularized Russian kettle bell training in the West, advocates doing swings every day based on a concept called “greasing the groove.” The idea is that by practicing something frequently and with good technique, your body adapts to it and becomes proficient at the movement.

Typically, you can complete this in one of two ways, says Danny Away of Tucson Kettle bell. If you’ve never trained with kettle bells before, choosing the correct weight takes some thought.

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Choose heavier weights for swinging or ballistic exercises and strength training. Use lighter weights for slower exercises, sometimes referred to as “grinds,” and cardio workouts.

The American Council on Exercise prefers using lighter weights for their 2010 whole-body kettle bell workout, which includes ballistic, strength, grind and cardio components. As you become more experienced training with kettle bells, progress to heavier weights for ballistic exercises such swings, cleans and snatches.

Experiment a bit to find a weight that allows you to execute the exercise properly. Turkish setups, windmills, shoulder presses or single-arm rows require a lighter weight, usually because you are working more slowly or targeting your arms.

Whole-body kettle bell exercises, such as the Turkish half-getup, have a lot of moving parts that can go askew if you're using a weight that's too heavy. A trained eye will notice improper positioning or muscle imbalances and can help correct your form or recommend a different kettle bell.

Massaging yogis was always great for anatomy exploration, but some of my clients were everyday bodybuilders, forever chasing the Hollywood superhero body. Massaging through gym rats’ chronically tight and tense muscles was a workout in itself.

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Arguably, the reason why many needed to see me in the first place was due to poor training habits (coupled with too much time spent in a chair). They’ll also use external apparatus to stabilize movements for the sake of muscle isolation and “extra focus on the muscle fibers.” These training habits eventually rewire the nervous system to forget how to activate the stabilizers it was born with and effectively make the everyday bodybuilder prone to injury and, in the long run, substantially less capable at life.

Training for functional mass involves protocols that build nice big Hollywood muscles while also making the body more useful at real life tasks and less prone to back, shoulder and knee injuries. Their muscles are rock hard when activated, but unlike powerlifters and bodybuilders, they have the ability to switch off when not in use and are not short and chronically tight.

If the goal is functional mass, arguably the best training modality would be Olympic lifting with a mix of calisthenics. O-lifting is a long and highly rewarding path, for those who possess the movement ability.

However, it’s not accessible to the vast majority of everyday people, because we just don’t move well enough. I encourage anyone to start their O-lifting journey if they can pass my simple litmus test: being able to hold a naked (20 kg) Olympic bar overhead while sitting in the deep squat for two minutes.

Never use a bench, chair, pad, fixed resistance machine or anything to help stabilize movement or isolate target muscle groups. Smashing the muscle fibers to destruction, so they’ll grow back bigger and stronger is absolutely achievable using the stabilizers you were born with.

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I think that avoiding the use of external apparatus for help with stability is the most important rule that should be applied to all training, no matter the goal. Forget back ‘n’ biceps, shoulders ‘n’ triceps or chest ‘n’ abs.

Replace it with squat ‘n’ pull, hinge ‘n’ push, loco mote ‘n’ resist rotation, say. Don’t go the gym and further train yourself to flex into the shape of a cashew nut (biceps, chest and superficial abs).

It promotes feelings of depression and weakness and arguably brings you closer to the grave. Be more superhero and train extension, with dead lifts, pull-ups, push-ups×, squats, cleans, military press* and loaded carries.

*A skilled practitioner presses from their lats while radiating tension throughout the midsection with their glutes. For mass training, two kettle bells always beats one because this increases the work volume.

When I’m programming for my remote clients, any given functional mass session only lasts 40-55 minutes. Given that the first 15-20 minutes of that is spent on joint mobility, this leaves a short window for the main workout component.

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Ballistics involve kettebells being swung through two-planes of motion (swings, cleans and snatches). For goals such as losing weight or improving conditioning, ballistics should outweigh grinds.

Since the golden years of bodybuilding in the ‘70s, it’s been known that the more time the muscles spend under tension, the better for hypertrophy. I served in the Royal Marines Commandos with a dude who had a better body than Captain America.

He only ever did thousands of really light reps and isometric holds with resistance bands and baby dumbbells. We may have admired his physical appearance, but we relished in the fact that he was weak and sub-par as an operational Commando.

His dead lift was pathetic, he couldn’t outrun a hedgehog, let alone run a heavy backpack over a mountain, he often had lower back pain, and he couldn’t reach his magazine pouches because his big, useless muscles were in the way. Through my years of training I know that loaded jump squats are a very reliable ingredient for developing legs like tree trunks.

But crippling injuries also usually come as a complimentary extra for those who can’t deep squat slowly without load. If someone can sit in a deep squat position for over 4 minutes, they qualify for adding load.

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Then after some months, adding explosive speed will induce miracle muscle growth. This is an age-old ingredient for muscle mass because it optimizes hormone release and facilitates the highest possible volume.

Strength is tension… How much full body tension you’re able to produce reflects your ability to apply force. More relaxed, loose muscles = better blood flow, faster recovery, less chronic tension and related injuries.

But if the goal is looking like a Marvel superhero in the shorter term, without breaking the first two (and most important) of these golden rules, training to failure in some lifts for 2-3 months won’t do any harm. But if you want to put on some muscle mass in a short space of time without cocking up your hormone balance by taking vitamin-S (anabolic steroids), train to failure and grow some sarcoplasmic muscle mass.

A great way to deplete the glycogen stores within the muscles and leave your arms or legs feeling like they might drop off. Many uneducated or inexperienced trainers think it’s their mission to create delayed onset muscle soreness (Does) for their paying clients after every session.

Regular, weekly Does creates excessive muscle toxicity, which has a plethora of negative side effects and cripples good movement. Soles Does in unavoidable for people who’ve been wearing foot coffins (shoes) all their lives and want to learn to run properly.

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Does in all major muscle groups is expected for the first couple of weeks of any good hypertrophy program. A fire needs three components to exist: fuel, oxygen and heat.

Do you wake up naturally and feel like moving first thing in the morning most days of the week ? If all the muscle chasers I know put half the energy and discipline into planning and executing their rest as they do their workouts, they would be bigger.

Avoid processed crap, cook for yourself, prep meals, plan shopping Every session should begin with 20 minutes of joint mobility and muscle activation, relative to your individual movement needs and injury history.

Because kettle bell exercises use the whole body rather than just a few isolated muscles you will be surprised at how much more weight you can lift than usual. The Two handed Swing is your first main goal, not only will it target lots of muscle mass but it’s also very cardiovascular.

Continue to burn calories hours afterwards Avoid over training Increase your metabolism Add tone and condition to your full body In under 10 minutes you can complete your workout at home before work and then carry on with your day.

More advanced kettlebellers will put together circuits directed at different movement patterns, for example: If you progress too soon then you risk injury because you're stabilizing muscles and connective tissue may not of fully developed.

If you cannot then you must practice because you lack certain stability and mobility that will prevent you from future injuries. Unlike conventional body building type exercises kettle bell training works hundreds of muscles at a time.

Like all things there is a natural order to kettle bell training preventing injury and develop skill. The primary goals should be the kettle bell swing which means developing the hip hinge and the dead lift movement pattern.

Many believe it started in Scotland as a competitive event where an actual kettle was used loaded with weight. There are a lot of really badly designed kettle bells out there so make sure you choose wisely and don’t just go for the cheapest option, you will only regret it later.

The swing improves your posture, increases your cardio, develop explosive power and is superb for fat loss. Kettle bell training uses hundreds of muscles in the body during every exercise making is very time efficient as well as improving your cardio often without the need to even move your feet.

Kettle bell workouts, when programmed correctly, flow from one exercise to the next using hundreds of muscles at a time. They will develop stronger muscle and bone density, safeguard daily movement patterns and increase flexibility.

Flowing through a handful of kettle bell exercises means you can complete a full workout in under 10 minutes, challenging your strength, cardio and movement skills. Using your hips and straight arms you swing the kettle bell in between your legs and then up to chest height repeatedly.

The amount of times per week you should use your kettle bell depends on the intensity and what type of exercises you are using. Using good workout programming then 3 – 5 times per week is usually enough to see excellent results.

You will gain strength and muscle tonicity quickly using kettle bells and with a good quality diet see fat loss results within 30 days. Beginners should start off mastering the two handed swing for only 10 reps before resting and repeating.

A good set of kettle bell swings will elevate your heart rate quickly without the need for you to even move your feet. If programmed correctly then yes kettle bell swings can be high intensity interval training.

If you experience pain bending forwards or backwards then kettle bell swings are not the exercise for you. Yes and in particular the Goblet Squat is super effective at working most muscles in the body as well as being very cardiovascular.

Increasing the weight, reps and sets will ensure you continue to get results. Yes kettle bell workouts, when programmed correctly, provide a full body mix that will increase your metabolism and generate fat burning hours after your workout has finished unlike conventional cardio methods.

In my opinion ballistic and dynamic exercises like kettle bell swings should be avoided during pregnancy. Any type of intense exercise takes energy and nutrients from the body before being replaced later by your diet.

Light exercise will help pump nutrients around the body but keep the intensity low. Yes but because the exercises are full body movements you won’t get the individual muscle pump like you get with dumbbells.

As we age recovery from exercise takes longer so if you do want to use kettle bell swings everyday you will need to keep the intensity and reps low. Standard dead lifts start from a dead position whereas swings are fluid.

For pure strength dead lifts are better for explosive practical power I would use swings. Kettle bell training, when used correctly, can induce a very high level of cardio while developing strength too.

So kettle bells can replace you standard cardio and save you a lot of time. Yes, just like all types of exercise if the movements are not taught correctly, you try to lift too much weight or you do not rest enough then yes you can get injured.

Kettle bell swings are performed forwards and backwards in the sagittal plane. Golf requires rotation through the hips and back so there is no direct movement correlation.

However, kettle bell swings could help as a pre-habilitation exercise to strengthen and protect the lower back. Even the most experienced exerciser who has a clear understanding of how to properly execute a variety of exercises can struggle with laying out a simple, effective program.

Over the years I have worked with many clients, including fitness professionals, who unfortunately design poor programs that cause them to become frustrated with their lack of results and even create imbalances and injuries. As much as it’s exciting to constantly have fancy and fun exercises, keeping it simple and balanced is what will deliver the most results.

Below are three workouts an experienced kettle bell user can do on his or her own. This program is for individuals who have continued goals of moving better as well as increasing overall strength and conditioning.

This, of course, will also have the great side effects of fat loss and a lean body. The first workout is a balanced combination of both strength and conditioning.

But sometimes it’s nice to have a day here and there of just light, fun conditioning. They all contain skill-work practice and a balance of exercises that require a push, pull, leg, and full body.

Keeping those aspects involved in the majority of your practice sessions will decrease the chances of developing major imbalances and weaknesses in some areas, with too much strength in others. For example, you don’t want to have too many workouts that focus on high-rep push-ups and presses.

This was an instructor with reputable certifications including one in kettle bells. If you wonder why you are losing clients due to injuries you may want to rethink how you structure your program.

If you did workouts like this several times a week, you’d be injured and imbalanced very quickly. If you cannot understand why doing five minutes of Turkish get ups at the end of a high volume workout is unsafe contact me and I’ll explain it to you.

Here are the three safe workouts to rotate and play with on your own. I have also provided three sample weeks of how to schedule these workouts, as well as videos of the first two for you to follow along.

Choose a size kettle bell that ensures you can perform each exercise with perfect form, yet is challenging. If you find the rep range suggested is too easy, then use a heavier kettle bell next time.

Focus on working 75-80% of your maximal efforts with this workout. Pick a kettle bell that feels easy so you can maintain perfect form.

Burpees (push up optional), 30 seconds Generally when focusing on strength, you still want to approach the workout as practice.

Therefore, using a heavy enough bell that allows you to have perfect reps should be your goal. Choose the type of volume you know your body can handle.

If you participate in sports or other exercise such as running, then the lower volume week would be my suggestion. Perform joint mobility daily, if possible.

SHORT ANSWER (mine, but subject to revision) OK to skate for distance to build endurance a few nights a week opposite of kettle bells.

Kettle bell complex is seven exercises at five sets of 10 reps each set, all double kettle bell currently at 21 pounds up front 16 pounds. Once I can do five sets of 10 reps with five seconds between exercises, I then increase the weight five pounds and return to 45 seconds rest per set.

And, again reduce the rest periods until I'm at 5 seconds with the idea I would keep increasing the weight. Over the past 30 days I started with 16 pounds, reduced rest period from 45 seconds to five seconds--and then, increased the weight from 16 to 21 pounds.

The primary focus is weight loss, although I enjoy both activities too. The weight loss is driven by trying to improve my health.

20 years ago I was a pretty serious recreational triathlete. That philosophy has forever impacted my thinking about athletic training (although I haven't seen much of it the weightlifting bro-science or elsewhere.

During that week, also cut my training for inline skates in half? Furthermore, in my triathlon days, my training invariably called or 2-3 weeks of hard work, increasing distances and effort--and then a rest week of half the volume (distance in that case) and intensity.

I'd make myself take a week of half distance on the skates, and something like half the weights with about three sets of kettle bell complex -- just maintaining things for that week -- only to return after the rest week to hit it hard and try to bring the numbers up another level for both. At least one day off per week (active low stress recovery ok) -- and surely ok to have two days off per week with or without active recovery.

For instance 1-5 mostly for power, 6-10 for muscle building, 10-20 hypertrophy (I know it's not proven yet but I've been using that simple guide for a while) The rule of thumb for kettle bell ballistic exercises (swings, cleans, snatches) is to multiply the reps per set by 1.5-2 when compared to grind (presses, squats, dead lifts) to achieve the same effect.

A lot of people in this neck of the woods, myself included, are proponents of doing shorter sets (5-10 reps) that preserve maximal power production, and then adjusting the rest periods to get more of a strength/power effect or conditioning effect. But there are also plenty of people who prefer sport style training, doing sets that last up to 10 minutes or so.

I hope this helps a little, I know I didn't really give you a solid answer There are some great books out there that explain things better. My favorites are “Simple and Sinister” and “Enter the Kettle bell,” both by Pavel Tsatsouline and both available on Kindle for pretty cheap.

If you are new to kettle bells keep the rep ranges low, moderate sets, and longer rests while learning the movements. The rule of thumb for kettle bell ballistic exercises (swings, cleans, snatches) is to multiply the reps per set by 1.5-2 when compared to grind (presses, squats, dead lifts) to achieve the same effect.

A lot of people in this neck of the woods, myself included, are proponents of doing shorter sets (5-10 reps) that preserve maximal power production, and then adjusting the rest periods to get more of a strength/power effect or conditioning effect. But there are also plenty of people who prefer sport style training, doing sets that last up to 10 minutes or so.

I hope this helps a little, I know I didn't really give you a solid answer There are some great books out there that explain things better. My favorites are “Simple and Sinister” and “Enter the Kettle bell,” both by Pavel Tsatsouline and both available on Kindle for pretty cheap.

If you are new to kettle bells keep the rep ranges low, moderate sets, and longer rests while learning the movements. Doubles load your body more (no surprise), so it's one way to ramp things up.

Anecdotally, it seems like doubles are better for putting on muscle mass and developing pure strength, but a single will still do both of those just fine. I wouldn't worry too much about it, though; it's generally recommended that people stick with single bell work for at least a year before they try doubles.

Besides, it usually takes a heck of a lot longer than a year to “run out” of beneficial things to do with a single bell... Oh, and +1 to what Geoff said. Doubles load your body more (no surprise), so it's one way to ramp things up.

Anecdotally, it seems like doubles are better for putting on muscle mass and developing pure strength, but a single will still do both of those just fine. I wouldn't worry too much about it, though; it's generally recommended that people stick with single bell work for at least a year before they try doubles.

Besides, it usually takes a heck of a lot longer than a year to “run out” of beneficial things to do with a single bell... Oh, and +1 to what Geoff said. Women get one more bell because there's more of a difference between upper and lower body strength.

Haha, you can definitely stick with just swings and get ups for a long time and gain a lot. For everyday fitness, you could probably stay with something like Simple and Sinister for years and not have any big deficiencies.

@msuwendy, take Pavel Macek's good advice and follow the program he recommends. Simple and sinister, is way too good to be true, just the two exercise swing and get ups, I know this is a stupid question can we sculpt the body base on that exercise without having any other ex, bench press, clean, snatch, push-ups, pull ups, etc @msuwendy, take Pavel Macek's good advice and follow the program he recommends.

Cool ill make sure I can do the standard written there and get back to this forum, thanks a Lott The big difference is that after a month or two of CrossFit most people (myself included) start to feel burned out, whereas SAS is a lot easier to just chug along and enjoy the results.

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