On paper, this program worked well, and I had results to prove it. I always scored at the top of my age group on our physical readiness test (PRT).
At the time, the SEAL PRT* was push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a three-mile run and a long swim. I’m not exactly sure, but I believe the swim distance was a half mile.
To score high for my age group, I needed to do 120 push-ups, 120 sit-ups, 25+ pull-ups, and take roughly 18 minutes on the run. It felt like my body wasn’t working the way it was supposed to.
Moving under load (wearing body armor and or carrying a heavy ruck) was even worse. Shooting and moving, jumping, and climbing were difficult — and forget about down-man-drills (buddy carries).
We were also always moving gear, guns, and ammo, and I always felt weak doing it. I didn’t know him well yet, but John Fans was in the corner of the gym with a funny looking implement (a kettle bell) doing an exercise I was certain would injure him (swings).
He told me all about the kettle bell, his friend Pavel, and the website I could visit to learn more. That night at home, I spent about five hours reading every article I could.
Was it really possible to get in sufficient shape using this simple little tool and these basic movements? The delivery man commented, “What the hell ?” as he dropped the package at my door step.
That night I read and re-read the The Russian Kettle bell Challenge. Like so many, I thought I could train myself by using the book, the website, and a little coaching now and then.
To me, this was “strength with a greater purpose” before I’d even heard the expression. I’d be following Pavel’s “Rite of Passage” program (Top).
Then, I started adding some practice with my 32, all at a body weight of 185lbs. The previous deployment had proven that the kettle bell could get me in better operational shape, but could it really improve my measurable?
Body weight pull-ups held steady around 25 reps (not bad). I could put two 24 kg bells on my homemade dip belt and still crank out a good rep. No one believed me.
I could jump on top of the highest box in the gym (nearly as high as my solar plexus). This wasn’t that bad, especially considering I have never been taught how to dead lift nor practiced it.
I loved the simplicity and the max results with minimum effort aspect. The PST is the physical screening test that candidates take in order to earn a chance to try out.
From Pavel:Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored to introduce you to Strongest’s new CEO. Eric Froward is a former US Nav... Part 1: The Pros and Cons of Marine Corps Training Marine Corps is the most feared and respected fighting force on TH...
When Pavel asked me to make a contribution for an article, I was honored. His request was made in a forum post discussion...
I wrote an article some time ago about physically preparing for combat in mountainous terrain. Eric Froward, SFG, is the Director of Education and Training for the NRA, a veteran US Navy SEAL, and former CEO of Strongest.
He has been putting our training system to the test for over a decade—first in combat deployments and later in outdoor sports. Andy Bolton, the first person to dead lift 1,000 pounds, uses kettle bell swings to improve his “maximal hip drive, speed, and aggression.” The hip hinge in the swing looks similar to how the dead lift is locked out at the top.
In the video below, kettle bell expert Lauren Brooks demonstrates the swing next to a dead lift. The big difference is the kettle bell swing is a ballistic movement (one explosive pop of the hips), whereas the dead lift (at heavier weights) is a continuous grinding motion.
The explosiveness that comes from the swing builds the posterior chain muscles, which are important in the squat. Researchers Jason Lake and Mike Lauder found that kettle bell swings helped squat strength in collegiate level athletes by almost 10%.
As Andrew Read explained, the kettle bell swing has been shown to improve vertical jump by about 20% in collegiate level athletes. The kettle bell swing is certainly valuable for building explosive strength and it may substitute for plyometric movements.
Danny Camaro’ s description of the Olympic movements seemed to seal the final answer for me. One research group, led by Pasquale Pinocchio, found that a ten-week swing protocol significantly improved clean performance.
A 2013 study with a larger group still found significant increases at a more modest 13 kg (still great for a ten-week cycle). Thus, while the kettle bell swing may not be the exact same movement as the clean or snatch, it can still build strength.
The “What the Hell Effect” exists because people are surprised kettle bell movements transfer so well to increases in strength in other exercises. On the surface, the swing seems to translate to jumping and the dead lift, but research shows it also improves the squat and Olympic movements.
If you recognize this little beauty, then you probably also already know that he (yep, you read that right, this one's called Billy) is a tool used in resistance training and conditioning, and that it's a great way to tone, build muscle and improve your fitness. In fact, they've been around for over 300 years; the Russian military recognize them as an efficient and strategic form of training and through their use have proven the effectiveness of the kettle bell to develop full body strength and fitness with the minimal of equipment (although they probably don't name theirs).
However, assuming you're not aiming to go into battle alongside the Russians any time soon, what use can you make of a kettle bell ? But to stay purely in the realms of training, for such a minimalist piece of equipment you can achieve an awful lot.
And that is one of the reasons I fell in love with them; as a mobile personal trainer I was unable to lug a large amount of gym equipment around with me (it doesn't help that I drive an entirely inappropriate and rather aptly named Mini!) I'm not going to go into detail of the others at the moment and instead will focus on hard style — named not because it's 'hard' or only for the 'hardcore' but because of the high tension we employ when 'lifting'.
Grinds are lifts which require you to create tension throughout the whole body and whether you're dead lifting, squatting, pressing, or Get Upping (Jewish, I do love a Turkish Get Up! ), the kettle bell is a great tool to get you strong whilst learning about your body.
But I've got to be honest, that's not where the real fun of a kettle bell lies and you'll build a true full body program when you add in the... Now combine that with how it raises your heart rate and challenges your cardiovascular system, do you really need anything else?
So we've worked out that kettle bells must be great for fat loss, strength and improving your overall fitness. Any athlete — whether amateur or professional — who's trained with kettle bells has likely experienced the 'what the hell effect.
My previous attempts had seen me scrambling around on the floor at the bottom of the rope climb and swinging inelegantly on the first monkey bar failing miserably to reach the second. This time I climbed the rope and channelled my inner monkey completing the full run!
Perhaps you're a martial artist who wants to improve your speed, power or focus; the ballistics such as swings, cleans and snatches in kettle bell training will have you saying 'what the hell in no time! Research Personal Trainers in your local area and check out whether there are any classes run.
Don't get me wrong, they make great companions on a walk, they look pretty in your home, and they're bloody awesome to snatch and swing but dancing partners they are not! We have a variety of options at all different price levels including our next Beginner's Kettle bell Course starting 13th January.
The course runs every Monday for 6 weeks (excluding Feb half-term, 17th), at 10.15am — 11am. Greetings, I'm on active military service (US Army) and when I went home for three weeks to visit my family I elected to stick with an entirely kettle bell based strength training routine (basically the 'Total Package' article formed the guidelines for it).
I flew back to Hawaii after three weeks and did the obligate 5/3/1 Training Max test (per the latest edition of Jim's work, 5/3/1 Forever). I had expected strength losses across my four main lifts (bench, press, squat, dead lift) of at least 5%-10% and was rather pleasantly surprised.
I was also on the tail end of recovering from a nasty upper respiratory tract infection sustained early in the vacation, so I didn't get much roadwork in, but some pool work for aerobic conditioning. ... well, we all make mistakes... (Coming from a former Navy and Air Force guy...) But a nice WTH Effect indeed.
... well, we all make mistakes... (Coming from a former Navy and Air Force guy...) But a nice WTH Effect indeed. Nick Schokkenbroek I did expect big setbacks as the heaviest bells I have been two dvukhpudoviks.
I was able to tackle a 302 lbs dead lift for five reps and a 248 lbs squat for five reps (both of them are my 85% training max) with no problems for dead lift and a slight hard effort on the squat. I worked the jerk, long cycle, press, getup, swing, goblet squat, two kettle bell front squat, and snatch extensively in that three week time and am presently digesting the data to design a post October 2020 (Pearl Harbor Powerlifting meet) kettle bell only training plan where I won't touch a barbell again until January 2021.
Once we’re settled back in Europe again, I’d like to see to get a rack and barbell. I would think the barbell and kettle bells can compliment each other, but it would be interesting to see how you’ll do with the barbell lifts after training with only kettle bells for such a long time. I've come back stronger after such a break, proven by meet conditions.
But the kettle bell training is a great choice in such conditions, if you have the chance, and must do a good job retaining the strength. Between that and the AK-47 of fitness equipment article and the original books by Pavel I was brought onboard about the kettlebell's effects on one's strength.
The kettle bells for two and a half months should mean when I go back to the January 5/3/1 I'll be in decent shape. Each and every time I have had to move both my teenagers junk and mine from a three bedroom location to another.
Both times I easily threw a giant two piece sectional couch on my shoulders and walk up and or down two flights of stairs. Simply being strong with sustainable programming for several years is my main objective.
This came about after I watched my grandfather physically weaken over the past decade and a half after suffering from an illness, a fall (and being wheelchair bound), and dementia in succession. Those sad circumstances forced me to rethink my goals for strength training and the means of being strong and healthy.
Mostly barbell based training is done this year or the majority of it because I am aiming for a 1000 lbs total at a local powerlifting meet.