You’re not going to grow unless you increase the time in which your muscles are being stimulated (and I’m not talking about a massage). Muscular growth is triggered by this, but won’t happen unless the next two pieces of the puzzle are in place.
Sure you can build muscle with thousands of calories of burgers and fries, but quality should always come first. The “right now” dictates that it’s not vitally important where the calories come from in terms of protein, fat, and carbs, but the long-term scope of your health should be your main driving force.
Rest is free, relatively easy to get, and is infinitely helpful at building your body. Your body goes hard to work at repairing and adapting to everything you did during your session to make sure you come back stronger tomorrow to handle whatever life throws at you.
When it comes to kettle bell exercises, few movements build muscle like the Double Clean & Press. With a combination of a hinge, pull, and press movement, you hit multiple, large muscle groups that will illicit growth (provided it’s the right amount of stimulus).
The Double Clean & Press can be manipulated in a number of ways during your training session to build your body such as, supersets combined with pull ups, ladders, timed sets, and more. Take the Double Kettle bell Front Squat for example; not only are you fighting the movement with your legs to get yourself back to standing after a nice deep squat, you’re also fighting the weights as they try to go in two separate directions.
The problem with kettle bells is that most movements don’t hit the horizontal push pattern; enter the Floor Press! My favorite variation as it keeps the time under tension a bit greater is the Seesaw Press.
Lie back flat and bring up both weights into a locked out position. Reverse the motion in a controlled manner so the kettle bells always meet in the middle.
Bonus tip: I like to elevate my hips to hit different parts of my chest and shoulders and incorporate the lower body into the exercise as well. Similar to the Seesaw Floor Press in that the kettle bells meet in the middle during a fluid motion, the Seesaw Row keeps the tension on the back (from lower to upper and everything in between), shoulders, biceps, and core.
The added benefit of this movement is that you’re in a constant (slight) hinge to stay in a position which taxes the glutes and quads. Double snatches build big, strong shoulders and backs.
Look at Olympic lifters and tell me that lifting heavy things overhead doesn’t build the upper body. By adding the twisting, squatting component to the movement, you recruit your entire body (less the arm without a kettle bell) and a ton of mobility.
You don’t need to go heavy with this one, but when you do (when you’re ready) you’ll see some amazing growth and the ability to lift heavier in other movements. When I went on a Bent Press rampage with moderate weight for low reps and high sets I saw my shoulders and triceps improve greatly while my overall mobility went through the roof.
Best of all you don’t have to be in a gym to do the kettle bell exercises most often you can do the entire workout in your backyard, or anywhere you have some open space. Kettle bell exercises tend to concentrate all at once on different muscle groups, and they are very effective in cutting fat and improving the metabolic rate.
When you eat in a calorie surplus, they’re also going to be a perfect way to develop more muscle mass and move the performance to the next level. This is a good multitasking exercise for hitting the shoulders at the same time, so by using it, you can potentially cut back on the total amount of work you have to do.
You should try and stay as upright as possible in this kettle bell exercise to prevent lower back pain from developing. This movement will replace the standard dumbbell dead lift and is great for developing stronger hamstrings and lower back.
The alternating floor press will do just that and will also work the deltoid muscles as they struggle to maintain balance throughout the lift. Since this exercise is performed sitting entirely on the floor, you’re going to find that it really takes any momentum out of the movement pattern, helping you see better shoulder results.
Since at points throughout the movement you will be required to maintain a high level of balance this will cause the abs to contract maximally deep within the core. If you are someone who does prefer to do a couple of exercises however or you are really looking to dramatically boost the overall strength you see, then you should consider a kettle bell figure 8.
As you pass the kettle bell from one hand to the other you’ll also work the shoulders to a degree, further increasing the benefits you see from this movement. Because of the nature of this movement, it will also stimulate the quad muscles as well, so it’ll be good to add if you’re performing a lower-body or full-body workout.
The bottoms-up clean from a hang position is great for targeting the forearms so it can be added towards the end of your workout to finish the muscles off. You should avoid doing this earlier however as if you’ve pre-existed the forearms, initially you might find that this really hinders your ability to lift heavy during the other upper body kettle bell exercises that have been described.
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.
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.
Stand, kneel, lunge, hang, loco mote or sit or lay on the floor 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Intermittent fasting has endless health and body composition benefits.
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.
Then take a week off and try another functional mass program to change the stimulus. If you disqualify, there are literally thousands of other effective functional mass programs that are suitable for you.
If you are interested in packing on muscle fast then these Kettle bell Workouts for Mass are for you. Full body kettle bell movements will stimulate growth hormones which are exactly what you need if you want to add mass quickly.
You will activate your back, buttocks, hamstrings, core and shoulder muscles during this exercise. As with all kettle bell training exercises you should have mastered the single-handed clean and press before progressing to the double.
The double kettle bell lunge is the ultimate leg and glute mass developing exercise. The kettle bells for this exercise can either be held in the racked position as shown in the image above or down by your sides.
Holding the kettle bells up in the racked position on the chest is more challenging and will develop your core muscles more intensely due to the stability needed during the movement. The depth of the double kettle bell lunge is very important to fully activate the glutes.
The rear knee should drop as close to the floor as possible for maximum muscle activation. The single leg can be kept almost straight for more hamstring activation or bent for more glute involvement.
Most importantly, as with all dead lift exercises, the lower back must be kept flat and the core muscles braced tight. Keep the hips square throughout the exercise by not allowing the rear foot to rotate externally or outwards.
Warning, this exercise will produce muscle soreness (Does) if you are not familiar with the movement. The double kettle bell row is one of the best core and back mass developing exercises.
Beginners should start by mastering the single kettle bell row as shown in the image above. Keep your weight back on your heels with knees slightly bent to load the hamstrings and glute muscles.
Try to choose kettle bell weights that challenge you for the prescribed amount of repetitions, but do not push you to failure. Based on the dead lift movement pattern this kettle bell exercise will develop the glutes, legs, back and core muscles.
Stand tall at the top of the movement and brace the abs tight and squeeze the buttocks. The kettle bell thruster has the advantage of enabling you to press more weight than you could usually manage due to the momentum from the squat.
I would recommend that all beginners practice the double squat first before adding the press to the top of the movement. Keep the elbows tucked in nice and tight as you squat to avoid fatiguing the shoulders.
The depth of the squat is important in order to fully activate the buttocks or glute muscles. Keep your chest lifted and weight back on your heels with the knees pointing slightly outwards.
Above I have listed three balanced kettle bell workouts that you can use to add mass to your body. Building mass requires lifting heavy and using full body kettle bell exercises.