Building Muscle is typically NOT associated with kettlebell training…
But it’s not always the tool, it’s how you use it. That being said, you will not be looking like Arnold or Kali Muscle using Kettlebells, but you can get an athletic, toned physique that will perform as good as it looks!
Now, I’ve seen variations on this that you’re welcome to try(Pat Flynn’s Prometheus Protocol and Andrew Palmer’s KettleBear program, links below) but I would like to throw in my own variation of this. There are similar protocols, but you have to be smart about how you go about this whole “fitness training” thing.
I feel there needs to be a certain variety in what you do, well… as much variety as should be in a program… The other programs focus on just a 2x per week training, which is good for beginners, but by adding in strength movements on the other days of the week there is no “imbalances” in the program, thus rounding it off, so to speak.
Monday & Thursday are going to be the days where you are working for “Hypertrophy”(building muscle), so if you are new to training or haven’t done a “weight lifting” program before, I would start with just these two days and focus on stretching and some “light cardio”(brisk walking/hiking) the rest of the week. Monday use a weight that is 85% of your “1 Rep Max”(1 RM), in other words – something you can lift about 7-8 times with good form. Thursday pick something slightly heavier, like 90-95% of your 1 RM – a weight you can lift 3, maybe 5 times with good form.
If you lack “variety” in your equipment use a different tempo for the movement – (4:1:4) instead of (2:1:2), to get more time under tension which effectively “increases” the weight by putting more load on the nerological/muscular system. You can also up the reps (stay between x4-x6) or add a few sets on. One method Pavel Tsatsouline refers to in his book “Power To The People” is one where you focus mainly on “strength” by staying between (x4-x6) reps and working until “failure”. When I say failure, I do not mean getting sloppy type of failure, I mean working to the point where you could probably get one or two more reps, but they wouldn’t look pretty after that… One caveat – the rest periods should be shortened to (x30-x45) seconds to generate the proper Hypertrophy response.
Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday will be “Strength Days”, think of them more as “practicing” than “working out”. You will want to stick with about 85% of your 1 Rep Max here. I caution you not to work to the point of exhaustion as on Monday & Thursday, you do not want to tax your nervous or muscular system as much – it will undo all the work you have just put in
Double Clean & Press Ladder(x1, x2, x3, x4, x5) “Superset” Double Front Squat (x3)
Repeat this entire thing 10 times(i.e. do the ladder twice) Resting 60-120 sec between movements.
(Superset = Immediately Following, not taxing the same muscle group immediately after… this term is often, well, almost always misused/misunderstood)
Deadlifts 3-5 sets of (x5)
Bent Rows 2 sets of (x5)
Push-ups 2 sets of (x5) slow(4:1:4 tempo)
Hanging Leg Raises 2 sets of (x15) use progression found in Convict Conditioning
Kettlebell Swings 1 set of (x75)
Front Squats 2 sets of (x5)
Military Press 2 sets of (x5)
Windshield Wipers 2 sets of (x6) per side
Kettlebell Swings 2 sets of (x50)
Double Front Squats 10 sets of (x3)
Rest 60-120 sec between sets, complete all 10 sets of one movement before moving on to the next.
Full Body Calisthenics Day
Push-Ups 2 sets of (x5)
Pull-Ups 2 sets of (x5)
Pistol Squat(progression) 2 sets of (x5)
Full Bridge 2 sets of (x5)
Hanging Leg Raises 2 sets of (x15)
Kettlebell Swings 2 sets of (x50)
Finisher – 3 rounds: Mountain Climbers (x30 sec) immediately followed by Hard Style Plank (x30 sec)
Saturday & Sunday
Active Rest Day – Hiking, Biking, Brisk Walks, any form of long low intensity cardio is ideal. My favorite is Hiking – it gets you outside, allows you to take in new things(not the walls of your cubical!) gets you in touch with nature, and allows for the greatest range of motion to keep blood flowing through the muscles you’ve just tortured throughout the week!
The Tough Part – Diet
The hardest part about the diet isn’t necessarily eating clean, or not eating too much, or worrying about getting X amount of protein in or whatever, it’s eating that much damn food in one day!
To gain muscle you are going to need to eat like a horse!
Here’s a few guidelines to stick with:
1. Eat Clean, Eat Often, Eat Lots– To the point of discomfort, seriously…
2. Take QUALITY Multivitamin & Fish Oil (Advocare is a good choice)
3. Drink a gallon of milk a day(if you do dairy stuff)
4. Do a Protein Shake 15-30 min after workouts, 20-25 grams is plenty & make sure there’s a decent amount of carbs
5. Eat a high protein, high carb meal about 30 minutes after consuming your shake(stick with things like brown rice, potatoes, and whole foods – this meal is very important.)
IF you are like me and have the metabolism of a greyhound – seriously, I take in over 4,000 cal/day and still don’t put on much weight, not even fat… you may want to look in to a few other methods…
1. Flexible Dieting(going to be trying this one myself soon, I’ll let you know the results)
2. Get Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Body and explore his diet options
3. Eat everything that isn’t nailed down(this works well for bodybuilders!)
4. Don’t Skip Your Veggies!!! Broccoli is your friend!!!
Honestly everyone is different, so it’s pretty hard to say what will or won’t work for you diet wise, but I can guarantee you the exercise part will be successful.
Want more programs like this?
Or maybe you’re looking for something different… either way check out our programs page. If you are looking for the fastest(and longest lasting) results check out P.F.T.R. to see if there’s any spaces open, it’s almost GUARANTEED you will hit your goals with this method. Otherwise, drop me an email below and we can chat
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Oh yeah, here’s the other links as promised:
KettleBear Program –http://firebirdperformance.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/kettlebear-program.html?m=0
Prometheus Protocol – http://www.chroniclesofstrength.com/the-prometheus-protocol-how-to-effectively-and-efficiently-put-on-muscle-mass-with-kettlebells-4/