In my last article on road travel, I detailed on what do if you don’t have access to a gym by substituting select bodyweight drills for weights. Today, we are going expand on that — if you’re limited to a (lighter) poundage or if you’ve plateaued and don’t have enough $$$ for heavier bells then this is what you can do for strength and cardio. These workouts are by Pavel.
As you know, I follow the Simple & Sinister program, which calls for heavy, single kettlebell lifts done for low reps (strength & power). What can I do for cardio when I only have one light kettlebell? Well, the following is power & conditioning program, which is what I used for my cardio when I was stuck on a military base with a relatively light, 53-pound kettlebell. The following ‘rep ladder’ scheme allows a high volume without the burnout and enables a focus on technique.
A Kettlebell Swing Workout Routine
- Throw a pair of dice two times and add up the numbers = this is the length of your workout in minutes, e.g. 4 – 24 minutes.
- However, start with 12 minutes for the first couple of months. Perform 3-4 times a week.
- Perform as many powerful swings with good form and technique without going to exhaustion.
- Carry on your upper body training as usual, afterwards. Adding some sort of a squat or lower body exercise is optional.
The rep scheme: 5 swings, quick rest, 10 swings, quick rest, 15 swings, quick rest, 20 swings, quick rest then start over at 5, 10, 15, 20 with rests… 5, 10, 15, 20 with rests, etc. For your rests, place the bell down, walk around and shake off your muscles; don’t sit or stand around. If the quality of your swings decreases, then you know you didn’t rest long enough. You can also apply ladders to pull-ups and push-ups.
Like I said, you do the above with a lighter weight. The following is a Simple & Sinister power-endurance swing program that waves the volume and can be done with a heavier kettlebell — an emphasis on more power and less on conditioning (70 lbs kettlebell works well). Its aim is to make you stronger as Russian research has found this to be true when you wave the volume.
Simple & Sinister Swing Volume Variability Program
- Perform a total of 2000 reps/month, which is divided into 300, 400, 600, 700 weekly total reps (NL– number load) per week.
- Plan your weekly totals in any mixed combination, 400-300-600-700 or 700-400-300-600 for example. Do not repeat the same weekly total consecutively, e.g. 300 then 300 again.
- Perform 10 reps at a time, rest and repeat till you get to your total for that day.
- Rest long enough for maximum power output and once a week test yourself. Aim for 100 total reps (10 sets x 10 reps) within 5 minutes.
- Select a weekly volume according to your schedule, e.g. light week before a race, heavy week after holidays
- 300 reps week — 3 sessions; # of reps for each workout session: 60; 100; 140 reps;
- 400 reps week — 4 sessions; # of reps for each workout session: 60; 80; 100; 140 reps
- 600 reps week — 4 sessions; # of reps for each workout session: 100; 120; 180; 200 reps
- 700 reps week — 5 sessions; # of reps for each workout session: 80; 100; 140; 180; 200 reps
The above programs are good for explosive movements and higher reps. I also plan to incorporate this routine by spec ops trainer, Pavel Tsatsouline, once a week in addition to the my regular routine.
You can also apply rep ladders for slow, grinding exercises done for strength and low reps, as per below. Standing military presses go really here.
“If You Don’t Have Heavier Kettlebells Yet” Program
- Start with 3 x (1, 2, 3) ladders, e.g. 1 press, quick rest, 2 presses, quick rest, 3 presses. Rest 1 minute (that’s one ladder set). Repeat two more times.
- 3 x (1, 2, 3, 4)
- 3 x (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- 4 x (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- 5 x (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- At this point, if you don’t have enough money for heavier bells, “switch to (2, 3, 5) ladders, a more efficient choice for relatively light bells. Work up to as many as 10 of these ladders for a total of 100 reps.”
- “Then you might even switch to (2, 3, 5, 10) ladders and chase the same 100 reps.”
There you go. Two programs for swings: one for a lighter weight (53 lbs) and conditioning, the other for power-endurance. Use the rep ladder scheme to increase your presses or other weighted lifts without burnout. Pull-ups are great for this. I used this very method to get to 18 bodyweight pull-ups years ago.
Enjoy this Post? Share it with your friends!