Lemme ask you a question:
You ever wonder why one person does KB workout “A” and
sees great results and you do it and your results are “ho-hum”
You do KB workout “B” and get great results. 12, 18, or 24
months later you do the same program and, “… Eh…” Not
What’s going on?
Several things – and maybe all at once, depending on the
First, about you versus the other person and the “flat” results…
One thing we rarely talk about in the KB world, or in the
mainstream fitness world for that matter, is that we all bring
different exercise, training, medical, injury histories to the
Some, could have great aerobic backgrounds. Others could
have tremendous strength training backgrounds. One person
may have a fully-rehabbed lower back injury, while another
has an asymptomatic lower back injury.
See where I’m going with this?
Maybe… Maybe not…
For example, someone with a great aerobic base/background,
could find high rep swings taxing on their muscles, and not
their lungs. So their muscles give out before their lungs.
The opposite could be the case for the individual with a broad
background in strength training. The swings may not tire him
muscularly, but will wear him out from a conditioning perspective.
In the first case, there may be some muscle growth, but minimal
fat loss, because the threshold for adaptation may not have
been crossed due to the large aerobic capacity.
In the second, there may be tremendous fat loss because of
what all that sucking wind will do to that person’s metabolism
not only while working out, but afterward as well.
Second example – the back pain people.
Person A fully rehabbed her back using the latest methods and
has passed multiple variations of trunk stability screens/assessments.
Swings, fortify her lower back, making it stronger than it’s
By contrast, Person B, has an asymptomatic lower back injury –
it’s still there, it’s just not presenting with any pain or dysfunction
at the moment. Swings, depending on the type of injury she
had, could make her re-experience her previous symptoms.
Furthermore, and here’s something else no one really mentions,
is that there are more often than not, compliance issues for
For example, you* buy a kettlebell fat loss program. In it are
lots of snatches. You don’t like snatches so much because that
little flip or punch over the top always seems to give you
problems, so you’ll just do swings instead. Despite the fact
that swings are incredibly easy for you and you’ve done about
a bazillion of them.
(*I’m using the collective or global “you” because I know that
no one reading this newsletter would ever do anything like
this at all… Never…)
Not only that, but there’s a nutrition component to the program
and you don’t really “feel” like doing anything about your eating
habits. So you change the program – pick and choose the parts
you like – and modify or discard the parts you don’t.
So you just have to realize that everything you’ve done
up to where you are right now, determines your success
or failure on any particular [high quality] kettlebell program.
(That and compliance of course.)
Which brings up another question (that you may or may not
have thought of):
Is there one universal starting point for everyone when it
comes to kettlebell programs/workouts?
And if so, is the answer “swings?” (Or a variation of “swings?”)
Like I said, it depends on the individual.
However, I think there is one single lynchpin that if you
ignore, you’re shooting yourself in the foot right from the start.
And it’s this:
You should find and fix your biomechanical weak links.
How do you know what your weak links are?
You should find somebody who has a reliable and predictable
movement assessment that can help you out.
However, since that’s not available to most people reading this,
you have to go with the next best thing:
The Law of Averages.
Let me explain…
If you’re like me, you cringe at being lumped in with everybody
else and called “average.”
Truth be told, since you’re already using kettlebells, you’re
“above average” since the average person, at least in America,
is overweight and sedentary.
However, the fact still remains, most people spend all day, or
most of their day sitting in some form of a chair.
And sitting in a chair all day every day will destroy your
posture – from the inside out.
And when your posture is off, then everything else is off.
Think about this:
Your body is designed to follow your head. And if you’re
head is being pulled forward from looking at a computer
screen or whatever, all day long, then your body is going to
experience “issues” – movement dysfunctions.
(Movement dysfunctions are your body working but not
working the way it is designed.)
That will negatively affect your swing, your get up, your
press, clean, squat, snatch… Everything.
And for some – your lower back.
Because when sitting all day, your head drifts forward, causing
you to slouch. And that slouching means that the curve in your
lower back gets reversed, and your lumbar spine experiences
nearly double the compressive forces it does standing.
Furthermore, those compressive forces and reversal of the
spine’s natural curve, fatigue, strain, and even stretch out the
spinal ligaments, which, then leads to spinal instability, and
the inevitable “slipped disc”, among other low back ailments.
Did you know, that according to according to the National
Institute of Health, 8 out of 10 people will experience some
sort of lower back pain at some point in their lives?
I think you’d agree – that’s a pretty big number.
Here’s why that matters to you:
If you’ve EVER hurt you’re lower back, the current available
research indicates that your deep abdominal musculature
becomes inhibited – that is – it no longer is “plugged in” to
the rest of your body.
And as a result, that means that you develop movement
compensations and dysfunctions that often present themselves
as things like:
– Tight hamstrings
– Tight hip flexors
– Tight hips (in general)
– Tight/stiff neck
– Tight shoulders
– Tight thoracic spine (upper back area)
– Tight/stiff ankles
– Hip injuries
– Chronically sore lower back
And that’s just one example.
And if you’ve never hurt your lower back, that’s awesome!
However, the Law of Averages states that based on the current
statistics, you probably will, it’s just a matter of time,
especially if you sit all day for work – at a computer, in a
car or truck, wherever. (It’s that whole posture thing again…)
The average person (you and me) should re-evaluate our
progress, or in many cases, lack of progress, based on two
1. Our current kettlebell training program
2. Our “histories”
I touched on the “mileage” and history thing at the start of
this email but can’t overemphasize it enough – it really is
It can taint everything you do moving forward and more
often than not dictate your progress or lack thereof, if you
don’t take it into consideration.
It can make a “good” kettlebell workout “bad.”
And it explains why different people get such differing results
on the same [high quality] kettlebell program.
That’s why I recommend serious kettlebell users re-evaluate
their current progress (or lack thereof as the case sometimes
may be) and re-start their training by finding and eliminating
their biomechanical weaknesses, including movement
dysfunctions, aches, and pains.
Where do you go from there?
We’ll cover that tomorrow.
In the meantime, let me just put it this way –
There is, based on science, a very specific order of phasic
programming, that every person using kettlebells, especially
if you’re over 40, should use, regardless of whether you’re a
man or woman, when training. And you should cover this
training/programming spectrum at least once, if not multiple
times each year.
And when you follow this programming sequence – where
you prioritize your training goals by phase – results just
seem to “happen” – almost automatically.
P.S. I’m not saying the average person shouldn’t do swings, or
even get ups for that matter.
What I am saying is that since the average person sits all day,
his/her posture, from sitting, will affect his/her swings and get
ups AND his/her progress on those swings and get ups will be
limited by his/her sitting.
So you better have a very good idea of exercises you can do
and should do to train your weak links to make your swings
and get ups that much more efficient and effective.
And you better include them in your training regimen at some
point in your training year, as well as be able to maintain the
progress you’ve made throughout the year.