This was a question I got from Howard the other day.
I’m not sure if his question was for me personally or a general
So, let me answer both:
The closest thing I currently get to conditioning is OSP –
Original Strength Performance.
Because “conditioning” is not part of my goal set.
(My goals right now are purely strength focused.)
Is there anything wrong with doing it?
Nope. Not if it’s part of your goals.
For example, the last real conditioning training I did was
in January 2013, when I was training for my Snatch Test.
I spent about 4 weeks training for it using a very specialized
Turns out I didn’t need to do it after all, but as just a little
test for myself, I ran a mock test using 70 reps – or 70%
of what I had to do.
Barely out of breath. Taking my sweet, sweet time.
What should you do for conditioning?
Well, there are 4 different KB exercises – 4 different levels
of exercises – I think are fantastic to use.
(And I’ve used them all both personally and with my clients,
with great success.)
Here they are in order of effectiveness and difficulty:
#4 – The Swing.
The Foundation. Ol’ Faithful. The Ol’ Standby.
2 hands. 1 hand. Hand-to-Hand. Your choice.
Very little mental energy expended. Can get in great shape
quickly, especially if you a) use a heavy KB or b) use a medium
sized KB and move that sucker as fast as you can.
Speaking of fast as you can…
#3 – The Snatch.
If there’s one KB conditioning exercise I like, it’s the Snatch.
It just feels good.
And it works.
There’s a reason it’s called the Tsar of Kettlebell lifts.
Do enough of them, with the right sized KB (the 32kg is about
“right” to me), and you literally can form a “back of steel and
lungs that won’t quit” – to borrow from some old ad copy.
This is my #2 preferred KB exercise for conditioning.
#2 – The Double Swing.
Honestly, I hate these.
I was talking to the Iron Tamer about these last year and he
hates them too – and he loves to swing.
We both concluded the reason we hate them is because
there literally is nowhere to hide from them. There’s no rest
during the rep.
At least with a single KB you can rest on the “float” – but
durn it if the stinkin’ doubles don’t really float – at least not
like the singles.
So they make you work. Hard.
Lungs. Upper back. Hips. Grip. Abs. Everything.
Which brings me to the #1 – also very, very hard, but at least
you can “rest” a little bit…
#1 – The Double Clean + Jerk (The Long Cycle)
These are just miserable, in a fun, manly, put hair on your
chest (obviously not the ladies), test your mettle sort of way.
Speaking of the Iron Tamer, he and I were talking about how
awesomely miserable these were a couple of years ago and
he bet me I couldn’t do 20 with a pair of 32s.
Even though I hadn’t been training my conditioning at the
time, I was dumb enough to take that bet.
Honestly, they didn’t take that long to do. Maybe 2 minutes.
But I couldn’t catch my breath for at least 5 minutes.
That’s when I fell in love with the Long Cycle.
Every single muscle in your body works.
Very, very, very hard.
That’s why it’s #1 in my book.
And the next time I get an itch for a conditioning cycle,
guess what I’m gonna do?
You got it.
The Long Cycle.
Yet most people in the KB community shy away from the
Clean + Jerk.
Probably out of confusion and fear.
Confused on the right way to do it.
Confused about what it physically takes to do it.
And afraid they haven’t “earned the right to do it” because
they haven’t done “enough” swings or some other such
Look, Clean + Jerks aren’t easy.
However, they’re not that hard to learn.
Here, I’ll prove it.
The Clean is no problem-o, right?
You most likely can do those, right?
The Jerk on the other hand…
Not so much.
Look, it’s this simple:
Ok, maybe not so much. But you get the gist.
You do need good t-spine mobility. Good shoulder mobility.
Good hip mobility.
Don’t worry – I’ll show you how to get all that AND give you the
shortcuts to the Jerk technique.
Jerks are easy for me. I’ve been doing them for almost 20
I’ll show you how to do them too – faster than you thought
3.5+ hours of high level, interactive, instructional DVDs.
Plus an 89-page filler-and-fluff-free book.
Why “only” 89 pages?
Because it’s on 8.5 x 11 size paper, single spaced, in 12 point
font, with just enough pictures for you to get the point.
No fancy graphics. Spartan at best.
And like the Spartans, it’s all business.
The Long Cycle Clean + Jerk – It’s the Ultimate KB
P.S. You may wonder how, if I’m not currently doing conditioning
with the LCCJ why or how I have so much experience with
Clean + Jerks?
Almost 20 years of it.
And I’ve never really trained the traditional Split Jerk like
you see most weightlifters doing – one foot forward and
one foot back.
I’ve always used the Push Jerk – where your feet barely move
out to the side (only with near max to max weight – otherwise
they’re still) – just like in the KB Jerk.
And let me tell you something – a set of 3 to 5 reps with
close to 1.5 x your bodyweight will really get your heart
rate moving and the ol’ sweat glands working too.
Especially multiple sets of 3 to 5 reps.
And guess what?
The heavier the weight, the more precise your technique
has to be.
The cool thing about KB C+J’s is two-fold:
1) The barbell technique transfers VERY nicely to ye olde
2) Because the weight of the KBs is lighter, you don’t
have to be quite as precise as you would with a barbell
(although precision always helps).