Gotta love it.
I was involved in some over the course of the weekend
in a private group I belong to.
What’s really interesting is how many people justify
their positions on what they “feel” or “believe” versus
what they can prove with fact.
Some of the responses were purely visceral.
No facts provided to substantiate responses or
Only “feelings” and “what if’s.”
Working out is sometimes – well many times for many
people – just like that.
They go “by feel.”
They “just want” to “get a great workout.”
And when you ask them about their results?
They get defensive.
Nine times out of 10 they have none.
At least not the ones they say they want.
That’s because more often than not, they violate the
3 Tiered Hierarchy of Strength.
#1 – TECHNIQUE
Without this, you’re sunk in the water.
It’s the foundation upon which all your KB training is
And it explains why you may have hurt your shoulder
while doing Get Ups…
Or why you’re lower back hurts from Swings…
Or one of my favorites, why your elbows hurt from
When you focus on your technique, not only will
you “automatically” get stronger, you can increase
your conditioning too.
For example, when I was teaching my “Kettlebell
STRONG!” workshop in Italy last month, the attendees
were surprised – borderline shocked – that just practicing
the rack hold jacked up their heart rates and made
their muscles feel “worked.”
“Simply” from standing there.
See, it doesn’t take “a lot” of effort to “get a great
It just takes the “right effort.”
And that starts with your technique.
Once you have your technique down, then you need to
work on –
#2 – STRENGTH
Now strength means many different things to many different
So we have to specify here.
By strength I mean “maximum strength.”
Or the ability to contract your muscles maximally.
Why not “work capacity” or “endurance” or “hypertrophy”
or something else?
That’s a great question.
When I’m working a skill, I want to avoid fatigue, right?
I mean, could you imagine woodworking when your fine
motor skills are tired and you can no longer see straight
and your hands are all shaky?
“Keep going man – tough it out,” you’d say to yourself
as you turn the leg of your chair on your lathe.
Or – well – pick ANY skill.
You stay away from fatigue.
You don’t chase it.
The point is, using most protocols for “work capacity” and
hypertrophy induce A LOT of fatigue.
And when fatigue is introduced, skill degrades.
Movement compensations occur.
And many times, injury / injuries ensue.
Training for maximum strength, in most cases, not only
– and excuse me for pointing out the obvious here –
makes you stronger – but keeps you relatively far
away from fatigue –
Assuming you’re using specific and time-tested loading
Furthermore, the need to train for maximum strength
should be somewhat self evident.
For example – in order to run 1 mile, you first have to
be able to run 100 meters.
And remember, the WINNER of a marathon is the person
who runs the FASTEST.
Being “faster” is a measure of really a measure of “power.”
And being “more powerful” means that you can do more
Where POWER = Force * Velocity –
And where FORCE = Mass * acceleration –
VELOCITY = distance / time
Therefore, the larger “force,” the greater the Power.
And the larger the “mass” – the greater the Force.
And since power is a measure of work, the stronger
you are, the more work you can do.
Pretty simple really when you break it down.
(There is one caveat: Your ability to produce force
and train for strength is limited by your ability to move
through your chosen ranges of motion.)
#3 – EVERYTHING ELSE
Yep, that’s just what it sounds like.
Whatever you want to do.
All that is based upon your technique – your ability
to do it correctly –
And your strength – your ability to to it – period.
Again, back to our conditioning example:
Let’s say you’re training for the SFG Snatch Test,
which is performed with a 24kg for 100 reps if you’re
a man and a 16kg for 100 reps if you’re a woman.
(Both under 50.)
You have to first be able to snatch the KB once before
you can snatch it 10 times.
Let alone 100 times.
The stronger you are, the more “capacity” you’ll have,
and the easier time you’ll have training for that 100
When I trained for my RKC back in 2005, I was around
220 to 230 pounds. I had been doing a bunch of heavy
Olympic lifting (until I hurt my hip) where it wasn’t
uncommon for me to do various types of pulling
movements in excess of 200kg and approaching 300kg.
So a little 24kg “cowbell” wasn’t much of a challenge.
I trained 3 weeks for my Snatch Test, which at the time,
was based on the sport style of testing.
I had to do 74 reps with one hand switch.
I trained for those 3 weeks using a 32kg KB, working up
to 3 sets of 15 + 15.
The test was pretty easy – except for the whole counting
to 74 part.
So my endurance and my conditioning levels were pretty
high just from training for strength.
And my muscularity?
Well, let’s put it this way, I wasn’t fat.
At the end of the day, if you’re truly serious about your
kettlebell training results, you’ll follow this hierarchy.
How to you learn all this information and put it into a
structured program – one you can follow step-by-step
day-in-and-day-out – without having to think overly
hard about what to do next?
That’s why I put “Kettlebell STRONG!” together for you.
It’s your defense against controversial techniques and
spurious “strength” workouts.
P.S. Technique is critically important to getting strong,
lean, and well-conditioned.
Especially when using double kettlebells – which are
the pinnacle of kettlebell training.
If you want some hands on help, I’m holding a one-day
“Kettlebell STRONG!” workshop in Singapore in