Ok, so you decided that you want to get stronger this year.
Don’t fall into this trap – it’s old-school – but not in a nostalgic
The old-school trap for gaining strength looks like this:
high reps/low weight –> medium reps/medium weight –>
low reps/heavy weight
You’ll recognize this:
3×12-15 –> 4×6-10 –> 5×3-5 – something like this.
This doesn’t work for a lot of people. Weeks and months
of work, followed by disappointment.
The problem is of course the structure. It violates the tenants
of motor learning.
In order to lift something 10 times, you have to be able to lift
it at least once.
And if you recall that strength is a skill, then it should be
practiced without any fatigue, otherwise your motor patterns
are altered as your muscles – both moving and supporting
So what should you do?
Use the “Upside-Down” Strength Formula.
It’s where you start your strength program with very low reps
and then progress to higher reps.
Why do I call it the “Upside-Down” Strength Formula?
Because like I mentioned, it’s the opposite – it’s upside
down from how strength has been traditionally trained
You might recognize this formula in the ladder concept –
Where you perform 1 rep, then 2, then 3, then 4.
This is an excellent format to use.
However, I really like “straight sets” and find they manage
fatigue (at least for me) better than ladders.
And when I structure my programs, I start with very, very
low reps, build the volume, and then progress into the
Because, in case you don’t know it – strength is the foundation
for everything else you do.
Want to improve your Snatch Test?
Well how easy will a 24kg bell feel when you can easily
snatch a 40kg for reps?
Very, that’s how.
Want to improve your body composition?
Getting stronger allows you to do more work. And doing more
work allows you to burn more calories and therefore burn
Want to put on more muscle?
Again, work. The more mechanical work you can perform,
the more potential protein degradation and therefore
synthesis (one of the mechanisms for growth) will occur.
Quite honestly, there isn’t really anything you do that won’t
benefit from getting stronger.
Just make sure you use the “Upside-Down” Strength
If you want a full plan, that will not only get your super-strong,
but pack some muscle on you and improve your conditioning,
I show you how it’s done inside the STRONG! program in
Here’s the breakdown –
Phase 1: Pure Strength.
It’s 8 to 12 weeks long depending on whether you do it two
or three times per week. You’ll end up doing 30 reps with
your 4-5 rep max.
Phase 2: Work Capacity and/or Hypertrophy.
This is one of my personal favorites.You have 2 options –
the Short Course or the Slow & Steady. This is where you
can really “own” your kettlebells. By the time you finish the
Slow & Steady, your KBs will feel like toys. You’ll end up
doing 60 strong reps with your old 4-5RM.
Phase 3: Conditioning / Fat Loss
This one is special. You’ll truly end up doing more work in less
time. If you’re really pushing for fat loss – get on one of my
nutrition programs and combine it with this one. The hormonal
cascade is pretty awesome.
And if you want to model an “upside-down” program – you
could do it like I just outlined.
Just make sure you “wave the loads.”
I’ll show you exactly how to do ALL this inside “Kettlebell