Happy Thursday to you,
I hope that you are having a great week so far.
The stretching list that I mentioned last week is coming along nicely but it is proving to be a lot more work than I anticipated.
I’m working hard on it and hope to have it ready for you sometime this month.
Today I want to help you better understand your kettlebell level and my own program levels 1 – 3.
Whether you use one of my programs or not, this should help solidify your goals and give you some direction in your kettlebell training.
3 Program Levels
I’m sure you have noticed that all my programs are divided into 3 levels: 1, 2 and 3.
Level 1 is for beginners, Level 2 for intermediates and Level 3, you guessed it, for advanced.
Each level takes into account many things other than just the difficulty of the exercises.
Let’s take a closer look at each level:
Those new to kettlebell training should start here regardless of the amount of weight training experience they have.
The primary goal is to expose you to the fundamental movement patterns as they apply to kettlebell training.
- Hip Hinge
- Knee Bend
The workouts are put together as simple 4 minute circuits that flow from one exercise to the next.
These types of workouts allow you to move at your own pace while activating every muscle in your body.
Connective tissue is strengthened and stabilising muscles conditioned both in an effort to minimalise injury potential.
You will use a lighter kettlebell: 8kg – 12kg for Women, 12kg – 16kg for Men.
Exercises include: goblet squat, single arm or single leg deadlifts, lunges, rows, presses, get ups, cleans and finally the kettlebell swing.
As with all my programs the workouts build based on the one performed previously.
Level 2 – Intermediates
There are 3 major differences compared to the level 1 program.
- More challenging workout formats including intervals for cardio
- Workouts are more dynamic and focus more on the swing
- More strength and muscle building formats are used
You should also be advancing with your kettlebell weight: 12kg – 16kg for women, 16kg – 24kg for Men.
Exercises include: swing variations, thrusters, side lunges, rows, windmills, and lots of core training exercises.
Both men and women should complete levels 1 and 2 before choosing a level 3 program.
If your goals are fat loss or adding muscle then the programs at level 2 will achieve this just as efficiently as any level 3 program.
These level 3 programs build on everything you have learnt and strengthened during the previous programs.
The workouts will focus directly on your goals and become even more specific sometimes using 2 kettlebell together.
Exercises include: snatch, pistol squats, overhead squats, deck squats and other exercises that may include 2 kettlebells.
Final thoughts on programs
Most people overestimate what they can do in the first few weeks and underestimate what they can do in 3+ months.
The clients I work with usually want to do too much at first. Less is definitely more during the first 4 weeks.
Connective tissue, ligaments and tendons, take much longer to recover from exercise than muscle so take an extra days rest when needed.
Don’t be in a rush to complete programs, you can redo a week, month or the whole program. Focus on technique and really master the kettlebell load.
Here’s a workout from my Men’s Level 2 program:
- Single Leg Deadlift x 6 reps each side
- Windmill x 5 reps each side
- Rest 60 secs and repeat above for 3 sets
- Side Lunge x 6 reps each side
- Regular Row x 8 reps each side
- Rest 60 secs and repeat above for 3 sets
The above workout is from Week 8 where I start to mix supersets (as above) with density workouts.
For those not used to single leg exercises, lateral movements, or shoulder stabilisation exercises, the above few exercises will be a real challenge.
Those who have completed the level 1 program will have already mastered the single leg deadlift, developed strong shoulder stabilisation from the get ups, and be comfortable with the row.
This weeks question:
Q. “When I finish this program would it be better to go on to the next program in the series with an 8kg weight, or to repeat again but with a 12kg weight?”
A. If you managed to complete the program with an 8kg then I think you wil get more benefits from repeating the program with a heavier kettlebell.
If you find the 12kg too challenging for a certain exercise then switch it for the 8kg. You should be able to use the 12kg for many exercises including: the single handed deadlift, goblet squat, and two handed swing.
I hope this helps.
Take care of yourself and each other.