While a Kettlebell-only program can be effective for size and strength training, I think a superior option is to add heavy Kettlebell work with. Mike Mahler has been training and teaching kettlebells for far longer than most people. Who does he admire as a coach and what inspired him? Find out in our. Which brings me to kettlebells. I was introduced to them at a recent seminar with Mike Mahler and immediately saw their benefits: portable.

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I can’t walk up a long flight of stairs without getting a little winded. If I play a game of pick-up basketball, I’m usually huffing after the first few minutes. And while I could use my mild asthma as an excuse for mahelr aversion to anything resembling cardio, that’s just a cop-out. I’ll say this for me: At 5-foot-9 and pounds, I certainly look athletic. And it’s not entirely an illusion.

Building Size And Strength With Kettlebells

I can deadlift over pounds, grab the rim on a kettlebe,l hoop, and knock out a few reps with on the bench press. So I’m not out of shape. But I’m not exactly “fit” either, since I’m only really good at things that are over quickly. I’d throw in a sex joke here, but I’m too tired. Feel free to insert your own. Which brings me to kettlebells.

I was introduced to them at a recent seminar with Mike Mahler and immediately kkettlebell their benefits: I also thought they could help me with my conditioning problem. Kettoebell agreed to help me out, but only if I was willing to give his program a solid two months. For the first six weeks, I’ll do my kettlebell workouts at home on days when I’m not lifting.

The last two weeks, I’ll incorporate the ‘bells into my regular gym-based program, enabling me to use them for strength purposes and as “finishers. Kettlebell training is unique and you’ll have your work cut kettlebe,l for you.

The Five Pillars of Kettlebell Training – Mahler’s Aggressive Strength

It takes time to learn how to use them properly. But if you’re looking for amazing conditioning and kettlebfll exercises, you’ve come to the right place. He also assured me that I don’t have to become mahlee card-carrying member of the Kettlebell Kult to get the benefits.

As for the cult, I prefer to live in reality and keep an open mind. Besides, a lot of them are idiots. A week later, two cardboard lumps arrived at my front door. Mahler had sent me two pound ‘bells from Lifeline Kettlebells. It was go time. As soon as I open the email with the first installment of Mahler’s program, I know it’s going to suck ass. The exercises aren’t the keftlebell — they’re fun and challenging.

What’s hard is doing them in circuits, with just 30 seconds between exercises and 90 seconds between rounds. I’ll do a total of three rounds. I generally start people off with one session per week so they can get acclimated.

Right off the bat, I have to modify the program. The short rest periods leading up to ekttlebell high-rep swings at the end of each round are killing me.

The Five Pillars of Kettlebell Training

So, with Mahler’s blessing, I add 15 seconds of rest at the end of each exercise. They’re still killing me, but at least they’re killing me kethlebell a more leisurely pace, giving me some room to work on my technique. Kettlebell training is as close to an art form as you’ll find in the world of strength and conditioning — that is, if you’re doing it correctly.


Take the double-kettlebell kettlegell, for instance. An elegant, powerful move that builds tremendous strength in the hamstrings and lower back, you perform the clean by maler both ‘bells between your legs, squeezing your glutes, and quickly standing up while flicking your wrists, catching the bells in the sweet spot between the crook of your elbows and your biceps.

Don’t dip underneath it when you catch it. Just let momentum bring them up, and get your elbow through. And don’t even think about trying to curl it. Everyone says that traditional free-weight training challenges your core. But I’ve never felt activation like this from a freakin’ barbell. It’s not just one or two exercises. It’s everything in the program. If you have a weakness or imbalance, kettlebells expose it. In my case, it’s the entire left side of my body, a problem that’s immediately exposed by the Turkish get-up, the most humiliating exercise known to man.

To do it, you lie flat on your back while holding a kettlebell over your head. Then, while keeping your arm locked and your eyes on the ‘bell, you stand up. Then you lie back down.

I do this three times per side and it makes me want to cry, which probably means it’s effective.

The next-hardest exercise is the renegade row. You perform it by holding onto the handles of the bells, getting in a push-up position with your feet wider than normal, contracting your abs, and rowing one bell up to your ribcage while the other stays on the ground. You alternate sides until you’ve done six reps on each. It’s supposed to go fast, but because I’m using pound ‘bells Kettkebell need a good five seconds between each rep.

Just enough time for me to curse mahlerr between breaths. The other exercises remind me of moves I’ve done with free weights, but each kettlebekl an evil twist. For ketlebell, the double-kettlebell front squat sounds easy enough, but I’m amazed at how much core activation is required. Same with cleans, military presses, and bent-over rows — they’re all a hell of a lot harder on the core than their free-weight counterparts.

The good news is that I’m able to get through the circuits with just 30 seconds’ rest between exercises. By the end of the third week, after just six sessions with the ‘bells, my shoulders and upper arms appear bigger and more vascular.

And in my regular workouts, I can feel a difference in my deadlifts, like I’m using my glutes and hamstrings more effectively. It makes sense, considering how many swings and cleans I’ve been doing, and how much overall work I’ve been imposing on my posterior-chain muscles. And I’m finally able to do the windmill with the kettlebells after starting off without using any weight at all. The windmill is one of the coolest exercises ever.

You do it by holding a ‘bell overhead with one arm and your feet turned out at degree angles. You push your butt out in the direction of whichever arm is overhead, and lower yourself until your non-working hand touches the floor. Then you stand back up again. The first few times I tried it, the stretch in my IT band and overall lack of flexibility made it painful and awkward, which is why I had to go weightless.


But after just three weeks, I’m strong enough to do all the reps with good form, using the pound kettlebell.

At feet above the valley floor, with over a dozen switchbacks, the M is where high-level athletes and endurance junkies go to sweat. I’ve hiked it once before, and almost puked; I’m hoping I do better this time. My friend Kyle and I start at the bottom at 4 p.

Because we’re so damned competitive, we break into a dead sprint right from the start. This is a mistake. A quarter of the way up, I feel like someone is punching me in the chest. Still, my gag reflex hasn’t kicked in yet, so I downgrade to a fast jog and keep going. We get to the top in just under 13 minutes, which to me is pretty impressive, considering that the last time I tried I almost didn’t make it. And that’s when I was walking. I feel as if I’ve passed a test.

So I email Mahler, telling him I’m ready for the next challenge. I should’ve left well enough alone. In Mahler’s next installment of the program, the exercises are the same, but the bastard shortened the rest periods. For the next two weeks, I’m supposed to rest just 20 second between exercises and 30 seconds between rounds. Mahler also instructed me to start all of my unilateral exercises with my left side, since it’s weaker, which makes sense but still pisses me off.

The first workout with the new protocol sucks just as bad as my first-ever kettlebell session. I’m completely out of breath, and struggling to keep my breakfast down.

I have noticed one important thing, though: I’m in the groove. I feel much more comfortable swinging the ‘bells and getting them into position, which is a huge confidence booster. The exercises almost feel natural now. Despite the fact I want to throw up all over my couch, I’m actually having fun. And I’m clearly a leaner and better-conditioned athlete, without stepping foot on a treadmill or elliptical machine. I’ve officially moved my new training tools to the gym.

While the owner is fine with me keeping them in the corner, everyone is asking to use them. Swear to God, the next person who calls them “kettleballs” is going to get a pound ‘bell to the solar plexus. The first guy holds them at his sides while doing walking lunges, which sounds like a good idea until the ‘bells hit the ground every time he takes a step.

Which kind of defeats the purpose. The second guy tries a snatch and almost pops his shoulder out of its socket as he fails to decelerate the ‘bell at the top of the movement.

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