As much as we love training with kettlebells, the reality is that we can’t train with them exclusively forever and expect balanced development. Kettlebells are great for building strength-endurance and for improving your overall condition, but they aren’t so good for some other things – like building maximal strength. And, just like any training stimulus, you’re going to eventually adapt to kettlebell training. So what’s the best way to mix them with other training modalities and still get the results you’re looking for?
There are two basic approaches to mixing in other types of training with your kettlebell work. The first approach would be to utilize a kettlebell-only program, like the one found in Enter The Kettlebell by Pavel for a four to eight week period. When your progress stalls out on this program, you would then switch to a program such one found in Beyond Bodybuilding – a more traditional barbell, dumbell, and body weight based routine – for another four to eight weeks. Once adapted to this program, you would switch back to your kettlebell-only routine.
The second approach would be to use a program like the one found here on my main fitness blog, thefitnessmonster.com, that mixes kettlebell training and more traditional strength work together. This program kind of gives you the best of both worlds in that you train with kettlebells a couple of days a week and lift heavy a couple of days week.
There are pluses and minuses with both approaches. While focusing on one specific goal for a given period of time does help you make a little faster progress towards that goal, a drawback can be that you lose a little bit of what you worked so hard for in your last training period. Mixing kettlebell training with the rest of your strength work helps you avoid losing what you gained – but you might not make as fast of progress towards a specific goal as if you focused on it completely.
So those are the two approaches to mixing in more traditional strength training with your kettlebell work. In the end, it comes down to your specific goals and what’s going to work best for you when you decide how to organize your training schedule. Keep training hard and good luck!
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