The New Rules of Hybrid Kettlebell Strength

Today’s article is about the new rules of hybrid kettlebell strength.  It’s MY take on what I see as a big problem in the fitness world today … and what you can do about it.

But real quick before we get started, I want to share a quick personal story with you …


I still remember it like it was yesterday.  My first high intensity, REAL metabolic conditioning style kettlebell workout.

See, during the first seven or eight years of my lifting career, we only really did it one way.  We lifted heavy weights.  We rested plenty between sets. Weights were for getting STRONG – and that’s about it.

This type of heavy training ROCKS actually, and is a super important part of your overall training program … but when you are used to training a certain way, and you throw in one of these high-intensity, full-body, mixed-strength-and-conditioning workouts, your world gets turned upside down 🙂

Me and my training partner – a guy I worked with at the big box gym where I was employed at the time – hammered out a less-than-10 minute, SUPER high intensity, kettlebell and body weight – based circuit workout.

I remember lying on the floor afterwards, feeling like I was going to puke … and because of the exercises in the workout, having what they call “monkey claw” (it’s where your hands kind of curl up into balls, due to a fatigued grip) … and thinking – “Man, that was awesome.  I gotta do workouts like this more often!”

Sick, I know.  But, I’ll bet you have similar thoughts yourself after a good workout.  It’s just how us crazy fitness peeps roll 🙂

NOW … the point of this article … is that these kind of workouts can be almost addicting, in a way … but that really, you can’t let that “suck you in”, and get away from doing basic, heavy, effective strength work.

You NEED to include some max strength work in your overall scheme as well. You will not have the core, pre-requisite strength to perform your body weight/kettlebell/etc. movements at a high intensity and with great form, if you don’t.

This is so hard for me to get some of my clients to understand.  They feel like they MUST be smoked after EVERY workout.  That a day where you focus on heavy, basic, compound lifts, and don’t feel trashed afterwards is waste of time or something.

To make continued progress in your training, you must get this idea out of your head.


Sample Strength + Metabolic Conditioning Template

All this being said, I wanted to illustrate exactly what I am talking about here, with a sample week of workouts – using the “undulating periodization” model. I have used this template myself, and with hundreds, if not thousands, of in-person training clients, over the years with great success.

This basically means that you hit different training modalities – both heavy/max strength training and higher rep/conditioning-style work – not in specific, dedicated phases, but rather all over the course of a single week.

It allows most folks to make solid, continuing gains – in both strength AND conditioning. Which is a tough feat 😉

Day 1 – Metabolic conditioning day
Day 2 – Interval cardio day
Day 3 – Heavy strength day
Day 4 – Recovery/LSD cardio day
Day 5 – Metabolic Conditionoing day
Day 6 – Interval cardio day
Day 7 – Off

OR – if one only has three days per week to train, they could also set it up like this:

Day 1 – Metabolic conditioniong + interval cardio
Day 2 – Off
Day 3 – Heavy strength + Recover/LSD cardio
Day 4 – Off
Day 5 – Metabolic conditioniong + interval cardio
Day 6 – Off
Day 7 – Off

And probably get pretty similar results.


In conclusion, I love high – intensity, conditioning – style kettlebell workouts.  I always will.  But I think it is also very important to take a step back, look at your programming as a whole, and make sure you lift HEAVY, too – it’s the foundation that much of your other training is built upon.

Thanks for reading, and talk soon –


PS – I will be back VERY soon with a full workout program, based on the theories discussed in this article. Stay tuned. AND – if you haven’t signed up for my free email newsletter, and grabbed your free copy of my Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebell Training, make sure to do that now – you’ll get very first notice of the program’s availability when you do.

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