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Bull Simple Kettlebell Program for Beefy Muscularity

September 26, 2006 08:42 AM


"Bull simple." Interesting, but what does it mean? Its means: act simple and think simple. It's a program that doesn't require a lot of thinking, just a lot of HARD WORK and WILL POWER. I'm talking about the simplest, most effective kettlebell program I've ever used. Popeye-like forearms, braided-steel core strength, along with a ripped physique will be yours, if you can take the heat! I personally gained 9 pounds of muscle and lost the same amount of stubborn body fat in 3 weeks! This is after training with kettlebells for 8 months prior to the Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certification at the end of June 2004. I'd trained hard prior to the RKC to pass the snatch test and to be ready for the grueling weekend to come, but nothing has worked as fast or has been as brutal as the following program. You will need to get your mind focused and "be the bell".

First up is a warm up. I highly suggest Pavel Tsatsoline's Super Joints DVD. A good 10 to 15 minutes spent on joint mobility is well worth it. We will be doing ladders so you'll need three different size kettlebells. I used the 16, 24 and 32 kg kettlebells. Start with your lightest kettlebell and begin doing around the body passes, go to the left and to the right for an equal number of reps (6-10 reps each direction). Immediately begin performing the under the leg pass (6-10 reps each direction). Make sure and reverse direction halfway through. Now the fun begins. After your last rep of the under the leg pass, start doing snatches with your weaker arm first. Do an equal number with your stronger arm. Twenty reps would be a good place to stop. Take a short break. That was your easy set. Do the same thing with your medium sized bell. Go through all three exercises for one set. Take a slightly longer break. That was a little harder. Now get ready to take on your heaviest kettlebell for your last set of your first ladder. Obviously you're not going to get the same amount of reps with your largest kettlebell, but you can look forward to a lighter set after this one. To help your now raging heart and lungs recover walk around after every set. Go through the same routine with your lightest bell again. Then your medium sized bell and after that your heaviest kettlebell.

When you start out on this program you'll have to have a good base to build upon. In other words, this program is not for beginners. Keep your rest periods down to one minute or less. The main reason this abbreviated program works so well is the fact that you really have to push your reps on the second and third sets and not burn yourself out on your first set. It's all about pacing. The first set is a warm up/ recovery set. The second set is the heart of the workout. The third set is the time to go for broke. You'll try for slightly more than half the reps you got on your second set. Your rest period between sets should be kept to a minimum. Do at least two of these ladders, three when you're feeling really energetic. I did two ladders most days and that seemed to work quite well for me. Up the intensity and you won't have to work out for very long.

I did this routine once a week for three weeks. After three weeks on this routine I'd accomplished my goal of getting below 10% body fat and went back to a more conventional routine. If you wanted to use this program for a longer training cycle, say six weeks, you could start out with a lower number of reps for every set and just build up the reps more gradually. I just kept it simple and jumped my reps by 3 to 5 on the snatches every week.

This routine will give your heart and lungs an awesome workout too. Better than any long, boring aerobics sessions ever could. You'll be feeling like a raging bull after a couple weeks and be eating like a two-headed alligator. It's very similar to the twenty rep squat routines they did back in the old days. Do some nice easy stretching after every workout for five to ten minutes and you're done till next week. You can do an easy grind type workout another day of the week to keep the groove greased on your other kettlebell exercises but I wouldn't push that workout too hard, just stay nice and loose. Happy trails, cowboys and cowgirls!

Joe Pavel, RKC is an avid kettlebell juggler and is available for small group and individual kettlebell instruction in the twin cities metro area. Check out his web site. Contact: 651-246-7180 or e-mail: