|The Kettlebell Starter Kit
A Beginners Guide to Becoming a Girevik
Recently I have been besieged by e-mails asking how to get started with Kettlebells. Generally folks asking these questions fall into two different categories. Those who have not read Pavel's book, and those who have but not carefully enough. Sometimes people need a little more information or the same info in a different way. The folks that contact me are split about 70/30 respectively. For both groups, this article is for you.
The first thing you need to do is get a set of Kettlebells. I highly recommend that you start low with the 16kg bells. If you think they are expensive, lets look at your gym membership. Golds, World, and Powerhouse run about $80 a month (that's what I was paying on average). Cancel the darn thing and in less than six months you have paid for the KB set, maybe two sets! What about your Nordic Track? It's pretty much worthless but you paid a lot more than $300 for that sucker! It collects dust in most homes and you can pick it up at yard sales for $20. What a bargain! I used to mention that Kettlebells are expensive, but when I looked at it with a little more perspective, they are downright inexpensive!
Now, you have the Kettlebells, and you are trying to figure out a starting program. It's very simple. It is important for simplicity sake to ease into it. Phase One is getting to know you Kettlebells. Do this by performing 2-arm swings and 1-arm cleans. Here is the program:
2-arm Swing x10-30 reps
1-arm Clean x5-10 reps
Rest x 1-2min
Repeat until your form starts to suffer or you are worn out.
Read the instructions in the book very carefully and make every rep count. Do this every other day for a week. This will give you a good introduction. Then its time to add a little more.
In Phase Two every other day will continue to be your ballistic drills, but add the 1-arm Snatch between the Swing and the Clean. On the days you are not doing Ballistic drills you will do Grinding drills such as the Military Press, Windmills, and Front Squats. It will look like this:
Monday: 2-Arm Swing x20 reps
1-Arm Snatch x 10
1-Arm Clean x10 reps
Rest x 1-2min
Repeat until your form starts to suffer or you are worn out. 2-15 circuits. Do not exceed 45 minutes. Try reducing the rest periods between drills by half and see what happens.
Windmill x3-5 per side
Limbo Lunge x3
Military Press x3-5 per arm
Front Squat x5-20
Rest x1-2 min
Repeat for up to 5 circuits. Stop if your form deteriorates. Do not go to failure. Do not exceed 45 minutes.
Do this workout through Saturday, take Sunday off or do something different like a long hike, bike ride, or swim. Start with the low weights to learn form and stay safe, but continue to challenge the higher weight. It will come with time.
This workout is designed as your starter kit. Doing this will give you direction and teach you the fundamentals. From there your mind will take over and you will begin to create your own workouts. There is plenty of advice on the web. Be warned though, everything takes time. I recommend doing this workout for a month before switching anything. You need the time to help your joints, tendons, and ligaments adjust in addition to learning proper form. That process actually takes much longer, but if you are careful you can progress faster. This article is in no way a replacement for Pavel's book. Rather it is a supplement. ENJOY!
Nathanael Morrison, RKC