Make It A Double: Kettlebells For Size and Strength

Be strong to be useful...


The conditioning and mobility benefit of the kettlebell is well documented.  Less attention however has been given to the legitimate strength and muscle building capability this archaic implement can offer.

Enter the Double Kettlebell

Long relegated to accessory movements and conditioning style finishers, the kettlebell has been overlooked as a valid alternative to barbell strength training.  If you are new to Double kettlebell movements, they are certain to humble even the gym savvy among us.

Your compensation patterns and strength asymmetries will become readily apparent as stabilization is demanded across the entire system.

The first time you pick up two of these unruly little cannonballs be sure to use a weight that both your left and right sides can handle.  You are only as good as your weakest link so start shoring up your deficiencies now.  There’s a learning curve for sure but in a matter of only a few sessions you'll be progressing nicely and once mastered, you can dust off that old 5 x 5 program and get down to some serious strength training.  As a side benefit you will have the added stabilization challenge, connective tissue strengthening and whole body integration that comes with all kettlebell movements.  Your joints and your orthopedist will love you.


Press / pull / Squat / Hinge / Carry

We are sticking to the bread and butter human movements here.  Master the basics and don't get fancy!  Perform the movements with solid technique.  Stay tight and pyramid the weight up until you hit a threshold of 75 - 80% perceived effort.  You should easily hit 5 reps on the first 4 sets of each movement.  Then you'll go hard on the 5th and final set by going for a rep max, stopping 1-2 reps short of failure.  Ready to work?  Following are some general guidelines to keep in mind and the workout written as it is to be performed.  Video demonstrations are provided for each movement.

Guidelines and procedures...

  • Work at 80% perceived effort.
  • Do 5 rounds of each Triset.  For the first four sets of each strength movement do 5 reps.  
  • On the final workset go for broke stopping one rep short of failure.  Write down how many you did and beat it next time.
  • Don’t skip the mobility movements.  Instead of sitting around the gym looking at yourself in the mirror get in some active recovery.  
  • Remember to breathe!  Inhale with the eccentric motion and exhale with the concentric motion. 
  • For the conditioning portion at the end shoot for a 1:1 work to rest ratio with 30 seconds of work to 30 seconds of rest for 6-8 rounds.  
  • Enjoy!

Double Kettlebell Program for size and strength

(Movement Prep: 3 Rounds)
A1) Suitcase carry + Waiters Walk
A2) Opposite side lateral chain reaction

(Strength Triset A: 5 Rounds)
B1) Double Kettlebell Front Squat
B2) Renegade Row
B3) Posterior Chain Reaction

(Strength Triset B: 5 Rounds)
C1) Double Kettlebell SLRDL
C2) Double Kettlebell Press
C3) Same side rotational chain reaction

(Conditioning: 6-8 Rounds 30:30)
D1) Double Kettlebell Swing