Kettlebell Rite of Passage-Shifting Gears

Novato California Personal Training Kettlebell

originally uploaded by Ben McLeod.

Before beginning, prepare carefully ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

We’re shifting gears here, from the Program Minimum to the Rite of Passage.

Where one emphasizes general conditioning with swings and get-ups, the other focuses on presses and pulls. It’s that five weeks of general conditioning though, that makes the beginning of the Rite of Passage more manageable.

We’re doing our kettlebell clean and presses by using the “ladder” technique to keep track of sets and reps.

We’re starting by “climbing” a ladder of 3 rungs. Each “rung” of the ladder corresponds to the number of reps we’re going to do. For the first “rung” we do one rep right and one rep left of the clean and press. For the second “rung” we do two reps right and two reps left. For the third “rung”…you guessed it; three reps right, three reps left.

In between rungs, we’re going to be doing a pulling movement. Pavel suggests pull-ups, and the first time we did this program, that’s what we used. However that was in the summer and on a dedicated pull-up bar in my outdoor exercise area.

This year, because we’re practicing inside, I purchased a Perfect pull-up bar and mounted it in the doorway of our pantry. Not the most ideal location, but with my height (6-02), it didn’t matter anyway as all the doorframes are the same height and my knees are almost on the floor in a full hang.

The handy thing about this bar, is that it’s adjustable for different strength levels. Meaning that at its lowest position, it’s perfect for suspended rows. These are ideal for my wife who has a hard time with regular pull-ups and me, so I don’t tweak my right elbow (which I’ve strained before doing this program).

After right and left presses, then, you do a pull for the same number of reps. Once you reach three presses and three pulls, that’s one ladder.

We start with three ladders. I used my 24 kg kettlebell while my wife used her 12 kg bell.

Actually, let me back up.

We started with our joint mobility stuff, then went to our famous ten minute warm-up, followed by three ladders of three rungs, with a minute and a half rest between ladders.

After completing our ladders, the Art of Strength Enter the Kettlebell workbook suggests five minutes of snatch practice. It’s a “light” day, so we only do ten reps each side followed by one minute of rest.

In five minutes we managed three rounds of 10R/10L snatches. These smoked me more than the sixty rep swing set did! Obviously I haven’t snatched for a while!

Tomorrow is listed as a variety day. My wife will be working so I’m planning on doing my first Viking Warrior Conditioning snatch workout solo.

It’s gonna be fun!

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