Matt Wichlinski shows you how to Balance Your Barbell Strength with Kettlebell Training

Your Workout is Lopsided! 7 Ways to Fix It with Kettlebell Training

Written by
July 31, 2014
Updated April 12, 2018
Category: Fitness

Strength trainees train for strength, endurance athletes train for endurance, CrossFitters train for every damn thing. In this article I will try to present a simple template for achieving balance in your training, and how kettlebell training can be the perfect solution for balance and mobility in an old school basic strength program.

I use the following general template for all the programs I write for my athletes. I simply fill in the blanks for each individual’s needs, goals, and abilities. By starting with a general outline and implementing specific strategies, I can easily manipulate certain aspects of their training to achieve specific results.

1: Kettlebell Training General Warm Up

All athletes should implement a general warm up in their training, to prepare their minds and bodies for the more vigorous activity to follow. Simple bodyweight calisthenics, bike riding, jumping rope, and rowing are good options. These activities should be low skill, low intensity in nature, and easy to implement at any time. This should take three to ten minutes.

2: Joint Mobility & Light Stretching for Kettlebell Training

Flapping your arms across your chest for 4 or 5 swings just won’t cut it. If you would like an ounce of longevity in your training, you’d better mobilize and take it seriously. If you don’t your training regimen will certainly be less than desirable because you will be limited by pain and range of motion issues which will find a way to hold you back. This should take five to fifteen minutes.

3: Kettlebell Training Specific Warm Up

This will be based on the following segment, but is essentially a lighter version of the primary movements of the day. Typically, I would incorporate a bit of bodyweight and kettlebell training right now to activate the body before some heavy lifting.

4: Primary Work for Kettlebell Training

This is the money banger in most people’s eyes. The first three parts of the workout simply prepared you for this moment to throw some heavy ass weight on the bar. Whether you’re a weightlifter, a power lifter, a strongman, or just a strength trainer, you’ll most likely have a barbell in your hands at this point, and hopefully a heavy one.

The barbell is my weapon of choice for strength production, whether you move it slow or fast, it produces results if you produce the sweat. The problem is, most people move only in a few linear ranges of motion and neglect high rep sets and more natural, organic movements that they are more comfortable with in other forms of training. The barbell is king, but the king gets bored and lonely without his court jesters.
Enter the kettlebell.

5: Kettlebell Training Secondary/Assistance Work

These are exercises that assist the primary work of the day. I hate to refer to kettlebells as just a couple of clowns that hang around to please the king, but if strength is your priority, the barbell is your friend; if you don’t want to be an immobile slob, adding kettlebells to your program will bring you endless pleasure and peace. Kettlebell and bodyweight training are my preferred method of training in this particular segment.

Kettlebells offer a much more natural range of movement in many exercises and also hit your musculature in different ways than typical barbell training does. It is much more comfortable to hit high rep sets for conditioning with kettlebells than with a barbell, so you can fill in gaps that might otherwise be avoided with barbell training exclusively.

6: Conditioning with Kettlebell Training

Anyone who has ever performed a long cycle, a Secret Service Snatch test, or a high rep set of Swings can attest to the brutality and intensity of kettlebell training. Now is the time to do it, and the kettlebell is the best tool in the arsenal.

7: Heavy Stretching After Kettlebell Training

Most people avoid it, but those that take the time and put in a few extra minutes every day to stretch will testify to the benefits of a limber body. Less pain, better positions while lifting, improved sleep and performance… how can stretching be bad?

Sample Kettlebell Training Workout Week

Matt Wichlinski shows you how to 7 Ways to Balance Your Barbell Strength with Kettlebell Training by demonstrating the kb rack lunge

 Set Workout A Workout B Workout c
1 Jumping Rope & Calisthenics Airdyne Bike C2 Rower, Jump Rope
2 Mobility Mobility Mobility
3 Light Kettlebell Swings, Cleans, Snatches TGU’s, Armbars, Renegade Rows Kettlebell Swings, Squats, Presses
4 TGU’s Jerks and Bench Press Clean & Jerk, Deadlift
5 Barbell Snatch and Squat Double Kettlebell Jerks, Bot- toms Up Presses, Dips Long Cycle
6 Double Kettlebell Complex – Snatch, Cossack Squat, Swing Burpees, Push Ups, Battle Ropes Prowler And Pray You Don’t Die
7 Stretch Stretch Stretch
Matt Wichlinski
Matt Wichlinski is the head trainer and owner of The Strength Shop in Virginia Beach. The Strength Shop is a place of athletic coaching geared towards dominating your chosen sport located in Virginia Beach, VA. We teach athletic, functional movements, sports specific conditioning, general fitness, plyometrics, kettlebell training, Olympic weightlifting, medicine ball and dumbbell training, power-lifting, gymnastics, rowing, running and jumping rope. Our students include athletes of all ages in various sports, fitness enthusiasts of all levels, and military from various fields.
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