Getting Started with Kettlebells: Proper Training frequency for Mass Gain and Fat Loss
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The popular question with Kettlebell training is: How often should you workout with Kettlebells? Well, considering the fact that actress KatherineHeigl (Knocked Up), only trains with Kettlebells twice per week, for 20 minutes a workout, it’s safe to say that you can get results with Kettlebell training if you devote less than an hour per week.
Here’s what Katherine Heigl had to say about her Kettlebell Training program: “I was probably in the best shape of my life for Knocked Up but I hated going to the gym. I’ve now found a woman who teaches Kettlebell classes. It’s a mix of cardio and weight training but I only do it for 20 minutes twice a week and it’s changed by body shape.”
So there you have it: proof that you can get into incredible shape without devoting a lot of time to working out. However, what about the individual who is truly addicted to Kettlebell training?
Can you, or should you train practically everyday? Kettlebell enthusiasts say, yes. But I’m always concerned about over training. I’ve experienced extreme burn out before, and it’s not pretty.
Keep in mind that the more you train the more you will have to eat and sleep. It’s really as simple as that. So, if you have lots of time on your hands and want to train a lot, then great.
But you should also devote an equal amount of time to eating more and sleeping more. If you don’t have time to eat and sleep, then don’t train more. As shown by KatherineHeigl, doing more does necessarily mean that you’ll get more results.
Your training program can easily back fire on you if all the points are not in balance. These three points, again, are: train, eat, and sleep.
Not lets take this idea a step further. Lets assume that you only have 40 minutes per week to train. How would you modify a Kettlebell workout based on your goals?
Best Kettlebell Approach to Mass Gain
When it comes mass gain, I’ve always done better with high frequency workouts. The highest frequency you can use with Kettlebells, in my opinion, would be 5 days per week.
Train anymore and you’re really putting yourself at risk for over training. But with only 40 minutes training time per week, you workouts can not last more than 8 minutes.
The idea is going to be to use heavy kettlebells. We’re going to do something called Escalating Density Training (EDT), a training system developed by Coach CharlesStaley which allows you to maximize your time while achieving your training objectives.
So, choose two compound movements, and choose a weight that you can handle for 8-12 repetitions. Alternate between the two exercises with limited rest within an 8 minute time period.
Here is what a sample EDT workout would look like:
8 minutes of:
- KB Snatch, 12 repetitions
- KB Windmill, 12 repetitions
Record how many total repetitions you performed within the 8 minutes, and try to perform more repetitions the following week. For example, lets say you were able to perform 3 rounds of the circuit, plus an additional 3 repetitions of the KB Snatch before your time was up.
This means you performed a total of 75 repetitions in 8 minutes. Stick to the same weight until you get up to 100 repetitions, then go to a higher weight to continue your mass gains.
If you do not have access to a heavier Kettlebell, then you can temporarily substitute it for a heavier dumbbell. However, remember that a dumbbell will always feel lighter than a Kettlebell.
Hence, if you’re aiming to train with a 53lb Kettlebell, then you may need to use a 60lb or 65lb dumbbell to get the same training effect. Beginners should start off with around 3 workouts per week, with a lighter weight.
Best Kettlebell Approach to Fat Loss
For fat loss, I would recommend something along the lines of what Katherine Heigl performed: 2, 20 minute workouts per week. These workouts would be super high intensity circuits consisted of lighter Kettlebells, more variations of exercises, and higher repetitions.
These circuits can be performed as supersets, trisets, interval training, or tabata. Try to keep things fun and intense so you stick to your workouts. You can add some cardio for some more fat loss if you have time.
However, you can still use the EDT method described earlier for fat loss, performing 5, 8-minute workouts per week. Just make sure to still use lighter Kettlebells so that you can perform more repetitions within a short period of time.
Beginners should start out with a lower intensity Kettlebell workout. Perhaps 1 20-minute workout per week, or 3, 8-minute workouts per week.
Kettlebell Over Training with the Swing
One of the most popular Kettlebell exercises is the Kettlebell swing. Unfortunately, most people abuse this movement. Because it is a relatively easy movement to perform, many people perform it on a daily basis.
The dangers to such training include potential injury to knees and lower back. You also place greater strain on stabilizer muscles, which further increase the potential for injury.
Another drawback to super high repetition, high frequency Kettlebell training is that it gets boring after a while. I know if I were doing the same workout every single day, I’d be bored out of my mind.
Boredom usually means that you make excuses not to workout. Hence, it is absolutely crucial that you make your workouts fun and exciting. However, the main idea here is that too much of anything is not good.
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