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mike-mahler

5×5 Size And Strength Program For Kettlebell Training

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5×5 training is a standard protocol that has been around for many years. It is also an extremely effective way to pack on size and strength. It was a favorite of legendary bodybuilder Reg Park who just happened to be Arnold’s idol.

Here is how it works. Pick a training weight and do five sets of five reps. If and when you can complete all sets of five, increase the weight by five to ten pounds and shoot for five sets of five again. Take three-minute breaks in between each set.

Obviously incremental weight increases are not possible with kettlebell training so we have to look at other factors to manipulate. One factor to manipulate is time under tension. When you can do 5×5 with a quick tempo, increase the negative to four seconds and the positive to two seconds. When that becomes easy, try five seconds up, a pause at the bottom and five seconds down.

Another factor to manipulate is the breaks between each set. Instead of taking three-minute breaks in between each set, take two-minute breaks. When that becomes easy, decrease the breaks to ninety seconds. When that becomes easy, go to sixty seconds.

When you can do 5×5 with one-minute breaks and slower tempos, I have no doubt that you will be ready for some heavier bells. A third variable that can be manipulated are the training exercises. When you can do 5×5 on the standing Military Press, work on 5×5 on the seated press, and then 5×5 on the Sots Press.

When you can do double swings easily with 5×5, move up to double snatches. There is always something that you can do to make an exercise harder or a training regimen more effective.

Here are two sample 5×5 kettlebell programs

Option One

Monday

  • A-1: Double Military Press
  • A-2: Alternating Renegade Row

Do A-1 and A-2 back to back. In other words, do one set of A-1, wait a minute and then do a set of A-2, wait a minute and then do another set of A-1 and so forth. Keep going back and forth between A-1 and A-2 until you have completed all five sets.

  • B-1: Double Kettlebell Front Squat
  • B-2: Double Kettlebell Swing

Same directions as A-1 and A-2

Wrap up with

Double Windmill 2×5 l,r (left and right) Take two minute breaks in between each set. One complete set equals five reps on each side.

Wednesday

  • A-1: Double Floor Press
  • A-2: Double Bent-over Row

Same directions as above

  • B-1: Double Front Squat
  • B-2: Double Snatch

Same Directions as above

Wrap up with

TGU 2×5 l,r (left and right) Take two minute breaks in between each set. One complete set equals five reps on each side.

Friday

  • A-1: Seated Military Press
  • A-2: Renegade Row

Do A-1 and A-2 back to back. In other words, do one set of A-1, wait a minute and then do a set of A-2, wait a minute and then do another set of A-1 and so forth. Keep going back and forth between A-1 and A-2 until you have completed all five sets.

  • B-1: Double Kettlebell Front Squat
  • B-2: Double Kettlebell Swing

Wrap up with

Double Windmill 2×5 l,r (left and right) Take two minute breaks in between each set. One complete set equals five reps on each side.

Option Two

Day 1:

  • A-1: Double Military Press
  • A-2: Double Bent-over Row
  • B-1: Double Floor Press
  • B-2: Double Renegade Row

Wrap Up with

TGU 5×5 l,r (left and right)

Day 2

  • A-1: Double Front Squat
  • A-2: Double Snatch

Wrap Up with

TGU 5×5 l,r (left and right)

Take a day off in between each workout. In other words, do day one on Monday, day two on Wednesday, and then Day 1 again on Friday.

Key Points

Option one involves three full body workouts per week. This is a great program for people that have solid recovery abilities, lifestyles that are not too stressful, and solid nutrition each day. Option two is for people that need more time between each workout. You have more days before a training day repeats itself and more time for recovery. The workouts are split into upper body one day and lower body the next day so that you have less to focus on. Both program work very well. One will work better for you than the other so try them both out and monitor your progress. Stick with the one that works best for you.

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