More often than not, kettlebells have been associated with cardio. But if programmed properly, the kettlebell can build strength too. In some instances, just as well as the all-mighty barbell!

Kettlebell legends like Pavel Tsatsouline and Valery Fedorenko can attest to the effectiveness of kettlebell training and have impacted the lives of thousands under their tutelage. Adding kettlebell training to your strength-training program can and will provide a fun and challenging workout. The kettlebell anatomy alone can help vary a person’s regime, and because kettlebells are mobile, they provide a level of versatility that dumbbells and barbells can’t match.

For kettlebell training to be effective for strength development, you must focus on compound exercises and utilize a heavy weight. Squats, lunges, presses, rows and deadlift variations can be used as well as weighted pulls-ups and dips (with the appropriate accessories). To really challenge yourself, don’t just stick with one kettlebell either! Use two and double your fun with heavy double kettlebell exercises, which will blow up your strength gains when done well and with good form.

Here’s a sample workout that implements kettlebells (KB) very well.

Trunk Work – 3 sets:
Plank, 45 sec
Sit Up, Get Up with KB, 5LT/5RT
Floor Russian Twists with KB, 20 reps

Plyo Prep – 3 sets:
Modified Clapping Push-Ups, 15 reps
Russian Swings, 15 reps

Oly Lifts – 5-7 attempts:
Power Clean: find 5RM

Compound-Strength Superset – 2 sets:
1a. Barbell Back Squats, 5 reps
1b. Double KB Front Squats, 10 reps

2a. Barbell Bench Press, 5 reps
2b. KB Floor Press, 10 reps

3a. Hexbar Deadlifts, 5 reps
3b. Double KB Sumo Deadlifts, 10 reps

4a. KB Weighted Pull-Ups, max reps
4b. Iso-Hold Supine Ring Rows, 20 sec

25 yd. Prowler Push, 135-180lbs
KB Suitcase Carry, as heavy as possible

  • By John Porter Jr.
    By John Porter Jr. MuscleTech Ambassador