Ask Pat Anything -- If I Stop Working Out
and Eating Right, Will I Get Fat?
This week’s question comes in from our friend Stephen James: “Sir, I have a question. If I got the abs then I stop training and much more food, isn't going back again into love handle?”
There’s a certain air of confidence surrounding the grammatical anarchist that’s oftentimes sexy, isn’t there? A sort of, hey, look at me, I hang out in my slippers all day, eat chicken salad off crackers, and drink milk straight out the carton kind of attitude
. And let me tell you this right now: nothing revs my libido more than a woman who appears to be above the use of relative pronouns.
But I must admit, I’ve had just the damnedest time interpreting this bunkum. It’s like trying to make sense of spilt alphabet soup. I can only imagine he’s trying to ask one of two things:
- I worked hard and got the abs. Now I don’t want to work hard to keep the abs. Can I stop working hard (stop working out, stop eating right) and keep the abs?
- My stomach has taken on the revolting form of lean and riveting musculature. How do I restore it at once to its most previous and exquisite shape: the love handle?
Now I have nothing describable as sound scientific evidence to support this theory, but I’m inclined to say I’m very close to nine-tenths certain that if you stop working out and start dispatching a copious amount of calories, you will, in fact, undeniably, and most certainly, get fat.
This has been my most common observation, and anything else would look quite inconsistent. Thank the question you for submitting.
Kettlebell Workout of the Week: Episode 78 -- Keeping it Simple
I like this complex. It's simple. That is, if I may presume to call a "complex" simple.
You like kettlebell jerky?
Well who the hell don’t(!)?
Something downright primal about it—just look at ya thrustin’ weight overhead you indefatigable savage, you. Very good stuff, I say, very good!
*Now they say not to write with qualififiers (very, rather, little), calling them the barnacles of prose. But, I think that’s very bad advice, doing us very little good. And anyone who says you shouldn't write this way or that perhaps suffers from a rather small triceratops brain(?). Tiny as a peanut, probly' lesser.
"Ask Dan John"
Dan John, Master SFG Instructor, author of Easy Strength, Never Let Go, and Intervention is sitting down with me next Thursday at 4pm (eastern) to answer YOUR questions over a free, live webinar.CLICK HERE
to register now and submit your questions to Dan.
All questions will be answered in the order in which they are received, so don't dawdle or delay.
This is an unprecedented opportunity here folks to learn from one of the industry's best. Don't miss out.PS - Did you know that Dan John will be running his full Intervention workshop at Strength Fest 2013? CLICK HERE to get your tickets now and save $200 bucks.
Every once in a good while something mean takes over and I find myself hankering for some ol' timey self-destruction. That is, the urge to wholly obliterate myself. To confect something describable only as heinous, twisted as a thumbscrew; and then to work that something until I feel good and satisfied—which is to say until my faculties are scattered into a frenzy and my body reduced to a mash.
Is it ever for good reason? Sometimes, yes. Most times, probably not. Don’t matter though. Because sometimes we get the green light. That is, things are well oiled, and the machine is finely calibrated for a richly deserved ass kicking.
When timed properly, the proverbial smack down is quite often to the good. The outcome is surely as profound as the premises! Fat is blasted, the muscle making machinery is sparked, and you walk out of the gym feeling naturally enhanced, smiling like Bob.
Besides, there’s something to be said about redlining yourself from time to time, you know, just to see if you got the stuff. Testing your mettle, so to speak.
It’s best to be prepared at all times, my friends, because ye know not when the master of the house cometh home.
The House of Pain Kettlebell Workout
4 odious complexes, two rounds of each. Then, the ab butcher. Welcome, my friends, to the House of Pain.
Here, the chief aim is survival. Secondarily, it’s poise under pressure.Here are the recommended operating weights:Males: a set of 20-24kg bellsFemales: a set of 12-16kg bells. Fresh Off the Yacht will be used to get the blood coursing:
- 5 x one arm swing
- 5 x cleans
- 5 x snatches
- 5 x jerks
- 5 x reverse lunges
Repeat on the left side to complete the complex. Run this complex twice.
Next up is two rounds of the Holy Fiver:
- 5 x Double Swing
- 5 x Double Snatch
- 5 x Double Clean and Press
- 5 x Front Squat
- 5 x Push Up
Then onto two rounds of Sequential Dismay:
- 8 x Double Clean
- 5 x Front Squat
- 5 x Double Clean
- 3 x Front Squat
- 3 x Double Clean
- 2 x Front Squat
- 2 x Double Clean
- 1 x Front Squat
Finally, a trip to the Ab Butcher:
- 8 sets x 6 reps of Hanging Leg Wipers
The Chronicles Of Strength Inner Circle
Here's what I got lined up for this month's Inner Circle
members.The Inner Circle Newsletter (March):
Inner Circle Webinars (March):
- My unabashed thoughts on Crossfit
- The Truth About Cross Training
- How to Make a Strength and Conditioning Program that Doesn't Suck
- My Thoughts on The Science of Exercise
- The Vital Few: My Selection of the Choicest Exercises for Full Body Strength and Power
Inner Circle Coaching Call In Days
- A Day In The LIfe of Pat Flynn. Oh Joy! Discover everything I do on a day to day basis to maintain my levels of health, strength and leanness. From what I eat for breakfast (if I do even eat breakfast...), to my daily training, to my daily mobility routines, and even my pre-sleep rituals. I'm laying it all out for you!
- Webinar Request Night! That's right, you pick the topic, I give the presentation.
- More to Be Announced.
Time Crunched Workouts of the Month:
- 15 Minute Speed Coaching Calls. Bring It!
Paleo Recipes of the Month:
- The "Filthy Flynn Fifty". 8 of my favorite movements. 50 reps of each. No mercy.
- The "Jagged Edge". A crash course on uneven double kettlebell complex training.
- Paleo Jumbalya
- Meatballs and "Pasta"
Want all this and more?Then CLICK HERE to join the Inner Circle
. No obligation. Cancel anytime.
4 Ab Exercises That Don't Suck
The secret to abs is that there is no secret to be found anywhere at all. Great abs, which I liken to the big, blocky variety (for the fellas, naturally—let us go with delicately trimmed for the ladies) are the results of (1) a low enough body fat percentage and (2) an amply muscled midsection. In other words, great abs are chiefly a function of the following inputs (1) caloric restraint, (2) metabolic efforts, (3) heavy ab work.
And here again rolls in the same old chestnut. But I welcome it warmly, as I do all truths, no matter how cold.
Because here’s the thing, really. If you want to rise above average then you must be willing to do the things the common stock are not, able enough to do them, and unapologetically industrious in your doing of them. Anything else invariably results in a reversion to the mean. And only the losers have a central tendency.
The Hanging Leg Wiper
Hanging Leg Raise
The Narcissist's Pre-Workout:
Kettlebell Workout of the Week Episode 70
Entering the gym, I chugged behind some brute like a loose caboose. After a few clicks I detached and glided over to the kettlebell rack to work what sits a few scoops below.
There I performed the fundamental pre-workout ritual of any narcissistic human being: to look hard into the mirror until utterly exhausted of the subject matter—this activity, you should know, averages 7 minutes. Afterwards, and only afterwards, do I find myself in a state favorable for bodily exercise.
On Monetizing Your Blog
[The following is part three on what is turning out to be a five part series on blogging as a profession. CLICK HERE
to read part 1. CLICK HERE
to read part 2.]
Blogging frequently emits an alluring but somewhat artificial scent: A scent that naturally baits two brands of people.
The first brand is chiefly folks of the common store bought variety, plain as a bowl of corn flakes. Their gross desire for an easy opt-out of the human comedy is surpassed only by their colossal lack of true ambition. Quite simply, they hate to work, and so are lured into blogging by the fishy smells of the charlatans, the quacks, and the counterfeits.
If what I have just detailed describes you, even distantly, then I must encourage you to pass on. I am not capable of helping you.
Look, I’m not discouraging you or anything like that. There are many bloggers who rake a king’s ransom in the business of swindling. And if I have something to say to these jackals, it’s not to scorn them for sucking in the intellectually underprivileged—that, I leave to God. Rather, it’s to ridicule them for any and all lack of ingenuity in how they go about their business. Insofar as I can tell, the cheats, tricksters, and charlatans have been using the same old, horribly overworked devices since the dawn of this republic. All I’m saying, really, is that it’d be nice to see a quack with some freshness about him.
But here I go off at a tangent. Let us get back to where we were.
The second brand is that of the artist. This person is marked intrinsically by fire in perpetuum
. This is what keeps his blood boiling over, his legs on the trot—and his spirit pushing forward—stopping never at dead ends or dog shit. He understands that security is a false and limiting crutch, and seeks nothing of the sort. His appetite is whetted only for accomplishment.
The artist does not know it all—but has the proclivity to learn it all, to suck it in ad infinitum
. And his chief purpose is to contribute to a whole
greater than himself—if you’re a rationalist you may call it the cosmos—spiritualists would perhaps say it’s celestial—and hippies would probably call it life-force, or something like that. Truthfully it doesn’t matter what you call it, because the net effect is the same: The artist creates.
Are his actions largely money driven? The answer to various degrees is often yes. Sometimes this is in part, other times it is in whole. Either way, the artist is scarcely propelled by anything rooted in altruism. In form, this may appear to be the case, but in substance human essence remains predominantly self-interested. This means little, though, because the true artist—whatever his motives otherwise—invariably aims to create something that is good. And so he thoroughly intends to improve the earthly balance sheet—to strike the asset account with a hard debit.
What I have defined is the artist. But what I have redefined is the entrepreneur: The person who generates value. This is to say the person who helps persons.
If what I have just detailed describes you, then I can help. I can help you to get the word out about the value you create, and I can help you to make a fair return on it.
Our "One Page Business Plan"
Blogging would be the perfect job, save for the fact it’s still a job. It’s a full time gig. So it will beat you up, and, at times, kick you square in the nuts. These are lessons one must learn by hard experience, I suppose, but if you take this as true now it will save you a lot of pain later.
Now if there is one more lesson to be learned before we begin, let it be this: There is no good purpose to be served in promoting crap. Doing so—as any practiced marketer will tell you—only hastens the rate at which people find out you suck. To wit: You ought to be the absolute best at what you do before you start saying you’re any good.
Just something to keep in mind, that’s all.
Now rather than tell you what you should do, I’d like to show you what I do. That is, what I’ve done well, or what’s worked well for me. You may take whatever you’d like—and if you’d like to work closer with me on all this stuff, then I encourage you to investigate our Killing It With Ketllebells Certification
, where Som and I will help you to develop and implement your own marketing and business plan (online, offline, or both), and teach you how to run large group kettlebell bootcamps.
For ease, I will fill out a “one-page business plan”, answering the three following questions: 1. What Do I Sell (and How Much Do I Charge)?
2. Who Do I Sell It To?
3. How Do I Get The Word Out?
I’ll answer the first question now, and save the other two for a later post.
What Do We Sell and How Much Do We Charge?
This blog is a major marketing vehicle for both my online and offline businesses, if I may presume the two can be separated out.
I’ll start with what we do offline.
My Killing It With Kettlebells bootcamp business is run out of The Dragon Gym in Exton, PA. I have largely opted out of personal training as a service offering. Instead, I run six large group classes a week: Mondays and Wednesdays at 12pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm, and Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30am.
Pricing for our bootcamps ranges from $149-199/month depending on the level of membership.
We also host multiple workshops and seminars throughout the year. [ I suppose now would be as good a time as any to shamelessly plug Strength Fest
Pricing for workshops and seminars ranges anywhere from $99-999 depending on the event.
Lastly, we offer our Killing It With Kettlebells Instructor Level Certification
and Fitness Business Development Program. This is where Som and I teach you how to teach large group kettlebell bootcamps. We also show you the ins and outs of our kettlebell business, and help you to create and implement your own business and marketing plan. We limit the group to 12 candidates. This is not a beginner kettlebell course
. This is a course for those who are interested in learning to coach large group kettlebell classes, and for those who are already in, or are seriously considering opening their own fitness business
. In short, we help you to do what you love and make good money doing it
This is our most expensive offering, but I’ve heard it’s really worth it. If you think you might be a good candidate for this certification, email me at PatFlynn@ChroniclesOfStrength.com
with the subject line of “KIWK” and I will send you a series of questions for you to answer so that we may figure that out. We can even get on the phone and chat about it, if you’d like. No obligation. Promise.
Pricing for our Killing It with Kettlebells Certification ranges from $997-1997 depending on when you register.
There are a few other things I do offline, but those are my major profit centers. So let us move now to what I do online.
Our online business is a mix of bigger ticket items, lower end entry points, and continuity programs. We’ll start with the latter. The Chronicles of Strength Inner Circle
and the Chronicles of Strength Print newsletter is my current continuity program—that is, this is a program where membership is billed monthly. The Chronicles of Strength Inner Circle
includes a full print newsletter
mailed out to members every month. This is quite frankly my best work. I put more time into that newsletter than I do anything else, and I love doing it.
Additionally, members of the Inner Circle get private email coaching access to me, coaching call-in days with me, monthly training webinars, monthly recipes, monthly workouts, programming, you name it. The Inner Circle members are my best and most loyal customers, so I do everything I can to help them succeed—to provide them with value far above and beyond what they pay to be a member each month. As an entrepreneur or business owner, your aim should always be to exceed all expectations. Unless of course your aim to run a mediocre business.
Pricing for my Inner Circle members ranges from $19-39/month depending on the level of membership and whether or not they live inside North America (postage is a killer).
*If you are not yet an Inner Circle member, I’d love it if you tried it out for a month. You can cancel anytime, so there’s no risk when you sign up
On the lower end of the pricing spectrum there mostly sits a selection of eBooks and ePrograms. The Birth of a Hero Vol 2
stands tall at the top of the charts, sells like ice in Hell.
These range from $27-99 depending on the product.
The bigger ticket items include private coaching with either Som or me (we offer both business and fitness coaching), training webinars, and specialized programs.
The pricing for these ranges from $299-699.
If you are interested in private coaching and would like to know more about what we can help you with, email me at PatFlynn@chroniclesofstrength.com
with the subject line of “coaching”.
Effectively, that is the sum of it all. Effectively enough, anyways. PS
- If you have any questions about any of this, please post them in the comment section
. I'm here to help.
The Century - 100 Rep Bodyweight Workout
The Century, so entitled by its lofty rep composition, is a proficiency exam courtesy of the elusive Paul Wade, author of Convict Conditioning.
Assuming I made no misinterpretations, the task is as follows:
40 x squat
30 x push up
20 x hanging knee raise
10 x pull up
40 x squat
30 x knee push up
20 x hanging knee raise
10 x australian pull up
I think I passed. Som did pretty good too, but I think he may have missed a rep on the squats. That's OK, though, because he's ninja.
Kettlebell Workout of the Week:
Episode 69 - The Big Four
Thanks to my buddy Christa for riffing this one out to Pantera and making it look pretty.
Rock out as many rounds as you can in 15 min.
Will You Answer Me This? Please?
So as many of you know I have a primal fitness book coming out through Wiley. I know I've been a bit scanty on the details, but that will change soon. Promise.
Anyways, I wanted to get your feedback on something. Got a minute?
If I could answer any one fitness question for you in this book, what would it be?
Please post your feedback in the comment section. I don't care how relevant you think it is, I just want to hear from you.
There may be some prizes for the most thoughtful answers...
To reinvent yourself, you must first destroy yourself.
3 -5 sets of the following:
Double Kettlebell Military Press x 5
Overhead hold x 30 seconds
Double Front Squat x 5
Rack Hold x 30 seconds
Try not to leave a mess.
and please lift responsibly,
- Pat Flynn
My upcoming book, Fitter,Happier More Productive: Unusual Notes On How To Increase Output, Forge the Body of Your Dreams, and Save Your Own Life is only four short days away from launch!
With that in mind, I want to give you all one final (and certainly succulent) excerpt from the book.
Well, two actually. One for your mind. And one for your body.
The first is a small extraction from the section on "How To Get What You Want Out Of Life".
The second is a series of some of the downright dirtiest kettlebell complexes I've ever concocted.
I hope you all enjoy these two small selections from "Fitter, Happier, More Productive".
Please post share your thoughts in the comment section and share this post with anyone who you believe may benefit from it!
Success = Imitation:
How To Get What You Want Out Of Life
NOTE: Below is an excerpt from my upcoming book "Fitter,Happier, More Productive". I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!
These notes are my own.
But they are not all mine.
Does that make sense?
If not, it will soon...
Throughout my unremitting and tireless pursuit of strength and "optimum health", I have thoroughly come to the conclusion that your success is more about what you do, rather than what you think.
Of course you should take time to rid yourself of any“head trash”.
Read As a Man Thinketh.
Go to a Tony Robbins seminar if you have to...
Just know that “thinking” alone will get you nowhere quick. All of the motivation, positive thinking, and “visualization” in the world isn’t ever going to sculpt you the body of your dreams.
And as sexy as it sounds, you will never be able to just “think away” body fat.
And that is really what this book is all about – a collection of notes you can implement immediately.
Throughout this extensive collection of notes, I have quite literally given you every single reason, tool, and opportunity to succeed; and it is now on YOU to take action.
Don’t go out there and over-complicate things.
It’s only as difficult as you make it!
Because when it comes right down to it success is merely imitation.
As unsexy as it sounds, your success heavily depends on your ability to be a copycat!
What I’m really trying to say is that the key to getting what you want out of life is to model yourself after folks who already have what it is that you want!
Modeling, as it is most commonly referred to, is mimicking the behavior of those who are more successful than you.
My greatest success from a physical standpoint didn’t come from reading tireless amounts of research, fitness books, or magazines. For the most part, all that ever did was crowd my mental-bandwidth.
Instead, I found success when I started to make friends with folks much stronger, much leaner, and much smarter than myself.
I began to model my behavior after the folks who already had what I wanted; which was the proverbial “hot-bod”.(Hey, I’m not afraid to admit it…).
I ate like them. I lifted like them. And I tried to live as much like them as I possibly could.
I mean, wolves hang with wolves right?
Sure enough, I quickly became a product of my environment. I became a wolf.
So if you want to be lean, then you better model your behavior off of those who are leaner than you.
If you want to attract wealth, then you better model your behavior off of those who are wealthier than you!
Do you think stopping off at the donut shop every day after work is a strong behavioral reflection of those who maintain a single digit body fat percentage year round?
I’m telling you that it’s not.
Don’t bullshit yourself.
If you’re goal is to drop 30lbs, but your behavior is still reflecting that of a pessimistically obese person, then you’re just lying to yourself.
I can’t think of anything worse than that.
Again, these notes are my own.
But they are not all mine.
They are a collection of the most effective habits, principles, and systems utilized by the worlds leanest, stronger, and most successful people.
I hope you take the time to mimic them to the best of your ability…
And with all of that being said, just be careful what you model yourself after
You may very well become it.
Introducing "The Big Suck"
Metabolic Conditioning At It's Finest!
Below you will find a selection of kettlebell complexes that I have constructed (with all the love in the world) for "Fitter, Happier, More Productive". I hope that you find this complexes as physically stimulating (and perhaps even downright deplorable I intended them to be!
Enjoy. And please share!
Man On The Moon
Girl Got Rhythm
Girl Got Rhythm:
Two Hand Swing x 2
One Arm Swing (L+R) x 2
Thruster Right (L+R) x 2
Note: This is best done with a partner in the classic "I go, you go" type of routine. Perform for a select amount of time, or ladder the reps each set if you dare!
(aka the Monster of Death)
Double Snatch To See-Saw Press x 5
Alternating Reverse Lunges x 5 each leg
Don't Go Just Yet!
With the release of "Fitter, Happier, More Productive"
set for this Thursday (July 12th), I just want to personally thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to visit my site.Your continued support and patronage means the world to me. I could not do what I do if it wasn't for you.
Seriously.As a way of saying thank you, I am going to be releasing "Fitter, Happier, More Productive" early and at a special "I love you guys" discount to all Chronicles Of Strength subscribers.
So keep your eyes peeled on your inbox this week!If you are NOT a COS subscriber, well then it would greatly behoove you to CLICK HERE and join our mailing list immediately (It's freeeeeee)!Please post any comments or questions you have in the comment section. Or just leave some love.Or candy...
For all of you that are into the whole "brevity thing" - I'll keep this one brief.Each and every week, our SuperHero Development Program members are emailed three highly specialized, super focused, and intense kettlebell workotus to perform in the comfort of their own home (or their own gym if they so choose).If you are not a member of this program, I just want to tease you a little bit, so you know exactly what your missing out on!**
(Like the exclusive SuperHero Development Program Newsletter that we sound out each and every month - chock full of brand spanking new kettlebell complexes, killer strength building routines, and deliciously delicious recipes that will invigorate your health and promote total body awesomeness!)
**If you really think about it, it's like your getting personal training from both Som and I (since we write the weekly workout programs) and a price so small it's barely noticeable!
Som and I both charge anywhere between $500-$1000 per month for personal training! And the SuperHero Development Program is only $17! $1000 vs $17??? Hmmmmmm!!!Anyways, I could talk all day long about how great it is, but rather, I'd like for our SuperHero members to speak for themselves! ...So if you are already a member of our SuperHero Development Program, please sound off in the comment section about how awesome this program is!CLICK HERE to try out the SuperHero Development Program for FREE for one month! There's zero risk or obligation involved (CANCEL ANYTIME) - so you've got absolutely nothing to lose! Anyways, here's a sneak peek into the life of a SuperHero Development Program member. Check it out!
"The Old School Lead In"
"Dragon Gym Prep School"
How To: 90-90 L-Sit
How To: 1 Arm L-Sit
Ready to Join The A-Team? CLICK HERE!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Please do share this with your friends and leave some love in the comment section!As always, please lift responsibly,- Pat FlynnPS - If you haven't already, it'd mean a great deal to me if you stopped over at my new facebook page and left a "like" and some comments! CLICK HERE to check it out - I'll be posting tons of awesome content on their daily!
[NOTE: The following is a rant from Pat Flynn. Please do not read if you cry easily, lack any sense of humor, or are downright unable to handle the truth.
However, If you consider yourself an open-minded and seriously awesome individual who wants the truth with no fluff, filler, or BS – then this post is for you!]
I love the freakin’ kettlebell. It is after all, my primary training modality. Is has always served me well – as a loyal and mostly obedient creature.
What I don’t love, and what annoys me to no end – is when folks try to tell me that the “kettlebell is just a tool” – like that actually means anything.
And no, it’s not just “how you use the tool that matters”. That fails to recognize that in some circumstances, certain tools are a hell of a lot better than others. It doesn’t matter how you use a hammer to dig a hole. Because no matter how you hold it or swing it; a hammer still flat out sucks for digging a hole. It sucks even worse for trying to drive a golf ball (especially if you already suck at golf…).
While I have a deep infatuation with the kettlebell, I have no problem admitting that it has it’s limitations, and that in some contexts it may very well be an inferior tool to use. That being said –any tool’s effectiveness is relative to the task you are using it for and the individual performing the task. In some cases one tool may be a lot better than another and vice versa. For now on anyone who says something is “just a tool” - is officially a tool.
The following are just a few of my observations on the effectiveness of the kettlebell for certain tasks (for MOST individuals):
The Kettlebell for Increasing Limit Strength
This all depends on the lift and the individual…
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the deadlift?
Eh, not really. Especially when compared to a barbell. The swing and other dynamic hip dominant movements with a kettlebell may help to “fill in some of the blanks” and in turn up your deadlift. So in an auxiliary sense the kettlebell may be an effective tool to help increase your deadlift. But as a stand-alone tool, don’t expect to ever be able to pull as much weight off the ground as you would when training appropriately with a barbell.
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the military press?
Arguably, yes. Not many folks, especially men of a lighter (and often leaner) nature cannot already press two 48kg kettlebells overhead. I’m one of those men. So for me (note: a huge deciding factor as to whether or not a certain tool is most appropriate will depend on YOU and your current abilities), the kettlebell is still an effective tool to use for working on my overhead limit strength – assuming I have a reason that I want to improve my overhead limit strength (but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just say that I do). Furthermore, in most cases, the unilateral nature and offset center of gravity of the kettlebell makes it easier to maintain proper shoulder position when pressing weight overhead than most other training implements. The barbell, in particular, is a nasty little bugger to get overhead without compromising some aspect of your form.
Is the kettlebell the MOST effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the Squat?
Comparing apples to oranges here. The kettlebell front squat, particularly the double kettlebell front squat, is a very different beast than the barbell back squat, and even quite different than a barbell front squat. If your goal is the squat the heaviest possible load – then the barbell will almost always trump the kettlebell. But like I mentioned before with the swing, kettlebell goblet squats and front squats may serve as a useful auxiliary lift to help “fill in some of the blanks” an in turn give a bit of a bump to your back squat numbers. Again, this will depend on the needs of the individual and it’s not to say that you can’t develop a strong squat with double kettlebell front squats. You most certainly can - and for a lot of folks, backsquats may be out of the questions or even entirely inappropriate depending on their goals. Like I said before, everything is contextual. It all comes down to what are you working for and what is most appropriate for YOU.
I could continue this list for any and all lifts – but I’m sure you can see where I’m coming from by now. In terms of being the most effective tool for increasing your limit strength on the big lifts, the kettlebell will typically (not always, but typically) fall short of the barbell. And it really all comes down to the fact that you can load more weight on a barbell then you can fit inside of a kettlebell. But then again, (playing devils advocate with myself) what about for somebody who is just starting out - who doesn't already have a solid strength foundation? Well, in that case, then the kettlebell may very well be the most appropriate tool to use. It always depends on the individual, and what it is that they are trying to achieve...
The Kettlebell For "Strength-Endurance"
I don’t understand why “strength-endurnace” has gotten such a stinky reputation. Yes, increasing limit strength will often spill over and increase your strength endurance and rarely is the reverse true. But, training strength endurance (higher reps) is quite effective for maintaining healthy joints and toughening up your connective tissue and passive structures. Furthermore, training “strength-endurance” leads to increased contractile proteins (myosin and actin) and increased efficiency of contractions (meaning you become more efficient at a movement)!
Don’t let anyone tell you that training strength endurance is “bad”. Bad in the context of freaking what??? If you are working on increasing your limit strength, it may not be the most effective way to train ALL of the time – but even when chasing maximum strength, many times an individual may greatly benefit from some strength endurance work. Everything is contextual. Nothing is ever just “bad” or “good”. Except for the “butterfly pull-up” that they do in Crossfit. That is bad. All the time. I don't care what you are trying to do - nothing is worth destroying your body over. Well, I guess that is just my opinion. But I'm sticking to it!
I mean, just look at it… (Thank’s to Chris Foehl for putting his rotator cuff on the line…)
And yes, the kettlebell is often a fantastic and unrivaled tool when it comes to developing strength endurance. I’m sure you are familiar with the kettlebell swing by now. It’s an effective tool/movement for learning how to generate power from the hips, as well as for training “strength endurance” throughout the posterior chain (the back and health of your spine particularly benefit from strength endurance work). Good luck trying to swing a barbell between your legs, and if you’ve ever tried it, then you know a dumbbell is wholly ineffective as well (especially once you start getting heavy with it).
The Kettebell for Fat Loss
I’m going to sort of reverse this one on you all a little bit. Let’s first start with what type of training is best suited (in most circumstances) for rapid and SUSTAINABLE fat loss – then discuss why the kettlebell lends itself so well to that type of training.
Ceteris Paribus (including “proper” nutrition) - in my experience (and I know more than just a thing or two about fat loss), metabolic conditioning via kettlebell complexes has been hands down the most best training methodology I have ever used for fat loss. It is both highly effective (moves you closer to your fat loss goals than most other methods) and highly efficient (quite economical with regards to how little time is actually required).
Really???Really. CLICK HERE
(and go about 1/6 down the page and watch the video) to learn exactly why metabolic conditioning is so ridiculously effective for fat loss.
: Yes! Another shameless product plug! You don’t have to buy my Birth of a Hero metabolic conditioning eBook. But it’d be sweet if you did – especially if you want to turn heads on the beach this summer, and help me feed my St. Bernard puppy Lola! Or, if you already have it, tell everyone else how much you love (hate, but hopefully in a “good-hate” kind of way) it in the comment section)
The kettlebell lends itself beautifully to metabolic conditioning, due highly in part to compact size of the implement and the fluid nature of the movements – which grants you the ability to seamlessly switch between muscle groups and energy systems. Can you perform complexes with a barbell. Absolutely. Are they as effective for fat? I don’t see why not! Are they as sexy? No.
I mean, look how good Chris Foehl looks as I put him through The Great Destroyer (one of the many harrowing complexes found in the Birth of a Hero
So what you really have to ask yourself is – what am I training for and what is the most effective approach to take or tool to use? You also have to objectively evaluate your current situation. A 575lb backsquat may sound like a sexy way to bulk up your quads (or entire body for that matter) – but are you really cleared and/or able to do a 575lb backsquat? Some say that heavy kettlebell presses with a controlled negative and strong focus on lat engagement will help build you a stronger pull up. I agree, but is it really a more effective approach than actually training pull ups?? I can tell you that the press has certainly helped my press (and to a certain extent my pull up as well - due to the synergy) – but it isn’t pressing that has been the most effective tool for helping me to develop my current goal of obtaining a one arm l-sit. It’s practicing the one-arm L-sit that has been the most effective tool for helping me develop my one arm L-sit. Sometimes it’s that simple. Sometimes it’s not.
Lola likes ice cream... (cheat day of course!)
PPS - Leave some love in the comment section. I may have a few swag bags to give away!
John sportin some COS SWAG
I remember my first pistol squat.
I also remember my first failed pistol squat...
I was sitting in my college dorm room, reading through the Naked Warrior
by Pavel Tsatsouline ( a most stellar read – and an absolute must for anyone serious about getting serious with their pistol squats and one arm push ups).
I read through the section on the pistol in one sitting.
Inspired, I stood up, and held one leg out in front of me – determined to conquer the seemingly simple task of performing just one pistol squat on each leg.
Slowly and shakily I began my descent.
Surprisingly I managed to weeble-wobble my way all the way down. It wasn’t pretty, but I made it. Half way there! Then I fell on my ass.
Crap! "A fluke", I told myself!
So I stood up, shook it out, and tried again.
And again I ended up on my ass – frustrated, but this time humbled.
Clearly this was something I was going to have to work on.
And so I did.
I had the mobility and control on the eccentric, but kept losing my engagement and falling on my ass at the bottom.
So for a week I committed to using a series of progressions – many of which I have recently shared with you all – and committed to practicing the movement as often as I possibly could – performing them as often as I could.
And before the week was up, I had my first pistol squat. Shakey. Ugly. And certainly not something I’d show off in front of my mom or bring home for Christmas dinner, but a pistol squat none-the-less.
Then the refinement process began – and I began to perform as many single rep pistol squats as I could intermittently throughout the day. My shakiness began to dissipate, and I quickly developed greater control over my body and the movement.
And my freaking quads were sore as all hell.
The point I want to get across is that I too was there. That dark, nebulous void that one feels entrapped in when unable to perform even a single pistol squat. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday: Despair. Hatred. Anguish. (dramatic enough?)
But then ultimately triumph, continued success, and fulfillment!
The high’s just aren’t as good without the lows.
Don’t be discouraged if you are unable to perform a pistol squat just yet. Follow these progressions. Practice them often. And then I want you to tell me how good it feels when you finally bang out your first full range of motion pistol! BTW
– This issue of our SuperHero Development Newsletter
is going to feature even more progressions towards the pistol squat AND one arm push up, and is an entire “bodyweight only” edition – featuring some of the most disturbing body-weight complexes and strength routines known to man (including how to perform one arm L-sits, muscles ups, and more!
). If you are not already a member of our SuperHero Development Program – join today
! You don’t want to miss out on this!I hope you enjoy some of these personal favorite pistol squat drills of mine. Post any questions you have below!
Airborn Lunge to Pistol Squat
Slow Concentric Pistol
Pistol Squat Burpee
Box (or Tire...) Pistol
PS - There's still time to shred down and turn some heads on the beach this summer! If you haven't already - be sure to check out our Birth of a Hero Program HEREPPS - Dumb Question of the Day (first to answer in comment section gets a secret prize!)
- What substance in your body do antihistamines work to counteract?