Three-Week Kettlebell Workout: Power Endurance/Strength


In case anyone’s interested in a medium-term workout, here’s the one I’m doing.  I’ve spent a good bit of the past several months deadlifting and side pressing.  To a large degree I’ve followed one of the programs out of Pavel Tsatsouline’s Power to the People.  So now I want to convert some of that strength into power–and I want to generate power repeatedly–i.e. power endurance.  So here’s what I’ve designed.  Follow along if you’d like and please let me know your results.


All workouts are preceded by a combination of Z-Health Neural Warm-up Levels I and II.  I mobilize various joints such as feet and hands, knees and elbows, hip, shoulders, pelvis and spine.  I want to wake them up fully before I start to generate a lot of force.  I want to make sure each individual joint is read to go before they start working together.  Next comes the warm-up and workout prep.

The warm-up involves body weight movements that resemble the workout movements.  The workout prep consists of the main lifts I’ll use for the day but with a light load.  Here’s how the workout might go:

Body weight goblet squat: 6 reps

Lateral lunges: 6 reps

Crossing lunges: 6 reps

Rotating T: 6 reps

Cross-crawl patterns: 20-40 reps

Get ups, light swings, snatches, presses, high pulls

The Workout, Week 1:

– Monday
1) One-arm snatches: 5 each arm followed immediately by
Swings: 20 two- or- one-hand
Repeat 3x as fast as possible.  You track my heart rate and the time it takes to complete this circuit.  This will show your progress.

2) Clean & press + pull-up ladders: 1, 2, 3 x 3 sets
Here’s how this works. Clean and press a kettlebell for one rep on each arm then do one pull-up.  Next, clean and press for two reps each arm followed by two pull-ups.  Then perform three cleans and presses each arm followed by three pull-ups.  Perform this process three times.  Rest between sets as needed.  This isn’t a race like the previous circuit.  Use perfect form!  No hunched struggling pull-ups.  Use an assisted pull-up machine or a partner if you need help.

– Wednesday
1) Double kettlebell snatches: 5 reps followed immediately by
Swings: 20 reps
Do this circuit once only.

2) Repeat Monday’s clean & press + pull-up ladders x 3 sets

– Friday
1) Repeat Monday’s snatch and swing circuit twice.

2) Repeat the clean & press + pull-up ladders x 3 sets.

Week 2:

Perform the same snatch and swing circuits but move up in weight if the circuits become easy.  As for the clean & press + pull-up circuit, you’ll add one set.  This means that you’ll do 4 x 1, 2, and 3 reps.  (You did three sets of 1, 2, and 3 reps in week 1.)

Continue to use perfect form.  Stop early if you need to.  Don’t go to out-and-out failure.  The work should be challenging but not impossible.

Week 3:

Week three is essentially the same.  You may need to move up in weight on the snatches and swings.  Stay with three sets on Monday, one set on Wednesday and two sets on Friday.  Experiment with one- and two-hand snatches and swings.

Add another set to the clean & press + pull-up ladders.  So that’s 5 x 1, 2, 3, reps.

Simple right?  Shouldn’t necessarily be easy though.  Following this workout I plan to return to deadlifts, various overhead and side presses, and the overhead squat–and who knows what else?!

Ski Conditioning


The ski season is very (VERY!  VERY!) close at hand and appropriate preparation is in order, so here’s a plan I put together.  Several capacities are key to good skiing performance: endurance, flexibility/mobility, strength/power, and power-endurance.

The periodized plan is composed of three four-week training blocks with each block separated by one week off.  The first two training blocks consist of three gym workouts per week.  The final block has two gym workouts per week.  The week off should allow for thorough rest and recuperation prior to beginning the next block.

Emphasis is placed on training a certain capacity in each block, but the other capacities are trained as well so that nothing is lost as the plan progresses.  For instance, though strength is emphasized in the first block, endurance and balance training also takes place.  The skiing performance capacities I’ve addressed and my thoughts on each are as follows:
1.    Endurance (already established over the summer through running and biking): I must have the endurance to stay on the mountain all day at altitude.  The endurance base will be maintained over the course of the plan.
2.    Strength: Skiing is very thigh-dominant thus I must have very strong legs to ski well.  A strong trunk and upper body is essential for powerful turns.
3.    Mobility/Stability (two sides of the same coin): Effective ski technique requires tremendous hip and leg mobility during turns, especially at high speeds.  While the legs and hips must be mobile, the trunk typically must be rock-solid and stable during turns.
4.    Power: Strength must be transfered to power.  It’s not enough to be strong and slow to ski well.  I must be able to express strength at high speeds.
5.    Power-endurance (Here’s where the training gets very specific to skiing.): Skiing requires one to be powerful over and over again for several minutes.  Then the skier typically gets a rest of several minutes while he or she rides back up to the top of the mountain.  So it’s not enough to be powerful once and then rest.

Here’s the plan:

  • Block 1: Strength & Mobility
    • Strength Day
      • front squat: 3-6 reps, 4-8 sets
      • bench press: 3-6 reps, 4-8 sets
      • face pull: 8-12 reps, 3-4 sets
    • Balance Day
      • single-leg squats from a box
        • heel reach forward
        • toe reach back
        • toe reach forward
        • rotational squat
      • single-leg bent over dumbbell row
      • single-arm overhead dumbbell press with frontal plane hip drive
    • Mobility Day
      • multi-directional lunges with varied arm drives
      • dips
      • rotating cable pulls from various angles
    • Endurance: running and biking throughout the week
    • One week off
  • Block 2: Power
    • Day 1
      • multi-planar jumps/hops: 6-10 reps, 3-4 sets
      • barbell clean to front squat: 3-5 reps, 4-6 sets
    • Day  2
      • Kettlebell swings: 8 reps, 3 sets
      • Kettlebell swipes or chops: 5-8 reps, 3 sets
    • Day 3
      • long jumps: 6 reps, 3 sets
      • dumbbell or barbell push press: 3-5 reps, 4-6 sets
    • Endurance: same as block one
    • One week off
  • Block 3: Power endurance
    Due to the high stress of these workouts, only two are performed per week.

    • Day 1:
      • barbell complex
      • clean
      • front squat
      • bent row
      • Romanian deadlift
      • floor press
      • followed by multi-planar jumps/hops
    • Day 2:
      • Kettlebell complex (may vary widely)
        • snatch
        • clean
        • chop
        • press
        • swing
      • running or rowing intervals