I want to address a common issue in kettlebell sport. Hitting a wall and shaking your angry fists at it, that is, or worse…
Many people train by themselves and grab information from different sources, and often times pieces of the puzzle are missing.
In kettlebell sport, the usual next thing to do when you reach a goal you set for yourself is to go up to the next size kettlebell and repeat the process. There is just one little problem. If your numbers are not that great with a certain size kettlebell, they sure won’t be with a heavier kettlebell, and the problem is that ego comes in the way.
You might come close to the same numbers, but closing the last gap proves itself to be hard. And wanting to be strong, you refuse to go back down to a lighter kettlebell and go through the initial process. You struggle, start implementing all sort of methods in your program that leaves you tired and frustrated.
Chances are if you’re working with 28 and 32kg, you know what you are doing already. Your fitness and structural strength is not an issue. The mistake is quite frequent with new beginners that have done a couple of 10 minute sets and then try to rely on their strength to get the results with a heavier kettlebell.
If grip is an issue, it is probably a question of technique. If you get winded, it is probably a question of cardio.
Regardless, the best approach is to go down in weight. There are 2 variations: cycling through the weights for 4-6 weeks at a time, improving the numbers a little at a time each cycle, or spend longer time and get the max numbers you can with a light kettlebell. Of the 2 cycling approaches, I’d recommend the first.
Results will come, they take time and require consistency with your training.
Also, many people get surprised when I recommend a lower volume than they train with. I always remark “how has that worked for you so far?”
Short sets might allow you to do a lot of volume, and have their place in training, but to last 10 min at a decent pace and put good numbers requires more than 1 approach and method.
Leave the ego aside. Simplify things as much as possible. If I can get results with 1 or 2 sets, why should I waste more energy on doing more work?
Drop down in kettlebell size, work on long sets at a decently fast pace, do cardio then go back to the heavier kettlebell. It’s not like you must not lift heavy kettlebells, it’s just the main focus should be with lighter kettlebells for a while.
Just a quick example, say you can do 150 snatches with 20kg, you might get 120 reps with 24kg but then the progression will be really slow. Now, if you aim to hit 200 snatch with 20kg, numbers with the 24kg will then go up at a faster rate.
If you have the possibility to only jump 2kg instead of 4kg, you should use that possibility. Smaller increments are the way to go when it comes to kettlebell sport, unless you are a heavy and strong athlete. There are people out there getting results with an opposite approach, but they are few in between.
Hope this helps and make sense, all the best with training!
Thierry competes in the over 40 veteran class is also available for online coaching and programs, perfect for newcomers to kettlebell sport and kettlebell training for fitness.