It all started when my MMA coach took me to the gym on day.
I was 15 years old at the time. Seeing my coach execute seemingly perfect squats, deadlifts and other movements made me fall in love with the iron.
I jumped from body building to power lifting, olympic lifting to strongman training and everything in between. I was possessed by the heavy weights.
Let me note that I am by no means a big guy. Im 5.6 and 155 pounds at my heaviest.
I look more like Bruce Lee and less like Ed Coan. But watching beasts like Jesse Norris, Brian Shaw and others lift massive weights had me determined to see how much I can lift.
I eventually got a 405 deadlift, 315 squat and 275 bench, as well as a 155 military press.
I was stoked about the progress but serious lower back, hip and shoulder injuries started catching up. My performance deteriorated and I felt like a weakling in a buffed out body.
As much as I did recovery and mobility work, foam rolling and warming up. Nothing seemed to help and my body was not having the heavy weights.
I felt lost. Like a big part of my identity was gone. But then I discovered the incredible potential of calisthenics and kettlebell work.
This is the program I wrote and followed for the past 6 months with frequent tweaking here and there.
It brought tremendous results and radically reduced the pain/inflammation I experienced from my injuries.
Note that I did use a relatively light kettlebell for my lower body movements and bands for some upper body work.
Box jump 5x 3-5
Superset: Clapping pushups 5x 6-10
Goblet squats 3x 10-15
Superset: Kettlebell overhead press 3x 4-6 ea
Inverted rows 5x 10-15
HSPUs 5x 6-15
Superset: Band face pulls 5x 10-15
Hollow rock hold 3x 10-20sec
Superset: SB ham curls 3x 10-15
Kettlebell swings 5x 6-10
Superset: Kettlebell pushpress 5x 5ea
Turkish getups 3x1ea
Superset: Racked kettlebell step-ups 3x 8-12ea
Pullups 5x 6-15
Ring dips 3x 8-12
Superset: Band pullaparts 3x 10-15
Stir the pot 3x 10-20sec
Superset: Band anti rotation 3x 8-12 ea
Note, I repeated days 1 & 2 twice each, and took the rest of the days off in this sequence: Day 1, Day 2, OFF, Day 1, Day 2, OFF, OFF
I am happy to say that I haven’t lost much size. I look more defined. My injuries are slowly fading away and I am enjoying training more than ever.
The most difficult part was getting over my old PR’s and previous identity of “heavy lifter.” The benefits of this new training style outweigh the costs, and that is what is important to me.
Please share similar stories, or ideas about calisthenics, heavy lifting or anything in between. And feel free to try the workout template above.
Thanks for reading. Have a great day.