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Kettlebell 5x5 Program

I started Mike Mahler’s 5x5 Kettlebell program last week.

Here is the rundown:

What are ya’lls(I’m from Arkansas) thoughts on this program?
Is it complete for a beginner-intermediate lifter?

I am REALLY feeling the overall strengthening that most beginners feel. When I use the kettlebells it seems me stabilizer muscles are in use more than any other lifting style. I am using the 20kg (44lb) ones.

Just wanting some thoughts on the program…

I see now that kettlebells are a fad, I first learned about them after following a MMA fighter “Fedor Emalianenko”. Of course he is Russian.

My goal is to lose fat, build muscle, and increase strength (hip,etc…) for ju-jitsu tournaments.


2x44 lbs = 88 lbs total, forget about strength, but good for conditionning.

depending on where hes starting, that may be enough. a lot of exercises are more difficult with kettlebells, and if he doubles them up on swings and such 88 pounds is plenty.

there are also lots techniques you can use to make the exercises more difficult.

on a side note they wont build as much raw strength as say heavy deadlifting and squatting, but they will develop SSP and GPP pretty good for JJ. And after you swing around a couple 44 pounds KB - you certainly wont be weak. Work capacity is also increased pretty well through kettlebells.

OP, for combat sports that’s probably a damn good place to start - way better than what I started out doing.

EDIT- I feel like KB’s either get lumped into either “useless fad crap” or “omg these are gifts from god”, categories. I have 4 KB’s myself, and love them.

There is something unique about training with them that you don’t get from traditional weightlifting - that being said they aren’t the end all be all. Few traditional weight training exercises mimic the hip thrust developed threw KB training, and none to the same extent.

^Spot on.

A lot of the stuff you can replicate with a dumbbell. But a lot you cannot. You can use kettlebells pretty uniquely for all sorts of disadvantage leverages that will make them ‘harder’. Turkish getups for instance. They’re also better suited for lateral raises, and have interesting balance with your pressing. Doing presses bottom up style can effect your grip positively as well.

They’re a great tool.

That said, for specifically building STRENGTH. They’re not the BEST tool for the job if you only have one pair. You need progression if you intend on getting stronger.

Keep in mind that we all define strength differently. And perhaps you can improve by going up to higher reps, or doing more sets. Whatever. After a while you’re going to plateau just because you can’t get any heavier… Point blank period.

Once you get past 8 reps you’re really not building the kind of strength we’re talking about that is really conditioning.

But kettlebells are one of the best tools you can have for conditioning. A jump rope, somewhere to sprint and some kettlebells will get you in top notch form. Add in a pullup bar and you don’t need much else.

Since you’re a beginner that program is a great place to start… There are other, better programs that you will need to progress onto after though because you’ll get all the usefulness you can out of that program in a few months time. 5x5 was designed for progression. 5x5 with set non adjustable kettlebells is kinda ass backward.