T Nation

Kettlebell Workout & 5/3/1


Hey all,

Just looking for some input on the subject kettlebells.
I love training with them for cardio and also strength, but I am looking into integrating them into my normal workout routine to go along with my standard 5/3/1 although I’m not sure how I would go about programming the workouts and also what types of workouts.
Any examples would be awesome.



I have tried it for a couple of cycles, but haven’t yet find any optimal way to do this. I have gotten much better results when doing my conditioning with more traditional ways while hitting majority of my work in gym.

I may still be interested trying this in some point, mainly because I have lot of experience with KBs from time I was doing martial arts, they’re time/space efficient and I have them at my home.

Using kb’s with 5/3/1 can be done in million ways, depending on what you’re trying to achieve. These are my advices (ie. things I have learned when I was fucking up my training with KB’s):

-Training should be build around 5/3/1. Think you strength work first and fit Kb in.

  • You’ll do speed and strength in gym and assistance/conditioning with kb’s.

  • So only thing you’ll do in gym is jumps/cleans and 5’s PRO or 5/3/1 with some FSL work. NO heavy sets, BBB etc.

  • Do always your 5/3/1 work first. Then finish your workouts with kb’s or do them in separate days.

  • Plan your KB also. Don’t just do random shit. Pick few basic movements and hammer them. Add basic bodyweight movements in your Kettlebell sessions also.

  • Think carefully how many gym days/kb workouts you can do. It is better to do less workouts with better quality than train many days exhausted.

  • KB sessions will drain you easily. Start with low volume and build from there.


Rattus makes great points.
If you have doubles, you can use them for assistance work as a part of 5/3/1.
Take the Military Press for example, you can do double military press.
Or use Double Kettlebell Front Squats

Also you can use them for conditioning workouts. Winter is coming here, and with the ice and snow, I’m less likely to to sprints outdoors.

Take a kettlebell, swing it or snatch it, then put the bell down and jump rope. Alternate between the 2 for 20 minutes.

On De-load week, I used strictly kettlebells to recharge and had really good success.


Pavel Tsatsouline’s ‘Simple and Sinister’ is one routine I’ve been using 2x/week (I use a four day ‘Beyond 5/3/1’ split).

The program is built around the kettlebell swing and Turkish getup at a relatively modest volume of 10x10 swings and 10x1 getups. The goals for men are to be able to do 10x10 1-arm swings (50 each arm) in 5 minutes and 10x1 getups in 10 minutes. The starting weight for most men is 24 KG for swing and 16 KG for the getup. The goals are divided into Simple and Sinister ones. The simple goal is getting to 32 KG for both lifts for men and the sinister one is doing the same for 48 KG.

Given I’m in the military I have unit level PT I have to do in the mornings. Between that and the relatively modest volume of S&S I get the conditioning I need and Beyond 5/3/1 fills out the strength needs. (I especially love the Joker Sets and First Set Last additions).

I’ve noticed since moving in 24 KG getups my pressing and benching improved because a weak point I had was the lockouts.

I’d advise investing in the book Simple and Sinister if you’d like to learn more about the programming and rationale behind it.


Basically anywhere Jim writes “conditioning” in one of his templates you could do swing, clean, or snatch intervals for 10-20 minutes or so. The 2x2x2 template from the beyond book works really well for this. I did 2 days of 5/3/1, two days of the S&S program mentioned above, and two days of foam rolling/stretching and it worked great.


Pavel says if you’re doing any other lifting to do S&S twice a week.