T Nation

Kettlebells & 531


You and Dan John share most of the same philosophies and principles and he has entire workouts based on kettlebells. I’ve heard you mention them in a few posts, but I was wondering if you believe they are an appropriate assistance to 531?

My 16 year old brother hasn’t really lifted more than his bodyweight in any lift, but is pushing 6’2" and weighs 205 pounds. He’s a pretty big boy and has lost a strong level of fitness (probably never had it) but it’s effecting his performance on the field. Would a 2-3 week break in period with KB’s be a good prep for 531? He’s a pitcher, so would KB’s be effective for that type of athlete.

Are KB’s a good option for hardgainers? I think if used correctly and balanced with the other training, KB’s could be effective for anyone. How you recommend their use in a 531 template for assistance, more specifically how a hardgainer could use them effectively.

Really just picking your brain here.

I should add the combo of agile 8, box & broad jumps, med ball throw variations, sprints/hills, bodyweight and KB’s could be an outstanding prep and/or warmup for anyone workout if used correctly.

I was thinking a prep period with these variables would be suitable for my novice athlete needing a better level of fitness, both strength and conditioning.

They are fine for assistance - they are part of the exercises that you can choose to do. This is in the 531 book.

They are a tiny part of the Beginner Prep program. Along with lifting, running, calisthenics, jumps, throws and bodyweight work.

Are KB’s a good option for hardgainers? They are a small part of any program, not THE program. Doesn’t matter if you are a hardgainer or not. I can tell you that if your main goal is being a better athlete, the KB is low on the list of priorities. There is nothing wrong with them but there are 1000000 better ways to get stronger, faster, more agile, etc.

As you probably know, there needs to be efficiency for GPP for athletes. Do the minimum amount to get the maximum effect. Choose your weapons carefully.

What would be a good way to implement them into training? Any circuit of movements you recommend?

I was thinking along the lines of swings, goblet squats, cleans, get-ups…

We do have a full circuit we have for the beginner prep program. This, along with all of the other variables, are in the new book. Everything has its place and work together: running, lifting, jumping, calisthenics and mobility work.


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Can’t wait for the new book. I really hope you add your mental perspectives to it. Your post “Some Perspective” is beyond great. I also loved your wolves and sheep metaphor. I hope to see more about mental attitude in the book…

Another great plug in I’ve used for kettlebells and 5/3/1 is Pavel Tsatsouline’s _Simple and Sinister_program. It’s basically 100 one arm swings (10x10) and ten Getups (10x1, five per arm) to be done in five minutes or fewer for the swings and ten minutes and fewer for the Getups. Average Strength Men are recommended to start with 24 KG for swings and 16 KG for Getups, and there are two goals, one simple (the standards for the two exercises at 32Kg for men) and the other sinister (same standards for 48 KG).

This works great as conditioning and assistance work done 2-3x/week.

Regarding the two exercises: The former is great conditioning and the latter is great bench and press assistance work.

I currently run a twice per week full body split with the power clean version of 5/3/1 and 2-3x Simple and Sinister sessions per week.