T Nation

Using Kettlebells, Sledgehammer, Farmer's Walk in 5/3/1?


#1

I’ve noticed pictures lately of Jim and kettlebells. How would you implement my three favorite things (kettlebells, sledgehammer, and farmers walk) into 5/3/1? I am doing 5/3/1 every other day and was thinking about using the other implements on off days.


#2

All of those are great finishers especially farmers walks. And kettlebells and hammer swings would be good off day conditioning. Sounds like a great idea to me as long as you don’t go overboard


#3

I don’t want to speak for Jim, but I believe he is using the KBs for his assistance lifts; presses, squats, swings, rows, etc. He likes to take his assistance/conditioning to unholy places.


#4

KB and farmer walks are mentioned in Forever in Assistance stuff, single leg/core, so they can be done in the workout. Farmer walks are NOT recommended as a conditioning tool, tho, the recommendation is 240-400m total of walks and the weight doesn’t need to be substantial - I like doing them at the end of the workout.

On the off days, I like doing KB swings. 10 sets of 10 reps EMOM works good, the only kettlebell I have (52lbs) became quite light for me so I can pretty much do 10 sets of 10 reps back to back superset with band pull aparts with little to no rest between sets, works good for active recovery.
I guess sledgehammer works a similar way but never done it so can’t give you feedback.

Keep in mind that conditioning has to be taken into account when you run the program. For most people, 2 days of hard conditioning (KB swings, sledgehammer, running, sprinting fall into this category) are more than enough.
Some programs allow for more heavy conditioning, others require for you to hold back on it - it really depends.
If you’re in doubt, I guess it would be wise to do one day less of hard conditioning, and one day more of easy conditioning (walk, weighted vest walk, airdyne and such)


#5

Finishers are fucking stupid - sorry but it’s true and has been addressed before.

All of this is explaiined in the Forever book; how to program this stuff into a TRAINING program. Things need to be balanced and it 100% depends on what you are doing in EVERY area of your training.

PLEASE don’t be someone that does “finishers”.


#6

If im not mistaken in several places I’ve seen you mention hard conditioning like hill sprints after training. Isn’t that more or less a finisher? If not what is the difference? I mean no disrespect but just curious.


#7

Not to put words in Jim’s mouth, but I think his response comes from how “finishers” usually seem to imply that you save something that is going to kill you for the last exercise, but assistance shouldn’t really be treated as such. It’s assistance; not conditioning, “Don’t major in the minors”, etc. Here’s an example that Jim himself said about kroc rows (Proper Programming Question)

Kroc rows to many can be seen as a “finisher” because you are supposed to not be able to do another rep, but that’s the wrong way to look at it. Notice that Jim didn’t say “Kroc rows will wear you out so save that for last” but instead recommended that you do another exercise with VERY light weight, and that is the point of his 5th principle in his new book. It’s about balance and what you’re doing. Perhaps “finisher” seems to imply that you aren’t taking balance into account. A person who does “finishers” might say “Okay kroc rows will prevent me from doing 225x10 barbell rows so I’ll leave the kroc rows for last” and that doesn’t take balance into account. Assistance is assistance and no more. The main lifts and supplemental work is your chance to push yourself, assuming that’s what the template requires you to do.


#8

Jim doesn’t seem to like using barbell/dumbbell/body weight movements for conditioning. You can get a conditioning effect from doing them, but that’s not their purpose. Their purpose is to get strong, fill gaps, and build muscle. There are tons of other more effective ways to get conditioning, like jumping rope, pushing Prowlers, and running.


#9

Hill sprints, Prowler and things such as repeated short sprints - they are NEVER done as a finisher. They are done with a goal in mind and are done with a specific, programmed purpose. Yes, sometimes these are hard but the goal is NEVER to “finish you off” - it’s to accomplish a specific goal.

By adopting the specific “50% method” to harder conditioning, you not only get in better shape, you also keep the total training picture in mind.

As always, you are always free to end every single workout drained and feeling “like you really did something”. That is a result of our “snapshot” culture which romanticizes single one of these moments as if they are “the norm”. In real training, this is never the case.