Imagine you're a soldier posted at a foreign military base. Randomly, gunfire breaks loose. You dive behind cover. Bullets lodge into sandbags to your sides. Luckily, you're fully armored in the latest gear.
Just one problem.
You're sore from last night's record-breaking workout. Today, your body won't cooperate. You shudder at the thought of running. This (ridiculous) situation was entirely preventable.
Soldiers care about strength. Two dominant training styles emerged:
- Western: occasional soul-crushing, long, brutal workouts followed by days of weakness as you recover.
- Eastern: easier, shorter training performed every day with little weakness or recovery.
Pavel Tsatsouline, the “father of the kettlebell”, focused his entire career on the Eastern strength approach.
He trained elite military units like SPETSNAZ and later branches of the US military (Navy SEALs, Marines, and Army Special Forces).Everyday kettlebell training is like "leaving one in the chamber". You have a 24/7 strength reserve. Click To Tweet
So how often can you kettlebell train? Depending on your approach, every single day. Nail your recovery. Listen to your body. Be consistent. Here's what I learned from trying one famous method of daily kettlebells training called “Greasing the Groove”.
Training Every Single Day
Exercise is stress.
Healthy amounts adapt and morph the body. Too much or too little causes problems.
Ask 100 coaches, and you'll hear a divide on everyday training:
- You'll breakdown, overtrain, and hurt yourself.
- The body will compensate, and flourish.
Surprisingly, both sides.
Everyday training can help or hinder you depending on the type of exercise, duration, and your recovery.
Fitness gains don't happen in the gym. On the contrary. You breakdown muscle during each session.
Repair and growth occurs during rest and sleep.
People recover from the same workout at different speeds, depending on:
- Fitness level
- Genes & epigenetics
- Activity outside the gym
- Deliberate recovery practices
Each factor impacts your recovery and ability to train intensely.
Master recovery and you can exercise more often. Conversely, pull all-nighters and you'll get injured.
Easy Kettlebell Training: Greasing the Groove
Most famous for his “always leave one in the chamber” philosophy of strength training, Pavel introduced the world to a concept he called “Greasing the Groove.”
Greasing the Groove (GtG) is a micro-workout approach to everyday kettlebell training. Instead of long dedicated blocks of all-out workouts, Pavel prescribes light sessions every day. Sessions with long rests between sets, and stopping well before failure.
Strength comes from putting stress on muscles. But there's another component.Greasing the Groove is a form of everyday kettlebell strength training that focuses on neurological adaptations. Click To Tweet
GtG strengthens you by improving the mind-body connection. It builds resilience and anti-fragility. Best of all, light, everyday kettlebell training doesn't require recovery. Pavel recommends it.
Greasing the groove can stand alone as a complete workout, or layered on top of an existing routine for faster results.
Intense Kettlebell Training
Kettlebells have use outside of Greasing the Groove.
Fitness buffs took Pavel's GtG lead. And merged it with a Western approach.
Intense kettlebell training should be relegated to three to five days per week. Like conventional barbell and dumbbell programs, intense kettlebell training tests your ability to recover.
If you workout Western style, make sure to get the recovery down.
The (Not So) Secret Formula to Everyday Kettlebell Workouts
To stay healthy and build strength, you must balance:
- Training frequency
- Workout intensity
When training every day, you only have three variables to control. To keep the system in balance, daily workouts must be less intense and shorter.
If this all seems too confusing, Pavel designed a great program for everyday Kettlebell Training called Simple & Sinister (Amazon). He gives you daily kettlebell routines and lays out the common rookie (and veteran) mistakes.
What You Should Know About Daily Kettlebell Training
When You Should Stop A Kettlebell Workout
While exercising, the moment your form slips up just a tiny bit, STOP. You're done. Pushing past this point predisposes you to injury. Either the weight is too heavy to properly control, or you're under-recovered and need more rest. I can trace back most of my injuries to ignoring poor form cues.
Can You Get Ripped From Just Kettlebells?
Yes, you can get ripped from doing nothing more than kettlebell workouts. For maximum strength building, master two kettlebell exercises: Kettlebell Swings (KBS), and Turkish Getups (TGU). These two together work the entire body. Train often and always with good form.
How Often Should You do Kettlebells to Lose Weight?
Kettlebells can work great for weight loss. The kettlebell swing burns 1,200 calories per hour. For the best results, perform 70-250 kettlebell swings daily before breakfast when hormones and enzymes are primed to burn stored body fat. You can finish in 2-5 minutes.
How Heavy of a Kettlebell to Choose?
Kettlebell expert Pavel Tsatsouline recommends different sized kettlebells for kettlebell swings (KBS) and Turkish Get-Ups (TGU). For an average strength man, he recommends 24kg for KBS and 16kg for TGU. For an average strength lady, Pavel recommends 16kg for KBS and 8kg for TGU. Stronger people can add a few more kgs.
Are Short 10/20 Minute Kettlebell Workouts Are Enough?
Depending on your goals, 10 or 20 minutes every day may be plenty. For some people 20 minutes of every day kettlebell exercise is too much. I've found that I can complete a workout of Kettlebell Swing and Turkish Get-Ups in just about 10 minutes. However, if you train irregularly 10-20 minutes will not be enough.
How Long Does it Take to See Results from Kettlebells?
Most people begin noticing big results and improvements in 2-4 weeks. Cardio and strength benefits begin earlier, while goals like weight loss can take a little longer to show. You'll notice that your usual everyday activities become easier. Sadly, getting abs and core definition are the last noticeable changes. Take before and after photos to measure progress.
Start Training With Kettlebells Daily
Make kettlebell training a habit. Part of your daily routine. Put a kettlebell in a doorway. Every time you enter the room, hit a few kettlebell swings. Or a Turkish Get-Up. In two minutes flat, you can set the trajectory for your day.
The Eastern workout approach is the antithesis of the way I trained. I started GtG and reclaimed 15 hours previously consumed by the gym. Paradoxically, swinging kettlebells kept me consistently near full strength while I continued to build muscle.
I no longer spent 90 percent of my weeks recovering from monstrous personal-record setting workouts.
I haven't shaken my Western ways. I still hit the gym, and lift heavy. I hack my workouts with an incredible technology I wrote about called blood flow restriction training. But I also incorporate the Eastern approach. Every day I make a point to get a few minutes of a little exercise “snack”.
Have you tried training every day? How'd it go?