Tag Archives: kettlebell workouts

How to Achieve the Conditioning of an Athlete

How to Achieve the Conditioning of an Athlete

Posted on 10. Sep, 2009 by .


This post was inspired by a book that I’m currently reading (and doing) entitled, “Viking Warrior Conditioning,” by Kenneth Jay, Master RKC. I stumbled upon this book during the Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) when we did one of the workouts from the book during day 2.

First, here is a little background:

While training for the RKC for several months, I haven’t really touched the treadmill, dumbbells, and barbells. During the week before the RKC, I decided to back off from my kettlebell training but I still wanted to do something to maintain my conditioning. So, the obvious choice for me was to do some HIITs on the treadmill.

I was prepared to only do my intervals for 30 seconds at 7.5 miles per hour (mph) because I’ve always had a hard time running very fast after not having done HIITs for awhile. In other words, I lose some of the conditioning that I gained from continously performing intervals after I stop doing them – which is to be expected. So, I went off to the gym, started my warm ups on the treadmill in preparation for the sprints to come. To my surprise, I was able to perform 6 intervals of 60 seconds at 8.5 mph! The other more surprising thing is, I wasn’t even exhausted at the end of the six intervals. I consider this occurence to be out of the ordinary since the fastest I’ve ever gone on a treadmill is 9.2 mph after performing HIITs continously for four weeks.

During ordinary circumstances, I would look like a fish out of water after 30 seconds of sprints and if I were on a continued diet of barbells, dumbbells, and sprints on the treadmill, I don’t think that I would’ve achieved this type of conditioning. At first, I didn’t really know what have caused this phenomena until Pavel talked about the “Kettlebell What the Hell Effect” during the second day of the RKC.

In preparation for the RKC, I had to be able to perform 100 repetitions of the snatch with a 12 kg kettlebell (KB). Of course, I didn’t start out performing 100 reps right off the bat. I had to start with snatching an 8 kg KB and move on to the 12 kg while working on increasing my repetitions. While I was practicing my snatches, something else was happening to my conditioning – I was developing the conditioning of an athelete.

Taking Your Conditioning to the Next Level

What? Me? An athlete?

I was never the sporty kind of person my whole life so I never considered myself to be an athlete – ever. But, what kettlebell has done was bring out the inner athlete in me by helping me in terms of conditioning. According to Kenneth, there are 3 basic factors that determine conditioning and these are: oxygen uptake, metabolite production ability, and metabolite tolerance ability. Oxygen uptake simply pertains to how efficient your body is at transporting and using oxygen. Metabolite production refers to how well your body’s lactic acid system can convert carbohydrates into Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) while metabolite tolerance has to do with how long your body is able to endure high levels of lactic acid which is the by-product of this system. In short, the more conditioned you are, the faster you are able to convert carbohydrates for energy and the longer you will be able to perform your workouts without much fatigue.

Inside the Viking Warrior Conditioning book, Kenneth has outlined the cadence* maximum VO2* (cMVO2) test which is basically the number of snatches that triggers the maximum amount of oxygen uptake on a whole body level. Then, he outlines 5 protocols that you can use to start with and progress towards.

The 15:15 MVO2 Protocol

Currently, I am doing the 15:15 MVO2 Protocol wherein I am doing 7 snatch repetitions (one set) with one hand for 15 seconds, rest 15 seconds, switch hands then, perform 7 more snatches with the other hand. I will repeat this cycle until I have completed 20 sets which is my starting point until I am able to do 80 sets. I plan to add 2 sets each time until I do the protocol until I reach the final number.

It is still to early to tell you about my results but I have no doubt in mind that doing this protocol as I planned will help take my conditioning to new heights due to my previous experience of simply practicing for the snatch test.

If you are interested in reading more about Kenneth’s protocols and his theories behind them, you can purchase the Viking Conditioning book at Dragondoor.com

*Cadence – number of snatches
* VO2 – amount of oxygen uptake on a whole-body level

Please feel free to comment or ask questions below. Thanks for stopping by!

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No Excuses Home Workout

Posted on 16. Feb, 2009 by .


Every Saturday morning I have this routine of doing High Intensity Intervals on the treadmill as soon as I wake up (i.e. before I eat breakfast). I use the one and only treadmill in the exercise room of the complex where I live. It’s usually not being used on Saturday morning especially not at 7:30 in the morning.

But, this past Saturday, to my surprise, a girl was using it and when I asked her how much longer she had, she said, “45 minutes.” First, I felt sorry for the girl and I almost wanted to tell her that she’s wasting her time but I just kept my mouth shut. Second, I was left with 3 choices, one: say f*ck it and not work out; two: wait 45 minutes (but I knew the longer I wait, the more I wouldn’t want to do it); third: use my kettlebells at home and be creative.

Boy, did I wish I just waited for her to finish because I really kicked my butt with this workout…haha. Ok, so I ended up using my kettlebells at home combined with my Iron Gym. So, here is how it went down:

Kettlebell (KB) Swings Tabata Style:

8 rounds
KB Swings 18 lbs x 20 seconds
KB Swings 35 lbs x 10 seconds

I was huffin’ and puffin’ after this but I felt that I wanted to do more so I did this.

Kettelbell Swings HIIT Style:

KB Swings 1 set x 35 lbs x 60 seconds, 2 chin ups after this set
KB Swings 3 sets x 18 lbs x 60 seconds, 1 chin up after each set

All in all, I did 344 KB Swings! My legs actually felt a little sore the next day to the point that I wasn’t sure if I can finish my regularly schedule Buff Dudes, Hot Chicks Workout A (which I was still able to do after a little warm up).

So, what’s the lesson of the story? There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to perform another form of workout just because I couldn’t do my usual workouts. Besides the Tabatas and HIIT, I could also have chosen a body weight workout from my arsenal of Turbulence Training Programs. So yah, I don’t have anymore excuses except for being lazy 🙂

I was so surprised with myself too when I was able to perform my second chin up! This is the first time I was able to do 2 consecutively. I guess my arms got tired from all the KB swings that I was only able to perform 2 chin ups on the first set but I was still thrilled!

This really was a weekend (not technically because this is Monday’s) of personal bests because I was able to run my intervals today (Monday’s light day activity) at my fastest to date:

First interval: 8.3 mph at 60 seconds
Second interval: 8.7 mph at 60 seconds
Third and Fourth interval: 9 mph at 60 seconds!

Looking back, I had a very productive weekend especially if shopping and checking out a new Mexican restaurant on Valentine’s day counts…lol. So, how did your weekend go?

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