Recap: Enter the Kettlebell

June 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

I recently finished the strength building program, Enter the Kettlebell (ETK) by Pavel Tsatsouline.  The immediate result is that I am much stronger which was the goal. 

Before I started the program, I was pressing 8kg comfortably and could press 10kg a handful of times.  I was swinging 16kg comfortably and didn’t own anything larger (at the time), so that was an easy choice.  The first thing I wanted to do was work with the 10kg to be able to at least start ETK pressing that weight. 

A few weeks before, I did 3×3, 5×3, 5×4, 5×5 ladders sometimes of pressing mixed with push pressing and other times strictly push pressing.  These ladders and rungs were hard for me to understand at first, so if they are hard for you to understand also, I am going to spell out a medium day clean, press, pull, ladders – 5 ladders, 4 rungs.

Clean and press –

  • 1 left, 1 right, 1 pull (which for me was chin ups or rows)
  • 2 left, 2 right, 2 pulls
  • 3 left, 3 right, 3 pulls
  • 4 left, 4 right, 4 pulls
  • 1-2 minutes rest

Repeat 4 more times for 5 ladders totals.  You will have pressed the weight 100 times once this is over.  Light day is 5 ladders, 3 rungs or 60 presses, heavy day is 5 ladders, 5 rungs or 150 presses.

I felt good at the start of the program, but by week 8, heavy day jumps from 5 ladders 3 rungs, to 5 ladders 5 rungs.  That was a BIG adjustment for me.  I attempted week 8 and failed heavy day.  I decided to take a week off, then repeated week 8 and that seemed to do the trick.  With heavy days, I took extra breaks if I needed to and really just concentrated on contracting my whole body to press the bell.  In addition, eating more the day before and getting a good night’s rest really helped also.

Another change I made during the program was to eliminate snatching on light days.  That happened about week 8 as well.  I was having trouble with my left elbow and really wanted to just concentrate on pressing. 

I am sorry to disappoint, but I did not take before and after pics or measurements because I am concerned less with that these days.  I will say that I maintained about 125 lbs and 17%bodyfat give or take fluctuations.

I would totally recommend this program to anyone looking for a challenging program that builds strength.  I am planning to repeat this program in the fall, pressing 12kg and swinging 20kg.  Hopefully, I will be able to do the snatching as well.  I’m working on that one!  🙂


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