Practice Like You Play with Kettlebells

I haven’t got time to waste, have you?  That’s why we’re training with kettlebells.

As soon as an athlete of mine so much as lifts a kettlebell off the floor – they are engaging their core and working those abs in standing position.  After a 1/2 hour of kettlebell swings, presses, squats, windmills, and snatches,  their entire body from the muscles in your feet to their teeth (if that’s even possible) is SMOKED!!!

If I suggest that we now proceed to work abs, I’m likely to get a towel thrown in my face, because that person KNOWS that they are DONE.

Across the gym, someone else is poking along with their split routine, sitting down like they do at the office (why is this even allowed in places where exercise is performed?) working out one muscle group at a time. If they’re on leg day, my athlete is on their 3rd leg day of the week.  And if they have decided that they now have 10 minutes left to work abs, we’ve already  been hitting abs for  1/2 hour straight (someone please come mop the sweat from the floor around us!) as an iron core is required in all sports, and all activities that leave out the word “GYM”.

Like a soccer player, there’s no part of their body that goes unchallenged.  And there’s none of this “I didn’t get to work on my core as much as I wanted today, but definitely got a nice pump!”  Sorry!

They won’t be playing the “Gladiator” soundtrack when you walk into the office either (or you won’t in your own head), because you will be just be one more wiry, badass in a suit – with nothing to brag about.  Sorry to take all of that away.  So yes, all you big GYM RATS need a reality check; practice like you play when training with kettlebells, step into their room with me for 5 minutes, please.


Trained directly by Pavel, Karen Smith is the only female Master SFG in the world.   She will be my instructor for SFG I certification in Santa Cruz this November.

 Save massive time. 

By Thursday, Dave had already performed 3 intense, whole body kettlebell workouts, was feeling trim and powerful from lifting heavy iron cannonballs all week, and decided to skip the gym Friday in favor of some social activities.  There is a consequence for this behavior for someone who does the typical “split”, as this would render the week’s efforts incomplete.  But Dave has already worked every muscle in the human body 3x this week, whilst challenging his heart at the same level as  6 minute mile run.   A gym rat would still have 2 hours to go to catch up to Dave, skipping cardio.  It’s ok, while the gym rat is still checking facebook in the gym, Dave’s off to go and live his life.

Dave had already worked his legs, chest, shoulders, abs, biceps, triceps back – 3x this week – Arnold Schwarzenegger was hardly able to do this in his heyday.

I enjoy teaching the acquisition of controlled strength.  I like how the human body produces it’s most massive power, force and speed from training compound, dynamic movements.  I enjoy training muscular control and athleticism, by incorperating balance, velocity, proper breathing, and an ironclad core – I like training folks to use strength in real life circumstances, as oppossed to circumstances that only occur in a controlled setting at the gym.

                You won’t need to change your world view.

 Many of you are thinking this right now, and while you are working out….”I’m so busy that it’s barely feasible to even make it into the gym to begin with.  If you’re getting some work done in there, then it’s better than nothing!”

 Yeah right bro/bra!  I don’t buy your garbage.  You spend more time with a cocktail in your hand and texting then you do even thinking about health – so don’t say that it’s a time issue – or that you have to get to work, therefore you cannot afford to be smart.  This is easier than folks make it!

  Training with Kettlebells: Top tips

1. Make your workouts athletic (practice like you play)

2. Train your entire body on most days (you need your entire body, trust me)

3. You need to leave “the split” (leg day, arm day, shoulder day, chest day, back day) behind, back there with pogo sticks and banana seats – and Hershey Bar Commercials followed by “Little House on the Prairie”.

Let me be real with you.  Sometimes in life, we have to ask ourselves if we are actively practicing like we want to play. If not, then exactly what are we practicing, and to what avail?


practice like you play with a kettlebell strength training programme


By Dan Piper, CPT, RKC, FMS,

Strength Training at Dan’s Barbell and Kettlebell Club, Alameda, CA

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