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Kettlebell An Interesting 'What the Hell' Effect

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I'm on active military service (US Army) and when I went home for three weeks to visit my family I elected to stick with an entirely kettlebell based strength training routine (basically the 'Total Package' article formed the guidelines for it). I've been mostly on a barbell based Greyskull Linear Progression (January thru June of this year) before switching to a Wendler 5/3/1 based program (July thru mid-December) for 2019.

I flew back to Hawaii after three weeks and did the obligate 5/3/1 Training Max test (per the latest edition of Jim's work, 5/3/1 Forever). I had expected strength losses across my four main lifts (bench, press, squat, deadlift) of at least 5%-10% and was rather pleasantly surprised. No strength losses at all in the press, deadlift, and squat and only a small loss in the bench press. What the Hell Effect indeed...
Do you have any conditioning comparisons?
Not much, really. I was also on the tail end of recovering from a nasty upper respiratory tract infection sustained early in the vacation so I didn't get much roadwork in, but some pool work for aerobic conditioning. I did notice some slight struggles with running my first week back. However I began to get back into the grove of conditioning soon after.
... well, we all make mistakes... :p
(Coming from a former Navy and Air Force guy...;))

But a nice WTH Effect indeed. Did you expect to have a big set-back? And were you able to use heavy kettlebells? For instance to have squat movements heavy enough for maintaining your strength...

Har4, shots fired pal. @Niek Schokkenbroek

I did expect big setbacks as the heaviest bells I have are two dvukhpudoviks. I was able to tackle a 302 lbs deadlift for five reps and a 248 lbs squat for five reps (both of them are my 85% training max) with no problems for deadlift and a slight hard effort on the squat.

I worked the jerk, long cycle, press, getup, swing, goblet squat, two kettlebell front squat, and snatch extensively in that three week time and am presently digesting the data to design a post October 2020 (Pearl Harbor Powerlifting meet) kettlebell only training plan where I won't touch a barbell again until January 2021.

Presently I'm using 5/3/1 for Powerlifting's off-season strength template and will switch into Reload eight weeks from the powerlifting meet with some kettlebell based assistance work.
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Sounds interesting! So far I haven’t found a set-up where I can include barbell training. (Currently living in South Lebanon and decent gyms are sparse.) My only tools are kettlebells (of so so quality) and a pull up bar. Once we’re settled back in Europe again, I’d like to see to get a rack and barbell.

I would think the barbell and kettlebells can compliment each other, but it would be interesting to see how you’ll do with the barbell lifts after training with only kettlebells for such a long time.
I don't think that you should lose much strength, if at all, in three weeks even if you didn't train at all. I've come back stronger after such a break, proven by meet conditions.

But the kettlebell training is a great choice in such conditions, if you have the chance, and must do a good job retaining the strength.
Actually, @pet' that article was one of the first things to make me really think about a 'kettlebells only' block of training to prevent myself from getting burned out by barbell focused blocks. Between that and the AK-47 of fitness equipment article and the original books by Pavel I was brought onboard about the kettlebell's effects on one's strength.

Niek Schokkenbroek said:
I would think the barbell and kettlebells can compliment each other, but it would be interesting to see how you’ll do with the barbell lifts after training with only kettlebells for such a long time.

I think with eight or nine months of barbell based training from solid programs I think I'd have a decent base of strength, especially if I sort out the intended 1000 lbs total I'm aiming for in October. The kettlebells for two and a half months should mean when I go back to the January 5/3/1 I'll be in decent shape.

My plan for 2021 is to test a barbell block with a kettlebell block following it as a training protocol for my year...
Since I've been on SF I have moved twice. Each and every time I have had to move both my teenagers junk as well as mine from a three bed room location to another. Both times I easily threw a giant two piece sectional couch on my shoulders and walk up and or down two flights of stairs. Moving a king size and two queen size beds as well as several tons of furniture, tv's, cloths, ect… All with little, if any difficulty. Will SF training get me 5,3,1 jacked, nope. Will it get me through life better than anything that I have done in the last 30 years, you bet your sweet a$$!!!
5/3/1 Jacked isn't really any goal of mine. Simply being strong with sustainable programming for several years is my main objective. This came about after I watched my grandfather physically weaken over the past decade and a half after suffering from an illness, a fall (and being wheelchair bound), and dementia in succession. Those sad circumstances forced me to rethink my goals for strength training and the means of being strong and healthy.

Mostly barbell based training is done this year or the majority of it because I am aiming for a 1000 lbs total at a local powerlifting meet. My last total was an 875 lbs total with a 215 lbs bench, 255 lbs squat, and 405 lbs deadlift.
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