Double KB programs imbalance of press and front squat weight.

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
I am finding double kettlebell programs like Geoff Neuport's that usually combine press and front squat to be incredibly effective but there seems to be one flaw.

If I use the same weight for both the presses and front squats, my shoulders are done at the end of the 20 or 30 min session and my core feels really challenged the next day, but I feel I have a bit left in the tank for the front squats. It would make more sense to me to either use a different set of bells or maybe add one rep to the front squats if using the same bells. Reps of 2 for press, 3 for squats for example. Something simple.

As written the program is very effective, but not optimal as written I feel.

I am referring to the Geoff Neuport 12 week program and the dry fighting weight programs where there is an element of self regulation in the rep periods. I find this to be very effective as like the new version of Simple and Sinister, I notice increased density and better recovery even if the weights are the same from workout to workout.

The weight difference would not be an issue with complexes and chains. I am referring particularly to the press/front squat combination.

I am sold on this double KB approach. It feels a bit like the total bodyweight metabolic stress of barbell work combined with a very high work volume benefits of KB work. In addition, the SF philosophy of keeping rep quality high in percentage of RM near 50 percent sets is a win. And yes, body composition results not sabotaged by bodybuilding style hunger. I just want to sleep after a workout not eat. Overall, it feels like the perfect general physical preparedness minimalist program. Swings on off days.

What do others think?

 

Molson

Level 5 Valued Member
I am finding double kettlebell programs like Geoff Neuport's that usually combine press and front squat to be incredibly effective but there seems to be one flaw.

If I use the same weight for both the presses and front squats, my shoulders are done at the end of the 20 or 30 min session and my core feels really challenged the next day, but I feel I have a bit left in the tank for the front squats. It would make more sense to me to either use a different set of bells or maybe add one rep to the front squats if using the same bells. Reps of 2 for press, 3 for squats for example. Something simple.

As written the program is very effective, but not optimal as written I feel.

I am referring to the Geoff Neuport 12 week program and the dry fighting weight programs where there is an element of self regulation in the rep periods. I find this to be very effective as like the new version of Simple and Sinister, I notice increased density and better recovery even if the weights are the same from workout to workout.

The weight difference would not be an issue with complexes and chains. I am referring particularly to the press/front squat combination.

I am sold on this double KB approach. It feels a bit like the total bodyweight metabolic stress of barbell work combined with a very high work volume benefits of KB work. In addition, the SF philosophy of keeping rep quality high in percentage of RM near 50 percent sets is a win. And yes, body composition results not sabotaged by bodybuilding style hunger. I just want to sleep after a workout not eat. Overall, it feels like the perfect general physical preparedness minimalist program. Swings on off days.

What do others think?

I find this impression of imbalance between legs and upper body applies to most of popular KB programs, including single bell ones. But every time I think my legs want more and I add some squatting or pistols, I then find myself feeling my legs and glutes tiered on next training sessions. Also the timed S&S sessions can smoke my a** for days when I get carried away with weight. Somehow adding more locomotion instead makes it a best balance for me.
 
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ShawnyUT

Level 6 Valued Member
I’m just starting double Kettlebell work myself. Last week I did a session of “The Wolf” from “More Kettlebell Muscle” and it kicked my a#@. There were plenty of front squats. Too many for a doubles novice and I decided to try Dry Fighting Weight first.

I’m using 24kg bells.

After years of single bell work, doubles have reinvigorated my interest in training. Can’t wait to see how the next 5 weeks on DFW go.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
I’m just starting double Kettlebell work myself. Last week I did a session of “The Wolf” from “More Kettlebell Muscle” and it kicked my a#@. There were plenty of front squats. Too many for a doubles novice and I decided to try Dry Fighting Weight first.

I’m using 24kg bells.

After years of single bell work, doubles have reinvigorated my interest in training. Can’t wait to see how the next 5 weeks on DFW go.
I would start with the 12 week program I linked to above. And then dry fighting weight. That is what I am doing. I agree that it has reinvigorated my interest because it kind of hits a sweet spot between barbell work and high volume single KB work. I feel that too many programs have too much pressing and swings and leave the benefits of the front squat out, which is the one that hits you more metabolically and can tolerate medium-high loads. Imagine the difficulty of using a pair of 32s!
 

Alan Mackey

Level 6 Valued Member
I am finding double kettlebell programs like Geoff Neuport's that usually combine press and front squat to be incredibly effective but there seems to be one flaw.

If I use the same weight for both the presses and front squats, my shoulders are done at the end of the 20 or 30 min session and my core feels really challenged the next day, but I feel I have a bit left in the tank for the front squats. It would make more sense to me to either use a different set of bells or maybe add one rep to the front squats if using the same bells. Reps of 2 for press, 3 for squats for example. Something simple.

As written the program is very effective, but not optimal as written I feel.

I am referring to the Geoff Neuport 12 week program and the dry fighting weight programs where there is an element of self regulation in the rep periods. I find this to be very effective as like the new version of Simple and Sinister, I notice increased density and better recovery even if the weights are the same from workout to workout.

The weight difference would not be an issue with complexes and chains. I am referring particularly to the press/front squat combination.

I am sold on this double KB approach. It feels a bit like the total bodyweight metabolic stress of barbell work combined with a very high work volume benefits of KB work. In addition, the SF philosophy of keeping rep quality high in percentage of RM near 50 percent sets is a win. And yes, body composition results not sabotaged by bodybuilding style hunger. I just want to sleep after a workout not eat. Overall, it feels like the perfect general physical preparedness minimalist program. Swings on off days.

What do others think?

Three quick fixes:

- Substitute strict presses for push presses.

- Do two front squats for every strict press.

- Wear a weighted vest or put some heavy chains around your neck.
 

AndyMcL

Level 5 Valued Member
Three quick fixes:

- Substitute strict presses for push presses.

- Do two front squats for every strict press.

- Wear a weighted vest or put some heavy chains around your neck.
This is some great advice. I'm a big fan of using push presses in double kettlebell complexes. Allows you to use a slightly heavier bell (thus making the squats harder), and the push presses will hit the legs as well.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
This is some great advice. I'm a big fan of using push presses in double kettlebell complexes. Allows you to use a slightly heavier bell (thus making the squats harder), and the push presses will hit the legs as well.
I could also start strict and change to push press when I feel the press start to lag. This particular combination is more of a metabolic/work challenge than one arm press practice anyway.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
If I use the same weight for both the presses and front squats, my shoulders are done at the end of the 20 or 30 min session and my core feels really challenged the next day, but I feel I have a bit left in the tank for the front squats. It would make more sense to me to either use a different set of bells or maybe add one rep to the front squats if using the same bells. Reps of 2 for press, 3 for squats for example. Something simple.

As written the program is very effective, but not optimal as written I feel.
Assuming that the squat is supposed to be as difficult as the other lifts is assuming facts not in evidence, IMO. I am not @Geoff Neupert, and I also cannot quote you the science here, but I am aware that adding a lower body component to an upper body focused program will help with upper body hypertrophy, and squats are the king in that regard.

There are other examples of this, e.g., try this wrinkle on a program by @CMarker if your bench press isn't progressing the way you'd like: Do a set of near-all-out, heavy 2-handed swings, then 3 sets of bench presses spaced out about every 2-3 minutes, and either finish with another set of the swings (same kind) or repeat the process if you want more then 3 sets of presses. (For the swings, pick a weight that lets you get around 20 before you slow down.) It's basically a 10-minute cycle: 00:00 - swing, 02:30 - press, 05:00 - press, 07:30 - press, 10:00 swing, etc.

And while the deadlift is the choice of those not wishing to move up a weight class, most presses don't play by the same rules and gaining a little muscle is often a key factor in getting stronger - the muscles are smaller, so the weight gain doesn't have to be big, but it does matter. The non-maximal squat is the perfect press partner.

-S-
 

Geoff Neupert

Level 6 Valued Member
Beast Tamer
I am finding double kettlebell programs like Geoff Neuport's that usually combine press and front squat to be incredibly effective but there seems to be one flaw.

If I use the same weight for both the presses and front squats, my shoulders are done at the end of the 20 or 30 min session and my core feels really challenged the next day, but I feel I have a bit left in the tank for the front squats. It would make more sense to me to either use a different set of bells or maybe add one rep to the front squats if using the same bells. Reps of 2 for press, 3 for squats for example. Something simple.

As written the program is very effective, but not optimal as written I feel.

I am referring to the Geoff Neuport 12 week program and the dry fighting weight programs where there is an element of self regulation in the rep periods. I find this to be very effective as like the new version of Simple and Sinister, I notice increased density and better recovery even if the weights are the same from workout to workout.

The weight difference would not be an issue with complexes and chains. I am referring particularly to the press/front squat combination.

I am sold on this double KB approach. It feels a bit like the total bodyweight metabolic stress of barbell work combined with a very high work volume benefits of KB work. In addition, the SF philosophy of keeping rep quality high in percentage of RM near 50 percent sets is a win. And yes, body composition results not sabotaged by bodybuilding style hunger. I just want to sleep after a workout not eat. Overall, it feels like the perfect general physical preparedness minimalist program. Swings on off days.

What do others think?

@guardian7 ,

I hear you.

The problem is, adding in heavier FSQs or more reps on the front squat in the same training session, taxes the shoulders and core even more. So, you're more than likely to actually decrease the volume on the upper body work with more lower body work. Therefore, more likely than not, the upper body results will be subpar.

The "work arounds" are as follows:

1. Split the MP and FSQ into different training days.
2. Do a RM with your FSQ on your last set of the day on your heavy day. The only problem with this is that it has the potential to tax your recovery ability. So make sure you get plenty of rest.

Both of these of course change the programs you refer to.

Hope that's helpful.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
@guardian7 ,

I hear you.

The problem is, adding in heavier FSQs or more reps on the front squat in the same training session, taxes the shoulders and core even more. So, you're more than likely to actually decrease the volume on the upper body work with more lower body work. Therefore, more likely than not, the upper body results will be subpar.

The "work arounds" are as follows:

1. Split the MP and FSQ into different training days.
2. Do a RM with your FSQ on your last set of the day on your heavy day. The only problem with this is that it has the potential to tax your recovery ability. So make sure you get plenty of rest.

Both of these of course change the programs you refer to.

Hope that's helpful.
Thanks Geoff to have it from the source! I did a one set FSQ finisher yesterday. I figured keeping rep quality high during the workout or increasing density was more important after thinking about this thread. The beauty of the fixed time period means that changing the protocol could result in less total work if I slow down later I can see, so I changed my mind about messing with that. The fixed time period is also motivating for a busy professional dad. It is also easy to forget how much the cleans contribute to the program. I will do the additional FSQ set only on my workout before my weekend which consists of walking and OS.

This program is the perfect workout for this virus situation. I walk almost everyday as well.

Yes, that is helpful. Thanks.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
Assuming that the squat is supposed to be as difficult as the other lifts is assuming facts not in evidence, IMO. I am not @Geoff Neupert, and I also cannot quote you the science here, but I am aware that adding a lower body component to an upper body focused program will help with upper body hypertrophy, and squats are the king in that regard.

There are other examples of this, e.g., try this wrinkle on a program by @CMarker if your bench press isn't progressing the way you'd like: Do a set of near-all-out, heavy 2-handed swings, then 3 sets of bench presses spaced out about every 2-3 minutes, and either finish with another set of the swings (same kind) or repeat the process if you want more then 3 sets of presses. (For the swings, pick a weight that lets you get around 20 before you slow down.) It's basically a 10-minute cycle: 00:00 - swing, 02:30 - press, 05:00 - press, 07:30 - press, 10:00 swing, etc.

And while the deadlift is the choice of those not wishing to move up a weight class, most presses don't play by the same rules and gaining a little muscle is often a key factor in getting stronger - the muscles are smaller, so the weight gain doesn't have to be big, but it does matter. The non-maximal squat is the perfect press partner.

-S-
I was saying how good the combination is, just that I can front squat more than I can press with the same weight for both, which the program calls for, so I was thinking that shifting the balance of reps might make sense. I was wondering what other people thought. Yes, more people in the KB world should be doing double KB front squats for precisely the reason you mention.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
I’m just starting double Kettlebell work myself. Last week I did a session of “The Wolf” from “More Kettlebell Muscle” and it kicked my a#@. There were plenty of front squats. Too many for a doubles novice and I decided to try Dry Fighting Weight first.

I’m using 24kg bells.

After years of single bell work, doubles have reinvigorated my interest in training. Can’t wait to see how the next 5 weeks on DFW go.
It definitely ups your game doesn't it?
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
@guardian7 ,

I hear you.

The problem is, adding in heavier FSQs or more reps on the front squat in the same training session, taxes the shoulders and core even more. So, you're more than likely to actually decrease the volume on the upper body work with more lower body work. Therefore, more likely than not, the upper body results will be subpar.

The "work arounds" are as follows:

1. Split the MP and FSQ into different training days.
2. Do a RM with your FSQ on your last set of the day on your heavy day. The only problem with this is that it has the potential to tax your recovery ability. So make sure you get plenty of rest.

Both of these of course change the programs you refer to.

Hope that's helpful.

I have been following the program by doing option 2 above and am very pleased with the results. I recommend others at the "intermediate" level to take the plunge with double KB work. The combination of med-high weight and med-high reps (for lack of a better term) seems to have quite a metabolic effect compared to high-weight low rep or low weight high rep. All types have a role in a balanced program. Just cycle them throughout the year and according to your goals of course. I will definitely look into other DKB programs like KB strong in the future.
StrongFirst: Training Center

It is also a great option for those working out at home who have lost access to their squat rack or barbell gym recently.
 
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