Kettlebell/ combining max effort days with dynamic effort days. LOU SIMMONS METHOD WESTSIDE

Mat Roberts

Level 2 Valued Member
Certified Instructor

Been trying max effort days with kettlebells exercises like press, snatch, swing, clean,squat and get ups.

Youll do max effort days 2 days of the week going hard on these days which ive been doing monday / wednesday.

Then 2 days end of the week youll do dynamic speed days same movements lighter loads / speed work and %.

Has anyone tried this with kettlebells based off westside methods.

Been playing around with different days volume etc

Would love to hear anyones thoughts


Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Mat Roberts, welcome to the StrongFirst forum.

I think there's a reason no one has tried to apply Westside's approach to kettlebells. You could argue that it might make sense with things like the press and the squat, but that's about as far as you could get. The ideas aren't applicable at all to movements that are already ballistic like the clean, swing, and snatch, and the getup isn't a lift per se, it's a support movement and the wisdom here is that slowing it down, not speeding it up, is what helps improve it.



Level 8 Valued Member
I understand the max effort method at Westside has one do multiple singles at >90% 1RM of some exercise of competition lift variety, aiming for a modest PR if possible. The incremental loading of the barbell and the relatively heavy weights typically used makes it much more practical than with kettlebells, and I suspect the necessary exercise variety is also more convenient.

But per se I don't know why it wouldn't work well with kettlebells.

@Steve Freides what do you mean saying the ideas aren't applicable at all to ballistic exercises? I can't see a reason why. In my understanding the original max effort method was built on the training of the east block weightlifters who specifically did ballistic exercises.

But the max effort method as written in the strength training textbooks is well applicable to kettlebells and generally advised here. Take a 3-5 RM weight and do fresh 1-3 rep sets and repeat.

Mat Roberts

Level 2 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@Steve Freides Hi Steve.

Based on the snatch, swing,ballistics, should of expanded more.

These ballistic movements can be done on max effort day intensity goes up in heavy loads still being ballistic reps 3-5 reps more sets.

On dynamic days reps or ladders go higher but load lowers to emphasis speed quickness which help with skill and recovery on these days to the max effort days.

Same on the press, squat, clean even TGU are max effort heavy then light loads at the end of the week some lifts minus the TGU focus on speed too.

You can also play around with different energy systems on dynamic days by doing ladders with lighter loads work either on speed skill with the lift or push volume for aerobic work too.

The dynamic speed days are about promoting recovery from max effort days, work on skill and speed.

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Gentlemen, if you wish to apply Westside's program to kettlebell grinds and ballistics, I will not be of much help you. I have applied some of Westside's ideas to some of my grinds but that's as far as I have gotten and, at the end of the day, I choose not to use anything from that approach in my own training.

If you try this, I will look forward to hearing about what you've done and what results you're able to achieve.


Kyle Kowalczuk

Level 4 Valued Member
@Steve Freides

I have used the conjugate with barbells and with kettlebells. With barbells it worked for a temporary buff to my numbers for competition. It is not sustainable however without drug support. Which I do not have.

With kettlebells it didn't work. The kettlebell movements such as pressing, pistols, tgu, etc are more of a skill movement. There is more stabilization required.

Deleted member 5559

I think @Derek Toshner put together a program a while back that did heavy snatches above test size bell on one of the days and fast snatches with a lighter than test size bell on another day. For ballistics, I feel that's about as close to the concept one can get to conjugate with kettlebells.

For grinds, max reps instead of weight on one day and fast light reps on another would be my thought.


Level 7 Valued Member

Level 6 Valued Member
Been trying max effort days with kettlebells exercises like press, snatch, swing, clean,squat and get ups.
Max Effort Training Exercises

Traditional Limit Strength (1 Repetition Max) Exercises are the most effective for Max Effort Training: Pressing, Squats, Deadlifts, etc.

These movement can be employed for Power Training, to some extent.

Power Training is optimized with these movements with loads of 48 - 62% of your 1 Repetition Max with 1 - 3 Repetition.

With that said, there is a limited amount of power that is and can be developed with these movements.

The use of 48 - 62% of 1 Repetition Max Method is Power Training rather than Speed Training. For some unknown reason, it was incorrectly labeled as Speed Training decades ago and stuck.

Speed Training employs training loads of 10 - 40% of your 1 Repetition Max, with approximately 30% being the sweet spot.

Power Training Exercises

Ballistic type movements are more effective at developing power.

Olympic Movements such as: Cleans, Snatches, High Pulls, Jerks, etc fall into this category.

Research demonstrates that ballistic movements like this are best developed with load of 70 - 80% of your 1 Repetition Max.

Heavy Kettlebell Swing develop power. Research (Dr Bret Contreras) demonstrated that Heavy Kettlebell Swings produce Power Output that rivals Olympic Movements. Heavy Kettlebell Swing meaning working up to a Kettlebell Swing that is 50% of your body weight and higher.

For a 200 lb individual, like myself, that means working up to Kettlebell Swings of 100 lbs or higher. My heaviest Kettlebell Swing is with 175 lbs, with a Hungarian Core Blaster.

The Hungarian Core Blaster is something you can make with $20 worth of pipe from Lowes. It is plated loaded. You load it with as much weight as you like.

Home Made Hungarian Core Blaster

This is the video of how to make it and how it works.

Power Output

Olympic Movement produces some of the highest Power Output recorded in sports. Research (Dr John Garhammer) found that Olympic Movements produced up to 4 times more Power Output than the Powerlifts, even with substantially lighter loads.

Has anyone tried this with kettlebells based off westside methods.
Kettlebell Swings

Yes. Initially, I employed Hang Power Clean as an exercise of increasing my power in the Deadlift. I obtained great results with Hang Power Cleans. However, my technique was never as good as it should have been.

I switched to Heavy Kettlebell Swings. This movement is easier and faster to learn and essentially elicits the same training effect.

Complex Training

I used Westside and got results with it. However, I then switch over to Complex Training; Post Activation Potentiation Training.

This method is a modified version of Westside. Westside sets aside a day specifically for Max Effort Training and Speed/Power Training.

Complex Training Super Sets a Limit Strength Movement with a Power or Speed Movement. Research show that when a Limit Strength movement is performed first, with a rest period, then followed by a Power Movement, greater force (power) is produced.

There are some caveats to using this method that need to be followed to obtain an optimal training effect.

With that said, the Westside Training Protocol should first be implemented. It is simpler, allowing your to focus on one thing at a time.

A Program to Train for the Half-Bodyweight Kettlebell Press | StrongFirst

Thanks to Jef for finding and posting this.

Reifkind does a great job of providing some answer to your questions.

Kenny Croxdale
Last edited:

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I used a band along the way to achieving my 1/2 bodyweight press for the first time, and I'm pretty sure it was at @Rif's suggestion. (Because the press is a grind, one can, in my mind, apply Westside principles to it - I totally don't get applying them to movements that are already expressions of speed and power, which doesn't make it wrong, it just means it's not something I either understand or can see a reason for wanting to understand right now.)

My goal press was a 32 kg, so I pressed either a 16 or a 20 kg bell after using a JumpStretch mini band - stand with my foot inside it on the floor on the pressing side, and the other end essentially right where the kettlebell handle would go, and then you put the bell on top of it or next to it.

At the end of the day, for me, I used it relatively early on in my training and didn't feel like it was of much help, but it did teach something about tightness, for sure. I was still only able to press a 28 kg then, but I created a 30 kg bell for myself with plates and duct tape, and somehow, I got there and pressed it at my first cert in 2003. This was before Level II existed, but I did it multiple times over the weekend, and it's back on my list of things to re-achieve. NB - I used the ROP after that cert twice, each time as my vehicle to re-obtain my 32 kg press, and each time it delivered for me. Let's also note that the ROP didn't exist in 2003.


Level 6 Valued Member
I have used the conjugate with barbells and with kettlebells. With barbells it worked for a temporary buff to my numbers for competition. It is not sustainable however without drug support.
Conjugate Training Sustainable

Conjugate Training works for everyone, if the program is well written and performed. That means for natural lifters, as well.

Dr Michael Zourdos' Research

Zourdos research, along with other's research, demonstrated a greater increase in Limit Strength with Conjugate Training. I have posted Zourdos' research article multiple times on this site.

Zoudos determined that a Conjugate Training Program that included Hypertrophy, Power and Limit Strength Training provided a synergistic effect. Limits Strength increased.

Zourdos' research simply reinforced the Westside Training Protocol.

The foundation of my training is built on the use of...

Periodization Conjugate Training

I maintain a three week Periodization Conjugate Training Program.

Week 1: Light Training Loads

The focus is on recovery from the previous third week of my max training cycle. It is light and easy.

Week 2: Moderately Heavy Training Load

The focus is on moderately heavy loads.

Week 3: Heavy Training Loads.

The emphasis is on maxing out with Limit Strength Movement and Power Training Movement in the higher range of the Power Training Percentage.

Week 4: This becomes Week 1 of a new Periodization Conjugate Training Program.

Different Auxiliary Exercises are employed in the new training cycle. The loads are light and easy.


The final week of the Periodization Conjugate Training Method is an all out effect that produces, "Overreaching"; a mild, short term form (the prequel) of "Overtraining" (a long term effect with a longer recover period required).

Which brings us to...

Active Recovery

The final all out effort in your training cycle must then be followed Active Recovery.

Active Recovery involves starting a new training cycle with fairly light load. The objective is to increase blood flow to the muscles. Doing so, helps with your recovery. Recovery is where increases in strength an size occur.

A max effort week drains you mentally, as well. This is another reason Active Recovery is necessary.

Warm Up Weeks

A Periodization Training Program employs progressive loading in an exercise.

A Periodization Training Program essentially is no different than performing Warm Up Sets in an exercise.

The sole purpose of the Warm Up Set is to prepare you for your top set without depleting your strength and energy.

Your Warm Up Weeks are the same. They prepare you for your max effort week.

Kenny Croxdale
Last edited:

Level 6 Valued Member
I totally don't get applying them to movements that are already expressions of speed and power...
Speed and Power

The issue in training Power and Speed Exercises with moderate to low loads in Ascending Strength Exercises is that power and speed is developed in a smaller percentage of the movement.

A moderate to large portion of a movement involves learning to decrease power and speed in the movement.

Plyometric bench training for 1rm increases

"...When training for an explosive bench press (even at lower percentages of 1 RM) is the deceleration of the bar during the lift. "Research has shown as much as 75% of a movement can be devoted to slowing the bar down." (Flannagan, 2001). Elliot et al. (1989) revealed that during 1-RM bench presses, the bar decelerates for the final 24% of the range of motion. At 81% of 1-RM, the bar deceleration occurs during the final 52% of the range of motion. The accompanying deceleration phases result in significantly decreased motor unit recruitment, velocity of movement, power production and compromises the effectiveness of the exercise." (Berry et. al., 2001)

The National Strength and Conditioning Association's Basic Guidelines for the Resistance Training of Athletes states that "performing speed repetitions as fast as possible with light weights (e.g., 30-45% of 1RM) in exercises in which the bar is held on to and must be decelerated at the end of the joint's range of motion (e.g., bench press) to protect the joint does not produce power or speed training but rather teaches the body how to decelerate, or slow down. If the load can be released into the air (i.e., the bar can be let go at the end of the range of motion), the negative effects are eliminated."

Accommodating Resistance In Ascending Strength Curve Movements

Accommodating Resistance means attaching bands, chains and bungees to the exercise chosen.

Ascending Strength Curve Exercises are those where the bottom part of the exercise is harder and the top part is easier: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts, Leg Press, etc.

Attaching band, chain or bungees to an Ascending Strength Curve Movement allows you maintain Power and/or Speed through a greater range of the movement.

If you are not using some type of Accommodating Resistance with an Ascending Strength Curve Movement, the only way to ensure Power and/or Speed are maintain throughout the full range of the movement is to...

Go Ballistic

Ballistic means a body or an object become airborne.

Thus, Squat Jumps, Deadlift Jumps and Bench Press Throws ensure that Power and Speed are employed throughout the full range of the movement.

Movements That Are An Expression of Power and Speed

If by that you mean, Olympic Movements, Kettlbell Swings, etc. Accommodating Resistance is questionable. However, it does elicit some positive effects.

The Underloading Issue of Exercises

As we know, muscle fiber that aren't worked/trained are not develop.

In all exercises, only 30% of the movement fully engages and/or overloads the muscle fiber.

That means that 70% of the movement does not engage nor overload the muscle fibers. They are not fully worked. Thus, they are not fully developed.

Accommodating Resistance in Limit Strength, Power, Speed and Hypertrophy Training ensure (specifically in Ascending Strength Curve Exercises) that a much greater percentage of the muscle fiber are engages, trained and developed.

The Take Home Message

Using Accommodating Resistance with Ascending Strength Exercises engages more muscle fiber.

More is better.

Kenny Croxdale
Last edited:

Deleted member 5559

I switched to Heavy Kettlebell Swings. This movement is easier and faster to learn and essentially elicits the same training effect.
I remember reading something that compared peak power output of different movements and a zero to lightly loaded jump squat being very high too. Thoughts?

Level 6 Valued Member
I remember reading something that compared peak power output of different movements and a zero to lightly loaded jump squat being very high too. Thoughts?
That not enough information for me. If you have the information, I'd like to go over.

Kenny Croxdale
Top Bottom