Kettlebell or Barbell

Slothdemon

First Post
Hello all,

I have a question mainly targeted towards any one with military experience or similar.

I have been a Police officer for several years and am soon to be joining the Army in an infantry role, with about 12 weeks to train before I begin training.

I was planning on using the “Black Protocol” conditioning program (alongside Simple and Sinister) from “Tactical Barbell” for my cardio work, but was debating on what to do for my strength work.

In short, I am choosing between training for maximal strength through use of the bench press, back squat and weighted pull up/Deadlift OR through use of the Kettlebell press, loaded pistol squat and weighted pull up, with a few regular sessions of deadlifting sprinkled in.

If anyone with relevant experience in these lifts can help advise which they think would have the most ‘functional’ carry over towards my new role, It would be much appreciated. I can see pros and cons to both, so am curious to hear your opinions.

In short: Kettlebell lifts or Barbell lifts for max strength/conditioning for a soon to be soldier - which would you do, and why?

Thanks
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
Welcome to the forum @Slothdemon!

I have no history as military/LEO, but experience with Tactical Barbell.
For Infantry it's suggested to use "Green" in conjunction with Operator or Fighter. If you head over to the TB forum and ask your question I'm sure you'll get an answer like:
"Use Fighter/Operator (depending on your strength levels) with a bench/backsquat/pullup cluster and 5-10 sets of 10 KB swings as finisher. For conditioning add Green with lots of running and rucking for your E sessions and a mix of bodyweight + KB exercises for your HIC sessions."

EDIT: I just read that it's only 12 weeks. Just do the recommended Base Building.
 

Bunn

Level 5 Valued Member
@Slothdemon Former infantry guy (retired) here, basic is not what you would call hard, going into it with a serious base of strength will put you ahead of 90% of the rest of your class.

Personally, I would recommend the following Al Ciampa (former army infantry) program. It was designed for pre-deployment training , but would serve you well. The only change I would make would be to add pushups and running, since you will be doing those in basic.


Best of luck to you!
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
"Functional" doesn't mean a thing when it comes to strength training.

Both methods will take you there. But if you're in a hurry, the barbell is likely more efficient and easier to program.
 

Bro Mo

Level 6 Valued Member
Barbell powerlifts. With 12 weeks, do something like Juggernaut Method Periodization.
 

Matt Piercy

Level 3 Valued Member
I've been in the military. I'd say don't worry about the barbell at all for now. Do kettlebell swings, pushups, pullups, running, and 35lb rucking. It's simple and it'll get you ready

The why is because the kettlebell swings are going to strengthen your back more in line with the training you'll be doing. Basic requires strength endurance, not max strength. When you do your 20k ruck, it'll be you're lower back and your feet doing most of the screaming.

The calasthenics and ruck, are also strength endurance and you'll be doing specifically those things in basic.
 
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John Grahill

Level 6 Valued Member
The suggestions provided seem excellent and Al Ciampa is obviously a the resource to check with for military prep.

Another possible suggestion for the OP is to check with his local academy. Most physical training instructors are former servicemen and women who could most likely provide some insight.

I wouldn't overthink it. I used to give advice about LEO academies to people asking the same kind of questions as to how to prepare....I'd say just get into "shape".... Makes me think of an old quote from the Dragondoor forum days.... The elite are better at the basics or words similar to that. @Bunn makes sense too.
 

Slothdemon

First Post
Welcome to the forum @Slothdemon!

I have no history as military/LEO, but experience with Tactical Barbell.
For Infantry it's suggested to use "Green" in conjunction with Operator or Fighter. If you head over to the TB forum and ask your question I'm sure you'll get an answer like:
"Use Fighter/Operator (depending on your strength levels) with a bench/backsquat/pullup cluster and 5-10 sets of 10 KB swings as finisher. For conditioning add Green with lots of running and rucking for your E sessions and a mix of bodyweight + KB exercises for your HIC sessions."

EDIT: I just read that it's only 12 weeks. Just do the recommended Base Building.
Firstly thanks for the welcome!

I recently ran base building (finished two weeks ago) and was looking to get back into more maximal strength work, as this is what my fitness test is now based around, whilst still getting a good carry over to functional strength and conditioning whilst on exercises.

This was where I thought KB lifts might have more benefit than the barbell lifts.

With regards to black vs green - I was actually looking at Black Pro: 2 days of hills/intervals and one day of rucking or a fun run, and an extra E session once every two weeks. From training over the years I’ve found this consistently improves my running and recovery ability but given the results from base building I may do another green block.
 
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Slothdemon

First Post
@Slothdemon Former infantry guy (retired) here, basic is not what you would call hard, going into it with a serious base of strength will put you ahead of 90% of the rest of your class.

Personally, I would recommend the following Al Ciampa (former army infantry) program. It was designed for pre-deployment training , but would serve you well. The only change I would make would be to add pushups and running, since you will be doing those in basic.


Best of luck to you!
Thanks!

Just read the article and will be implementing elements of it for sure.
Cheers
 

ShawnM

Level 8 Valued Member
If I knew about kettlebells 29 years ago when I enlisted I would be doing S&S, alternating days of get-ups with days of kb overhead presses and the 10 sets of 10 swings, fighter pull up program and a few days for running/rucking. I didn't find Strong First until my last 4-5 years and S&S worked great for me as well as A&A training. Als program looks pretty spot on as well.
 

Slothdemon

First Post
Thanks to everyone for your replies and input, it’s much appreciated. Honestly surprised by the number of replies already!

@Matt Piercy - I think I’d be a fool not to factor in strength endurance now! Swings will be a staple too. Thanks for your help.

@ShawnM - I’ve been doing Simple and Sinister for a wee while and love it - up to 32kg on the swings and 28kg TGUs. Want to be able to do ‘simple’ as a breeze by the time I go. I like the idea of alternating between TGU and presses too, cheers.

@John Grahill - Essentially KISS, eh!
I spoke with veterans I worked alongside and a recurring piece of was don’t turn up injured to training.
Currently the national Police fitness standard is only level 5.4 on a shortened beep test, so police PTIs are now very, very, few in number across the country!
 
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vegpedlr

Level 6 Valued Member
I'd stick with established programs from known professionals. Since you've been using TB, why not stick with it? It got you this far. 12 weeks isn't a long time, but plenty of time to make some progress if you don't try to chase too many rabbits. Good luck.
 

Bauer

Level 6 Valued Member
Here is another nice article by Al Ciampa, this time geared towards Air Force Fitness Assessments.

Basically:
Build your strength and conditioning base with S&S (and maybe crawling)
Build your endurance base with rucking and/or running (2-4 sessions per week, nose breathing)
Laterr build your max strength with barbells, following the reasoning of Easy Strength/PTTP.

I think the Tactical Barbell plans could work well, too, and are in line with Al Ciampas ideas.
TB Fighter or Operator + S&S as conditioning (HIC) + 1-2x Rucking per week as Endurance (E)
(I really like the sample templates from TB conditioning. Personally I would use stuff like S&S instead of the sample HIC workouts, except a couple of weeks before a test. But then again I have no military background.)
 
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