Moving Target Kettlebell Complex: Plan B

StrongFirst continues to present our readers’ solutions to putting together a six-week program based on the Moving Target Kettlebell Complex. Several weeks ago, I wrote about the design by Dave T.—let us call it Plan A. Today is the turn of Plan B by the same author:

“The second program option is add a rep to the lower set of the 2, 3, 5 exercise each day. Much like the Fighter Pull-up Plan:

2, 3, 5
3, 3, 5
3, 4, 5
4, 4, 5
4, 5, 5
5, 5, 5

This could be done with heavier 6RM bells.”

When you are working with low reps, it is easier to add more sets than to add reps to the end of a set from workout to workout. In other words, if you did 1×5 today, next time you would have an easier time doing 2×5 than 1×6. This is one of the reasons why progress on the Rite of Passage press protocol can be sustained for many months. Dave understands this and this is why he does not grant you a running start with a lighter bell—you will not be needing it.

Moving Target Kettlebell Complex: Plan B

Expanding Dave’s Plan B to 6 Weeks

A typical intermediate girevik can train three times a week and follow the above progression linearly, with no light days or down waves. Unfortunately, then the gig is up in two weeks. While this can be enough for an intense peaking cycle with 90% 1RM and heavier weights, when hypertrophy is the primary goal, you need at least four to six weeks to get your money’s worth.

One option is to simply continue the progression using higher reps, e.g. building up to 3×6 starting with (2, 4, 6):

  1. 2, 3, 5
  2. 3, 3, 5
  3. 3, 4, 5
  4. 4, 4, 5
  5. 4, 5, 5
  6. 5, 5, 5
  7. 2, 4, 6
  8. 4, 4, 6
  9. 4, 6, 6
  10. 6, 6, 6

Now we have two problems:

First, we are still at barely over three weeks. A solution is one of my preferred cycling tactics for intermediates: a linear cycle with three workouts a week, heavy and medium ones alternating. Now we are at six weeks plus one day—perfect. Use the rest of week seven to taper and test your improved pressing strength. There are many effective ways to organize medium sessions; one is to copy the last heavy one while using kettlebells 4-8kg lighter.

Second, expecting an intermediate girevik to press his old 6RM for six sets (two series of three sets) with short rest intervals and a whole lot of squats and cleans thrown in is way too ambitious even after stretching out the cycle. Hence, cut down to one series in the last two heavy workouts. For that matter, do the same for (5, 5, 5). Less ambitious and a nice deload. Stay with two series on all medium days, except for the day before the test.

Moving Target Kettlebell Complex Plan B

On the table below heavy days are in a bold font. The test day is for a maximal number of presses after one clean.

Moving Target Kettlebell Complex Plan B

If we were to adopt David’s second progression to a cycle for an advanced girevik, we would have to make several changes. We will talk about it another time. Until then, enjoy the pain!

Did you know there is a StrongFirst workshop devoted to programming?

Programming Strength, Programming Nutrition — June 7-8

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Pavel Tsatsouline
Pavel Tsatsouline is the Chairman of StrongFirst, Inc.

9 thoughts on “Moving Target Kettlebell Complex: Plan B

  • Hi sir. I have a doubt, in the total tension kettlebell complex, you mentioned swings and snatch test at the end of session, but not in this article. May I know why??,

  • So how does this work exactly? For example using Monday on week 1:

    Clean – Press 2x – Squat
    Clean – Press- Squat 2x
    Clean 2x – Press – Squat

    followed by

    Clean – Press 3x – Squat
    Clean – Press – Squat 3x
    Clean 3x – Press – Squat

    followed by

    Clean – Press 5x – Squat

    • I believe it goes like this:
      Clean – Press x 2 – Squat
      Clean – Press x 3 – Squat
      Clean – Press x 5 – Squat

      Followed by
      Clean – Press – Squat x 2
      Clean – Press – Squat x 3
      Clean – Press – Squat x 5

      Followed by
      Clean x 2 – Press – Squat
      Clean x 3 – Press – Squat
      Clean x 5 – Press – Squat

      Rest and repeat

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