Kettlebells and Deadlifts, Part 2

Several months ago, I wrote how a girevik should go about converting the posterior chain strength he or she has built with swings and snatches into a respectable barbell deadlift: Kettlebells and Deadlifts Go Together Like Vodka and Pickles.

Subsequently, Patrick Whitaker wrote on the StrongFirst forum:

I started the program with a max deadlift of 330 lbs. I tested my “sort of max” today at 375 lbs. The article says to come here and post my results and find out what to do next. So, what’s next?

Well done, Patrick. Next is a powerlifting-style cycle.

The Kettlebells and Deadlifts Training Schedule

Pull three times a week, alternating barbell deadlift and kettlebell swing/snatch workouts:

  • Monday: Deadlift
  • Wednesday: Swing and/or Snatch
  • Friday: Deadlift
  • Monday: Swing and/or Snatch
  • Wednesday: Deadlift
  • Friday: Swing and/or Snatch

On your kettlebell days, do 100-200 total reps. Favor heavy weights, lift them explosively, and do not rush the clock. Right now your priority is power, rather than conditioning.

Powerlifting-style deadlift cycle

Your Deadlift Cycle

  1. 295×5/3 (reps/sets)
  2. 305×5/2
  3. 315×5
  4. 325×5
  5. 335×3/2
  6. 345×3
  7. 355×3
  8. 365×2
  9. 375×2
  10. New “sort of max”

In seven weeks, you will very likely be pulling 405×1. Four wheels are more than most guys at the gym can do. Real adult weights are just around the corner.

To put together a power cycle such as the one above, work back from the heavy double you plan to pull in eight to twelve workouts. A conservative goal is to double your today’s single.

Go back in ten-pound increments. The last two workouts are doubles. The first four or five are fives. Plus three to four sessions of triples in the middle.

Start with 2-3 sets of 5 and taper down to 1 set. Start with two triples. One double is enough.

Here is another sample deadlift cycle, this one for a recent “sort of max” of 305:

  1. 205×5/3
  2. 215×5/2
  3. 225×5/2
  4. 235×5
  5. 245×5
  6. 255×3/2
  7. 265×3/2
  8. 275×3
  9. 285×3
  10. 295×2
  11. 305×2
  12. New “sort of max”

Ladies, if your max is below 200, jump five pounds a workout. Here is a sample deadlift cycle for a recent “sort of max” of 185:

  1. 145×5/3
  2. 150×5/2
  3. 155×5
  4. 160×5
  5. 165×3/2
  6. 170×3
  7. 175×3
  8. 180×2
  9. 185×2
  10. “Sort of max”

Learn the intricacies of barbell programming, along with the professional technique in the squat, deadlift, and press, at an SFL Course or SFL Certification. Power to you!

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

8 thoughts on “Kettlebells and Deadlifts, Part 2

  • I was looking for a good way to mix the KB swing and deadlift in the same cycle for a while. Because my KBs are home, but I go to the gym to lift, it is difficult for me to swing right after the DL as an assistance exercise. I used PTP and similar programmings for years now, brought my DL to a 425lbs and wish to get into the 5 wheels club one day. I have pulled 5days/week for so long now it just feels weird to do it 3 days/week instead. Anybody tried both styles? Additional soreness? Packing more muscle mass? Different results?

  • This program looks very interesting, but how would I tweak the cycle if I were to ingest squats in it? Thanks!

  • Thanks for that! That’s right where I’m at at 118 lb. My last 6 month kettlebell ROP cycle getting ready for my cert last Feb put me there. It also made me run faster without any running whatsoever. I’m in the Military still so I have to run at least twice a year. Much respect!

  • Great simplicity and focus to this program Chief!
    As expected, always great perspective and efficient programming.
    Think it makes a lot of sense to utilize the power we’ve built with the KB and covert that to a strong BB DL.

    Best, Scott

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