The Best All-Around Training Method EVER

It is a tall order for a training method to live up to the title of this article—but one does. It checks off the following boxes:

☑ Power

☑ Strength

☑ Muscle hypertrophy

☑ Fat loss

☑ “Cardio”

☑ “Work capacity”

☑ Longevity through mitochondrial adaptations

☑ It “gives you more than it takes out of you”

☑ Simplicity

☑ Low time commitment

☑ Adaptability to athletes and non-athletes of all levels

This method, while it does not maximize the development of any of the above qualities—only a highly specialized method, not a general physical preparation one, could do that—it develops them to levels high enough to successfully compete in amateur sports, excel at physically demanding occupations, and be ready for whatever life throws at you.

Moreover, this method achieves these improvements without compromises common to GPP methods. Examples of such unacceptable concessions include a loss of strength and speed from some types of endurance training; getting sore and trashed and being unable to practice one’s sport, fulfill a military mission, or have a life; improving performance at the expense of health.

The method is simplicity itself. It relies on two to three—or just one—exercises, most basic equipment or none at all, minimalist programming, and autoregulation.

I will start by giving you a sample training plan, then I will say a few words about the method.

The plan is one of several in the Kettlebells StrongFirst online course that we developed for BJJ Fanatics.

It employs one of the all-time best all-around exercises—the kettlebell clean-and-jerk. (The given protocol uses the single kettlebell C&J; the video features single and double kettlebell C&J instruction and plans.)

Harald Motz, SFG II, performing the double clean and jerk
Harald Motz, SFG II, a product of A+A

Once you get your technique down, identify the optimal size kettlebell.

The Kettlebells StrongFirst C&J plans prescribe the weights using the repetition maximum (RM)—the number of perfect reps you can do if you go all out during a test.

Here is how to establish your 6-12RM in the single kettlebell long cycle C&J.

After a warm-up of choice do an easy set of six reps (C+J+C+J+C+J+C+J+C+J+C+J) with a light kettlebell with your weaker arm. Walk around and in a few minutes repeat with the stronger arm. After your breathing has fully recovered—beyond the talk test—repeat the procedure with a heavier kettlebell.

Keep going up in weight until six reps are challenging. If you can do more, keep going—as long as you do not compromise the quality. Do as many perfect reps as possible and stop. This number is your “repetition maximum” with the given weight.

Kettlebell StrongFirst by Pavel Tsatsouline

Kettlebells StrongFirst

Single Kettlebell Clean & Jerk Plan A

  • Train twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • Train the single kettlebell C&J with your weaker arm’s 6-12RM. Do a set every 30sec: left on the top of the minute and right 30sec into it.
  • Start with single reps (1C+1J). Carry on until you cannot pass the talk test right before the next set. (I explained the talk test in this article.)
  • Your performance will fluctuate from day to day; do not be concerned and do not try to “beat” your best result.
  • When you make it to 30min—30 sets per arm—stay there for a couple of weeks until you repeat this workload strongly while passing the talk test any day.

Then add a second clean to each set: (C+J+C). When you make it to 30min with an extra clean, consolidate your gains by staying at that load for a week or two, then add a second jerk: (C+J+C+J).

Use the same two-step procedure (+clean, then +jerk) until you either reach three C&J repetitions every 30sec for 30min (180 cleans and 180 jerks as a sum of both arms) or your progress stalls. Then retest your RM and switch to Plan B.

The progression:

C+J

C+J+C

C+J+C+J

C+J+C+J+C

C+J+C+J+C+J

  • Every fourth week deload by going down a kettlebell size (-4kg per kettlebell for ladies, -8kg for gentlemen)—while maintaining the rest of the load parameters of the last training session (the same sets, reps, and rest periods). Explode!

The above training plan was designed according to the method we call “A+A.” This snappy acronym by Al Ciampa, SFG stands for “alactic plus aerobic” and describes training that emphasizes the alactic and aerobic energy systems at the expense of the glycolytic system.

Anaerobic glycolysis is the sugar burning that supplies faddish “high intensity interval training” and “metcons.” This highly inefficient process pollutes your body with lactic acid, ammonia, and free radicals and messes with your hormones if you tap into it too much or too often.

A+A, in contrast, relies on the clean burning “rocket fuel” of creatine phosphate (CP) to power high intensity efforts and an equally clean aerobic system to replenish the CP.

A+A is a subtype of Soviet anti-glycolytic training (AGT). The above Kettlebells StrongFirst training plan is based on the research by three professors, three giants, two Soviet and one Swedish: Verkhoshansky, Selouyanov, Åstrand.

Here is how it fulfills the various seemingly contradictory demands:

Power

This one is obvious: the C&J is a power exercise. If you choose another exercise, make it a power one.

Strength

Carryover from power to strength is well documented. Of course, if you want to maximize your “grinding” strength, you will need to add “grinds” to your training. The given plan leaves you plenty of energy and time to do it.

Muscle hypertrophy

Prof. Selouyanov concluded that A+A type training is 50% as effective at building up fast twitch fibers’ myofibrils as specialized hypertrophy training.

Unless you are a bodybuilder, this is plenty of muscular development. A pure “what-the-hell effect.”

Fat loss

Swedish research revealed that high intensity dynamic exercise performed in very short bouts with very short rest periods minimally depletes glycogen and relies on fats for fuel (for nerds, RQ~0.8). This does not jibe with conventional beliefs about fat burning but numbers do not lie.

Moreover, according to Soviet weightlifting research, the first rep of an explosive exercise burns 35% more calories than each consecutive rep. And there are a lot of first reps in this protocol.

“Cardio”

It is a common myth that anything that raises the heart rate gets the job done. For reasons outside the scope of this article, the exercise must be dynamic, not a “grind,” to do your heart good.

According to other Swedish research, the particular loading pattern—brief periods of work and brief periods of rest—result in heart rate dynamics similar to moderate intensity steady state running: the gold standard for heart development.

“Work capacity”

As with “cardio,” I have used quotation marks around “work capacity” because I am referring to the gym bros’ definition, not a scientific one. Per bros, it is the blue-collar ability to do heavy labor.

A+A feels like chopping trees with an axe and delivers accordingly.

Longevity through mitochondrial adaptations

I explained the role of mitochondria in performance and longevity in this article.

Note that to maximize mitochondrial adaptations you need to choose a power exercise like the C&J, not a strength one like the military press.

It “gives you more than it takes out of you”

Powerlifting coach extraordinaire Louie Simmons famously quipped that, “An exercise should give you more than it takes out of you.”

To use Soviet terminology, we are after a “low cost of adaptation.” While most all-around training methods like pop HIIT and circuit training beat you and rob your health to pay your sport, A+A builds you up without tearing you down. You will feel fantastic during your training and right after it.

Simplicity

You have seen it.

Low time commitment

An hour or two a week for all-around fitness is a great deal for your time spent. Sure, there are other approaches that demand as little or even less time—but they come with many strings attached, as discussed above.

Adaptability to athletes and non-athletes of all levels

Although originally A+A was developed for elite athletes, it can be scaled to any level through exercise and workload selection. (In contrast, some powerful all-around methods like The Quick and the Dead work only for experienced athletes.)

A+A Q&A

I am sure you still have many questions about A+A.

What exercises are the best kettlebell, barbell, and bodyweight exercises for A+A?… How can it be applied to circuit training?… How long should an A+A session last?… How many times a week should I train?… What is a smart progression?… Is Kettlebell Simple & Sinister A+A?…How to combine A+A work with barbell strength training?… How to make A+A sport specific?… How often should I do glycolytic work?…

I will answer these questions in upcoming issues of the StrongFirst newsletter. It is free. If you have not yet, SUBSCRIBE TODAY.

A+A power to you!

Kettlebell StrongFirst by Pavel Tsatsouline

Kettlebells StrongFirst
Behold the power of A+A

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

155 thoughts on “The Best All-Around Training Method EVER

  • Hello Pavel,

    I bought the full version some time ago, and finally feel ready to dive into the C&J program.

    Since I have no other sports or on-the-job physical practice commitments and since I feel I coould work a bit on raw strength I was planning to combine 2 days of C&J program with.2 days of basic barbell training (specifically using Tactical Barbell planning using Squat/bench Press/Pullups, reasonably periodized over 6 week blocks, mostly 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps of 60-85% 1TRM)

    Does this sound feasible/reasonable?

    Also since I like S&S and how it makes me feel, I was thinking of alternating this BB/C&J plan with S&S every 12 or so weeks… Does that make sense also?

    And I meant to add, I have been following your teachings for a long time and never really got to say this: Thank you very much for the continued great work you do, you’ve definitely changed my life!

    Brgds
    Claude

  • I have reached 3 C&J’s per side every minute and wondering if the Plan B you mention is the reloading every 4 weeks or a different plan all together? Thanks.

    • It’s a separate plan in the Kettlebells Strongfirst video/book available for purchase, though oddly not here at StrongFirst.

  • Question about progression: When ready to progress and you begin adding a second clean (C+J+C), do you return the kettlebell all the way to the floor after the jerk? or do you return the KB to a hanging position with a pause and do the next clean from there? or do you transition smoothly/seamlessly from the jerk into another clean without the KB touching the floor?

    • from the rack, hike pass the bell between your legs, then reclean. don’t set the bell down.

  • Dear Pavel, thanks for awesome article! I have one question.

    Background: I struggle to determine the talk-test outcome in reliable way. So I try to use a heart rate monitor. And my HR seems to be a little high:
    – my result for Maffeton formula: 132-142 bps
    – I can C+J 6+ times 32kg bell and the 30 minutes (C+J) with that bell is a quite pleasant experience. It is not too hard (I think I can pass the talk test before any new set).
    – however, my HR get to 155+ bps fast and rarely drop below 150 all the time

    My question: Should I worry and use lighter bell? Can I replace the talk-test with HR monitoring, and if yes, what are recommended values in relation to Maffeton formula (or other metric)?

    • Not Pavel, but if you can say the Pledge of Allegiance comfortably, you should be fine. A general rule of thumb would be that if your breathing returns to its pretalking rhythm by the third breath after you finish speaking, then you were able to talk comfortably.

      The HR at which the talk test becomes UNcomfortable is your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). Depending on how fit/trained a person is, this HR number can vary widely. My LTHR is currently about 182, so if yours is similar you should be fine at that heart rate.

      I’ve never done it, but due to cardiac lag, training by HR may be MORE unreliable than the talk test.

      Hope that helps.

  • I’ve been following the single C+J Program, doing only occasional running and some Pull Ups and Get Ups and hiking on days off. I ran a 5 k the other day and without struggling too much, managed a sub 22 minute time. Far from elite, but more than acceptable. This makes me believe in the carry over power of Pavel’s Kettlebell Programmes.

  • Hello Pavel,

    I’ve really appreciated your work over the last decade since I’ve gotten educated in the military-fitness community. I’ve started re-educating myself, noting how your and Dan John’s work vastly influenced the CrossFit and Gym Jones networks.

    Question: Given minimalist equipment, apart from C&J/C&P/Snatch, another movement I’ve found useful is the headcutter i.e. a two-handed but single KB clean, squat, and press. Though I haven’t seen you discuss/demonstrate this movement. Is there a technical reason for this, and for the affirm or not, how do you see it with relationship to a light barbell clean given the difference in ROM compared to the swing/snatch/clean?

    Thanks for your time

  • I am still rather impressed by all the gold standard material you have been giving out for free all these years. Thank you, Pavel!

    Still wondering if there is any reasonable way to apply A+A Training to GS Style lifting. Of course it probably isn’t the „best“ way, but not everyone tries to get to the top…and for hobbyists there could be a way to see improvements for example in…let‘s say a pentathlon as the „easier“ competition style while training antiglycolytic maybe? My body doesn’t seem to like the stressors of too much glycolytic training…

  • Hey, coach.

    I’m not a BJJ guy. I’m just a runner who currently can’t run (foot (can’t even really do TGU’s, yet))

    How often can I do this (or swings) realistically to keep moving forward?

    Currently swings and stairmaster aren’t hurting the foot, but it’s driving me nuts. Save me.

    ((Goblet squats are pain-free, if that helps))

  • Are the cleans dead cleans, or hang cleans? When you start adding cleans do you return the kettlebell to the ground after each jerk?

    • Hugh, hang cleans and dead cleans are traditionally rarely done with a kettlebell but there are good exercises.

      If you decide to go with either, you might have to modify the load parameters because the sets would get longer.

  • If I may once again ask you a question, Pavel, I’d be grateful.
    Since I purchased the program from BJJ fanatics, the other program in it of Goblet Squats, Swings and Get Ups has caught my attention. I’ve been doing the C+J programme for a month now, but would you recommend me starting from the other program until “Intermediate” as the pdf suggests? I think I am more or less at that level already, but was curious to hear if its necessary. Thank you.

  • Dear Pavel,

    Thank you for this wonderful program.

    I am a rock climber, surfer, and badminton player.

    I am afraid I will be missing out on the benefits of training Squats and Pullups, since they are sports specific, but I prefer to keep things simple and I would rather just stick to this program if I could maintain overall strength.

    My question is: It’s clear to me that my overhead pushing strength will benefit from the C&J, but does this program provide enough stimulus for the legs and back to maintain (or gain) leg and back strength?

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world 🌎,

    Johnnie

    • Johnnie, thank you for your kind words.

      For your sports you do not have to add squats, with the exception of a few goblet squats for mobility and squat pattern maintenance. If you do decide to squat, the best squat for a climber is the Hack squat. This seminar is one place to learn it:

      https://www.strongfirst.com/special-events/strongfirst-resilient-information/

      Pullups are a climber’s bread and butter though.

      You will get enough overhead work from jerks.

      • Hi Pavel,

        Thanks for the great advice!

        I look forward to taking this seminar to learn the proper technique of the hack squat.

        I plan to do C&Js 3 times a week, while also doing your SF 930 Plan but only for pullups.

        Here’s how I program my week.

        M- pull Heavy
        T- c&j
        W- pull light
        Th- c&j (70% the volume)
        F- pull light
        S- c&j
        Su- rest

        Does this program look ok to you?

        Cheers,

        Johnnie

  • Just bought the Kettlebell Strongfirst book and I really like it. Played around with single KB CJ EMOM, but I decided to start with the swing/Get up protocol.

    Here’s the question: could one do the double KB C+JLC routine with an olympic barbell, replacing clean and jerks with barbell hang cleans and barbell push presses, for 3-5 reps EMOM, and get the same “cardio” /power training benefits? If not hang cleans and push presses, what exercises would you recommend, if any?

    • Thank you, Carl.

      Yes, you could if you have the skill, although I doubt you would get to 5 reps OTM unless you go unacceptably light.

      Your WL exercise choices are fine.

  • Dear Pavel,

    How would you compare S&S and this routine in terms of “GPP” ? How would you incorporate trail running using this routine ?

    Thanks again for this great article,

    Kind regards,

    • Pet’, comparable with some biases.

      You get more power and power endurance benefits and dynamic quad loading with KBSF C&J plans but you are missing out on the many benefits of get-ups unless you incorporate them in your warm-up or periodically revisit S&S or the swing + getup + goblet squat KBSF plan.

      As for trail running, it depends on what are your training goals and priorities. What are they? You also need to factor in the eccentric quad loading of the jerk catches.

  • Could this be adapted to a heavy sandbag, say a clean and push press, alternating shoulders? Or something similar?

  • Pavel,

    Another (sorry) question.

    I’ve been using kettlebells since 2001 thanks to “Renegade” Coach John Davies and you. I’m a former StrongFirst SFG1 (2015-2020) and RKC (until this fall). 💪

    I met you at the first PlanStrong event in Arizona in 2013 (I’m still confused 😅🤦‍♂️). And I attended the All-Terrain Conditioning seminar with Craig Marker in February 2019 (loved that info and hands-on course!).

    I owned a fitness studio/business for 11 years in Alachua, Florida (Underground Fitness Revolution) but had to close it in July 2020 because the COVID PLANdemic destroyed my business. 🤬

    During that time, I was in the best shape of my life (36-45 years old) with 6-7% body fat, and fairly strong (especially for my small size: 5’4″, small bones/joints).

    I was able to perform Get-ups with 36kg at a shredded body-weight of 128lbs (125-129lbs range), overhead press nearly half my body-weight (28kg), Deadlift more than 2.2 x bodyweight (285-300lbs), perform 18-20 dead hang pull-ups, Double Clean & Press 24kg, and a lot more!

    And I had amazing conditioning and “cardio” despite performing no cardio in my training.

    All my training sessions were 30 minutes or less. My entire fitness business for 11 years focused on these “express” workouts for maximum results in minimum time with minimal equipment (body-weight, bands, ‘bells, balls, and sliders).

    I competed in OCR (2011-2017) finishing in the top 3 of my age group with ZERO running in my training (even when running 11-13 mile races). I also participated in the Tactical Strength Challenge (2017 – 2019).

    After closing my business and taking a desk job in July 2020, I gained more than 20lbs and am in the worst shape of my life. 😥

    My nutrition and training is back on track, but I’m struggling to make any progress. Everything that once worked (Paleo, IF, low-carb, low calorie, etc.) no longer does. Even my training sessions seem to be less effective, and I’ve lost a lot of strength. 🤷‍♂️

    What 20-30 minute training sessions can I combine with the C&J program to get everything I want back again (fat loss, strength, hypertrophy, conditioning, cardio, work capacity, etc.)? I enjoy training 4-6x/week when my sessions are short (30 minutes and less).

    I know variety is overrated, but I like and need it. That’s one reason why I always liked and thrived with my 20-minute total-body sessions 3x/week. Short enough to stay focused and motivated, and just enough work to get maximum results in minimal time while being able to do other short workouts on the other days (for variety)!

    AND YES TO ALL OF THESE! 👇

    What exercises are the best KETTLEBELL, barbell, and BODYWEIGHT exercises for A+A?…

    How can it be applied to circuit training?…

    How [LITTLE]/long should an A+A session last?…

    How many times a week should I train?…

    What is a smart progression?…

    How to combine A+A work with barbell/KETTLEBELL strength training?…

    How to make A+A sport specific?…

    How often should I do glycolytic work?…

    • Good to hear your story, Nate.

      Have you tried doing exactly what you were doing when you were in great shape?

      • Yes! Unfortunately, progress has been extremely slow and frustrating. And I’ve only lost 3lbs in the last 7.5 weeks. 🤬

        It’s as if I’m starting out as a beginner due to my reduced strength, conditioning, cardio, and work capacity. 🤦‍♂️

        The same 20-minute sessions I used to crush now crush me. 🤷‍♂️

        However, I did perform 30 minutes of the C&J program with a 24kg kettlebell, and it felt great!

        I also purchased Kettlebells StrongFirst from BJJ Fanatics.

        I just need to figure out how to set everything up for maximum results in minimal time.

          • Pavel,

            Stress? Yes. Ever since taking a desk job from closing my gym in July 2020.

            I’ve had some shoulder and knee issues (arthritis, bursitis), but I’ve gone through PT in the past and currently do my own PT (as they wouldn’t treat me recently because I REFUSE to wear a face mask – never have, never will!).

  • Pavel,

    A second question:

    Can this be combined with Q&D (2x/week of each)?

    If so, what do you recommend?

  • If A+A sessions are extended to 30 minutes or longer, would they work to build an “aerobic base” the way LISS running or cycling does? (And would this decrease the other benefits of the program?)

    Thanks for the great article!

    • Stephen, if by “aerobic base” you mean peripheral adaptations (mitochondria, capillarization), A+A makes it happen in type II fibers, not type I. And going longer is better.

      If you are referring to oxygen transport (“cardio”), if the A+A exercise is explosive (not strength), its effects are similar to LISS and longer again is better.

  • Pavel,

    Could this be combined with two low-volume total-body 20-30 minute circuit-based hypertrophy sessions using dumbbells / kettlebells, resistance bands, body-weight, sliders, and TRX suspension trainer (no barbells)?

    For example:

    Monday
    C&J

    Tuesday
    1a) Shoulder movement
    1b) Squat/Lunge movement
    1c) Pull-up/Row movement
    1d) Hinge/Glute movement
    1e) Chest Press movement

    • 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest for each exercise
    • Rest 1 minute between Rounds
    • Perform 3-4 Rounds (18-24 minutes)

    OR

    • Two compound movements back-to-back:
    1a. Goblet Squats –> Lunges
    1b. Chest Presses –> Triceps
    1c. RDL –> Hamstring Curls
    1d. Rows–> DB Curls

    Perform 30 seconds of work for both exercises followed by a 1-minute rest break, then move to the next station (2 Rounds = 20 minutes).

    Wednesday
    Off

    Thursday
    C&J

    Friday
    1a) DB Romanian Deadlifts/GHR
    1b) Slider / Stability Ball / TRX Leg Curls
    1c) Banded Hip Thrusts
    1d) DB Floor Presses
    1e) DB Arnold Presses or Lateral Raises
    1f) DB Overheard Triceps Extensions
    1g) Goblet Squats
    1h) Split Squat (L)
    1i) Split Squat (R)
    1j) Pull-ups or Gorilla Rows
    1k) TRX Rows
    1l) DB Biceps Curls

    • 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest for all 9 exercises.
    • 1-minute rest between Rounds
    • 2-3 Rounds (19-29 minutes)

    (Christian Thibaudeau recommended the above if using Circuit training for hypertrophy).

    Saturday
    Off

    Thanks!

    Nate

  • Out of curiosity with the understanding that progression scheme is laid out.

    Say once reaching 30:00 easy repeats with 1*C+J and you start moving to C+J+C, instead of stopping once you fail the talk test, you drop back down to 1*C+J to finish the session? I figure this would allow the longer aerobic benefit, while allowing progression to more difficult variations.

  • Hi, I’m in my 50’s, not in BJJ, ongoing goals to be able to hit power, strength, improve mobility, maintain fitness throughout my weekly training. Using the LCC&J M,Th, what the other days should consist of without risking overtraining? Also to clarify, the strength “grind day” should come day before LCCJ day? Thanks

    • Dr Dan, your choices should be based on the lifts and exercises you can do well, your time commitment, and your appetite for complexity. Pardon a vague answer but options are too many.

      You can train “grinds” either on the day before or after A+A.

  • Pavel
    Thank you for your work and guidance.
    A quick question. can I use this workout template for kettlebell snatches.
    My thought is to rotate the C&J and the snatch. Im not sure if it is advantageous to do the work on back to back days- therefore I would rotate back and forth.
    example
    monday C&J
    wednesday snatch
    friday C&J
    sunday Snatch.
    Tuesday C&J
    and so on…

    The snatch is my favorite kb exercise. The Tsar of all kettlebell lifts is just plain fun.

    Thanks
    Phil

    • Phil—is this as part of a BJJ practice.? Rotating snatch and C&J may work but how the snatch is programmed will be key. Use a similar A&A type protocol.

    • Phil, it should work.

      One option: stabilize one exercise at the same level for 2 weeks while making progress in the other, then rotate.

  • Thanks for the article!!
    I’m wondering how you would go about adding grinds (kb mp, front squats, pull ups)? The same day, after c+J? The day before or the day after c+J?
    Thank you.

  • Comrade Chief. Great read.. Thank you.
    Any chance to limit the cleans and still do the protocol?
    High volume cleans really affect the elbows.
    I can Jerk and Push Press all day..
    Thank you for your time.

    • Tim—focusing on the jerks instead of long cycle should work using the same protocol/progression.

    • Tim, you could try replacing cleans with swings. But first have your doc check your elbows and when cleared check your cleans’ technique with an SFG instructor.

      • Where exatcly?
        I’ve gone through the whole comment section and couldn’t find it.
        I would love to do the C+Js on Mon/Thu, S&S Swings & TGUs on Tue/Fri and some 45-60min steady state cardio (Running/Rucking/Rowing) on Wed/Sat.
        Would that be okay or interfere with each other?
        Goal is to stay healthy, powerful and fight of sarcopenia.
        No other heavy stuff like BJJ or hard manual labor etc. going on that would add to the overall workload.

        Thanks in advance!
        C

  • One more question, how would you integrate get ups into the clean and jerk plan?

    Thanks!

  • I picked up the program a few months ago on BJJ Fanatics, but put off starting it until I got a handle on the long cycle. Just started it two weeks ago with a 24kg bell and am enjoying it so far. For some background, I’ve been training BJJ for the past ~5 years and have been doing Simple and Sinister since white belt (only 2-3x times a week) and can hit timeless Simple. I have a lot of faith in your programs and think S&S helped tremendously as far mat conditioning goes, so I will working this program until I hit double bells with 32kg.

    Pavel, considering I’m a recreational athlete and not a high level competitor (so not worried about going up in weight class) will this program stimulate some mass gain like S&S? I went from 66kg to 77kg from just training Simple and find the extra muscle helps when rolling with the big boys.

    Thanks!

    • Ryan, use the double kettlebell version of the C&J plans and up your eating.

      For best hypertrophy results, alternate cycles of Kettlebells StrongFirst and glycolytic power repeats with double C&Js in both cases.

      For glycolytic power repeats programming see see the 9/15/20 issue of the StrongFirst newsletter.

  • Thanks for the post, Pavel. Otherwise, I would have overlooked the Kettlebells Strongfirst resource entirely, and it is such a good resource for non-fighters as well. I do have a question regarding the 30 min selection and applying these programs to strength-endurance sports such as OCR, where events may last well over 30 minutes. Should these practice sessions be extended beyond 30 minutes at times, or just use a heavier weight that still taxes you aerobically for the 30 minutes?

    • John, in some sports like speed skating athletes do up to 2.5 hours of anti-glycolytic training so the answer is definitely yes.

  • What do you think of using this instead of assistance work on a strength program like 5/3/1 on squat and deadlift days to maintain strength in the power lifts?

    • Eric, if your goals is to improve your powerlifts, you should select assistance work based on your weaknesses.

      If you want to simply maintain your SQ and DL, add one easy session a week to the C&J A+A protocol.

    • I bought the video and highly recommend it. I don’t even do BJJ but the PDF and instructional videos were well worth the price, in my opinion.

      • Buy only to find out how Plan B looks like…
        Rest of stuff is well-known from course and books.

        By the way I didn’t know there is “weaker hand” in StrongFirst. 🙂

  • I wish I had the information I have learned through your writings back in my paratrooper days! Is this program sufficiently biased toward mitochondrial respiration to make it a good compliment to Q&D? Thank you!

  • Thank you for this enlightening post! I was wondering is there was a way to adapt this training method with bodyweight exercises only, as I tend to travel a lot?

    • B!, absolutely. If you can do burpees without flexing your spine, you can apply the same protocol. If you are using a less comprehensive exercise, e.g., squats, I will explain how to do it in an upcoming newsletter.

  • Sorry I’m confused. After establishing your max reps, when you first start the program, do you do just 1 rep and wait till 30 seconds are up to do the other arm rep. Then 2 reps per arm the next 30/30 and so on until you reach your max reps established earlier?

    • I think the max reps is just to her your working weight. 1rep each arm every min working up to 30 min. Then add accordingly to advance the program.

    • No, Just 1 rep until reach 30 min of worka. Than add one clean and again do C+J+C until reach 30.
      Progression is describe clearly in the article.

  • Great writing as usual!
    I have a question, is there a bodyweight version of this program for the nomad people who spend most of their time traveling?

  • Hi Pavel,

    I had been considering learning C&J for some time now, so this article is a great surprise! Thanks Pavel.

    Due to a slight scoliosis I prefer double bell work lately as it gives me live feedback on using my body in a more symmetric way.

    Do you think it’s possible to run that program with two bells, and if yes, then what would be the pattern?

    What course you’d recommend for learning double C&J, considering it’s high level of skill and mobility requirements? I have 5 years of kettlebells experience, with last year fully dedicated to double C&P.

    Thanks,
    Marcin

    • Marcin, the plan works just as well with two bells; there are plans in the Kettlebells StrongFirst video. In a nutshell, do a set every minute, not every 30sec, in the listed plan A. But you need to check with your doc first; you might need therapy before starting C&Js.

  • I’m a 70 yr old male just looking to slow done the aging process and get incredibly strong. I have metal in my back from a spinal fusion some 19 years ago which bothers me from time to time. Will this exercise protocol damage me or help me?

    • Jack, most people can train A+A style—but the exercise selection is less democratic. Please check with your doc.

  • Pavel,

    Excited to see you making a return to more frequent posts here. Love your written work and a long time fan.

    I am a newsletter subscriber and would love to hear how to run this type of routine with some of my own pet lifts (pull ups, dips, hover lunges) mixed in with C&J or swings.

    Look forward to whatever is coming next from SF.

    Stay well.

  • Howdy Pavel! Thanks for yet another great article.

    Would the mitochondrial growth aspect of S&S help in checking all those boxes, even if it compromises somewhat the respiration emphasis of A+A?

    Or is it the mitochondrial respiration of A+A that makes it the Best All-Around?

    • Pavel, thank you for this wonderful program.

      I just finished my first week of Plan A and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

      My question: I love this routine so far and I am thinking of adding another day (training 3x a week instead of 2x a week) but I am wondering if it would it be more beneficial for GPP to just add a day (or 2) of heavy swings instead to have some of the benefits that Swings provide.

      Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world!

      Johnnie

  • What is the most appropriate program for a 72 year old senior looking to start with kettlebells? Thanks

    • Jim, provided your are cleared by your doc, I would suggest “Kettlebell Simple & Sinister.”

  • I can attest that this video is a great product. High quality instructions and great programming. After hitting Timeless Simple I have used “the Next Step” plan for swings and GUs for a month inbetween things, and liked it a lot.

    I have a question regarding the talk test on the single LCCJ plan: When reaching the final step of 3 LCCJs in 30 seconds there will be very little rest. How is this in line with the “long rests” philosophy? And what if it results in a very high average HR?

    I reckon LCCJs might spread the load in a fashion that there is always something working – and always something resting.

    Thanks for the great product and article!

    • Thank you, Bauer.

      If you can pass the talk test, your HR will not redline (you will be way above MAF but MAF is not the goal). You might not reach step 3 and it is OK.

    • Bauer, and the “long rests” do not apply here; they are for a very different method of glycolytic power repeats.

  • Great article. I have purchased this program and it is also great.
    Always wanted to know if c&j plan A and B could be expanded into a 3 day a week program. Sounds like that will be covered in the emails to follow.

    • Thank you, Kyle.

      Yes to 3 days a week if you do not have excessive demands elsewhere (e.g., BJJ practice). Simply make the middle day easier, 60-80% duration of the first day.

  • I’ve just emigrated to Canada. Everything is super expensive. Relying on S&S to keep me in working condition! Could only afford to buy one for myself and my wife so I bought a 16kg Kbell. Is it possible to do the above program with it? Back home used to do s&s with 24 kg.

    • Amit, you will not get much strength out of it but, yes, you can. Keep going for 40min and do not hesitate to go over 3 reps per set.

    • You can do a bottom-up clean and then press overhead. That will make the 16 KG more challenging.

      • Will, bottom up drills are very demanding on the CNS, even with a light kettlebell. Given the volume of this plan, I do not think it is a good fit.

  • Thank you for this great article, Chief! I’m keen to try it out. As a Firefighter, do you think the 2 sessions a week suffice? Or would more strength training or Cardio be necessary? I fully trust your judgement. Thank you for your time.
    -Juan

    • Thank you, Juan.

      The twice a week frequency is optimal for people with high physical demands elsewhere (or a minimal effective dose for busy people). If your department does kill you with PT, feel free to bump up to 3 times a week (and even 4).

      • Thank you, Pavel, great advice. I’ve tried the workout and to date, it’s the one I can most remember enjoying. And I feel strength gain, rested and can see some hypertrophy as well as have become more ripped. As you said, I’d love to buy the DVD and switch to Plan B when I get there. Alternatively, is continuing and staying with this plan with a heavier kettlebell also an option? Thanks again, for your time. It’s an honour to get your feedback.

        • Juan, staying on plan A with a heavier bell is an option. Less effective than rotating A and B but it will work.

          • Just to be sure, plan B is on the Kettlebell DVD? Would the idea be to rotate A and B continually?
            Thanks again for your reply.

          • The instruction in the DVD package is clear in terms of progression, no worries. Amazing resource!

  • Great program! My experience with it lines up exactly with what Pavel has laid out. I’m currently running the doubles version with 32s.

  • Pavel, I’ve been following you and your work for 21 years. You’ve always delivered the highest quality training information.

    How’s your father doing??

    • Thank you, Mark.

      My father is well, thank you. Turning 85 this spring. After over a year of not touching a barbell and training with a 32kg kettlebell he deadlifted 300 the first time back and now is rapidly regaining his DL strength.

      Thank you for asking.

  • I would recommend the course mentioned above, which I bought from the BJJ Fanatics website directly.
    The quality of the instructional videos is excellent.
    The above programme is just one of several different protocols provided with the course.
    I’m a kick boxer and I have never felt so light on my feet and powerful when sparring after completing this protocol.

  • I find it very helpful to maintain a daily routine. Would you recommend doing anything else on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays? If so, what other minimalist home workouts would you recommend?

  • I had been doing S&S religiously in the spring, messed up my knee and stopped training. Now restarting S&S. Absolutely love the simplicity of it and how I become stronger over time. How does it compare to this program? Can I do both programs and alternate without overdoing things?

  • Pavel,

    Let me be the first to comment and say that I am very excited about this article! If you are taking questions for the newsletter here, I would like to ask exactly how to program the kettlebell swing into six-week rotations of Q&D and A+A (as mentioned in your book).

    Thank you!

  • This article is the appetizer prior to the entry.Would be very interested in a substitute for the C and J for those of us whose shoulder issues precludes pressing.Look forward to future installments–thanks for sharing.

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