I have performed an experiment in simple fitness over the last several months. This experiment determined what kind of results I would have by doing a very simple, stripped down, workout. The workout that was performed was kettlebell clean and presses and swings or snatches. That is it.
This workout was performed using the Russian ladder style workout presented in Enter the Kettlebell. I did not perform any extra back movements such as pull-ups as suggested by Pavel.
I began this workout using the smallest kettlebell I had to ensure that I put in the proper work and did not start off with a weight that was too heavy. My intention was to work up to a full workout (5 ladders of 5 reps) on the heavy day. Then the appropriate amounts on the light and medium days. I tracked these workouts and they can be found here.
This workout allowed me to progress from a 44lb kettlebell to a 62lb kettlebell in a mere four months. I am currently ready to move up to the 70lb kettlebell and I will be placing my order soon. My press and general fitness has increased dramatically with this workout.
What did I learn from this simple experiment?
On the positive side I learned that you can maintain a high level of fitness through a very simple workout. This workout also allowed me to remain awake and alert, without any significant pain or soreness from the workouts. As an example of a high level of fitness I was able to perform 94 snatches in 5 min with a 53 lb kettlebell. I did this on a day when I was tired and did not feel like working out. I was unmotivated at the time and I did this out of curiosity without any specific training for the snatch test other than my Wednesday snatch day.
As a negative I felt as though my back and legs/buttocks were lacking in progress. This makes sense when looking at the workout. In order to supplement these areas my intent is to continue the workout as above while adding in getups and deadlifts on Tuesday and Thursday. I will perform getups in a 3-5 min window focusing on the movement and I will do deadlifts in a power to the people style workout for strength building. This will include 2 sets of 5 lifts. I am doing this in order to add strength to these areas. I believe this workout will allow me the opportunity to workout 5 days a week without wearing me down to much.
What are my goals in my future and how do I intend to get there?
I intend to use a 5 day template. 5 day a week strength workout that focuses on heavy pressing and heavy deadlifting.
Heavy kettlebell presses
Turkish Getup – Kettlebell
Light Kettlebell presses
Turkish Getup – Kettlebell
Medium Kettlebell Presses
My goal is to be able to press the 88lb kettlebell for 5 sets of 5 russian ladders and to deadlift 400 pounds in a year. I would also like to be able to perform a Kettlebell Getup with the 106 pound kettlebell. I maintain a weight of 165 and intend to stay near that weight throughout this year. Therefore after this year I believe that I will be able to press a kettlebell that is approximately half of my body weight for multiple sets and a greater than double body weight deadlift.
In terms of diet I generally focus on intermittent fasting, and natural foods (mostly meats and vegetables).