How to get results when you only have 1 piece of kit

Because, well, lockdown, 2nd waves, and “go out, but don’t go out”!

Who the hell knows if or when gyms will finally re-open, or when fitness equipment will be back in stock and not costing the earth?!

I don’t 

And I own one!

I Got Aces Though

Luckily I have a couple of Aces up my sleeve to allow me deal with the worst of the uncertainty and to plough ahead regardless

Ace 1: I’ve be delivering 5-2-1 personal training for over 5 years now and I’m bloody good at it, indoors or out

Ace 2: I learned many years ago that Principles are more important than Tactics, so I can get someone fitter, stronger and more muscular with pretty much any bit of kit – IF we follow the correct set of principles

Having said that, there is a piece of equipment that lends itself to the task in an easier and more effective way than most

Enter the Humble Kettlebell

The kettlebell is, without doubt, the best bit if kit you can possibly have if you’re ONLY allowed one piece of kit for the rest of your life

And I’m gonna share with you, right now, one simple example of how to use a kettlebell and your own body to create a program that will get you stronger, fitter and more muscular for months to come…

The Principles Applied

There are many principles, but just 3 will do for now, for what we want to achieve. These 3 are the most important of them all anyway: 
1. Focus on Technique and Quality of Movement
2. Train in Movement Patterns not Body Parts
3. Ensure there is Continuous Progression

How to Apply the Big 3

Take the 1st two principles together. To effectively train with a kettlebell you’ll need to master exercises that cover the following basic movement patterns:

Squat
Single Leg
Hinge
Push
Pull
Press

The simplest exercises for these patterns are:

Goblet Squat
Lunges
Kettlebell Swing or Deadlift
Push-Ups and Floor Press
Single-Arm Row and Renegade Row
Kettlebell Overhead Press

Now lets say we’re training 3 days a week, we can split the movement patterns (and thus the respective exercises) across 3 sessions:

  1. Squat, Single-Leg and Press
  2. Hinge and Pull
  3. Push, Pull and Variety

Add a warm-up and a finisher to each session and you have a principle-based training framework, and the warm-ups and finishers can be varied, easy, hard or horrific. That’s up to you and allows you to try new things and have some “fun”

Principle 3: Progression

If you’re a real beginner then the first 1-3 weeks of training should be focused on learning the moves to a safe, effective and loadable level. This alone will get you stronger and tougher!

After that it’s simple – Make progress every week

Progression Variables

There are only 2 out of the 3 main variables you can tinker with:

  • Volume
  • Density

After all, you can’t change the Load (aka. Intensity) of a 20kg cannonball

So the simplest thing to do in this instance is to choose a training protocol that allows you to increase the amount of total work done (Volume) within a given amount of time (Density), whilst keeping the Load constant

And to give a little bit of a Secret away: using the same load whilst manipulating volume and density is one of my favourite and most effective ways to program for strength and muscle gain

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE. NEVER SACRIFICE FORM FOR MORE REPS!

Get your questions below! 

About the Author jonathancompton1@gmail.com

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