Jumping Bells

We've all been there. Bell A is getting a bit light, but Bell B (next level) is still a crusher. For kettlebell sport athletes "Jumping Bells" can be difficult, and most make the mistake a dramatic shift, instead of a gradual acclimation.

This article's main focus is moving to the next level bell division in kettlebell sport competitions using a "Pyramid" approach, but can easily adapted to any kettlebell fitness program. The concept is pretty simple. Don't move to a heavier bell until you own your current bell.

So how do you go about introducing a heavier weight while minimizing risk of injury, and still get in a solid workout? The Pyramid Approach (patented pending KBNY methodology) - simple, yet effective, and involves 3 sets - light, heavy, moderate. Many variables are involved (depending upon the exercise), but the basic principles remain the same.

Kettlebell sport sets are 10 minutes long with either two bells or one switch (on single bell lifts). You need to own those ten minutes at a pace that should be around your rank number (depends on event, body weight). I'll use LongCycle as an example, and how I'm training my current talent, Tom Haber (also a KBNY master coach). Tom has been training 2-arm LongCycle for about three months now, and has become very comfortable with a 6 reps per minute pace, working with 20kg, which will result in 60 reps in 10 minutes. He's done that set a half a dozen times, and if all goes well, it's an automatic. But how do we get Tom comfortable with 24kg's. At 148 pounds, two 24kg kettlebells represent 2/3 of Tom's body weight, and will require some acclimation. The Pyramid will give Tom a chance to do one short set with the 24kg, allowing his central nervous system, as well as tendons and ligaments, a chance to adjust, minimizing inflammation, maximizing peformance. Here's the plan.

Set One: 20kg, 5 minutes, 6 reps per minute.
This represents about half of what Tom is capable of.
Full rest
Set Two: 24kg, 2 minutes (possible 1 minute if necessary, lockouts must be crisp) your least intense pace
Full Rest
Set Three: 20 kg, 3 minutes, 6 reps per minute

NOTE: Your reps per minute can be flexible here, as you adjust to the heavier bell. Repeat this circuit  once a week, attempting to extend the middle set, not pushing set one or three, to 3 to 5 minutes (remember, intensity is relative to the lifter). After a month or so, you should become more comfortable with the heavier weight, but YOU CANNOT RUSH THIS PROCESS. Every individual progresses at a different rate.

For more information on Kettlebell Sport Training with Coach Mike, go to kbgym.com