5 Guidelines for Beginner Kettlebell Sport Programming

  1. Stick to 8-12kg kettlebells until you master the technique.
    Work on increasing TIME first, REPETITIONS second, WEIGHT last.
  2. Watch yourself in a mirror or on video to ensure lockout, fixation, joint stacking, and proper biomechanics (see my post on Kettlebell Sport terminology).
  3. Start with 1 minute on each side (or 2 minutes for doubles), then move to 2 minutes, 3 minutes, etc. until you can make 10 minutes.
  4. Hit the following benchmark numbers for a 10-minute set before moving up in weight:
  • Long Cycle (one bell): 110-120 repetitions
  • Long Cycle (two bells): 60-80 repetitions
  • Jerks (one bell): 140-160 repetitions
  • Jerks (two bells): 100-120 repetitions
  • Snatch: 180-200 repetitions

Are you interested in hosting a beginners Kettlebell Sport workshop so you can learn or master the basics and begin training?

Email info@kbfitbritt.com for more information.

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5 thoughts on “5 Guidelines for Beginner Kettlebell Sport Programming”

  1. Not sure if my comment got deleted or didn’t take–but this is a very interesting article. Like a lot of guys, I rather had to find my own way as I did not have access to face-to-face instruction. I actually regret this now, but there you go (which is why I think my comment is worth posting because I would be a lot of intermediate level men are in my boat). Recently, I’ve been told I have solid long cycle form by a quite accomplished girevoy teacher, but I probably jumped up too soon. At any rate, now I can manage five or six minutes with 2x24s before conking out. I can manage 28s and 32s even, but not for any real length of time. So what to do? Drop down to 20s? I never really tested myself for time with these, but I can likely hit eight or more minutes at a 6 rpm pace. However, where I’ve never made progress really is with snatch. With 24s I typically am done after 40 or 50 (20-25 with each hand, one switch). With 20s it’s a bit better, but not dramatically so. In short, what is your recommendation for the guy two years in (who probably focused too much on long cycle, but who actually has decent fundamentals–supposedly anyway). Drop back down or keep the current program going (three/four days a week LC and snatch, focusing on the 24 kg ‘competition’ weights)?

    1. Hi Konrad,

      As I mention in the post, I think you should go for time first, reps second, and weight last. If I were you, I would drop back down to a lower weight and hit some solid numbers before going back up to the heavier weights. Yes it’s frustrating, but you will save time and even more frustration in the long run! Trust me, most people doing Kettlebell Sport (myself included) have had to regress many times throughout their training.

  2. Thanks Brittany,

    I appreciate it, and down in my soul I probably knew this before posting.

    It is quite frustrating–to be able to handle the weight, but not the full time and real rep pace, etc. A bit of a blow to the ego, but there you go.

    Thanks again,


  3. Hi Britt. Once you hit 10 minutes with a slow pace, do you stay with a 10 minute main set each session, or do you decrease the time by a few minutes and increase the pace while working back up to 10 minutes with the new pace?

    1. Hi Terence,

      Depends on what lift you are training and number of sessions per week. I would say no more than 1-2 10-minute sets each week. Other than that work on some shorter sets with increased pace or heavier bells.

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