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For More Strength Just Add Water!

Kettlebells are simple and they are a solution to a lot of strength and health problems that one may be seeking answers for.
For as long as I can remember I have been into Special Forces, I have read almost every book about the SAS (both Australian and British) and that is half of what attracted me to kettlebells, they had been used by the Soviet Special Forces very reputable in their own right.

One thing I have always admired about special forces is their ability to overcome the odds with what ever they have at hand. Again that is why I like kettlebells, they are simple and they are a solution to a lot of strength and health problems that one may be seeking answers for.

How To Get Stronger!

Everyone knows that to get stronger you need progressive resistance; it is just a plain and simple fact that one must add to his/her resistance training if they want to get stronger. Kettlebells do not address this problem they way that a lot of westerners would like, I have heard arguments that they do not allow you to increase the weight slowly and I found that I was really starting to notice this point when I started trying to snatch and press the 32kg kettlebell.

I was starting to worry I might stall in progress and in doing so I would need to add mass which I really didn't want to do as I am a "wiry" strength practitioner as I find this is best suited for any kind of strength gain.

I had practised kettlebell drills for months before I had actually even used a kettlebell, this strength was still 3-dimensional but I was unable to press a 32kg kettlebell due to the fact that I could only bent press a 30kg dumbbell but due to the displaced center of gravity and thicker handle of the kettlebell I couldn't even press the 32kg kettlebell. I had spoken to Pavel and he assured me that for my size and weight I was doing great but I didn't want to be great I wanted to be the best.

Kettlebells come in three "official" sizes 1 pood (16kg) beginners, 1.5 pood (24kg) men and 2 pood (32kg) advanced. I wanted to be advanced and I wouldn't settle for anything else.

After trying and trying I decided to give it a rest for a few days just relax and figure out a way to press and snatch the bell. Days later I decided to re-read Pavels great book Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness For Hard Living Comrades (RKC) about the correct technique of the press as I always find my self evaluating and re-evaluating my technique. I got tired and went for a sleep then I woke up and just started to open up the book and opened to page number 145 titled, xtreme kettlebell training - Russian navy seal style or underwater training.

The Protocol

The scientific name for this training is pseudo-isokinetic resistance as that is what the water provides, think about when you have been to the beach, you walk in the water and it is easy yet you run and it becomes a lot harder to move in, OK well that is what pseudo-isokinetic resistance is. Now I hear you asking how you apply this style of training to kettlebells. Good question this is one of the only ways that you can actually make your kettlebell training have progressive resistance (special forces mentality).

The following steps are what you will need to do in order to do your under water training.

  1. Find your weak spot, as this is how you can best use pseudo-isokinetic resistance: My weak spot is when you have just finished the swing I needed to really cramp my glutes in order to get the kettlebell above my head so.

  2. Use the above information to determine the depth of the water you will need. Different depths will have different effects on your training and resulting strength, try ankle deep water and all momentum from the kettlebell will vanish.

  3. Get used to being cold. The water will be cold after a while and you can't start to wimp out when the going gets tough.

  4. Use lower reps, Pavel explains this in his book Power to the people and if you use low reps 3-5 you will retrain your nervous system to remember the gains that you have made (you can work on endurance later when you can do three reps).

  5. Pick your drill: this is really important, after a bit of experimenting I would say that best drills would be the regular swing style snatch and long cycle clean and jerks (underwater training will help with your technique). Remember that the faster you move, the more resistance you will add but it's your choice as to how fast you go, I would suggest that you try and go as fast as you can.

  6. Get into the water and have at it. Again self-explanatory.

    The only thing that I could caution you about is using a heavier bell than you are ready for, for obvious reasons. Just start out light and be careful when the bell comes out of the water as your muscle fibres really kick into warp drive.

Workout Pics

Here is an illustrated guide of how to preform your Navy seal style underwater drills.

Click Each Pic To Enlarge!

I would have to say that underwater kettlebell training is one of the best way's to train, you get this whole feeling of being at one with your surroundings the water flows around you it really is great. Now what are you waiting for? Don't wait for me to tell you that under water training is easy because I wont tell you this why? Because it is added resistance to your kettlebell training.

Is it worth it? Hell yeah! Remember that we train with kettlebells in case civilization is temporary (Rob Lawrence), the carryover you will receive from underwater training has been for me well worth the cold, and I can now snatch and press something I was unable to before underwater kettlebell training.

Get out of the gym, go to the beach or a pool and give this a go. Pavel promises it will make you a better man. Just remember to dry your kettlebells once you have finished you diving adventure and don't over do it with underwater training try it only twice a week if that I have had great success on one day a week underwater training and 4 days normal training but I would have to say that it works like singles if you have a bigger bone structure you will get away with it for a bit longer.

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