Variables of Kettlebell Training: Pace

Remember those old Pace Picante Sauce commercials? LOL!!! I used to love those and crack up every time I see em. Check out my all time favorite ones below and crack up with me...  NEW YORK CITY???!!!   lol!!! Ah that gets me EVERY time.

We're currently in a blog series called: The Anatomy of Kettlebell Training. To keep with that theme and study, this new series will coincide greatly to keep you focused directly on exactly how to successfully program design your own Kettlebell Training protocol and ensure it is solidly structured to deliver results every time.

When beginning a brand new Kettlebell Training protocol or continuing with the one you are currently on, it is very important to be aware of your RPMs aka Pace. This is but one extremely important variable in your measurable continued progress. Some other variables include bell size, working time, reset time, movements performed, proper Anatomical Breathing, etc.

When exploring Pacing it is important to know what you are doing, how long you are doing it for, and what size bell you will be using. So with all that considered you should then pre-determine what your pace will be prior to ever picking up your Kettlebell to begin your first set.  Adjustments can absolutely be made as you perform your sets, but overall if you track your protocol on paper by logging it each and every time you will know what your pace should be. Logging is a great method to track progress and determine where you will be going as well. If you don't know where you are going you definitely won't get there.

By proper pacing your mind will be engaged into exactly what you're doing instead of simply going  in a manner that leaves you oblivious to exactly how many reps you've competed, how long you went for, how good your technique was, how your body will be feeling, if you've over-trained or not, and the list goes on. Pacing gives you a clear understanding of what you are doing alongside trackable consistent progress.

You can structure your Kettlebell practice as follows, and this is simply an example:


5-10 minutes of whatever you decide



1. One Arm Long Cycle

2. One Arm Long Cycle

3. One Arm Push Press or One Arm Jerks



50x Jumping Lunges



10-15 Minutes of Yoga


First LC set is 8 reps per min. Second set it 12 reps per min. Final set, being Jerks, is 20-25 per min. Remember thosereps will be PER HAND PER MIN. Watch the clock the whole time and be sure to pace half your reps to be completed in the first 30 seconds of the minute and during the second 30 seconds get the rest of your reps. That being said, when we train at Synergy Kettlebell Kamp we have analog clocks on the wall. We pay attention to the second hand and make sure that we get half our reps between the start of the minute on the 12 and the 6, then the remainder of our reps between the 6 and the end of that minute back on the 12.

Let's say you're performing One Arm Long Cycle. Typically people perform this, with appropriate weight, between 4 and 15 reps. Max long cycle is 16 without sloppy form. So that being said, let's be performing 8 reps per minute for our example set. The set begins and you will watch your analog clock or Gymboss Interval Timer and perform your first 4 reps as soon as the time begins. Complete them right in a row and then if you finish them before the number 6 (or 30 seconds) on the clock you simply rest in the Rack Position until the 6. When the second hand crosses the 6 you then begin again and perform your remaining 4 reps to fully close out your 8 reps for that minute. Again if you finish your reps before the minute is over simply hang out in the Rack Position until the 12 (top of the minute) and either proceed to continue your set as you need to if you have further minutes to perform or set your bell down if you are all done.
A list for you to guage proper Kettlebell Training pace according to your level of skill and fitness is as follows:
Beginner reps per minute:
Snatch- 6rpm
Jerk- 4-6rpm
Long Cycle- 4-5rpm
Intermediate reps per minute:
Snatch- 8-12rpm
Jerk- 8-10rpm
Long Cycle- 8-9rpm

Advanced reps per minute:
Snatch- 15-20rpm
Jerk- 15-20rpm
Long Cycle- 12-16rpm

Keep in mind that you always want to train for tomorrow. Today's practice sets you up for tomorrow, but should never leave you dysfunctional.  Personally I follow a program proven and designed specifically by the American Kettlebell Club and which has been tested by Valery Fedorenko and other AKC coaches to ensure the results are as we intend. By going through it you can be perfectly confident that, alongside hundreds of Kettlebell coaches and Girevoy Sport practitioners worldwide, that the manner with which we both teach and design Kettlebell Training programs will be a consistently progressive and results bearing strength and conditioning program. While going through this and any program keep in mind that you should NOT be sore every day. In fact when you are sore you overdid it and over-trained which will most definitely lead to diminishing returns. It is a fact that if you are not very sore, and are on a proven and proper training protocol, you will experience ongoing increasing results.

You should be able to function every day and continue practicing today, tomorrow, the next day, and so on. Think of any sports practice of all kind... if you were so beat up from the day before, you couldn't function ideally for thecurrent day. In Kettlebell Training this is our overall goal.

Personally I enjoy a degree of soreness to tell me I worked hard, but it should never inhibit us from functioning andpracticing again. We want to be functional and continually improving. Every day we want to be active in one manner or another and when we acclimate our bodies to this style of practice we can even Girevoy Sport practice every day as well up to 6 days a week as long as the protocol is structured as such.

Remember to let me know your thoughts and comments below. Thanks!

R. Garon

Robert Garon is a Masters level pastoral counseling student at Liberty University. He and his wife reside in the suburbs of Chicago where they, together, lead a marriage enhancement and discipleship group called Re|engage at their church. Robert also regularly leads short-term mission teams, both internationally and domestically, as well as a weekly men’s community group.

On THE mission making God known by helping others thrive and flourish for His kingdom!