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Kettlebell Endurance

The three South Charlotte kettlebell sites of Swole, Meathead, and Olympus are again partnering on a coordinated program – this time focusing on our conditioning.  The goal is to build endurance, burn fat, and give you glorious 6-pack abs*.


Our past two programs have focused on building strength – first through Total Tension and then through an SFG Level I Prep course.  Knowing that it is a good idea to vary your training (for example, in running, LSD, tempo, speed work, etc.) and considering many pax are more focused on running and building their aerobic capacity at this time of year, we wanted a kettlebell program that would be complementary to those goals.  I researched a lot of material by experts I trust – Pavel Tsatsouline (especially Strong Endurance and his book The Quick & The Dead (dumb name but good book)), Phil Maffetone, Al Ciampa, Dan John, among others – and I kept coming back to an A+A/AGT training style.


What is an A+A/AGT training style?  It is one that trains the Alactic and Aerobic energy systems, which avoids use of the Glycolytic system (Anti-Glycolytic Training).  Glycolytic training is the type that produces “the burn”, with lots of lactic acid, and “feels like a good workout”. There is certainly a place for this type of training, such as in a peaking session or program.  Here, however, we’re focusing more on endurance through building the mitochondria. Kettlebell base building.


To accomplish this, we’re following The Quick & The Dead protocol, supplemented by a single strength session (to maintain our gains from our strength work).  The Q&D is a well-researched plan within the Strong Endurance program, is simple to implement, and easy to do as a group or in quarantine. If you’re interested in a deeper dive into the science behind the program or more information about why this works, I do encourage you to grab a copy of the book. Otherwise, you can just follow-along with the plan outlined here.  The variability will enable us to follow this almost indefinitely (I’ve mapped out 12-16 weeks; we’ll adjust the end date as we go along), and it pairs well with a 3 times per week running program, if desired.



(Includes a link to The Quick & The Dead book)


Who:  all KB pax, runners, & others who want strength and endurance 

What:  an A+A/AGT strength endurance program, based largely on The Quick & The Dead book

Where:  OYO or with fellow pax at Swole, Meathead, & Olympus

When:  WODs will be posted 3 times per week, in conjunction with the above AO’s schedules, or access a link to the entire workout here

How:  explosive, perfect movements with sufficient rest

Bell selection:  use a bell that you can swing/snatch for 20-30 seconds with perfect, explosive form.


  • Swings & Merkins: “within each series, you will be doing a set of 5 reps every 30 seconds or 10 reps on the minute.  The rest between series is the time left until the start of the next minute, plus one minute – around 1:20 with 5/4 and about 1:45 with 10/2.”
  • Snatches: same as Swings & Merkins, except two minutes rest between sets.
  • Merkins – you may want a set of elastic bands for increased resistance, at least once you’re into the program.  Here are the ones I have used. (I tried others unsuccessfully)


*   Disclaimer:  whether or not those abs are hidden under a protective layer of “cushioning” is OYO.

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