Pavel-inspired workouts have been proliferating since the late 90s when Pavel Tsatsouline, a former Spetsnaz physical training instructor and a nationally ranked athlete in the Russian military, took the west by storm in 1998 with an article published by Milo Magazine outlining his low-tech/high concept approach to strength training.
The article was titled, Vodka, Pickle Juice, Kettlebell Lifting, and Other Russian Pastimes.
Since then, the catchy titles, relentless self-promotion and kettle-bells lobbed at traditional bodybuilding just keep coming. There’s been a brace of booksâ€“From Russia with Tough love (2002) and The Naked Warrier (2003) â€“ plus articles for Ironman and Milo and lots of cool stuff on sites he runs with with partner John Ducane.
Love him? Hate him? Take a number. On the love side is Ironman magazine; Pavel’s myriad fans and students and Rolling Stone magazine, who voted Pavel Hot trainer of 2001, and Pavel himself.
The boys at T-Nation are more, shall we say, ambivalent. The relationship soured after Pavel declined an invitation to write for the mag, calling the team a bunch of “panty-sniffers.”
TC hit back by calling Pavel a “big pussy.”
Just don’t call her Kettle Kitten
In this much-discussed Atomic Dog article of ’05, Luoma goes on to
suggest that if the prudish Pavel would only unclench his wiry gluteals, “who knows what might clunk to the groundâ€¦ maybe the 20 pound kettlebell you misplaced during a seminar in Hobokenâ€¦ “
Ah well, boys will be boys. And it seems the Ironman way with panties may be more to Pavel’s liking, because he doesn’t seem to have a problem writing for them.
It was always gonna end in tears. Way back in ’01, when Pavel advised Chris Shugart that the unapologetically adolescent T-team should “save the testosterone for the gym,” Shugart noted in a sidebar that “my people â€” the Finns â€” had 44 wars with Russia. Now I know why.”
Zing and double-Zing!
But back to kettlebells. Girevik is a zine devoted to Kettlebell training:
What’s not to like in a workout that takes less than twenty minutes? If it doesn’t kill you in ten.
This month’s workout is an intense fat burning workout designed push your anaerobic capabilities to their limits. It is similar to density training and similar to Tabata training, but of course there is a twist.
It’s not pretty, but it works.
To perform this workout, you will need one kettlebell and a pullup bar. If one of these is not available, substitute in your exercise of choice. To start, place your Kettlebell 20-50 yards away from the pullup bar. Now, start off with 5-10 snatches each arm. Then, sprint to the pullup bar and perform as many pullups as you would do if you were doing a density training workout. Or perform a quarter to one third of your max number of pullups. Then sprint back to your kettlebell without stopping. When you arrive back at your kettlebell, perform 5 deck squats or 5 front squats with your KB. A military or side press is another option here. The bent press takes too much coordination for it to be safe here. Now take 30 seconds to rest, or however long it takes for your breathing rate to normalize.
When do you quit? It’s up to you. A good guideline is when it starts taking you longer than 30 seconds to return to normal breathing. Like a Tabata cycle, 6-10 circuits is probably enough. This is high intensity work, so keep the total time under 20 minutes. 15 minutes or less should be perfectly fine. Another option is to pick a time interval and then do as many circuits as you can. Over time, strive to perform more circuits in this interval. Or you can perform the same number of circuits and keep track of how long it takes you.
You can warm up for this workout by performing a few grinds, such as military presses, windmill or bent presses. To cool down, feel free to walk, do some light jogging, or do an Amosov complex of joint movements. Joint mobility drills are good for warming up or cooling down for almost any activity.