Beginning Kettlebell Training during Build?

I have a 16lbs kettlebell that I haven’t used and I haven’t really been strength training at all. I do play soccer for cross training once a week but that’s not much. I’m considering starting some light strength training to build a bit of core strength for racing season but I’m aware that it’s somewhat late in the training cycle (I’m mid-way through build).

Would it be best to hold off altogether and start next base phase? Or is there a compromise that wouldn’t screw with my on the bike training?

I would love any recommendations (also with regards to exercises, reps, number of sets and days, progression or websites/apps with training plans/videos etc).



I’m a kettlebell guy too, due to some injuries I haven’t been using them lately, but I’m also starting back up.

Just off the top of my head some of my favorite exercises -

#1 without question favorite is the Turkish Getup. Nothing else that I am aware of trains as many strength and stability muscles at the same time. My 15 year old Son and I do them every work out, he started out zero weight just the motion and was still smoked early on.

#2 We of course like Swings

#3 Kettlebell Squats (take your pick on Goblin, Sumo, etc)

#4 Kettlebell Deadlifts

#5 Kettlebell Lunges (also numerous variatons)

#6 Kettlebell Bent Rows

#7 Kettlebell Halos I feel like this helps a lot with upper body stability for maintaining that bike posture.

#8 Kettlebell Press

I usually workout with one bell, with the exception of the overhead press and lunges and such, I like to focus on my grip etc.

my .02 YMMV, but whatever you do, try the Turkish Getup.


2nd vote for the Turkish Get-up! There is no single exercise that I love but also really hate more. Haha.


Check out MTB Strength Training. James Wilson has a number of KB based programs designed to be incorporated with training.


I love kettlebell workouts, I never could get into more traditional barbell training. I would add another vote for Turkish Getups. I need to get back to it, but my usual workout would consisted of:

  • 5 heavy Turkish Getups per side
  • 10 sets of 10 reps single arm swings mixed with descending ladder of push ups (e.g. 10 swings left, 10 swings right, 10 pushups, 10 swings left, 10 swings right, 9 push ups… all the way until you get to 0 push ups)
  • 5 x Goblet squats to press mixed with 5 x ab rollouts

I’ll also throw in some random stuff occasionally, like bent rows, shoulder press or overhead carries (I have weak shoulders), and planks.

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Simple and Sinister.
Easy to follow program. Great results on posterior chain and overall strengthen the body, especially through the get up.

But you’ll need heavier KB for that.

I have 3 KB gathering dust at home…after i’m done my Sprint Tri program i think i’ll add them to my Oly Build phase.
Just gotta manage a schedule with Oly Tri, Progressive Calishtenics and Kettlebells.

I love the kb, being able to comfortably (and properly) swing a 75lb’er is quite satisfying. If you need more info about it ask away :slight_smile:

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Take your time with progressing. In the past, I would overdo it, especially on the swings, and be so sore that I had a hard time getting around let alone getting on the bike.

+1 on the TGU


How often would you do something like this per week? Especially considering that being in build and on track for my target events my on-the-bike TSS are already quite high? Would once a week have any effect or would that just be wasting time?


I imagine! But that’s more than half my body weight. Maybe the 16lbs will be okay to get the form right for a while and then I’ll upgrade. :slight_smile:

How many weekly sessions of this would you do for this to have any effect?

I was also thinking that 16 lb would not be that heavy.
Although 75 lb is a different ball game completely.


I suppose I can always get another one. As I said, I haven’t done much for upper body/core strength or flexibility in a very long time and I’m quite light, so I figured starting with something that I don’t drop on my head during a TGU might be good. :slight_smile:

How experienced are you with hip hinge exercises?

If you haven’t been doing much in the way of strength training or mobility work maybe do a mobility assessment before starting weight training. Once you know you have the range of motion and the muscular control then you can start adding weight.

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I think the main query is whether this is a good thing to introduce in the build phase… does it help or hinder - build can see increasing TSS indoors combined with spring season upon us and more cycling volume outdoors ? as a mid 50’s guy i feel i should be doing this type of strength training, but my previous experiences have been poor as it took a fair few sessions to not be crippled the next day or ruin my cycling rides… so how long would it take to adapt so as not to damage goals… and add benefit… is it as simple as 6 weeks before a major event? (i.e. less time could hinder adaption?)

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Usually once, maybe twice per week if I am feeling up to it (basically on the mid volume rest days, I tried once to do weights on the same day as a ride and I absolutely had no energy to hit targets). I think even once a week you would still see benefits.

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You’ve received lots of good suggestions above. Some general [additional] comments:

Year round strength training, including during the Build Phase, are massively under-rated by cyclists and extremely important. While it’s your lower body that propels you forward, its the upper body that provides the stabilization to do so (and as a result, a great core minimizes any losses of power). There are also direct benefits of delivering power into the pedal stroke from upper body conditioning, particularly on standing climbs and sprints. And, of course, all of this power is transferred to the lower body via the core. This is a year endeavor, although if you have built a strong base during base period, then it can be more maintenance focused during build. Finally re strength training: If you don’t have a lot of experience, start small, grow gradually and learn proper technique. Best is to have a knowledgeable trainer who can watch your form.

Similar to strength training, year round flexibility training is critical. Everyone has their own approach to this, but I find that stretching and rolling after EVERY bike ride has improved my flexibility immensely. So, for example, riding in the drops for extended periods of time, is not difficult.


I’ll echo what you are saying here because I think it is important. If you haven’t done it before, start with lower weight than you think, and really concentrate on form. Bad habits can injure you when you try to move up weights.

I had done plenty of kettle bell workouts in a group setting in the past before moving away from the gym I went to. When I started cycling again and wanted to add kettle bells into my training I even went and found a local coach that was willing to do a form check with me to make sure I still knew proper form and felt comfortable working on my own without injury.


Oh for the TGU you definitely will want to start on the lighter side to not injure yourself.

But for the swing the 16lbs might be good for one-handed swing, 35lbs + for 2-handed.

I currently can’t do the 75lb’er because i’m too out of touch with it at the moment, but a few years back, even though i was half my body weight, i just LOVED playing with it (for my swings)

How many weekly sessions? With simple and sinister you want to work every day pretty much but it’s a short and sweet of workout. So if you have a training plan w/ Trainerroad i’d do it on your days off.

Message me your email if you want more details about the program (i think you can probably find most of the info online)

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I agree with this totally, the first few weeks we get back into the program, we do them with body weight only, or at max a 5lb bell.


I really enjoy doing kettlebells. I use a 14kg and I won’t be going any higher. It has taken me 4 years to get that far. I started with an 8kg. It seems kettlebells go up in 2kg increments and that is a big jump for a while.

My back and core got a lot stronger using kettlebells. Much better than using static machines at the gym. I do a kettlebell session on each rest day, along with some yoga.


Excellent. 8kg is what I have which I guess is technically a little more than 16lbs. Anyway, what exercises did you find useful at that weight? Mind sharing your protocol?