Kettlebell Triple Wave Starts Today


Waving the load - or enforcing smart variance in the load - is a key concept in smart sustainable programming. Americans tend to do it a little more planned - like the Wendler 5/3/1 which is a step cycle linear progression. The Soviets tended to be a little more decoupled with the volume and load.

If you look at the big picture, they’re more similar than they are different. The reason I tend to like the Soviet-style progression is that when programming for a class, I can’t guarantee that everyone will be there every day to follow the program. So having a little more variance in the day-to-day work means that you don’t miss a critical progression like you would in a typical American-style program.

This month we’re doing to do one of my favorite new progressions. I’ve done it a couple of cycles this winter and spring, and it was really easy to follow, didn’t beat me up, and I got stronger and better with the kettlebell movements. I’m calling it the “Triple Wave” progression and you’ll probably see a lot of this in the future.

The fractal self-similarity of the week-over-week, day-over-day, and set-over-set load is really cool. I tried to show that in the figure above. We have three movements (Double Clean & Jerk, Double Front Squat, and Barbell Deadlift) - those are represented by the three colors in the plot. The bars are the total “intensity” for the day and the lines within the bar are the total “intensity” for each set.

The “intensity” measure is a combination of volume (number of reps) and weight (fraction of 1RM). Increasing your reps or weight will increase this single “intensity” measure.

Cool things that you see in this figure: The total day-to-day intensity follows the “rule-of-three” where you don’t want increases more than three days in a row. Likewise the day-to-day intensity of each movement also follows the rule-of-three with each movement being out of phase with the others so that nothing too bad adds up in one day. Even the set-to-set intensity within a day follows the same rule. This lets you reach for a heavy single to keep your nervous system primed for heavy lift but you spend most of your time in that good 75-85% range where all the strength gains happen without crushing you.

Since we can’t train strength every day, our plan for June is to do the Triple wave every other day and on the off days we’ll get our AGT. This differs from my normal pattern where I put AGT in at the end of the workout. Now you’ll be able to have a focused strength day and then a focused AGT day where you can really keep the power up and not worry about being rushed.

Of all of my programs, this is one of the ones I’m most excited about. I hope you find it as fun as I did.

Michael Deskevich