We’ve got tens of thousands of reviews combined on Amazon, Cavemantraining, Facebook, and many other places, and in general, they hang around the 4, 4.5, to 5-star rating. That’s all great, but how do our books compare to others out there? We asked someone who is a fan of other publishers how our newly released kettlebell workout book compared to the one they wanted to compare it to. Tobias Prudlo decided to compare our workout book to Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel Tsatsouline.
Enter the Kettlebell Versus Kettlebell Workouts and Challenges 3
As I am no native English speaker, please excuse if my wording sometimes is a bit clunky.
Wherever I thought it’s suitable I’m going to compare your content to “Enter the Kettlebell” from Pavel Tsatsouline which I have read in the German release ”Kettlebell Training”. Initially, I have to state, that the books differ fundamentally. Enter the Kettlebell provides a very strict and simple protocol based on very few techniques (Swing, Get-up, Clean, Press, Snatch) whereas you provide a broad variety of techniques, challenges, and workouts. So the common ground is limited and the books have different intentions, but wherever I saw a chance, I draw a comparison.
One thing that came to my mind right away is the different approaches to Kettlebell training between Enter the Kettlebell and Kettlebell Workouts and Challenges 3. Pavel has a strict “Do it this way”-approach and concentrates on the absolute necessary (and efficient) basics whereas you provide many techniques, sometimes with different forms of execution, and multiple ways to connect them. This is nonetheless efficient, but to me means more diversification and with that, more fun. But this applies only with a limited look at that single book. Looking across the limits of Enter the Kettlebell it’s obvious that Pavel offers a lot more techniques as well.
Enter the Kettlebell is a book to lead the beginner to kettlebell training and offer him or her a simple training schedule, which will lead to quick progress and results. With this focus, Pavel pursues a strict approach to the techniques that shows only one way to do it, which is appropriate for beginners.
In contrast, I understand Kettlebell Workouts and Challenges 3 as a book for an experienced kettlebell athlete that knows the basic technique and is searching for new workout schemes and challenges. You point out that there are more ways to execute the swing, clean, or snatch (…), which the experienced athlete is interested in and should know to handle.
I appreciate the extensive additional content you offer via (mostly free) weblinks to many topics like stretching, warmup and so much more. Pavel has much content online as well, but in Enter the Kettlebell not thematically put together and served on a silver platter like here.
Addressing the expectations of the reader right at the beginning and connecting them with what you offer in the book also is a great idea. I enjoyed it and it made clear to me, what I had to expect.
On page 7 you express some safety instructions, which makes sense. I was wondering whether it would make sense to point out here, that for some techniques it is necessary to use the appropriate weight, not too heavy but not too light as well. In the workout and technique sections, this is pointed out but an initial hint here would make sense to me.
Under “Naming and workout explanation” there is a lot of KB-specific vocabulary used, which the newbie won’t be able to follow. But as this is not a book for the beginner it’s OK, I think.
Let’s dive into the workouts then where I would like to start with some general annotations:
I would like to state first, that your workouts are great (KWC1-3). All of them. I haven’t carried out all of them by now but everyone that I did was a great experience and often the subtleties occur not until you repeat them a couple of times. Some of them I have modulated frequently when I train in my cellar with a limited ceiling height (to kneeling- or half-kneeling-stand for example). As you point out in the Alternatives and Programming sections the experienced athlete is invited to adapt them to their level of fitness and mobility as well as the space available.
I don’t like to discuss the workouts in concerns of technique and/or compilation as it’s your concept and a great inspiration. Acting as if I knew it better would seem cocky to me. So I only made a point up when I couldn’t understand something or anything struck me.
The structure of the workout section contended is felicitous. I like the sections and the way they’re sequenced, especially the “workout data” and “workout” on their single pages.
The workout duration of the KWC3-Workouts is between 15 and 35 minutes. In KWC1&2 there was at least one Workout that was much longer (Thorax) which I enjoyed and practiced a lot since I found it. As I personally like to do workouts that go over a longer distance (meaning duration) I’d be happy to find some longer ones in the future.
I would find it enriching to add some supportive and/or complementing training equipment like a resistance band, steel mace, gymnastic rings, or slam-ball, whether as single techniques or in a particular chapter. You did this in KWC1&2 with additional techniques. But this is my personal opinion, as this is the way I’m training, using everything “functional” from bodyweight to barbell.
The photo sequences are absolutely mandatory to me as they often tell me more than a thousand words.
To the Challenges:
The social-account support is a great and motivating offer, unfortunately, I haven’t tried it out by now. It’s wise from you to give supporting rules to make the posts comparable.
The FAQ section is very beneficial with well-chosen questions
To the Training Instructions:
In this part, you explain many techniques and how to execute them properly. Your quotes are based on your experience. That is great as at the end of the book you tell the reader something about yourself and your great expertise. Some of the explanations are supported with an derivation from the muscular or skeletal body structure (page 288ff). This makes it much more plausible. Additionally, I would find it beneficial to support academic results of research for some of the instructions. I found this in great manner in the books from Ross Edgley (World’s fittest book, art of resilience) for example.
On page 212 you give some instructions for wrist training. I think without pictures only the very experienced practitioner will be able to put this into practice.
On page 229 you announce different ways to start the HHS but I didn’t find this in the following text.
The comparing illustration of the HHS vs. Squat-Swing on page 233 is great!
On page 286ff you give much information on the Swing and its variations. This is a good example to refer to Enter the Kettlebell again, where Pavel is referring to only one form of the Swing (hardstyle).
Another big difference comparing Enter the Kettlebell and Kettlebell Workouts and Challenges 3 is the explanation of the hardstyle snatch.
Pavel begins at the backswing whereas you begin at the lockout.
At the end of the backswing you both show a slight torsion in the upper body from which I’m not sure if this is intended.
Pavel describes a “high pull” as part of the upswing whereas you describe a pulling movement from the hips. As a result the elbow is much higher at Pavel in the endposition of the upswing.
In the same phase (upswing) Pavel advises to lean aggressively towards the KB whereas you advise to lean back (counterbalance).
I haven’t gone more into detail on these differences but will research this in the upcoming sessions to find out what’s my opinion here.
Thank you very much for putting in so much work on this book and its former volumes as well as your daily content on Instagram and other online channels.
So this is my honest opinion about the book and what I have found out reading it for the first time (surely not the last time). I really enjoy kettlebell training and researching the different techniques and it was great fun to read Kettlebell Workouts and Challenges 3. I hope this is what you expected handing me out a copy and that you can benefit from it. Please let me know if it’s so. I keep my fingers crossed that the book sells well and pays off the serious work you put into it.
Nice review 👍. I am a huge fan of Pavel and followed the hardstyle technique for almost 20 years. What I could never do was stick to one of the programs. I’d try Enter the Kettlebell and make it a few weeks and start missing jerks. Or I’d do S&S and just get bored.
I was always peripherally aware of the kettlebell sport technique but never looked into it. When I discovered Cavemantraining on YouTube it was like a whole other world suddenly opened up. There was so much fluidity and smoothness to the technique I instantly became obsessed.
I think Hardstyle is great, particularly for people who use the kb as a “tool” or a means to an end. I look at them as part of my daily routine, but also very similar to martial arts. Always chasing the perfect technique. And I believe Cavemantraining gives so many creative options and workouts it’s impossible to get bored.