The What, the Why, the How

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What is the Kettlebell Mastery System?

The goal of the kettlebell mastery system is to give our members multiple opportunities for "Mastery Experiences" by teaching the intensive library of kettlebell exercises in a developmental sequence over time dependent on the skill & strength progression of the individual.

The first and foremost source of self-efficacy is through mastery experiences. However nothing is more powerful than having a direct experience of mastery to increase self-efficacy. Having a success, for example in mastering a task or controlling an environment, will build self- belief in that area whereas a failure will undermine that efficacy belief."

The system aims to teach six core kettlebell exercises (Deep Six) and two advanced exercises. While those aren't the only exercises we learn & train in our groups, they are the foundational focus of every Primal Members training experience.

The Levels & Kettlebell curriculum

The Levels

  • Essentials

  • Level 1: Protege

  • Level 2: Swinger

  • Level 3: Ninja

  • Level 4: Master

The Kettlebell Skills

  • Swing

  • Getup

  • 1-Hand Swing & Single Bell Clean

  • DBL Swing & DBL Clean

  • Press

  • Single Bell Snatch

  • Double Snatch

  • Single Bell Clean & Jerk

Each level has exercises you are *learning*, exercises you are *training*, and ultimately move on to the next level by challenging yourself to complete a "Level-Up" workout. Leveling-up includes a display of technique mastery and a level specific endurance workout.

The KBMS is not a quick fix, nor is it designed to be a workout you can "zone out" during. Our training system is designed to engage our members in the journey that is strength training.

In order to create a roadmap for this journey we've optimized our skill development sequence by breaking the eight exercises into 4 distinct levels within the Kettlebell Mastery System.


Learn the..

  • 2-Hand Swing

  • Getup

Level 1: Protege

Train the..

  • 2H Swing, Getup

Learn the..

  • 1H Swing & Single Bell Clean

  • DBL Swing & DBL Clean

Level 2: Swinger

Train the..

  • Swing, Getup, 1H Swing, Clean, DBL Swing, DBL Clean

Learn the..

  • Press

  • Snatch

Level 3: Ninja

Train the..

  • Swing, Getup, 1H Swing, Clean, DBL Swing, DBL Clean, Press, Snatch

Learn the..

  • Double Snatch

  • Single Bell Clean & Jerk

Level 4: Master

  • Train all of the KB skills because you are basically a badass and may become a primal coach someday.

Check out the COMPLETE Level-Up testing sheet HERE.

NOTE: To round out the training experience our programs aim to deliver on the 5 basic movements: Push, Pull, Hinge, Squat, Carry. Then, what Dan John calls the "6th Movement" which is *everything else*. Think: crawls, groundwork, rotation/anti-rotation, jump rope, plyometrics, etc.

Why does this system work?

Group kettlebell training is simple, not easy.

The kettlebell has a library full of exercises. It takes a specific progression tactic to learn, train, and master each skill. But, what happens when you are managing a group of individuals who are all training at different skill levels? More importantly how do you progress each individuals kettlebell skills safely over time and still deliver a great training experience to all members of the group?

These are questions we faced for years at Chicago Primal Gym. We have actually created, innovated, and experimented with many different versions of kettlebell/"strength" mastery systems until finally simplifying the system down to its core.

The Kettlebell Mastery System is designed to take individuals of any skill level and systematically teach the all of the core kettlebell skills.

The system works because it aims to keep things simple. Each level dictates two things,

1. The exercises you train.

2. The new skills you learn.

This skill development sequence works because it is dependent on the individuals rate of progression rather than when the system dictates an individual should progress.

It sets up our members for for success, continued skill development, and opportunities for mastery experiences.

How does this system work?

This system is brought to life through a few key systems running on quarterly, weekly, and daily cycles. More detailed information on each can be found by clicking HERE.

1. Training Floor Organization: Squares

2. Program Presentation: Google Slides & Monitors

3. Programming System

4. Daily Program Stands

5. Mastery Celebration System

6. Kettlebell Mastery Day

Last but not least: while these systems are essential in running an air-tight kettlebell training system, the REAL “how” is simple:

This system's success is solely driven by the passion and expertise of the coaches delivering the product.

This statement cannot be underestimated.

If you and your coaching staff are dedicated to loving, educating, and inspiring every person that walks through your doors you will succeed.