Video: Jesse Melamed Progresses His Kettle Bell Strength Training Program With Physio Aaron Dobie

Jun 17, 2020
by Aaron Dobie  

Exercises: Single Leg Deadlift @ 3:45, Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat @ 5:50, Single Leg Skater Squat @ 8:14, Single Arm Snatch to Squat @ 10:53, Plyometric Vertical Jump @ 15:19

For the past 8 weeks, Jesse Melamed has been progressing through a Kettlebell strength and conditioning program. The COVID-19 pandemic gave Jesse an opportunity to learn the technique required with kettlebells so he can add it to his training toolkit. Kettlebells require practice and dedication to let the body gain the mobility, strength and motor control required to train safely and maximize the benefits.

With the recent relaxation of social measures and the start of the 2020 race season getting closer, it was now time for Jesse to begin a new program. I designed the next program to include and progress some of the kettlebell exercises Jesse has been doing but I also needed to include exercises that are more mountain bike and race specific. As Jesse's on-bike riding volume (total time/km per week) is increasing, I decreased his strength training volume and ensured only essential exercises are included. His total strength and conditioning training decreases to 2 times per week from 3 times per week.


A summary of Jesse's training schedule from April 20-June 12 and his new program from June 15-Sept 7 is below:

Program 1: April 20 to June 12 (8 weeks) - during phase 1 and 2 of COVID-19 pandemic
- Strength and Conditioning - 3 days per week - Warm-up including mobility (hips and spine mobility specific), foundations training, posterior chain activation

- Day 1: Single Arm Kettle Bell Swings / Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat / Push ups
- Day 2: Kettle Bell Swings / Deck Squats / Bent over row
- Day 3: Snatch / Goblet Squat / Pull-ups

- Cycle 1 @ 16kg: W1: 10x10 per, W2: 10x15 per, W3: 10x20 per, W4: Rest
- Cycle 2 @ 20kg: W5: 10x10 per, W6: 10x15 per, W7: 10x20 per, W8: Rest

- On-Bike Training: 3 times per week - riding for the mind and soul. Mainly lower zone capacity/endurance on gravel bike or easy MTB trails


Program 2: June 15 to August 7 (8 weeks) - during phase 2 and 3 of COVID-19 pandemic
- Strength and Conditioning - 2 days per week - Warm-up including mobility (hips and spine mobility specific), foundations training, posterior chain activation, Turkish Get Ups

- Day 1: Anterior Chain Strength + Power including Snatch to Squat, Single Leg Squats, Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats, Broad Jumps
- Day 2: Posterior Chain Strength + Power including Kettle Bell Swings, Single Leg Deadlifts, Rows, Vertical Jumps

- Two 4-weeks cycles (including 1 rest week) with varying reps/sets based on the exercise

- On-Bike Training: 5x per week
- 2 structured workout rides - a) V02MAX intervals b) ATP Intervals
- 1 extra long ride (race-like duration)
- 2 other rides for fun and working on skills


Aaron Dobie is a Sports Physiotherapist from Vancouver, BC. Aaron is working as team Physio with the Giant Factory Off-Road Team on the DH and EWS series and providing Online Physiotherapy (telephysio) through InReach Online Physio - @dobiept

Jesse Melamed would like to thank his sponsors - @jessemelamed


51 Comments

  • 12 0
 I'm not seeing the gains I thought I would with my kettlebell program. I bought a kettlebell at the beginning of lockdown and used it twice, what gives?
  • 2 23
flag Isey (Jun 17, 2020 at 12:43) (Below Threshold)
 ur suprised you didn't achieve any gainz after two kettlebell sessions?
  • 12 0
 You have to sleep with the kettlebells under your pillow, it's like a textbook. Gains are achieved through osmosis
  • 3 0
 That's weird, I only touched mine a few times and that did the trick. Didn't even use it. You should ask for a refund!
  • 6 0
 I think Jesse is not only a talented rider but has serious potential as a personality. Can’t put my finger on it but all of his content is just plain honest and genuine. I could be wrong but he seems like a very down to earth guy.
  • 4 0
 Thank you! I appreciate the sentiment!
  • 1 0
 @dobiept @JesseMelamed
Interested to work this into my riding season!

During program 2, how were the varying reps/sets determined? Based on how tired from riding Jesse was that week? Basically I'm trying to figure out how hard to go on the workouts while still trying to ride a lot mid season. Thanks!
  • 4 0
 It all comes down to workload management - quantifying the amount of stress/work done on the body in a given day/week and how that fits into the month and week before/after. Short answer: variable. Jesse has a good understanding of when to push in the gym and when to walk away with energy left. This depends on the time of year as well as current state.
  • 1 0
 @dobiept @JesseMelamed

could we see the warmup program as well? im interested specifically in the hips and spine mobility bit - working at a desk all day has made this a big focus in my training but im mostly flying blind here. love this content, much appreciated!
  • 3 0
 Start with the 12min Foundations video that I linked. Then add a "couch stretch", "pigeon stretch", "open book" and "wall chest stretch".

Contact me if interested in more.
  • 2 0
 On top of what Aaron said, I do some clamshells and glue bridges to fire up the glutes as well.
  • 2 0
 you guys rule ill add those in! working at a desk all day is killer for hips back and glutes
  • 2 0
 @Albatrosse: Definitely! Getting up and walking around or at least walking on the spot every hour would be a huge help too, but isn't always easy to do.
  • 1 0
 During the 2nd phase does Jesse usually do the Kettlebell work on the same day as his intervals to aid in recovery or does he do them whenever he fits the sessions into his schedule? Seems like there's opposing thoughts on that (stacking hard bike workouts and strength vs doing them on different days)
  • 2 0
 With 5 rides, 2 workouts and a rest day, there is more required work than days in the week. So he doubles 1 workout and one interval session per week leaving him the ability to have a day off.
  • 2 0
 It definitely varies and depends on how I feel. Because I structure my own program I do a lot of it based on how I feel for that day. I like to try and stack gym and intervals once a week to get 2 of the hard work sessions done in one day.
  • 1 0
 Jesse if you see this. I also included sport kettlebell training this year in my my training program. Do your self a favor if you can. Get some competition kettlebell if you can get you hands on some not too expensive by those days. Once you get used to them. they to me work so much better. They are all the same size and they won't destroy your forearm has much because the grip is of a smaller diameter. I have followed your vid and they were instructive. Good season.
  • 2 0
 Interesting note! Thanks for that, I'll check out the competition style kettle bells next time I go to the gym and see how they compare.
  • 3 0
 Bring him to #bearea51. It,s a 50/50 trail fastest lap time is 14min or so. Sandra Walters likes to train on it.
  • 5 0
 Let me get a few more weeks of training in!
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: Reach out I can give you a tour.
  • 2 0
 @JesseMelamed: You are ready now!
  • 4 0
 Dobby and Frodo got reunited
  • 6 0
 new spinoff. copyrighted.
  • 1 0
 @dobiept What changes could one do to adapt the program for folks starting out less fit than Jesse. Last year, I did a workout plan of another professional athlete and quickly developed elbow tendonitis Smile
  • 1 0
 This is a very common problem and I treat many injuries include due to people following a program that isn't designed for them. It all starts with an assessment to determine what you need and what volume is appropriate.
  • 1 0
 You need to hire a professional for your specific needs!
  • 3 0
 Awesome! Thanks for sharing this
  • 3 0
 You're welcome!
  • 1 0
 such a good video , kettlebells are awesome and super good for Mtb training , like having a full gym at home , can't wait to see you back racing @jessemelamed
  • 2 0
 I look forward to seeing what Jesse does this year as well!
  • 1 0
 Me too! Can't wait!
  • 1 0
 @dobiet Well done! really awesome to see the progress you are making in mtb/physio field
  • 1 0
 Thanks a lot!!! Hope you are well. Miss your trails.
  • 1 0
 Curious why you'd chose a program with high reps? Seems like a good way to get the DOMS.
  • 1 0
 Best too look at total volume (reps x sets x load) to assess work-load and potential for DOMS.
Program 2 is less volume than Program 1 as Jesse is spending more time on the bike now.
  • 1 0
 I was kind of going for DOMS at that point. I wasn't riding as much and wanted something else to focus on. Time and place for everything.
  • 1 0
 What happened to the pink kettlebell?
  • 1 0
 I told him he had to get a bigger one so he didn't make the exercises look so easy. But he still made them look easy.
  • 1 0
 It's not Pink, its Salmon. And that is a strong color. HAHAH!
  • 1 0
 @dobiept: I want to let you know after watching the first video I started playing around with being disciplined about my hand and foot placement with my TGU. I used a maker on the floor as you mentioned. It was a little awkward at first but after a few sessions I noticed a bump in the ease with which I flowed through the movement. Good stuff! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
  • 1 0
 Nice snatch
  • 1 0
 Jesse or me? HAHA
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