A+A for beginners

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Tommygray89

Level 1 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I am was wondering are A+A swing protocols a good starting point for beginners getting into kettlebell training or should they first achieve a baseline ability with a program like S+S?
 

Steve W.

Level 6 Valued Member
@Tommygray89,
@aciampa can speak to whether any of his protocols is appropriate for a beginner, but I'd like to point out that S&S IS an A+A protocol.

From the wording of your post, it isn't clear whether you understand that, and are just interested in Al's protocols, or whether you are interested in Al's protocols because they are A+A and S&S is something else.
 

Tommygray89

Level 1 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Oh okay I didn't think S+S was an A+A style program. I would have thought S+S would have been using more of the glycolytic fuel system as the workload is a lot shorter and higher reps than the other A+A protocols that I have read an used.

I am programming for a friend, she is a keen mountaineer and rock climber, and has asked me to write her a program to increase her strength and stamina without getting her "bigger". For strength I have her GTG pistols ( she can already achieve these) and pull-ups as well as doing TGUs and single leg deadlifts 3 times a week.
For conditioning I was going to use the swing.


Normally I would program a beginner to chase the simple goal using S+S, however having been using an A+A snatch protocol myself ( and been very impressed by the results) I was wondering if an A+A protocol such as the one Craig Marker put up on breaking muscle ( The Hybrid Power Conditioning Program ) or one of Al's protocols would be a suitable alternate entry program or if I should have her achieve the Simple standard first and then work onto an A+A protocol
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
If she's a beginner, just buy her a copy of S&S. It has all the progressions for learning how to swing properly. Make sure she follows the instructions in the book to swing hardstyle and recover sufficiently between sets. She can add in pistols and pullups when the urge strikes with no worries, maybe on a day off from S&S. Why reinvent the wheel?
 

jca17

Level 5 Valued Member
This was actually a highly discussed perception people were having about S&S. A lot of us saw the time goals and thought the point was to get through the swings all the time really fast. There's a lot packed into S&S, and when you have some SFG's unpack it (like Al did on the forums), you see that it is A&A. Some people might need 20+ minutes to get through the swings when they first are doing 10x10. For me it usually takes around 14 minutes right now to get through the swings while keeping my heartrate below 185 - (age). Once someone has experience, a decent compromise for time efficiency and avoiding overworking is every minute on the minute (so 10 minutes of swings).
 

Steve W.

Level 6 Valued Member
Oh okay I didn't think S+S was an A+A style program. I would have thought S+S would have been using more of the glycolytic fuel system as the workload is a lot shorter and higher reps than the other A+A protocols that I have read an used.

No, for daily training you want to stay as anti-glycolytic as possible, taking as long to recover between sets as necessary. As @jca17 mentions, this has been discussed a lot here on the forum.
 

Tommygray89

Level 1 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I guess it's time for me to re read my copy of S+S. I seem to have caught in the trap of thinking the "testing" is the training.
In which case I think Craig's protocol would be the best for her. Slowly build her to 10 reps on the minute for 10 minutes and then start the protocol and test her against the standard at the end of 6 weeks.
Thanks for the help
 

Steve W.

Level 6 Valued Member
I guess it's time for me to re read my copy of S+S. I seem to have caught in the trap of thinking the "testing" is the training.

In fairness, many people (including myself), especially those not familiar with the A+A concept, initially interpreted the book this way.

Edit:
I just took a look at the Craig Marker protocol linked above. It follows the same basic A+A concept as S&S, just adapted to 3 days/week training, with increasing volume over 6 weeks; the effort and recovery parameters are identical.

Certainly a worthy program, especially if 3 days/week training fits your schedule better than training daily.

For a beginner I think your idea about ramping up to the baseline 10 sets of 10 (also part of S&S) is wise.
 
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Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Where do I start?

@Tommygray89 if she gains strength beyond what her current muscle mass can support then, she will gain weight; or, she will not gain any additional strength. Its relative.

A+A is a moving target, and not the same target in every individual. I am a perfectionist when it comes to the individual so I don't like blanket programs, but, if they work, they work.

Generally speaking
, ~10 sec of work followed by an individual amount of rest, for approaching 40-60min sessions is effective for endurance, and, if the bell is heavy enough, strength. The variables can and will change as one gets "fitter".

I like S&S as a start point because, while seeing gains in fitness, it teaches the beginner how to swing, which is the most important element at this point in their training. Progressing to the snatch, and dialing in your work:rest ratio, volume, and session(s) duration, seems to be where this is all going.

For mountaineering and climbing, the participation itself is "endurance training", so strength training might be enough for her to see better performances.

Sorry I can't be more specific.
 

taedoju

Level 3 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@aciampa as far as i understand the concept, the adaptation caused by A+A protocol comes mostly by developing mitochondria within the muscles to better use of oxygen ? I wonder how close it is to cardiac training, done to stretch heart walls by eccentric hypertrophy..
 

Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@aciampa as far as i understand the concept, the adaptation caused by A+A protocol comes mostly by developing mitochondria within the muscles to better use of oxygen ? I wonder how close it is to cardiac training, done to stretch heart walls by eccentric hypertrophy..

This is oversimplifying the concept.

We can only speculate about cardiac adaptations. To my knowledge, no researchers are looking at this.
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
To remain A+A is the rest period "active" or does it need to be really "restfull" more just strolling around a bit and shaking out the muscles used?

Trying to adapt this to rowing machine and wondering between slow, easy rowing vs more much less work really slow and more emphasis and breathing and settling back down if that makes any sense
 

Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Active rest works too. Watch the intensity, and make sure that you are recovering.
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
And recovery is per heart rate, yes? My understanding of it is a bit spotty but A+A is NOT LSD even though HR may stay in same rate range?
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
If push intense intervals to 15 or 20 seconds AND HR remains in "the zone" will it still be alactic? I have been doing that the past week w/ 2 minutes active rest between for 30 minutes and even after final interval HR still 120 or below...
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I brought my kettlebells to a sports physiology lab one time and had my lactate levels measured. After a regular S&S warmup, my lactate level had already elevated above the normal baseline. Surprised, I asked the professor about it and he said, "Of course you're producing lactate. You were doing squats." So while my HR was not elevated out of "the aerobic zone" and I was not working hard yet, I was not "alactic." For what it's worth...

I think that a lengthier contraction like a grind will produce more lactate, whereas a brief application of extreme power like the swing may not, because the energy can be supplied by the alactic energy source (then replenished by the aerobic, for A+A; this is Al's work). I also tend to believe (this part is just my opinion) that you can cross over that line while doing swings if you hold the contraction to the extreme in the standing plank, thereby producing lactate and driving the HR up.

Think of the total TIME that the muscles are contracted during the 15 seconds of whatever you're doing. Squat, or bent press -- a lot of muscles, contracted for 15 seconds. Swing -- a lot of muscles, but the force application in total is a lot less than 15 seconds.
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
Thank you Anna. Rowing much closer to swings in regards to time though even more muscle groups involved I think. I am doing 10 reps in that time so maybe 10 seconds total contraction time. Hopefully that will be fine. And if not, guess I am training something else. I do know my overall endurance seems to have increased slightly in just the week or so of every other day of doing it...
 
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