A+A question. Why 1 arm instead of 2 arms?

Oscar

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For the last 2 years I didn't see this question addressed so here it goes:

For A+A protocols, why are the 1 arm snatch and the 1 arm swing usually used, instead of double snatch or 2 hand swing (very heavy)?

As far as I understand, A+A uses compound movements that require great power. But for 1 hand swings and snatches, the limiting factor usually is grip strength or unilateral strength. So why are one hand swings chosen over heavy 2 hand swings, or single bell snatches over doubles?

I know @Steve W. Likes double cleans, maybe because you can go heavier than single bell snatches?
 

Steve W.

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I know @Steve W. Likes double cleans, maybe because you can go heavier than single bell snatches?
Yes, I like double cleans because:
--You can overload the ballistic hinge without going to expensive monster bells, or buying or making a separate apparatus for heavy swings.
--The cumulative time zipped up in the rack leaves me feeling tied together and carries over to presses and double front squats.
--They feel very natural to me and I enjoy doing them, much more than double (two bell) swings, double snatches, or two-arm swings.
--I find they make a great complement to single snatches with the same size bell, and snatches seem to fly up when I've been practicing a lot of double cleans.

IMO, the double snatch is kind of a specialized exercise. You really have to lower the bells to the rack between reps, so the drop is like a double clean anyway, each rep takes a lot longer than single snatches, double cleans, or any type of swing, and there is more local muscular fatigue in the arms and shoulders (Neither side ever gets a set off as in alternating sets of single snatches). So I don't think they are as suited for high volume training. I also don't really enjoy them as much as single snatches.

Personally, I always prefer snatches and cleans over swings. I like the sense of completion at the top of each rep and the benefits of spending a lot of cumulative time zipped up in the lockout or rack position.

If you are just looking at swings, one-arm swings vs heavier two-arm swings is a legit question. I personally prefer gripping a KB with one arm for everything except goblet squats. Two-arm swings feel constricting to me both in terms of space on the KB handle and arm position (and I'm not a big guy). Staying squared up during one-arm swings makes me feel more tied together, and I kind of like the fact that grip is usually a limiting factor, for the grip strength development, but even more for autoregulation of progress.

I know some people just want to put two arms on the bell and swing heavier, and I don't think that's necessarily wrong, but in my personal practice, that need is filled by snatches (larger ROM = more potential energy to absorb/more kinetic energy to generate) and double cleans (larger mass = more potential energy to absorb/more kinetic energy to generate).
 

Al Ciampa

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Certified Instructor
"A+A" is more about the particular work:rest ratio, and high volume work at low biological cost. Single arm work provides unilateral, and an entirely under-appreciated, loading.

I personally dislike double snatches; but so what?
 

Sean M

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What does biological cost mean ?
@Anna C laid it out nicely here.

Well, Al could probably speak to this better, but I would say no, it wasn't created for the HR response or even the CVS adaptations, primarily. It's about building a certain kind of work capacity in a healthy, non-stressful, sustainable way. Strength, power, and muscular endurance to go the distance. Mitochondrial development is one primary objective because increased michondrial density has health benefits. Aerobic adaptations, yes -- but I think mainly of mitochondria and aerobic energy processes meaning fat-burning and aerobic glycolysis -- the energy to replenish PCr being supplied by aerobic processes rather than the increased sugar-burning and H+ production in anaerobic glycolysis fueling the work. Maybe also aerobic enzymes and increased capillaries. Heart and lungs - CVS? Sure, but sort of as a by-product -- they too become more effiencient to fuel the work being done and deliver oxygen and clear by-products (thus, lower HR for same work, and/or more work with same HR, as one gets stronger and better through the training).​
 

Bro Mo

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When doing 2H swings, I require more reps to achieve the same HR response. Those additional reps are at a cost of muscle damage I suppose.
 

Oscar

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Thanks all for the replies. I thought that the possibility of going heavier with 2 hand would be a benefit for A+A, in particular 2 hand swings versus 1 hand swings. I think I now understand that the focus is not on using the tool that allows the maximum power, but on doing a lot of quality volume at low biological cost.

Thanks!
 

krg

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When doing 2H swings, I require more reps to achieve the same HR response. Those additional reps are at a cost of muscle damage I suppose.
Actually, as a personal observation, I've observed the opposite. For me a set of 5 2HS will spike my heart rate higher than 1HS.

I think it's because I can express more power in the 2HS.
 

WxHerk

More than 300 posts
Certified Instructor
@Bro Mo are you using the same weight for one-handed and two-handed swings?

Actually, as a personal observation, I've observed the opposite. For me a set of 5 2HS will spike my heart rate higher than 1HS.

I think it's because I can express more power in the 2HS.
I believe it depends on the weight. You are likely using a heavier weight for the two-handed swings. Personally, the 48kg is my one-hand swing limit. That's as heavy as I can swing one-handed. Usually, it's a 32kg or 40kg, though.

Two handed, I usually swing the 56kg and sometimes 68kg. On occasion I swing a 92kg bell, with which I can get 5-7 good reps. Considering the same two hips are swinging the bell, the heavier bell(s) should spike the heartrate higher. Yes, I am working a bit to keep my shoulders square and torso aligned, but I do not believe that will make a big difference in heartrate, at least nowhere near the difference between lighter/heavier bells.
 
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