Adjusting A+A for Easy Hypertrophy (not really A+A)

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Snowman, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Snowman

    Snowman Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I just wanted to add a little experiment of mine to the collective knowledge. I’m transitioning my A+A snatches from the 32 kilo up to the 36 kilo, and I thought it might be beneficial to increase my volume with the 32 before stepping up. Bonus points if I could add a little muscle. My adjustments were pretty simple; I went from 16-24 repeats of 7 with the 32 (which was the most I could do before a small drop in power) to a mix between sets of 5 and sets of 10. It’s worth noting that sets of 10 snatches are no longer A+A, but still fit within the broader label of HIRT training.

    I did 14 sets every time I trained. I used the sets of 5 to accumulate some easy volume, and the sets of 10 were the meat of the program.
    I started out with 10 sets of 5, and 4 sets of 10. Over 4 weeks, I worked up to my highest volume day, which was 6 sets of 5 and 8 sets of 10. The majority of my volume was right in between, with 8 sets of 5 and 6 sets of 10.
    I had the program written out for up to 8 weeks, with the plan of evaluating things at weeks 4 and 6. I went ahead and ended it after my week 4 de-load (which was more like 3.5 weeks). Reasons:
    1) I didn’t like sets of 10, and
    2) the 36 kilo was going up pretty darn easy when I was working it into some of my sets of 5, which was the main reason for doing the sets of 10 anyways.

    I gained 5 pounds (from 157 to 162; I’m 5’10”) in a little under four weeks. Muscle definition still seems good, so I don’t imagine too much of that was fat. I was tempted to run it out for the whole 8 weeks and see if I could hit a ten pound gain, but that just didn't seem like it would have been worth it.
    My main dietary modification was going from 2-3 big-ish meals per day to 4 moderate sized meals per day, intentionally eating past satiety but not to the point of nausea. To be fair, this was probably at least half, if not more, of the stimulus for gaining muscle. Lots of meat and eggs.

    My typical weekly training was:
    Snatches 3 days/week
    BJJ 2 days/week
    Aerobic active recovery (mostly sub-MAF rowing) 1-2 days/week

    Basically, I increased food intake, kept volume about the same (dropped it a bit, actually), and tweaked the reps/set to give me a little systemic dose of acid for some of the sets. This gave me a little extra oomph with the 36 kilo 'bell, and it let me pretty easily gain a little over a pound a week of lean muscle without the typical suffering associated with a kettlebell hypertrophy program. It probably also helps that I was using a 'bell that was close to 1/2 bodyweight. You know, that whole "get strong first" thing.

    My hope was to see if I could run a hypertrophy program in the "background" of A+A training. While I'm sure the training effect of the A+A training was diminished due to the reduced volume and number of repeats, it still seemed to work pretty darn well.

    If you want to see more detail, you can look at my training log, from Dec 27-Jan 18.
    Harald Motz, fractal, Marty and 7 others like this.
  2. Al Ciampa

    Al Ciampa Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    ... or increase density and volume :D
    rickyw and Bret S. like this.
  3. Snowman

    Snowman Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Haha yeah, I hope nobody reads the title and thinks it's something paradigm changing. Turns out, snatching a lot and eating a lot will add some muscle. Alert the media. I was surprised how little effort it took, though. Especially since I didn't dial back any of my other activities. I'm sure compressing rest periods would have done the same thing. I like being well rested when I start each set, though, so this was essentially a way to do that while increasing density. I've been spoiled ;).
    Shawn90, Steve W., Sauli and 6 others like this.
  4. Al Ciampa

    Al Ciampa Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    To be honest, I didn’t believe that snatches could blow up shoulders (traps, I suspected) like they do until my shirts grew tight when I was testing the protocol. They’re loose again now...
    Sauli, rickyw, fractal and 4 others like this.
  5. WxHerk

    WxHerk More than 300 posts Certified Instructor

    You must've bought bigger shirts....
  6. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    Sauli, rickyw, fractal and 4 others like this.
  7. WxHerk

    WxHerk More than 300 posts Certified Instructor

    Dang, Anna. That's know how much I love to snatch!! I'm having a hard time doing anything else these days..
  8. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Lumberjack it! :)
    WxHerk likes this.
  9. Al Ciampa

    Al Ciampa Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Tim and I met in Denver in 16 or 17. We were supposed to collaborate on snatching and breathing project but I’m not sure what happened to it.
  10. Sauli

    Sauli Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Sounds pretty interesting. Perhaps after my rop cycle... 7 weeks to go with 32..
    Harald Motz, Bret S. and Snowman like this.
  11. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Well, sure, it's nothing unexpected or paradigm changing. But I really like to see these kinds of posts: "This is what I dd. This is why I decided to do it this way. These are my results."

    I find it interesting and valuable when people share these kinds of experiments/experiences.
    Harald Motz, Coyote, rickyw and 8 others like this.
  12. Patrik Novák

    Patrik Novák Triple-Digit Post Count

    Good day i dont known doing some new post ...
    Which program you have tested for muscle gain and strenght?Kettlbear program?Or KB Armour from.Dan John or Delorme Protocol ?
    I some combination Kettlbells with Barbell or Pull up...
    Thank you....
  13. Snowman

    Snowman Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    This 4 week cycle was an adjustment to "alactic and aerobic" training, with relies pretty heavily on kettlebells. I'm pretty new to the whole "hypertrophy" thing, so I wanted to see if I could adjust something I was already familiar with and get results. I don't have experience with much else in the way of hypertrophy training, so I don't think I could give you a good comparison. Just objective results, which is that I trained snatches 3 days a week and gained 5 pounds in a little under 4 weeks.

    If I can re-ask a question that was asked in another thread, what are your goals? You mention that you can only lift weights 2 days a week. I think that's fine, as long as you use those two training sessions wisely. I'm assuming that you're doing other types of training on other days of the week.

    If I was in your shoes, I would spend the majority of my lifting time doing lots of A+A style snatches and swings, with a small amount of pressing and deadlifting added in. I would also being doing a few hours of easy running each week. You're already pretty strong, to the point where getting stronger my not actually help you be a better fighter/soldier. It might be worth you time to simply focus on improving your ability to work hard for a long time while maintaining your strength and power, which is what you get when you combine easy endurance work and A+A training. Of course, you are not me, and I am not you, so my opinion about what you should do should not be taken too seriously ;)
    fractal and Bret S. like this.
  14. Patrik Novák

    Patrik Novák Triple-Digit Post Count

    Realy interested ...Yeah i have included snatch in my program...and after info which i learned from you Im put this exercies again...So that time will show...
    I have a question of how to look at the A + A training?Only lot of sets of heavy snatch?
    Yesterday i was doing Snatch 5sets of 5reps with 28kg and added to Snatch also some weighted Pull up and so ...
    Bret S. likes this.
  15. Snowman

    Snowman Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Patrik Novák I would look over the A+A thread (click here). I know it's long, but you'll probably get a good feel for things after the first couple pages. There are some heart rate graphs that do a good job of illustrating how you recover from each set, even if you don't use a heart rate monitor.

    The general idea is this:
    -Take a 'bell that you can snatch about 10 times. Do you snatches as HARD, AGGRESSIVE, PERFECT sets of 5. Do a set of 5 with one hand, rest, and then do the next set of 5 with the other hand, going back and forth the whole time. Feel free to use a size lighter 'bell if you feel like your technique isn't great. Power and explosiveness are crucial.
    -After each set, relax, walk around, and let your breathing and heart rate come down to comfortable levels. This usually takes around 60-90 seconds. Don't worry about timing it, though.
    -You want each set to feel explosive and powerful. There shouldn't be much difference in power between your first set and your twenty-first set. Once you start to slow down, it's time to end the A+A session for the day.

    If you're training twice a week, aim for a minimum of 20 sets of 5 in each session. An average of 30-40 sets is probably ideal. Start slow and get a feel for it. If your hands start to get ripped up from the snatches, you can mix in sets of 7 kettlebell swings, either 1 handed or 2 handed. Snatches seem to be the best exercise for training this way, but swings will work, too. You should also be able to do a few sets of pull-ups, squats, deadlifts, presses etc as well. Pick 1-3 extra exercises to train each session, and do 2-3 sets of 2-5 reps with each of them after your A+A work is done. Obviously, this means that you will have to be fairly fresh after your A+A session, which is what you want to be anyways. You will find that the snatch covers a lot of area, so you may not need to do as much in the way of training as you think you do.

    That's just a basic outline; there are certainly other ways to include A+A in your training. Again, I would encourage you to read the A+A thread to get a better understanding. Those of us who have done A+A for a while have been very impressed with the results, and many of us are current or former military. One reason this training works well, is that you can accumulate a rather ridiculous amount of volume over time, which encourages the body to make some very useful adaptations. It will gradually improve your power, conditioning, and overall durability (as long as you're recovering well).
  16. Patrik Novák

    Patrik Novák Triple-Digit Post Count

    Hmm i understand well thanks ...
    Snowman likes this.
  17. Patrik Novák

    Patrik Novák Triple-Digit Post Count

    So iam increase the frequency of exercise for 3-4 days a week ... This is a question of cleaning and printing on general physical preparation for life and service ??
  18. Patrik Novák

    Patrik Novák Triple-Digit Post Count

    I think exercises clean and press ...
  19. Snowman

    Snowman Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    If you start doing A+A snatches and they seem like something you're willing to stick with for a while, I believe there are 3 day/week and 4 day/week training programs already put together by people much smarter than myself. I could be wrong, but I think some of them are available to the public. If not, there are some basic rules to follow that would allow you to create your own with just a notepad and a calculator, but that is a discussion for another time.

    I think the clean and press is an excellent exercise, though many of us have found that high-volume snatches have done as much for our pressing strength as high-volume presses. I would look at the clean and press as one of the additional movements you could add to a program based on A+A snatches. You might increase the sets or reps a little bit, since single arm presses seem to require a little more volume to progress. Do enough sets of to get 15-25 total presses per side (for example, 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps), whereas deadlift, squat, bench press, and weighted pull ups usually only require 10-15 total reps per session (for example, 2-3 sets of 3-5 reps).

    There are clean and press programs out there that also include snatches, but my opinion is that you would get more out an A+A snatching program that has some clean and presses included once or twice a week. Both exercises are very good ways to train full body strength and power, but my experience and the experience of others seems to indicate that the snatch is the better of two.
  20. Patrik Novák

    Patrik Novák Triple-Digit Post Count

    Thats sounds good so I like for your advices and thanks...
    I will write some experiences after some time. ;)
    Snowman likes this.

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