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Programming Improv Block Training Thread

musicsherlock

Level 6 Valued Member
“Jerk it until you can Push Press it.
Push Press it until you can Military Press it.
There are three ways to Push Press:

[1] Lower your KB(s) back into the rack, using a “controlled drop” - a sort of “freefall” from the lockout into the rack by catching the weight with the rack itself and absorbing the weight by bending the knees.

[2] Lower your KB(s) back into the rack, keeping the knees straight, using a “passive negative” - just resisting the load on its way down.

[3] Lower your KB(s) back into the rack, keeping the knees straight, using an “active negative” - using your lat to pull the KB back down. “

Above is from a @Geoff Neupert email blast
 

guardian7

Level 7 Valued Member
“Jerk it until you can Push Press it.
Push Press it until you can Military Press it.
There are three ways to Push Press:

[1] Lower your KB(s) back into the rack, using a “controlled drop” - a sort of “freefall” from the lockout into the rack by catching the weight with the rack itself and absorbing the weight by bending the knees.

[2] Lower your KB(s) back into the rack, keeping the knees straight, using a “passive negative” - just resisting the load on its way down.

[3] Lower your KB(s) back into the rack, keeping the knees straight, using an “active negative” - using your lat to pull the KB back down. “

Above is from a @Geoff Neupert email blast

Thanks for that. It gives a good overall perspective and is more motivating to learn the clean and jerk and how it might fit together with programs like the giant and progressions. Paying more attention to the negative I know has helped my presses and shoulder health.
 

Bauer

Level 7 Valued Member
Another observation on block training an motor learning:

This week I started my next LCCJ block and progressed from CJCJ to CJCJC (adding a clean). Somehow, without forcing it, I have gotten faster/more efficient with my LCCJs and my sets take about the same amount of seconds than without the added a clean, feeling more fluid while still being 'hardstyle'.

I know from learning musical instruments, that it is often recommended to stop practicing a motor pattern for some time, to let some pruning happen in the motor cortex. When you return to practicing your instrument, you will often find that your motor patterns improved and you make fewer mistakes or play with more ease. (Which is completely different from learning factual knowledge.) Somehow, the brain is very good at unlearning the faulty patterns and keeping the better ones.

Pavel also mentions this effect in ROTK.

Very cool to see it happen!

I also feel that if some light joint or muscle issue tends to sneak up during a block, that switching to the next block is usually enough to let it dissipate. Most of the time it does not return. For example, I had a light elbow issue from carrying my daughter, and pressing seemed to aggravate it slightly. It went away during my next LCCJ cycle and did not bother me again.
 

Francisco

Level 5 Valued Member
Another observation on block training an motor learning:

This week I started my next LCCJ block and progressed from CJCJ to CJCJC (adding a clean). Somehow, without forcing it, I have gotten faster/more efficient with my LCCJs and my sets take about the same amount of seconds than without the added a clean, feeling more fluid while still being 'hardstyle'.

I know from learning musical instruments, that it is often recommended to stop practicing a motor pattern for some time, to let some pruning happen in the motor cortex. When you return to practicing your instrument, you will often find that your motor patterns improved and you make fewer mistakes or play with more ease. (Which is completely different from learning factual knowledge.) Somehow, the brain is very good at unlearning the faulty patterns and keeping the better ones.

Pavel also mentions this effect in ROTK.

Very cool to see it happen!

I also feel that if some light joint or muscle issue tends to sneak up during a block, that switching to the next block is usually enough to let it dissipate. Most of the time it does not return. For example, I had a light elbow issue from carrying my daughter, and pressing seemed to aggravate it slightly. It went away during my next LCCJ cycle and did not bother me again.
Very very cool observations @Bauer !
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
That's a really interesting idea, and I like your considerations. I think it could also be a variation for repeating a block.
IIRC, Geoff once recommended something like this for the Giant: Start with Push Press, then repeat with Push Press + Active Negative, then Press.

Not sure if this helps, though.
That’s a good suggestion. Ideally, because I made a plan to just do regular DCJ that’s what I’ll stick with until the end of this programming experiment. If I like the results of this 15 weeks from now and stick with this type of programming, that’s something I’ll consider. I’ll keep it in the back of my head for this program, too, though, in the event that later phases don’t agree with me and I am forced to modify. Thanks.
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Isn't the purpose of the clean and jerk to enable the use of greater weight and volume than even the push press? As Steve Friedes mentioned in a recent post on another thread is that it spreads out the load in the body. If you can do reps with a controlled eccentric that would seem to be leaving potential on the table with regard to what you could do with a heavier or greater volume clean and jerk alone.
Let’s switch from discussing PP to CP just to make the contrast to CJ easier; my return to rack form for PP is the same as CJ.
CJ can definitely let you handle greater weight, but it depends about the volume. If the CP relative intensity matches the relative intensity level of your CJ (same RM as each other, not same weight as each other), or whatever exercise, theoretically you should be able to get the same volume. If we’re talking about the same actual intensity (same weight as each other, not same RM as each other), then I agree I’d expect to get lower volume with the CP. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If my goal is to increase my press without pressing, as long as I’m getting enough volume it’s totally okay to have a lower volume than with the CJ, and it’s okay that I’m not spreading the load throughout my body as much because I specifically want to sneak the pressing stimulus in.
I wonder if the difference you noted and I have as well is the difference between a hardstyle clean and jerk and a kettlebell sport clean and jerk that might account for some differences. The KB sport rack is clearly different.
Can you clarify what you’re referring to? I’m sure it’s an excellent and intelligent point, I’m just running a bit slow this morning.
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Another observation on block training an motor learning:

This week I started my next LCCJ block and progressed from CJCJ to CJCJC (adding a clean). Somehow, without forcing it, I have gotten faster/more efficient with my LCCJs and my sets take about the same amount of seconds than without the added a clean, feeling more fluid while still being 'hardstyle'.

I know from learning musical instruments, that it is often recommended to stop practicing a motor pattern for some time, to let some pruning happen in the motor cortex. When you return to practicing your instrument, you will often find that your motor patterns improved and you make fewer mistakes or play with more ease. (Which is completely different from learning factual knowledge.) Somehow, the brain is very good at unlearning the faulty patterns and keeping the better ones.

Pavel also mentions this effect in ROTK.

Very cool to see it happen!
Agree with all of this.
In physical therapy (and other fields) we distinguish between learning and performance. Learning is the ability to perform something now in the session where it’s being taught, performance is the ability to perform it again at a later time/date/location. What matters in life is performance.
Two classifications of practice are variable and blocked. Variable is switching between multiple tasks and blocked is only performing one task. Blocked practice is best for learning, but variable is best for performance. The theory is every time you switch your brain has to access the motor pattern again and every time it does that it makes improvements and ingrains those improvements, whereas just repeating the same thing over and over let’s the brain run on autopilot so the pattern adjustments don’t happen for the long-term. It’s a spectrum, though, and everyone is different, so the trick is to find the right number of repetitions to get the pattern down, then switch to something else for a bit, then return to it again later. If you switch too often you never get the pattern in the first place, and if you switch too infrequently you are on autopilot. This isn’t to say that blocked practice CAN’T help your performance; it definitely can. Studies just seem to indicate that variable practice (again, at the Goldilocks level) is a more efficient way of getting there. The Goldilocks level differs for everyone and can be impacted by a whole host of things, like being beginner/intermediate/advanced, bad-form baggage versus being a blank slate, slept well versus didn’t, etc.
For fitness it gets a little more complicated because we are trying to improve fitness qualities which require a certain amount of consistency to be stimulated to improve and they have a shelf life. In that case, two to three week blocks seem to be the Goldilocks level from a motor learning perspective. From a pure fitness perspective, though, go ahead and do something for 2-12 weeks, because what matters is the consistency. If you like 2-3 week blocks, have at it, if you like 12 week programs, have at it.
Some other ways to sneak in a little extra variability for improved motor learning are rep ladders instead of straight sets and supersets (with or without rest)/complexes/chains instead of completing each exercise‘s volume individually before going to the next.
I also feel that if some light joint or muscle issue tends to sneak up during a block, that switching to the next block is usually enough to let it dissipate. Most of the time it does not return. For example, I had a light elbow issue from carrying my daughter, and pressing seemed to aggravate it slightly. It went away during my next LCCJ cycle and did not bother me again.
Very much agree.
 

Bauer

Level 7 Valued Member
Agree with all of this.
In physical therapy (and other fields) we distinguish between learning and performance. Learning is the ability to perform something now in the session where it’s being taught, performance is the ability to perform it again at a later time/date/location. What matters in life is performance.
Two classifications of practice are variable and blocked. Variable is switching between multiple tasks and blocked is only performing one task. Blocked practice is best for learning, but variable is best for performance. The theory is every time you switch your brain has to access the motor pattern again and every time it does that it makes improvements and ingrains those improvements, whereas just repeating the same thing over and over let’s the brain run on autopilot so the pattern adjustments don’t happen for the long-term. It’s a spectrum, though, and everyone is different, so the trick is to find the right number of repetitions to get the pattern down, then switch to something else for a bit, then return to it again later. If you switch too often you never get the pattern in the first place, and if you switch too infrequently you are on autopilot. This isn’t to say that blocked practice CAN’T help your performance; it definitely can. Studies just seem to indicate that variable practice (again, at the Goldilocks level) is a more efficient way of getting there. The Goldilocks level differs for everyone and can be impacted by a whole host of things, like being beginner/intermediate/advanced, bad-form baggage versus being a blank slate, slept well versus didn’t, etc.
For fitness it gets a little more complicated because we are trying to improve fitness qualities which require a certain amount of consistency to be stimulated to improve and they have a shelf life. In that case, two to three week blocks seem to be the Goldilocks level from a motor learning perspective. From a pure fitness perspective, though, go ahead and do something for 2-12 weeks, because what matters is the consistency. If you like 2-3 week blocks, have at it, if you like 12 week programs, have at it.
Some other ways to sneak in a little extra variability for improved motor learning are rep ladders instead of straight sets and supersets (with or without rest)/complexes/chains instead of completing each exercise‘s volume individually before going to the next.

Very much agree.
That is very interesting stuff. Thank you.

Actually, I try to have some variability within my sessions, like doing some sets with a narrower or wider stance, varying the rep speed, etc.

I think I picked that up from reading Todd Hargrove's works.

At the moment I like the focus on a single exercise per block - but I am still quite new to C&P and LCCJ and more in a learning phase, I feel. I can see the appeal of a more conjugate approach and might consider it sometime later, when I feel that I somewhat own the movements.
 

Bauer

Level 7 Valued Member
Some data after 16 weeks, 8 weeks of C&P and 8 weeks of LCCJ.

Exec summary: Steady progress during all blocks (either measured in tonnage, number of lifts, or average reps per set).

My LCCJ tonnage (counting each C and J as a rep) increased pretty evenly so far, going from 20xCJ to 30xCJCJC

SFKB Plan A 22-12-10 LCCJ Tonnage per Week.JPG


My C&P NL also increased (the waviness is part of the plan):

ROP 2.0 22-12-10 Weekly Number of Lifts per Arm.JPG

Towards the end of this cycle the NL will remain constant. However the density and the average reps per set will keep increasing, due to changes in the ladder format.

ROP 2.0 22-12-10 AVG Reps per Set.JPG
Edit: Y-axis always displays the training weeks from bottom to top.
 
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Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Quick update:
All my blocks are 3 weeks, alternating between Snatch focus and DCJ focus. I did an intro block of each (6 total weeks out of 24), then my first real block of Sn (9 total weeks out of 24), and now I’m in my 3rd week of real DCJ (just started 12th total week out of 24).

Pressed double 32s for the first time tonight. While doing my warmup of Clean + Seesaw Press I felt like I could easily get an actual Double Press so I went for it and it was pretty easy for 1 rep, probably is a 2-3 RM. It’s been almost 9 months since focusing on pressing but I’m now pressing more than I’ve ever been able to with single and double kettlebells (not sure about barbell; haven’t tested). Thank G-d, it seems like the shoulder rehab I did and the programs I’ve been running recently are getting the job done even without prioritizing pressing.
 

Ege

Level 6 Valued Member
The level of details and the depth of the concepts in this thread is above my knolwdge.

I loved reading the thread and came to a simple conclusion for my self after also googling how long it takes to loose strength and flexibility training, (it is like 2-3 weeks in general.)

All the combination of this information makes perfect sense for strength like skills.

If you want to develop attribute a, and attribute b. Instead of focusing 6 months to one of them and dropping it totally to focus on the other attribute, you can have two weeks cycles in between them.

At the end of the year, you will be accumulating more of the early days gains for each attribute.
 

Bauer

Level 7 Valued Member
If you want to develop attribute a, and attribute b. Instead of focusing 6 months to one of them and dropping it totally to focus on the other attribute, you can have two weeks cycles in between them.

At the end of the year, you will be accumulating more of the early days gains for each attribute.
I think that summarizes it just fine :)
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Two workouts left for KSK 1.0 Phase 2 with the 24k. Total Snatch volume higher than Phase 1, RPE lower even with more reps/set and with performing more total reps each session.

Nervous about DLCOD 1.0 Phase 2 with D32k; sets of 5 in Phase 1 were tough, sets of 6 should be fine, I think the sets of 9 will be tough but doable…but the sets of 12 are intimidating. I also was nervous about KSK 1.0 Phase 2 before starting but it was magically doable and relatively easy, so hopefully it will be the same experience with DLCOD Phase 2.

I think (no way of proving) switching blocks to the heavier DLCOD was the magic that made KSK 1.0 P2 doable; if I’d gone straight into it from Phase 1, I don’t think I’d have been able to do it with nearly the same volume and RPE I’ve got now; it would have been a misery fest every workout.
 

Ege

Level 6 Valued Member
Immediately I was fascinated by the whole concept of block training and how I myself could implement it. Then I asked myself if there are good reasons to implement it.

I tried to read some articles and research on this concept. It seems to be a training method for elite athletes. This seems to also be implicit in Pavel´s book Return of the kettlebell, since this is an advance program for people who have reached half bodyweight press. His more entry-level books S&S and Enter the Kettlebell is not suggesting block training. The problem this method tries to solve is that for elite athletes in order to improve exercise or ability X, you have to train it so often that combining it with a lot of other exercises within in the same period is not sufficient. But is this a problem for most of us ?

Nevertheless. I was training the kettlebell front squat for a while some months ago and I was progressing steadily for some months, until I stopped progressing. Maybe here is a place where it would have been wise for me to start with block training in order to improve even further. For example mixing it with heavy 2h swings.

Anyway. It will be interesting to see your progressions and if you feel that the progression you had from this way of programming the exercises is superior to the results you have gotten from other programs.
These are all relevant points.

I wonder if it might help “beginners as well”. Let me ask to you and anybody that could answer.

I have beginner issues as a result of long years of sedentary life, injuries, and imbalances etc. as a result indeed I need to work on very basics such as probably OS Resets and mobility, but since those issues are going to last a long time to resolve I feel like I can not focus on either strength or cardio development.

Maybe I could have two three weeks of mobility, cardio, OS resets like programs to address those fundamental issues and 2-3 weeks of strength training.

How does it sound?

Because I can work on Calisthenics strength programs to an acceptable level but not KB.

What do you think? I am not sure if I was clear about my question.
 

Bauer

Level 7 Valued Member
These are all relevant points.

I wonder if it might help “beginners as well”. Let me ask to you and anybody that could answer.

I have beginner issues as a result of long years of sedentary life, injuries, and imbalances etc. as a result indeed I need to work on very basics such as probably OS Resets and mobility, but since those issues are going to last a long time to resolve I feel like I can not focus on either strength or cardio development.

Maybe I could have two three weeks of mobility, cardio, OS resets like programs to address those fundamental issues and 2-3 weeks of strength training.

How does it sound?

Because I can work on Calisthenics strength programs to an acceptable level but not KB.

What do you think? I am not sure if I was clear about my question.
I think this could work. I would opt for two + two weeks. Personally, as written above, my joint or muscle related issues here and there went away during the two week layoff (for example, if pressing triggered something in my elbow, the LCCJ block helped to get rid of it).

Overall progress might seem slower, however, in my experience this way of training is very sustainable and keeps each block quite simple, not having to address everything at once. I was able to train for almost six months without missing a single session (only this week did I choose to skip a session due to bein sick and experiencing general fatigue).

That being said, I would try to have at least one basic endurance session even during strength blocks.

A) OS resets (esp. loading the gait pattern), Relax into Stretch, Flexible Steel (or similar) + 3 aerobic sessions per week
B) Strength training 3x per week + 1-3 easier aerobic sessions per week.
 

Ege

Level 6 Valued Member
I think this could work. I would opt for two + two weeks. Personally, as written above, my joint or muscle related issues here and there went away during the two week layoff (for example, if pressing triggered something in my elbow, the LCCJ block helped to get rid of it).

Overall progress might seem slower, however, in my experience this way of training is very sustainable and keeps each block quite simple, not having to address everything at once. I was able to train for almost six months without missing a single session (only this week did I choose to skip a session due to bein sick and experiencing general fatigue).

That being said, I would try to have at least one basic endurance session even during strength blocks.

A) OS resets (esp. loading the gait pattern), Relax into Stretch, Flexible Steel (or similar) + 3 aerobic sessions per week
B) Strength training 3x per week + 1-3 easier aerobic sessions per week.
Thanks! Fantastic!

Looking forward to passing through w my Hypertrophy cycle soon and give this one a try. I have already lost 8 pounds. If I could lose an other 15 while keeping up the hypertrophy program I am done with Hypertrophy this year at least.
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Two workouts left for KSK 1.0 Phase 2 with the 24k. Total Snatch volume higher than Phase 1, RPE lower even with more reps/set and with performing more total reps each session.

Nervous about DLCOD 1.0 Phase 2 with D32k; sets of 5 in Phase 1 were tough, sets of 6 should be fine, I think the sets of 9 will be tough but doable…but the sets of 12 are intimidating. I also was nervous about KSK 1.0 Phase 2 before starting but it was magically doable and relatively easy, so hopefully it will be the same experience with DLCOD Phase 2.
Quick update: I was unsuccessful with getting a set of 12. After a back and forth with @Geoff Neupert (thank you very much for your assistance and guidance) in my training log, it was decided I am not ready DLCOD 1.0 Phase 2 with D32. He made some excellent suggestions for modifications I could/should make…I really wanted to stick with DCJ using D32k and alternating with blocks of KSK so I came up with a different set of ladders to use and will be sticking with my same general theme. One big point that he made, though, was alternating blocks of single Kb Snatch with blocks of DCP/DCPP would probably have been a better idea. It’s worth reading the whole exchange (only a couple of posts) but that was a key point.

Short version for my program: instead of DLCOD as my DCJ block, I’ll be using a different ladder scheme. Otherwise the general approach and philosophy are the same: 3 weeks KSK with single Kb snatch, 3 weeks DCJ ladders Autoregulated for 20 minutes with the goal of increasing density.
 

JamesPTA

Level 6 Valued Member
@Sam Goldner

Have you looked at RMF from Express Ultra? I had used it to help me build up volume and confidence with a 5RM. The first phase is geared to lower rep ladders and the 2nd phase is more forgiving with the high volume days. it's certainly another option, and the phases are 4 weeks long, so you should still be able to get by with a 4wk block of LCCJ and 3 wks of KSK.

hope that helps
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Have you looked at RMF from Express Ultra? I had used it to help me build up volume and confidence with a 5RM. The first phase is geared to lower rep ladders and the 2nd phase is more forgiving with the high volume days. it's certainly another option, and the phases are 4 weeks long, so you should still be able to get by with a 4wk block of LCCJ and 3 wks of KSK.
I have not; I can’t find it in my edition of Express Ultra.
I’m also trying to keep the blocks a maximum of 3 weeks.
Thank you for the suggestion, though,
 

BillSteamshovel

Level 5 Valued Member
This Dan John video reminded me of the way blocks of different training procedures are discussed in this thread, might be of interest to some of you

youtube.com/watch?v=eb0ai9M02og "Can kettlebells substitute all of your training ?"
 
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