Old Forum Double KB WTH

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etristan

Level 5 Valued Member
Been practicing doubles work or a few weeks/month or so. Nothing super intense, just cleans,  presses and squats in various rep/set schemes. Took a good bit of this time off from pull ups, which was hard. However, last week I decided to do some pull ups after a practice session. WTH?! My pull up felt easy?  I was able to bang out eight reps at the end of a workout without practicing them for several weeks.

 

Mind...Blown....
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
It may be unexpected, but really, it is not "wth" but a pleasant surprise at best.

Several weeks is insignificant for easy bodyweight calisthenics, and 8 pullups is not a lot. That is within the realm of "average" for a healthy fit person.
 

etristan

Level 5 Valued Member
I didn't say I pr'ed or anything. Just commenting on the level of perceived exertion.  Besides, I think that any time your training yields an unexpected benefit it falls into the WTH realm. Perhaps we should define a new category for insignificant and lesser surprises. How about the IBD effect. "I'll Be Damned." That way, WTH can be reserved for true feats of might and athleticism.
 

Jason Ginsberg

Level 4 Valued Member
Good work Stan, great example of the WTH effect, and one that I've seen over and over in myself and others.  I've found kettlebell work often increases the number of pullups that can be done, or the weight of weighted versions, with no direct pullup training. Good job!

I can relate about the teenager comment; I wish I'd discovered all this stuff much earlier than I did.
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
I didn’t say I pr’ed or anything. Just commenting on the level of perceived exertion.  Besides, I think that any time your training yields an unexpected benefit it falls into the WTH realm.
With kettlebell training, it seems many have an overly mystical view of it. My first handstand pushup was done without having done any sort of handstand pushups (it was in fact a beginner trying to get into a handstand by pushing up from a headstand). That was not a "wth", but simple a result of having relevant training and strength before attempting it. At the time, I did not think it was anything special...I was just happy to be in a handstand as I had very limited room at the time and couldn't get into one properly.
Perhaps we should define a new category for insignificant and lesser surprises. How about the IBD effect. “I’ll Be Damned.” That way, WTH can be reserved for true feats of might and athleticism.
We do not need such categories at all. All training will yield some results which have some application outside of training. We need to be a little more scientific and consider what is happening with our bodies, not treat the kettlebell and training with it as some sort of mystical experience.

The first time I picked up a kettlebell, it was over 1/3 of my bodyweight (it was a 53 lb kettlebell), and I could easily clean and press it and "snatch" it (with horrible form). When I had two of them, I could easily swing them both for reps. Is that "WTH"? No. That is a result of being strong and that strength being applicable to kettlebells.

The "WTH" effect is extremely common, but only kettlebell users seem to be mystified by it to give it a name and think it is specific to kettlebell training.

* Getting stronger means one is stronger...so one should not be mystified when that strength exists in other movements which involve the same joints.

* Unless the improvement is extremely impressive, small improvements should not be surprising, especially if you have trained the movement before. Training deadflifts for a while, taking a break from deadlifts while using kettlebells, and then going back to deadlifts may very well result in some increase. Then again, a short break without any training, or some other form of training, may very well result in the same increase or no increase.

* Confirmation bias should be avoided.

 
 

kb dan

Level 3 Valued Member
Stan, I consider this a WTH effect. And if you felt like "....what the heck?!?" when it happened to you, it was a WTH moment.

Great work. Keep getting stronger
 

etristan

Level 5 Valued Member
Thanks, Daniel. Had another this morning when I ran around my neighborhood this morning and discovered that the hills were suddenly not so tough any more.

 

Herr, the reason kettlebellers are so into the WTH effect is that kettlebells produce great results with relatively light weights.  Something like maintaining or improving a deadlift using goblet squats and swings is awesome. Hands down. It is a fantastic feeling anytime training pays off. Even something as seemingly mundane as push mowing feeling easier after a few months of the Program Minimum can feel miraculous.
 

Jason Ginsberg

Level 4 Valued Member
Stan, good insight, well said.

Herr, in my case, I took a bit over 6 months off from deadlifting, did only kettlebells, came back and added 55 pounds to my 1rm pr, hitting 2.5 bw deadlift for the first time.  There are many, many other people who have done more or less the same, including someone who posted recently with almost the exact same numbers as me, who did it under much more challenging circumstances than I did. This would not have happened if I had just taken time off and not worked out. What other non-barbell modality (in case this was not clear, I did no barbell training during this period) do you think would have produced the same result?
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
Jason, getting stronger makes one stronger.

You are not going to convince me that there is a mystical element to training with kettlebells.
What other non-barbell modality (in case this was not clear, I did no barbell training during this period) do you think would have produced the same result?
The "WTH effect" is a confirmation bias in most cases, or just a case of getting stronger. Examining the specifics of each case would probably reveal the simple answer. As a whole, it is heavily self reported and based on confirmation biases.

Any activity which increased strength in some manner and contributed to healthy and mobile joints would likely be observed to have a positive effect on non-elite performance in other contexts.

 

 

 

 
 

Jody Beasley

Level 5 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Herr, you have made a great point. There is nothing magical or mystical about kettlebells. It is simply getting stronger. Having said that, the WTH effect can be applied to several things: swings increasing deadlifts, one arm pushups increasing presses, squats increasing running speed and endurance. I don't think anyone really thinks there is magic involved. It is more like, "wow, I have only been training X and now Y has also increased."  I have also experienced the swings boosting my deadlift. It was my initial "test" to see the effectiveness of kettlebell training. I followed Pavel's Rite of Passage for 6 months, zero barbell work, and my deadlift went from 385 to 450, 2.5 times my bodyweight. Magic? No. The kettlebell work using the 'hardstyle' method taught me more about creating full body tension to maximize strength and addressed strength leakages by increasing my glute, hamstring, and abdominal strength resulting in a stronger pull. I was sold. Now, after doing this again and adding actual deadlifting I didn't see a gain in strength, most likely programming issues, but showed me that the WTH effect has a limit in that once one reaches a certain point, more specific training has to be applied in order to make gains, in this case, more deadlifts, plus maybe heavier swings.
 

Jason Ginsberg

Level 4 Valued Member
Herr, how about answering the question, instead of talking around it? There was no confirmation bias in my case, and I did not try to convince you of anything mystical. I'm glad you can acknowledge that one could actually get stronger with kettlebells. I also did not ask you to explain why my deadlift improved.  Here's the question again, since, despite quoting it, you seem to have missed it:

"What other non-barbell modality (in case this was not clear, I did no barbell training during this period) do you think would have produced the same result?"

One example please, of any modality besides kettlebells or barbell work that improves the deadlift without deadlifting. Not the press, bench press, etc, the deadlift. One modality. No jargon, just the name of one modality that consistently takes people from 2bw deadlift to 2.5bw deadlift in a reasonable period of time, without deadlifting. I am honestly curious; if there is such a method out there, I have yet to come across it, and I would love to know about it.
 

AndyMcL

Level 6 Valued Member
Jason, just to play a little devils advocate; I've had good results from doing a lot of heavy prowler work for lower body strength. I also had a friend who was a good sprinter. He never lifted in high school, but after learning the lift he was able to easily do a double BW deadlift. Coach Sommer has anecdotes about his gymnasts preform incredibly in the weight room.

Basically, any form of resistance training can produce unexpected adaptations. Getting stronger and more powerful makes everything easier, regardless of the modality.
 

prowler83

Level 3 Valued Member
Jason, Herr Mann  seems to be a master of side steping questions, he must work in politics. Fact is constant negative droning about Kettlebells is becoming somewhat tiresome. Have an opinion fine, but Why say the same things fifty times over, I ask? Many posters on the forum have noticed Increases in Deadlift after having a rest from Deads and doing Swings. Its pretty well documented, end of. Hopefully someone will do a proper controlled scientific study to verify things on a more accurate level. I think it would be intresting to get guys who never Deadlifted at all, just swung and get them swinging for a period of time then test there Deads.

Andy, Agree that there may be transfer of strength from one Modaility to some others in many instances. But I think the KB Swing as many well documented examples.
 

Jason Ginsberg

Level 4 Valued Member
Jason, just to play a little devils advocate; I’ve had good results from doing a lot of heavy prowler work for lower body strength. I also had a friend who was a good sprinter. He never lifted in high school, but after learning the lift he was able to easily do a double BW deadlift. Coach Sommer has anecdotes about his gymnasts preform incredibly in the weight room.

Basically, any form of resistance training can produce unexpected adaptations. Getting stronger and more powerful makes everything easier, regardless of the modality.

 

Andy, thank you for a clear, and helpful, response, see how easy that was everyone?  I've never trained with prowlers, nor have the powerlifters I know, so that's been off my radar.  Not so practical here in NYC. Just to be clear, did you see improvement in your deadlift from doing them? I could visualize it, sort of, now that you mention it, but it's not something I knew of, so thank you for adding to my knowledge base.  Probably not a modality I'll be using myself of with those I train, but good to know about nonetheless.

With your sprinting friend, that is also very cool, although there is a big difference between 2bw and 2.5, that is still quite good for a non-powerlifter. When you say after he learned the lift, do you mean the same day, or after weeks/months of practice? I've never done any sprinting, but keep hearing great things about it, and it's something much more practical for me to incorporate than prowlers.  Dan John has sung the praises of hill sprints, so I'd like to give those a go as well.

As far as Coach Sommer, that is a very valid example.  There are a few caveats though; one, the athletes Coach works with are national level gymnasts, knocking on the door of "elite", putting in several hours a day, under expert coaching, and using a variety of specialized equipment, some easy to replicate (rings), some less so (stall bars). Furthermore, they are youths, who weigh very little, and numbers do matter; some one deadlifting 300 at 120 lbs is great, but not as impressive as hard as pulling 500 at 200. I take Coach Sommer's word for it, since I have a lot of respect for him, but I have yet to see video of any of his gymnasts doing it, or hear more than one name mentioned. On his forum, he mentioned that he himself, when he tried barbell work, could not pull that much, despite his gymnastics training.

See, with actual answers, we could have an intelligent discussion comparing pro's and cons. To put this all in perspective, with maybe a dozen or less exceptions, I've never spent more than  10 minutes doing kettlebell swings, snatches, or cleans in my life, using a few kettlebells that take up a tiny bit of closet and corner space in my apartment. I bought them for far less than a year's gym membership at most of the gyms where I live, and I use them for many other things besides improving my deadlift and pullup numbers; upper body strength, upper and lower body flexibility andjoint mobility, injury rehab, etc. Significantly, many of the same kettlebell exercises that improved my deadlift also improved my conditioning at the same time, which is very time efficient for me. And I rarely work out more than 20 minutes a day, often less on average. So, for me, the kettlebell is a very well-rounded way to achieve a lot of things at once, in a way that I enjoy, which does not require paying for a gym or leaving my home, in a very time efficient manner. Some things, like sprinting, might make a good complement, some, like the prowler, probably not. But for me, and many people I work with, it does an excellent job for what I ask of it.
 

Jason Ginsberg

Level 4 Valued Member
Aaron, your right of course, and normally I try not to feed the trolls, but every so often I slip. And in this case, something good came out of it, Andy's response, which was quite helpful and interesting.
 

AndyMcL

Level 6 Valued Member
Jason, thank you for your good response. The thing I like most about this board is that most of the posters are very open minded when it comes to training. Many other forums something like this would just turn into an argument, but here it can be a intelligent discussion.

There are a few caveats with the Prowler example. I mainly used it after I injured my back and had to give up conventional deadlifts while I recovered. My lower body training was essentially goblet squats, lunges/split squats and prowler pushes, with most of the volume coming from the sled. I honestly wish that I had used kettlebells back then, because they would have been a fantastic addition. I did not increase my deadlift during this time, but after months of rehab my deadlift was exactly where I had left it pre-injury. Could a Prowler purely be used to drive up someones deadlift to an exceptional level? Likely no, but at the very least it is an exceptional assistance exercise. One of the biggest benefits is that it's relatively low impact and has no real eccentric portion, so the recovery is quick. I think they would pair fantastically with kettlebell ballistics for this very reason.

Yes, there is quite a difference between 2 and 2.5BW. However when I say "learned the lift" I mean a week after he started lifting, and the first time his coach had him go heavy. Considering he had no groove at all I consider this very impressive. When Kettlebells help individuals improve their lifts this is normally after the lifters have a solid base of experience and technique to build upon. Obviously, specificity is pretty important and he added something like 50lbs by the end of the season.

Yes, in this case I am cherry picking. The example I'm thinking of is one of his athletes deadlifting 400lbs at a BW of 135 his first time ever performing the lift. Just under 3x BW. But, as you mentioned this is one of the coaches strongest athletes and an individual with a lower body weight. If this individual had focused on powerlifting I'm sure with his work ethic and natural talent the number would be much higher.

The deadlift is definitely an interesting example. From my experience many things can help build the deadlift, where as many lifts do not feature the same kind of carryover. For me personally the only thing that helps squatting is squatting. Deadlifts, kettlebells and unilateral work do very little to even maintain my numbers in the back squat. I recently switched my pressing from dips and military press to bench pressing and was startled by how much I struggled with the exercise.

To expand the conversation, what exercises of others found to carry over well, and what exercises have they needed to resort to spending lots of repetitions on?

I for one have found that most pulling exercises complement each other well. I spend most of my pulling on weighted chins, but when I switch to something like Front Lever progressions or rows I find a corresponding increase in strength.
 

Jason Ginsberg

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks for the expansion Andy, that was very interesting and makes a lot of sense.  I have heard similar from several folks regarding pressing, that bench carries over to press more than vice versa. You see bench and/or incline bench in a lot of routines from olympic lifters designed to increase the press, from the days when olympic lifters still competed in the press. Nonetheless, I continue to do presses for the time being, instead of bench, mostly for reasons of practicality.
 
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