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Kettlebell Dry Fighting Weight - Methods of Auto-regulation

EricB

Level 1 Valued Member
Hello All!

First time poster, long time lurker. There's a ton of folks on here that are a lot smarter than me, so I thank you and appreciate your responses in advance.

Quick background:
M /45 yo / 6'2" / 212lbs
Married, father of 3, grandpa to 1, operations manager at local electric utility
Sport of choice these days is Obstacle Course Racing, where I'm about the middle of the pack in Age Group category (i.e. competitive). Football/track in HS, bodybuilding in college, flag football and one year of semi-pro football post-college, then started in endurance sports (running, cycling, triathlon) 15 years ago and eventually transitioned to OCR focus a few years ago.
Consistently lifted weights since HS, so no stranger to the iron game. I've owned KBs now for several years, but have never tried a KB-only program.

Yesterday, I started both Q&D and DFW. Q&D will be M/W/F (033) using 24kg for swings, Monday's session will immediately precede my DFW session (both done after work), and W and F sessions will be done first thing in the morning, whereas my DFW sessions will remain after work on those days. Since it's my offseason for OCR, just sticking with two easy 4ish mile runs per week to maintain my base over the winter.

For DFW, I used double 24kg, and managed 114 reps (9 full ladders plus 1,2), taking deliberate breaks between each ladder rung and did fast and loose drills in between. I was completing a full (1,2,3) ladder of C&P and DKFS around the 3 min mark. However, that got me thinking, what do others use/recommend to auto-regulate their rest periods? Heart rate? Talk test? Something else? I want to make sure I safely progress throughout the 5 week DFW program, but don't want to burn myself out either.

Thanks again!
 

Steve W.

Level 8 Valued Member
For DFW, I used double 24kg, and managed 114 reps (9 full ladders plus 1,2), taking deliberate breaks between each ladder rung and did fast and loose drills in between. I was completing a full (1,2,3) ladder of C&P and DKFS around the 3 min mark.
IMO, that's really fast, basically a set every 30 seconds (3 sets per ladder x 2 exercises = 6 sets/3 minutes). So here are some of my thoughts:
  1. Are you underbelled? If you can crank out all those sets with so little rest, even though a lot of them are singles, maybe you should be using heavier bells, resting more, and doing a lower total volume. You're already doing Q&D concurrently as conditioning, so let DFW be your strength practice. Don't make it a metcon. And one way to avoid it being a metcon is to use bells that are heavy enough so you have to rest more. Are 24s your actual press 5RM? With DFW, you don't necessarily do any sets of more than 4 (the last week includes ladders up to 5, but only if you are sure you can get 5), so there's leeway to bell up if you rest enough.
  2. Are you rushing through your sets? It takes me 7-8 seconds a rep to do a C&P. That's with a brief pause in the rack, a brief pause in the lockout overhead, and an active negative. Are you giving each rep real focus? If you don't have to, see #1 above. Is every rep crisp and powerful and are you giving each position it's due?
However, that got me thinking, what do others use/recommend to auto-regulate their rest periods? Heart rate? Talk test? Something else?
I don't go by any test other than feel. As the program states, "refuse to grind." If your reps slow down, that's a sign to rest more, but the idea is try to avoid that happening in the first place. Give yourself permission to rest more than needed, but not less.

If you're getting that much volume with double 24s in DFW, I'd also consider whether you are underbelled for Q&D swings with 24kg. For Q&D, your highest power bell is always going to be the heaviest bell you can swing to a given height throughout all the series in a session. Are you doing the power pushups too? I tend to keep the pushup volume low when I'm doing a lot of pressing. With appropriately heavy weight for both, you might not want to double up, especially with no break between sessions like your Monday schedule, although you can always keep the Q&D to a low number of series and/or not push the bell size on that day.
 
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John K

Level 7 Valued Member
However, that got me thinking, what do others use/recommend to auto-regulate their rest periods? Heart rate? Talk test? Something else?
I do not find good results with using heart rate or talk test for rest periods for strength movements (such as the press, squat, etc.), and there is even a point of diminished returns with heavy swings and cleans - you will be completely normal breathing but your power is still not back. I like to keep an eye on the rest on a clock and go when I'm ready. Usually based on previous experience I have an idea of how long I need. Based on how that set went: too easy - less rest, too hard - more rest, felt about right - maintain rest.
 

Geoff Neupert

Level 7 Valued Member
Beast Tamer
IMO, that's really fast, basically a set every 30 seconds (3 sets per ladder x 2 exercises = 6 sets/3 minutes). So here are some of my thoughts:
  1. Are you underbelled? If you can crank out all those sets with so little rest, even though a lot of them are singles, maybe you should be using heavier bells, resting more, and doing a lower total volume. You're already doing Q&D concurrently as conditioning, so let DFW be your strength practice. Don't make it a metcon. And one way to avoid it being a metcon is to use bells that are heavy enough so you have to rest more. Are 24s your actual press 5RM? With DFW, you don't necessarily do any sets more than 4 (the last week includes ladders up to 5, but only if you are sure you can get 5), so there's leeway to bell up if you rest enough.
  2. Are you rushing through your sets? It takes me 7-8 seconds a rep to do a C&P. That's with a brief pause in the rack, a brief pause in the lockout overhead, and an active negative. Are you giving each rep real focus? If you don't have to, see #1 above. Is every rep crisp and powerful and are you giving each position it's due?
There's A LOT of wisdom here.
 

EricB

Level 1 Valued Member
I truly appreciate the feedback! After reading the responses, I reread the DFW article, as well as another forum post regarding DFW, and realized I had some misunderstandings.

1. I am underbelled! My 24kg double press is probably more in the 10 rep range, not 5. My problem is, however, my current bell selection is 2x16, 2x24, and 1x32. 32kg is probably my 5 or 6RM for single press. So should I use my 32kg for C&P and double 24s for FS? If so, does one rep on each side of C&P constitute a complete rep in the program?

2. Because I'm probably underbelled (I really like that word), I did not pause much between movements, as it felt light. One other mistake I made in reading the other DFW forum post is that someone's totals were their weekly total, not a session total. So in essence, it probably did turn into a metcon (shame on me!), as I was breathing pretty heavily by the end.

What attracted me to the DFW program was the inherent fat loss it was meant to produce. I want to shed the unwanted bodyfat I put on over the holidays, as it hinders me for any overhead (i.e. hanging) obstacle in OCR. In addition to Q&D, if there's another program out there anyone recommends (assuming my solution in #1 doesn't jive), then I'm all ears!
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
I truly appreciate the feedback! After reading the responses, I reread the DFW article, as well as another forum post regarding DFW, and realized I had some misunderstandings.

1. I am underbelled! My 24kg double press is probably more in the 10 rep range, not 5. My problem is, however, my current bell selection is 2x16, 2x24, and 1x32. 32kg is probably my 5 or 6RM for single press. So should I use my 32kg for C&P and double 24s for FS? If so, does one rep on each side of C&P constitute a complete rep in the program?

2. Because I'm probably underbelled (I really like that word), I did not pause much between movements, as it felt light. One other mistake I made in reading the other DFW forum post is that someone's totals were their weekly total, not a session total. So in essence, it probably did turn into a metcon (shame on me!), as I was breathing pretty heavily by the end.

What attracted me to the DFW program was the inherent fat loss it was meant to produce. I want to shed the unwanted bodyfat I put on over the holidays, as it hinders me for any overhead (i.e. hanging) obstacle in OCR. In addition to Q&D, if there's another program out there anyone recommends (assuming my solution in #1 doesn't jive), then I'm all ears!
Perform a heat check, a CP and a FS with a 32 and a 24, the 32 on your non dominate side. See how that feels.

And you could also go shopping.

And you might like Strength Aerobics with your 32. One clean one press one squat one snatch, set down, shake out, then other side. Time varies, 30 or more minutes usually.
 
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EricB

Level 1 Valued Member
Perform a heat check, a CP and a FS with a 32 and a 24, the 32 on your non dominate side. See how that feels.

And you could also go shopping.

And you might like Strength Aerobics with your 32. One clean one press one squat one snatch, set down, shake out, then other side. Time varies, 30 or more minutes usually.
Thanks, Don! I may check that one out.
 

LarryB

Level 6 Valued Member
Perform a heat check, a CP and a FS with a 32 and a 24, the 32 on your non dominate side. See how that feels.

And you could also go shopping.

And you might like Strength Aerobics with your 32. One clean one press one squat one snatch, set down, shake out, then other side. Time varies, 30 or more minutes usually.
Per a recent podcast strength aerobics is being re named as iron cardio. At least for the book bret is coming out with. I’ve been doing it on my off days lately. The host has a nice little pamphlet about how to use iron cardio too.
 

Bunn

Level 5 Valued Member
Personally, combining both of these programs might be too much. Both were designed to be run independently and not combined with another full program. For Q&D in particular, per the original Strong Endurance version, it was recommended to not do any other ballistic work with it, only some light/moderate strength work. While C&P is not super ballistic, there is a bit.

Having done both programs multiple times, I would recommend you pick one, finish it, and then move to the next and continue to rotate as you see fit. Bottom line, if your recovery can support it, good on you, but pay attention and do not wear yourself out with little to show for it.
 

EricB

Level 1 Valued Member
Personally, combining both of these programs might be too much. Both were designed to be run independently and not combined with another full program. For Q&D in particular, per the original Strong Endurance version, it was recommended to not do any other ballistic work with it, only some light/moderate strength work. While C&P is not super ballistic, there is a bit.

Having done both programs multiple times, I would recommend you pick one, finish it, and then move to the next and continue to rotate as you see fit. Bottom line, if your recovery can support it, good on you, but pay attention and do not wear yourself out with little to show for it.
Thanks, Bunn, for sharing your personal experience. Perhaps I misread Q&D (got the book for Christmas) in that another full program shouldn't be added to it. I'd like to see Q&D all the way through (having never done something like it before), so maybe I'll just do some pullups, rack/goblet squats, presses, and carries to complement it, but not go all out.
 

LarryB

Level 6 Valued Member
It’s a @Brett Jones favorite. You can arrange the rep scheme how you want. Some people just do clean, press, squat. Others add a snatch and / or a swing. You also add an extra rep as you go through. 1 clean 2 presses 1 squat etc… a lot of different ways to program it.
Pull-up too
 

Red_and_Black

Level 5 Valued Member
My background has some similarities to yours @EricB - I'm 49, long term training background, etc.

I'm currently doing my third run of DFW.

First time I ran 2 days a week as well, and then in week 4 I cranked my shoulder which meant I couldn't finish the 5 weeks. I needed 6 weeks of lighter exercise (swings and running) to give my shoulder a rest.

Then I did the program one run through as written, with no extra stuff on off days. Then this week I'm just finishing week 2 of a second run through with heavier KBs that I started straight after the last one.

For me doing DFW and Q&D would be too much, and I expect I wouldn't get the full benefits of either - and I'd probably get injured! Might be different for you. I find taking the long view is best, I will complete this 5 weeks of DFW and then do another program, I have the rest of my life to train, so might as well try the programs properly as they were designed by people that know much more than me, they don't need me tampering with them!

For regulation in DFW I do find it hard. I know it's not a MetCon, but I do find myself aiming for a set/rep/ladder every X seconds/minutes, although I do make sure I've recovered well enough to not have to grind them out (except maybe for the last minute or so!) So far my numbers have gone up every session and week (have posted them on another DFW thread somewhere).
 

Red_and_Black

Level 5 Valued Member
Also your 114 reps which is a ladder every 3 mins works out as a rung every 30 seconds on average. That is very fast I would say, just enough time to set the KBs down, have a breath and pick up. Is that right? If so are you going too light?
 

EricB

Level 1 Valued Member
Also your 114 reps which is a ladder every 3 mins works out as a rung every 30 seconds on average. That is very fast I would say, just enough time to set the KBs down, have a breath and pick up. Is that right? If so are you going too light?
In a nutshell, yes. After each rung, I'd set the bells down, take a couple of steps doing fast and loose, then right back at it. As someone mentioned earlier, I wasn't pausing between reps/movements either.

I've decided to ditch DFW and stick with Q&D along with some light running and pullups/goblet squats/get ups/presses/carries.
 

Red_and_Black

Level 5 Valued Member
In a nutshell, yes. After each rung, I'd set the bells down, take a couple of steps doing fast and loose, then right back at it. As someone mentioned earlier, I wasn't pausing between reps/movements either.

I've decided to ditch DFW and stick with Q&D along with some light running and pullups/goblet squats/get ups/presses/carries.

Ouch, that's fast!

Be interested how you find Q&D. After this run of DFW I want to do a 5 week block of Q&D - will also be doing some easy 5km runs 3-6 times a week in to/out of work as a commute. After that I'm going back to barbells twice a week with some KBs as supplements when have the time. Let us know how Q&D goes for you if you can, thanks!
 

LarryB

Level 6 Valued Member
Ouch, that's fast!

Be interested how you find Q&D. After this run of DFW I want to do a 5 week block of Q&D - will also be doing some easy 5km runs 3-6 times a week in to/out of work as a commute. After that I'm going back to barbells twice a week with some KBs as supplements when have the time. Let us know how Q&D goes for you if you can, thanks!
Work commute run/bike is my favorite!
 
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