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Kettlebell Dumbells for KB assistance

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Jeff Roark

Level 6 Valued Member
This may be my first post on this forum or maybe not, I just don't remember. So if it is, hello everyone. I've had some old adjustable Kettlebells that I bought years ago when they were the thing on the old Bryce Lane forum for those who may know what I am talking about. About 2 years ago I bought 2 cheap 50lbers off of eBay with plans to use them and they basically ended up with the two adjustable bells, sitting in the corner eating dust.

Recently, I've had to change my training direction due to a bunch of injuries from BJJ/Judo training. I decided to start throwing the KB's around a bit and are really enjoying them thus far. I've been doing dbl C&P and dbl Snatch mainly with a few swings, front squats, and goblet squats. I've not been following any training programming in particular, just using Bryce Lane's old "Have it all" or as I coined it long ago, the 50/20 program. Its been fun. Last week I managed to do 25x5 using the one set every minute setup on the dbl C&P with the 50lb Kb's. I went a little longer than the normal 20 mins obviously. I was really starting to feel it, but pleased with just about month of KB training under my belt.

With that out of the way I'll get to the point of this. Since starting with some KB work and its going to be a bit before I buy a heavier set, has anyone used heavy dumbbells as sort of an assistance to the KB work? Typical things, the C&P, Snatches, and Swings. I used to do some heavy dumbbell swings years and years ago, but they're not really like a KB swing that you see today, as I learned them from an old book, maybe Saxons book or maybe a Bob Hoffmans book, just can't remember.

The KB's have me wanting to do some of the old heavy Dumbbell stuff too as it would allow me to overload a bit. Just wondering if any of you guys mix in heavy dumbbells and if they help you for the next set of heavier Kettlebells?
 

Maine-ah KB

Level 7 Valued Member
I've never mixed them. generally assistance work isn't super useful in my opinion. for example the best assistance work ive done for my 5 min snatch test is heavier snatches for ladders of 2,4,6. But @Mirek did ROP with dumbbells (DROP is what he dubbed it) and got some pretty great results.
 

Jeff Roark

Level 6 Valued Member
@Jeff Roark For last few years, I am intensively working on "Hardstyle Dumbbell Lifting" - reviving the old-school dumbbell lifts while applying our principles. Please check out my page SIMPLEXSTRONG with free dumbbell swing tutorial, as well as video from the very first workshop I taught below. Lots of stuff coming soon.


Very nice Pavel. I never really worked much on it, maybe a few weeks here and there along with some one hand barbell work. Here is an old video from years ago swing my big bell.


I like the dumbbell work for sure. I train with my old man and he can't seem to get the grasp of the Kbs so he uses the dumbbells and its got me itching to mix them with my KB work.
 

Matt Piercy

Level 3 Valued Member
I don't use dumbbells, but I had been having problems with a 32k strict press. About 8 weeks ago I started bench pressing once or twice on the weekends and my 32k pressing reps finally started advancing. So yes, I think heavy dumbell or barbell practice would help.
 

Jeff Roark

Level 6 Valued Member
I think "assistance" was the wrong wording, maybe additional or optional would have been more appropriate.
 

Chrisdavisjr

Level 7 Valued Member
I remember using dumbbells for get-ups when the gap between my 16kg and 24kg kettlebells was too big of a jump. It alters the feel of the movement a little but it's still very much the same exercise.
 

Pavel Macek

Level 9 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
Very nice Pavel. I never really worked much on it, maybe a few weeks here and there along with some one hand barbell work. Here is an old video from years ago swing my big bell.


I like the dumbbell work for sure. I train with my old man and he can't seem to get the grasp of the Kbs so he uses the dumbbells and its got me itching to mix them with my KB work.

Jeff, that is awesome, you don't see many people doing real dumbbell swings today, thank you for sharing the video. My best regards to your father as well.
 

Pavel Macek

Level 9 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
that site you made is awesome, Pavel

Thank you Jak - more to come. I have lots of materials I want to share in my archive, for time being I posting mainly pics on the Instagram, as I focus on fishing StrongFirst Resilient and SDS Dumbbell workshops. Once it is done, I will post more articles.
 

Jeff Roark

Level 6 Valued Member
Jeff, that is awesome, you don't see many people doing real dumbbell swings today, thank you for sharing the video. My best regards to your father as well.

Thank you so much Pavel. At the time of doing these I really didn't know if I was doing them correctly or not because I had never seen one done before, only through reading. The first time I read about a swing was in Ironman magazine back around 96-98 time frame. It had a program in it by Bill Pearl and the warmup exercise was dumbbell swings. Thats the first time I did them, and it was more like the KB version today. I then got ahold of some old books and read the descriptions and with the pictures led me to the form in the video. If I would have backloaded a bell up I think I could have definitely swung around 150lbs in time. Regretfully, like many things I just stopped doing them. I did some one arm barbell stuff too, like the snatch, C&J and some bent pressing.

here is some snatching. It had been 6 years or so since I had done the lift when I filmed these. I worked them for 2 weeks, and that was the end of it. Wish I could go back because I could have done some damage on them if I would have stuck with it. I'm not nearly as fast as I was then.


Enjoy.

Looked at your site more this afternoon. Some great articles and pictures. The old timers had a different look to them. No modern bodybuilders appearance even comes close to Sandow, Saldo and other guys like Pandour. I'd give anything to be built like Saldo. Before I found the internet I believed their builds and power were due to 1 lift, the Bent Press. When I discovered the web and some old school forums I was quickly shot down with my "nonsense" by the resident know it alls. Wish I would have never listened to them and kept on bent pressing and never worried much over benching and squatting.
 

Pavel Macek

Level 9 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
Old-timers were very fond of bent press (and I am too), but they were definitely all-round lifters.

Arthur Saxon writtes in The Development of Physical Power (1906): :

Practice everything—single and double-handed press in dumb-bells and bar bells, single and double-handed lifts, all the way in dumb-bells and bar bells, snatching and swinging, jerking and pressing, lying down with weights, supporting weights, lifting weights while laid on the back, ring weights, human weights, and, if possible, double-handed lifts to the knee, and harness lifts, also holding the bell aloft and bringing a weight after with the disengaged hand, and raising bells aloft by what is known as the Continental style of lifting, described in this book. Also anything else that may suggest itself to your mind, such as heavy weights at arm’s length, raising bells overhead stood on end on the hand, juggling with weights by throwing them from hand to hand overhead, catching in the hollow of the arms, etc. A method of practice such as the above would not only bring into play every hand and strap of muscle you possess, but also give you a far better knowledge of all-round weight-lifting, than you could possibly obtain if you practiced three or four lifts only to the exclusion of all others. ALSO DO NOT FORGET TO USE YOUR LEFT HAND AS WELL AS YOUR RIGHT.
 

Jeff Roark

Level 6 Valued Member
I remember - good place.

-S-

Ahh...I thought I recognized your name, but wasn't completely sure. How are you Steve? Have you heard anything from Bryce? I'm seeing a lot of programs that have a very "Bryce Lane" feel about them popping up. As far as I can remember around the forums, I was the first to really put the 50/20 out there in a log to show what could be done with it. I remember having a post on the old Power and Bulk board and was describing my set and rep setup(5-2-3) and a certain fine fellow, lifter, and writer, saying how much he loved the idea and setup that he was going to use it. Now you see it everywhere in his writing.
 

Jeff Roark

Level 6 Valued Member
Old-timers were very fond of bent press (and I am too), but they were definitely all-round lifters.

Arthur Saxon writtes in The Development of Physical Power (1906): :

Practice everything—single and double-handed press in dumb-bells and bar bells, single and double-handed lifts, all the way in dumb-bells and bar bells, snatching and swinging, jerking and pressing, lying down with weights, supporting weights, lifting weights while laid on the back, ring weights, human weights, and, if possible, double-handed lifts to the knee, and harness lifts, also holding the bell aloft and bringing a weight after with the disengaged hand, and raising bells aloft by what is known as the Continental style of lifting, described in this book. Also anything else that may suggest itself to your mind, such as heavy weights at arm’s length, raising bells overhead stood on end on the hand, juggling with weights by throwing them from hand to hand overhead, catching in the hollow of the arms, etc. A method of practice such as the above would not only bring into play every hand and strap of muscle you possess, but also give you a far better knowledge of all-round weight-lifting, than you could possibly obtain if you practiced three or four lifts only to the exclusion of all others. ALSO DO NOT FORGET TO USE YOUR LEFT HAND AS WELL AS YOUR RIGHT.

I think the Saxons had lots of solid play time with the lifts. How many of these are you playing with right now? With my other hobbies and family stuff, I've got only so much time. One could follow a John McKean approach though. John told me he practiced the lifts that would be contested at the next competitions once. That would probably keep a man from overuse injuries.
 

John Grahill

Level 7 Valued Member
Old school dumbbell training is awesome. About two years ago I started doing some dumbbell programs from Brooks Kubik's book, "Dinosaur Dumbbell Training" and found them very challenging.

Some people think they are easier to handle than kettlebells but I found the opposite to be true. Doing clean and presses as an example, I need Dumbbells that are about ten pounds lighter than kettlebells. It may certainly be that I have used kettlebells more often than Dumbbells but it is something I noticed.

@Jeff Roark, that 50/20 was a great protocol for a time crunched individual! I often think about Bryce Lane when I see the many condensed kettlebell programs!
 

Pavel Macek

Level 9 Valued Member
Master Certified Instructor
I think the Saxons had lots of solid play time with the lifts. How many of these are you playing with right now? With my other hobbies and family stuff, I've got only so much time. One could follow a John McKean approach though. John told me he practiced the lifts that would be contested at the next competitions once. That would probably keep a man from overuse injuries.

My blueprint is the same for years, and works so far very well:

- main strength program - 2-3 big lifts, plus
- light weight "loaded mobility" - lots of various lifts, either in my own practice or when teaching
 
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