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Kettlebell Feedback on progression to accomplishing Simple

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mvorchard

Level 4 Valued Member
Hi there,

Long time no see.

After a really tough 2017, with no one but two major mtb crashes, which left me out of almost any sporting or fitness activity, I'm (kind of) back.

With the Simple goal as target for my birthday in August, I started almost 10 weeks ago with sessions of 10 two-hands swings @ 24kg, and five getups @ 16kg, which only came with rather big effort at the time.

I've so far completed 41 sessions in these weeks - so, a little bit more than four sessions per week. Combining with some mountainbiking, good commuting ride to work almost every day, and a couple of HIIT (an)aerobic sessions here and there. I do every session using my heartbeat sensor, and I've been keeping my pulse under 133-135 bpm for the duration of each session. Sessions usually last between 35 and 40 minutes; including a good warmup and a good enough stretching and cool down.

On session number 22 I started to move to one-hand swings, and by session number 28 I was doing only one-hand swings. They've started to feel so good, that, a couple of sessions ago, I even tried the 32kg for a couple of reps - it felt strong enough. Cheers to myself!

TGUs are another animal - for me, at least. Only after 27 sessions I tried the 24kg KB, and after five consecutive sessions I was doing the getups only with 24kg - thankfully! Thing is, it doesn't feel strong; even after these last 10 full sessions of 10 one-hand swing @ 24kg, and five getups @ 24kg, the getup feels a little weak. At least it does when comparing to the way I feel doing the swings.

My concern is that if I put the effort, those one-hand 32kg swings will come. But I don't see anything like it happening for the getup!

So, in order to look for this TGU progression:
  • should I use less weight for the swings before doing the getups?
  • should I do the getups before the swings, at least until the getup feels stronger?
  • should I rest MUCH MORE before the getups?
  • should I do getups-only sessions??
I would really appreciate your feedback.


Kind regards,

MO
 

Seb. George

Level 6 Valued Member
Hello @mvorchard !

All four options sound good to me. If I were you, the 1st thing I'd try would be doing the TGU before the swings. If your TGU immediately feel more solid that way, it probably means that you could use more rest between swings and TGU.

Anyway, be patient ! Enjoy the ride ! There is nothing wrong being more advanced with one exercise than with the other (personally it's the other way around : heavy TGU have always felt easy compared to my swings...)

Best regards,
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Use what weight is appropriate for your current level for each exercise - no reason for the weight to be the same unless it is.

You may experiment with getups first and getups on separate days - see how it agrees with you.

Always rest as needed.

-S-
 

mvorchard

Level 4 Valued Member
Thank all of you @Seb. George, @Steve Freides and @Kettlebelephant.

You've given me a couple of (very) good reminders! I guess it is more a matter of resting properly... today' set was as follows:

- 10 x 10 one hand swings @ 24kg, keeping the heart rate below 137 bpm
- two minutes full rest
- 4 x 5 one hand swings @ 32kg, max heart rate was 122 bpm
- two minutes full rest
- 5 x TGU @ 24kg, heart rate was below 130 bpm

...and it felt just great! Let' see what I can do tomorrow morning.

Must say that just thinking of the TGU with 32kg makes me afraid though... :D:D:D

Thanks again.


Cheers,

MO
 

_matt_

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I haven't been doing this much longer than you, but doing TGU slowly has helped immensely in feeling much stronger with the weight (and eventually moving up). For example, take 3 breaths at each position, so a GU on one side takes a ~full minute. Maybe even go back down and do this with the 16 if the 24 seems like too much.

My GU felt much weaker than my swings when I started, and being very deliberate and slow with the GU movement has brought it along quite nicely, and I feel like it has been key to increasing mass.
 

Dayz

Level 6 Valued Member
At one stage I had been using the 24 for ages and I really felt like I had NOOOO chance with the 32. And I didn't. I couldn't even roll to elbow. I struggled to lie on my back holding it out with my arm straight. Then I duct taped a 3kg plate I had lying around to my 24, making 27kg (duh!)

The 27kg felt EASY. I literally did 2 SS workouts with it (5/5 per side in two workouts, over 3 days). At that point, I had a go at the 32. Magically...it was pretty easy. A huge part was the mental side of things. Using the 27 a few times helped my confidence and balance.

What I discovered was that I already had the strength to use the 32. I just didn't have the confidence to apply that strength.

So I would suggest two things that work for me:

1. Buy a little weight plate. Be it 2, 3 or 4kg. Even 2kg will make a difference!

2. Another strategy: use slow, incremental reps. Just holding the bell straight from the floor position helps build up the wrist, grip and elbow strength.

Just my $0.02
 

somanaut

Level 5 Valued Member
What has helped me in the past with the TGU, both when I first started out with the TGU and when I have been away from it and returned was:
Multiple same side TGU, either full or partials with a lower weight than the one you have trouble with.
I.e. instead of doing just 1x1 TGU on one side, and then switch to other side, you do 1x2 TGU (full or partials) on one side, and then you switch and repeat other side. You can do 2x2 + 1x1 = 5 each side in total. But a good benchmark would be 3x2. I.e. if one can do 3x2 TGU I would be surprised if the next bell would cause trouble (depending on weight jump of course).
It seems to have worked for others as well, of course results may vary.
 
Last edited:

MarkSch

Level 6 Valued Member
Just holding the bell straight from the floor position helps build up the wrist, grip and elbow strength.

I found this really helpful as well. Simply holding the larger bell (40K in my case) from the floor position, then moving to a partial getup, increase my technique and confidence. The full TGU, when it came, was almost an afterthought. It took perhaps 1-2 weeks.
 

banzaiengr

Level 6 Valued Member
Seems like the jump from the 24K to the 32K is a tough one for most. Here's advice I got from @aciampa when I was in a similar spot.

"where a 5 day per week program for TGU would include practice with the Monday 24K, Tues. 32K, Wed. 24K, Thur. 20K, and Fri. 24K."

Another step that Al taught me was to work on overhead (waiter) carries. You could use both hands if needed to get the 32 overhead and carry from there. You can also add carries to the TGU progression. 24K to the standing position and then carry to and fro and then the downward progression of the TGU.

This and some of the steps above got me to simple for TGU. I never got the swings in in 5 min. before I moved on to other things. Enjoy the process.

P.S. Get's me to one of my favorite A.C. quotes. I was using a 55 lb. bell with a 10 lb. plate taped to it. Al's response was "this isn't Mc Guyver". There needs to be a thread for some of Al's quotes taken from all over this forum.
 

mvorchard

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks much @_matt_, @Dayz, @somanaut, @MarkSch and @banzaiengr!!

At one stage I had been using the 24 for ages and I really felt like I had NOOOO chance with the 32. And I didn't. I couldn't even roll to elbow. I struggled to lie on my back holding it out with my arm straight. Then I duct taped a 3kg plate I had lying around to my 24, making 27kg (duh!)
The 27kg felt EASY. I literally did 2 SS workouts with it (5/5 per side in two workouts, over 3 days). At that point, I had a go at the 32. Magically...it was pretty easy. A huge part was the mental side of things. Using the 27 a few times helped my confidence and balance.
What I discovered was that I already had the strength to use the 32. I just didn't have the confidence to apply that strength.
So I would suggest two things that work for me:
1. Buy a little weight plate. Be it 2, 3 or 4kg. Even 2kg will make a difference!
2. Another strategy: use slow, incremental reps. Just holding the bell straight from the floor position helps build up the wrist, grip and elbow strength.
Just my $0.02
Same thing happened when I put the 24kg up: I had little or no confidence I could do it, and did it!

There are a couple of plates around the house, I could surely use... I guess, I need to do that soon.


What has helped me in the past with the TGU, both when I first started out with the TGU and when I have been away from it and returned was:
Multiple same side TGU, either full or partials with a lower weight than the one you have trouble with.
I.e. instead of doing just 1x1 TGU on one side, and then switch to other side, you do 1x2 TGU (full or partials) on one side, and then you switch and repeat other side. You can do 2x2 + 1x1 = 5 each side in total. But a good benchmark would be 3x2. I.e. if one can do 3x2 TGU I would be surprised if the next bell would cause trouble (depending on weight jump of course).
It seems to have worked for others as well, of course results may vary.
By 3x2 you mean: three on the one side, then two on the other; and then the same, switching sides??


I found this really helpful as well. Simply holding the larger bell (40K in my case) from the floor position, then moving to a partial getup, increase my technique and confidence. The full TGU, when it came, was almost an afterthought. It took perhaps 1-2 weeks.
Although I have to say: the part I struggle the most is the roll-to-elbow, no doubt! The rest is more or less ok-effort. I guess I will start with holding it from the floor, and keeping it there.


Seems like the jump from the 24K to the 32K is a tough one for most. Here's advice I got from @aciampa when I was in a similar spot.
"where a 5 day per week program for TGU would include practice with the Monday 24K, Tues. 32K, Wed. 24K, Thur. 20K, and Fri. 24K."
Another step that Al taught me was to work on overhead (waiter) carries. You could use both hands if needed to get the 32 overhead and carry from there. You can also add carries to the TGU progression. 24K to the standing position and then carry to and fro and then the downward progression of the TGU.
This and some of the steps above got me to simple for TGU. I never got the swings in in 5 min. before I moved on to other things. Enjoy the process.
P.S. Get's me to one of my favorite A.C. quotes. I was using a 55 lb. bell with a 10 lb. plate taped to it. Al's response was "this isn't Mc Guyver". There needs to be a thread for some of Al's quotes taken from all over this forum.
In order to get the 32kg to the waiter carry position, would it be like helping to press with the second arm?? Or what, exactly??

I will try those carries with the 24 though.


Finally, I haven't been able to find the article - or post - showing @Pavel's recommendations on weight jumps for each of S&S exercises. I kind of remember that the suggested increment was "lower" for swings than it was for getups - does any one have the link at hand?

Thanks again!!


Cheers,

MO
 

banzaiengr

Level 6 Valued Member
In order to get the 32kg to the waiter carry position, would it be like helping to press with the second arm?? Or what, exactly??

I will try those carries with the 24 though.


Finally, I haven't been able to find the article - or post - showing @Pavel's recommendations on weight jumps for each of S&S exercises. I kind of remember that the suggested increment was "lower" for swings than it was for getups - does any one have the link at hand?

Thanks again!!


Cheers,

MO

Getting a heavier bell overhead can be difficult. So yes if you don't think you are up to getting the 32 overhead then carry on with the 24K. In that case I would do the get up to the standing position and then do the overhead carry for whatever distance time you feel is appropriate. It doesn't have to be too far or long. You are just teaching the body tension with the bell in the overhead position.

The perfect way to get a heavier bell overhead would be with a clean and jerk to the overhead position. You can also just clean it and use the off hand to get it into position.

As far as weight jumps, what I got from S&S was the usual weight jumps above 20K. Next 24K, then 32, then 40, then 48. To do this you would pretty much need to own the bell before it. So, if you are doing 10x10 swings with the 24 you would definitely be able to do 2x10 with the 32. I liked to do 2x10 with the 24, then 2x10 with the 32 and then finish with the 24. Start moving the 32 back deeper and deeper into your sets. Before you get to the last 2 sets being done with the 32 you'll be able to do 4 sets with the 32, so on and so forth.

Same with the TGU. Do 2x1 with the 24, then 2x1 with the 32, then 6x1 with the 24. That may be your Tues. session. 10x10 with the 24 on Mon. The prior on Tues. 10x10 with the 24 on Wed. 10x10 with the 20 on Thur. followed by either 10x10 with the 24 or Tues. session on Fri.

What gets folks confused or nervous in my opinion is that with KB's your program isn't so linear like it is with the barbell. With the barbell you can just add 5 lb. Not so with KB's. So many times the only way to increase intensity is to increase volume. So if you can do 10x1 get ups with the 24 but can't do one with the 32 then you can add volume through out the week to become stronger. Mon 10x1, Tues 14x1, Wed. 10x1, Thurs. 10x1, Fri 12x1. Or practice having the 24 above your head longer with a carry added to the TGU.

If you can do one TGU with the 32 then do something like I described earlier until you can work up to 10x1 with the 32. Think outside of the box, but listen to your body. If today calls for 2x1 with the 32 and you just don't have it in you, maybe just do 8x1 with the 24 that day.

The jump from 24 to 32 is a big one for most. I'm betting it can take as long to be able to do your entire session with the 32 as it took you to get to doing any sets with the 32, maybe longer. It's not a race, it will come as it comes. Enjoy the process.
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
not to disagree with any of the advice above, which is all helpful in proper situations, but just following the S&S book will enable excellent progress. I don't mean just the numbers of reps and sets, but the spirit of it- the breathing, the spacing between sets, and ownership principles, etc. If you can't do a certain kb and get the reps in and feel 'recharged' from your practice, use the bell that meets all those conditions. If you can only do getups to the elbow, or hand or whatever stage to get the 10 reps in with perfect form (and feeling recharged afterwards), do less or go down a bell. You may want to use some of the tips above, but chasing dates or being stuck on certain weights can ignore the pacing (macro and micro) that makes S&S special.
 

somanaut

Level 5 Valued Member
I meant 3 (sets) x 2 (reps), so that would be:
2 left, switch, 2 right, switch, 2 left, switch, 2 right, switch, 2 left, switch, 2 right.
You do one full TGU, return to lying on the back with straight arm, and then either rack and press, or just go from straight arm (some SFG instructors prefer straight arm) and repeat the TGU.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
not to disagree with any of the advice above, which is all helpful in proper situations, but just following the S&S book will enable excellent progress. I don't mean just the numbers of reps and sets, but the spirit of it- the breathing, the spacing between sets, and ownership principles, etc. If you can't do a certain kb and get the reps in and feel 'recharged' from your practice, use the bell that meets all those conditions. If you can only do getups to the elbow, or hand or whatever stage to get the 10 reps in with perfect form (and feeling recharged afterwards), do less or go down a bell. You may want to use some of the tips above, but chasing dates or being stuck on certain weights can ignore the pacing (macro and micro) that makes S&S special.
Yes and no.
You can't always feel recharged and comfortable.
To make progress you need to break homeostasis.
You can do S&S with a 24 for years, but the step to the 32 will still be as challenging as if you had gone for it after e.g. 6 months.
During the transitioning phase it will feel heavy and hard and you won't feel recharged. That's just the way it is.
The key is not to go from transition phase right into the next transitioning phase, but to enjoy a good amount of time in the phase you describe in your post.
 

somanaut

Level 5 Valued Member
Yes and no.
You can't always feel recharged and comfortable.
To make progress you need to break homeostasis.
You can do S&S with a 24 for years, but the step to the 32 will still be as challenging as if you had gone for it after e.g. 6 months.
During the transitioning phase it will feel heavy and hard and you won't feel recharged. That's just the way it is.
The key is not to go from transition phase right into the next transitioning phase, but to enjoy a good amount of time in the phase you describe in your post.
Or as I would put it: Enjoy the view from the plateau, but explore further up hill at times imo. Perhaps camps on a mountain is a better analogy. I just liked the play of words on plateau.
 

mvorchard

Level 4 Valued Member
Thanks again, everyone! Very good advice. My whole KB session is feeling better already (y)

Have another question, and didn't want to start another thread, given that the /actual base/ for the question is described in this same thread :D

Practicing on-the-path-to-Simple sessions with between 24kg and 32kg bells little more than four times a week, and should you want to add deadlift sessions - as a more general fitness exercise - how would you do it?? Once a week, twice a week?? How many sets/reps?? Same day as the kettlebell sessions?

Or not at all!?? Let's concentrate on the Simple goal, and leave the rest there for now...??

I would really appreciate any comments on this.

I never done actual DL training; just several repetitions along the years...


Thanks again!

MO
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks again, everyone! Very good advice. My whole KB session is feeling better already (y)

Have another question, and didn't want to start another thread, given that the /actual base/ for the question is described in this same thread :D

Practicing on-the-path-to-Simple sessions with between 24kg and 32kg bells little more than four times a week, and should you want to add deadlift sessions - as a more general fitness exercise - how would you do it?? Once a week, twice a week?? How many sets/reps?? Same day as the kettlebell sessions?

Or not at all!?? Let's concentrate on the Simple goal, and leave the rest there for now...??

I would really appreciate any comments on this.

I never done actual DL training; just several repetitions along the years...


Thanks again!

MO
I started Daily Dose Deadlift as I was finishing Simple. I don't think it interfered (I did the sessions separately - DDDL when I got home from work, S&S later in the evening; now I do kettlebell work at 5 a.m. and I'm doing another DDDL cycle at 5-6 p.m.).
 
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