Forearm fatigue limiting swing sets

Chazak

Double-Digit Post Count
Hello all,

I posted a bit ago about the fact that by set 4 or 5 of my swings my grip fails. Pavel at the time suggested that I just increase my rest time between sets. I have gotten up to 3 minutes between each set and I'm still having a really hard time getting past 7 sets. My 8th and 9th sets today I almost lost the bell!

I thought that perhaps I could try doing 5 sets of swings during my morning workout, and then do another 5 sets later in the day, perhaps even when I get home at night. Would this completion of the total volume of swings be good enough even though I would not be doing them consecutively?

Thanks all!
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Dmitry
Couple of questions:
What do you do for work?
if it is grip intensive it may a factor
What is the rest of your training or are your recreational activities?
again if they are grip intensive it may be a factor

Are you "death gripping" the KB?
the handle for the swing is held more in the fingers (just past the last callous) and is not squeezed to the max

Video of your swing may be helpful

How many reps per set at what weight are you doing?
 

Chazak

Double-Digit Post Count
I teach, so not grip intensive at all ;)

I'm working on one arm pushups and pistol squats in a grease the groove/ fighters pull up program hybrid, nothing grip intesive their either.

I'm not gripping the kettlebell as hard as I can, but its not as loose as you describe. How do you keep the bell from coming out of your grip on the backswing with such a light finger type hold? I'm on rest day, On monday morning I'll try to video the swings.

I'm doing 10 per set at 24 kilos.

Thanks for your feedback
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Dmitry
The grip is "tight enough" and you will reflexively grip tighter at those higher load moments so it's not a light finger hold but the handle is more in the fingers than the palm.

lets see what we see when you post the video of the swing
 

Sean Schniederjan

Triple-Digit Post Count
Get a heavier KB and start doing stuff with it, even just holding it ie farmer walk/holds. It will make the 24kg feel like a toy!
 

Chazak

Double-Digit Post Count
@Brett: Here is a link to a youtube video of me doing a set of swings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvTPKoDeaBQ&feature=youtu.be

I tried the more finger focused grip as you suggested, but it was still really hard on the grip. My 6th set was of poor quality because of my grip weakness. I'm not going to even count it. I'll try to do 5 more sets some time today. Let me know what you think.

@Sean: I dont have a heavier Kettlebell, but some farmer walks may help even If I only use the 55 pounder... as It is I'm trying to do swings everyday so not really any time for that. Thanks for the suggestion though, I may try that in the future
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Dmitry
the link is private so I can't see the video

On a programming note - you should be varying the volume etc...
If you are trying to do the same thing everyday that may be the biggest culprit.

If you work to 6 sets today then perform 3 sets tomorrow back up to 5 or 6 the next day and back down to 3 the next etc...
 

Chazak

Double-Digit Post Count
I changed the privacy settings on the video.

I'm trying to do the simple and Sinister program, which doesn't seem to include volume changes. However, since my progress is stalled with this forearm frustration, I'll try your advice and switch the volume.

I did 6 sets yesterday. So I'll try 3 sets today as you suggest. I guess I"ll alternate between 3 and 6 sets everyday this week. Then what? increase my alternates to 4 and 7 next week?

Thanks very much for your time, I appreciate the feedback.
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Here are few observations:

Two arm swings can be more fatiguing to the grip than one arm swings. Since both arms are working at the same time, neither gets a chance to rest while the other is working. You might try mixing in some one arm swings (you can cut down the number of swings per set and just do more sets) or hand to hand swings.

As mentioned, keep the bell hooked in the fingers, not crush-gripped in the hand. Also as mentioned, there is a rhythm to the grip -- tight when it needs to be on the bottom of the down swing and loose as the bell begins to float on the upswing.

On your form specifically:

You are not getting your hips back enough, and therefore you are not absorbing enough of the force of the downswing with your hips. Look at the video at half speed and use the couch in the background as a reference point. Notice that your hips at the bottom are not really further back than they are at the top.

Spend some time working on your hinge pattern using the kb deadlift and "goat belly" swing (cradle the bell against your chest and hinge as if your are swinging or deadlifting). Use the touch the wall drill to get your hips back further. You can do this without a weight or as a DL or goat belly swing. Stand a step away from a wall (facing away from the wall) and try to touch the wall with your butt as you hinge. Move as far away from the wall as you can and still touch it while hinging in good form.

Finally, you are reversing the movement out of the hole too early, and this puts a lot of extra strain on your grip. In the video, notice how the KB flips up when you reverse directions. This is because your hinge is not complete and you are reversing the direction of the bell too early. First, get your hinge deeper as noted above, then work on delaying your hip drive until almost after the bell would passively start swinging forward on its own, then accelerate the forward motion with your hip drive. This way the reversal of direction is much smoother and there is less of a jerk on your grip. You also get more power since all of your forward hip drive is going into accelerating the bell forward, not being wasted against the backward movement of the bell.

Also, I'd like to see you keep your shoulders retracted more, but that is a separate issue from your grip.

Hope this helps.
 

jgruginski

More than 300 posts
Steve W, that's a good observation. He's definitely too upright and he's having to hold on to the bell as it rolls in his grip because he's not following the bell back far enough. That puts even more pressure on the distal parts of his fingers since the pull of the bell is almost perpendicular to his palm instead of parallel.
However, I don't agree about the two handed grip being harder than a single, just from a distribution of load perspective, unless his hands are too wide fro the handle and he has to put his pinkys out.

In fact, Dmitry, once you clean up your hinge, I think it would be good to go back to a 16 kg and do 10 rep sets of 1 arm swings, if you can manage. Managing a one arm swing with a proper hinge should feel safer and get you to practice using your grip correctly but in a safer manner for your whole body. Sometimes our body's weakness in maintaining control makes us grip too tightly or shorten the movement. Once you have a fuller movement with the 16, then the move to a two handed 24 set of 10 should feel much more controlled. Or you can stick to one handed and reintroduce the 24 for a few sets per the program. Once Brett watches the video, I'd be interested in his viewpoint.
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Hey Joe,
I don't mean the two handed grip is HARDER. A person can clearly hold on more securely to a heavier weight with two hands. But two handed swings can be more fatiguing over a lot of reps since neither arm ever gets a work set off.

Could you go longer continuously doing two arm swings with a given weight, or with one arm swings, changing hands frequently?
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Also, when resting between sets instead of doing continuous swings, each arm gets even more rest. If I start on my left, my left gets a rest after that set, then another rest after a set on my right. My right then gets two rest intervals and a work interval to recover before its next work set. With two arm swings, the load of each rep is less on each hand, but each hand has to work every work set and only gets one rest interval in between.
 

jgruginski

More than 300 posts
Steve, I think I get what you're saying. So the question is: what's more fatiguing holding a smaller load more frequently(50% of the total in two hands for X rest) or holding a larger load less frequently (100% of the total in a single hand with at least 2X the rest)? I guess it all depends on the percentage of maximum that single bell is to the person's one handed grip strength and fiber dominance of their finger flexors as well as the impact on the rest of their body. I just don't think a single statement that single handed is less fatiguing that two handed works.
 

Steve W.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
So the question is: what’s more fatiguing holding a smaller load more frequently(50% of the total in two hands for X rest) or holding a larger load less frequently (100% of the total in a single hand with at least 2X the rest)?
More or less, yes, although this formula doesn't account for continuous sets where two handed swings give no rest to either hand and one handed swings do. Obviously my point breaks down under some conditions, such as if the bell is so heavy that it's difficult or impossible to hold on to it comfortably with one hand at all. But I think it holds true under a lot of circumstances.

Tracy Reifkind has all kinds of creative ways of shifting the grip between one and two hands and from hand to hand to facilitate long continuous sets and very high volume workouts that would be impossible to do straight through with two hands.

In my experience, in many circumstances, you can generally minimize grip fatigue by using one hand and manipulating the frequency of hand switches, as opposed to using two hands all the time. In fact, the main circumstances I can think of where this is not true, are with a heavy bell that you really NEED to swing with two hands, or when your set/rep/rest scheme minimizes grip fatigue to a non-factor in the first place.

I'm also not arguing that the overall merits of either grip, just the dimension of dealing with grip fatigue.
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Master Certified Instructor
Dmitry, Steve may have a point. 5L+5R in some sets might do the trick.
 

Chazak

Double-Digit Post Count
Gentlemen, I am honored that you have all spent the time to respond. I will work on my swing form with deadlifts and wall touches right away.

I will make a new video in one week and will hopefully have significantly improved form.

Perhaps after that I will be able to perform one arm swings with the 24 kilo as Pavel suggests.
 
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