How are kettlebell swings not Cardio???

mprevost

More than 500 posts
Great question! And one that I have thought about since the beginning of the year when my wife bought a Tread Climber. I know there won't be a 100% transfer from walking on an incline to jogging. But I am curious if doing a significant amount of work in zone 2 on the TC will have a positive carryover to jogging/running improvement. As it gets hotter, I am not as eager to get out and run.
Lots of factors affect the answer to this question. If you are a really fit runner, and switch to another mode, like a tread climber, you will not likely continue to improve as a runner. You may even lose some run fitness. If you are unfit and start doing the tread climber, it is likely to help your run, even if you don't run at all. If you are somewhat fit as a runner and switch to the tread climber, I would suspect that if you work hard enough, you can MAINTAIN your run fitness on the tread climber. However, if you train much harder on the tread climber than you did while running, maybe you can add some run fitness. These fitness transfer effects are much greater in unfit people than fit athletes but the moderately fit can get some transfer effects if they work hard enough. I found that I could maintain most of my run fitness by walking fast with a 55lb backpack. I am a moderately fit runner. If I want to get better at running though, I feel like I need to run.
 

bencrush

Triple-Digit Post Count
Lots of factors affect the answer to this question. If you are a really fit runner, and switch to another mode, like a tread climber, you will not likely continue to improve as a runner. You may even lose some run fitness. If you are unfit and start doing the tread climber, it is likely to help your run, even if you don't run at all. If you are somewhat fit as a runner and switch to the tread climber, I would suspect that if you work hard enough, you can MAINTAIN your run fitness on the tread climber. However, if you train much harder on the tread climber than you did while running, maybe you can add some run fitness. These fitness transfer effects are much greater in unfit people than fit athletes but the moderately fit can get some transfer effects if they work hard enough. I found that I could maintain most of my run fitness by walking fast with a 55lb backpack. I am a moderately fit runner. If I want to get better at running though, I feel like I need to run.
Thank you for the detailed reply! I think this makes perfect sense. I am closer to unfit than somewhat fit as a runner currently. But working my way closer to being fitter every month this year.
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
This is the same problem I'm having lately
As it gets hotter, I am not as eager to get out and run.
Sometimes fellas... you just need to be an early bird to beat the heat.
Where I live it can easily hit the mid-40's this time of year.
It's not uncommon to ride, run, and ruck frightfully early.

That's partly why you see 0300 training activities in my log...
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
Just want to pop my head in and say that this is a very enlightening thread. Fantastic discussion, made me think about a few things.
The funny thing is I'm not sure we got much resolved. What I think I've gotten out of this thread is that there is indeed good evidence that kettlebell swings as a kind of High Intensity Interval Resistance Training do indeed improve your cardio function for high intensity activities, and this of course would stand to reason, and since "cardio is cardio" somehow there will be spillage over to long easy distance cardio too. The mystery I think still remains as to whether HIIRT training such as the S&S swings is enough for "optimal heart health" or whether you should still go out for long walks or jogs. I'm going out for the long walks anyways since I enjoy them and I certainly feel myself getting a moderate cardio and weight-bearing workout from them. You see, I quit walking as a regular exercise for over a year due to my thinking S&S was enough. Hmmm... come to think of it, when I restarted walking, it was a bit hard at first, and that's partly because the muscles used are of course different from S&S but is it also because long easy distance cardio is a different kind of cardio from HIIRT? Something makes me suspect "yes" in the same way that being able to lift heavy does not mean you can lift lighter weights for enormous numbers of reps without training specifically for this - i.e. limit strength is not the same as endurance strength even though there is "spillage" from one kind of strength to the other. I'm guessing that power cardio is also not the same as long easy endurance cardio and so both are needed.
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
@Kozushi I think you nailed it, after all the reading, studying and pondering I can only come to a conclusion that specificity rules the day with S&S serving as a buffer to fill the gaps of daily life's demands. So..

- If you want to get better at running you must run
- If you want to get better at rowing you must row
- If you want to get better at rucking you must ruck
- If you want to get better at swimming you must swim
- If you want to get better at climbing you must climb
- If you want to get better at walking you must walk
- If you want to get better at limit strength you must train for limit strength
- If you want to get better at strength endurance you must train for strength endurance
- If you want to get better at cycling you must cycle
- If you want to get better at MA you must practice MA

And so on...

I've come to the conclusion (gut feeling) that you must stay active and do some aerobic training along with strength training to lead a long healthy life and it's not specific, just do something regularly and keep the doctor away so to speak.
Personally I like to do alot of variety in weight and aerobic training, consistent and 'same but different'.
 

Sean M

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Kozushi I think you nailed it, after all the reading, studying and pondering I can only come to a conclusion that specificity rules the day with S&S serving as a buffer to fill the gaps of daily life's demands. So..

- If you want to get better at running you must run
- If you want to get better at rowing you must row
- If you want to get better at rucking you must ruck
- If you want to get better at swimming you must swim
- If you want to get better at climbing you must climb
- If you want to get better at walking you must walk
- If you want to get better at limit strength you must train for limit strength
- If you want to get better at strength endurance you must train for strength endurance
- If you want to get better at cycling you must cycle
- If you want to get better at MA you must practice MA

And so on...

I've come to the conclusion (gut feeling) that you must stay active and do some aerobic training along with strength training to lead a long healthy life and it's not specific, just do something regularly and keep the doctor away so to speak.
Personally I like to do alot of variety in weight and aerobic training, consistent and 'same but different'.
This is great. The part I bolded is my philosophy too. I would think (hope?) the entire “fitness industry” could agree with that statement. The biggest health difference is from couch to *anything* - after that, it’s specialized and the risk/reward metric comes into play. But anything that gets people moving is very much better than them staying still.
 

wespom9

More than 500 posts
Certified Instructor
I would say with near certainty that it is important to hit all aspects of the fitness spectrum in terms of longevity.
I believe Pavel has stated on many an occasion that S&S is GPP. It shouldn't come as a shock that it doesn't improve markers specific to the chosen task after a reaching a a certain threshold.

What S&S plus nice, easy, tonic walking does for you is hit both ends of the spectrum - alactic/aerobic - for optimal health. Also, I think there is a large difference between easy walk/rucks vs dedicated "cardio" or aerobic sessions. When I walk I don't care what my heart rate is. It's probably zone 1. Do I care? No... I likely get good cardiac adaptations from it (see Rif's comments on different types of heart muscle adaptation from cardio vs RT), and my swing/snatch sessions allow me to maintain my VO2 at an above average age related level. I have no further endurance goals, why push that side when I can walk carefree with the dog for as long as I want?
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
@Kozushi I think you nailed it, after all the reading, studying and pondering I can only come to a conclusion that specificity rules the day with S&S serving as a buffer to fill the gaps of daily life's demands. So..

- If you want to get better at running you must run
- If you want to get better at rowing you must row
- If you want to get better at rucking you must ruck
- If you want to get better at swimming you must swim
- If you want to get better at climbing you must climb
- If you want to get better at walking you must walk
- If you want to get better at limit strength you must train for limit strength
- If you want to get better at strength endurance you must train for strength endurance
- If you want to get better at cycling you must cycle
- If you want to get better at MA you must practice MA

And so on...

I've come to the conclusion (gut feeling) that you must stay active and do some aerobic training along with strength training to lead a long healthy life and it's not specific, just do something regularly and keep the doctor away so to speak.
Personally I like to do alot of variety in weight and aerobic training, consistent and 'same but different'.
For someone that does not include aerobics as a formal part of their training, what would a rough test of carry-over be?

I don't run, and have all but stopped doing jumprope for fears of aggravating my heelspurs. Roughly ran a 5k in 36 minutes, HR unknown but I felt like I could not have gone much if any faster - had maybe another mile or so in the tank before HR would have reduced me to a shuffle. I'm not sure what a "fit" person aught be able to do.

For those who don't run or bike for your aerobics, how would you quantify your aerobic health?
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
For someone that does not include aerobics as a formal part of their training, what would a rough test of carry-over be?

I don't run, and have all but stopped doing jumprope for fears of aggravating my heelspurs. Roughly ran a 5k in 36 minutes, HR unknown but I felt like I could not have gone much if any faster - had maybe another mile or so in the tank before HR would have reduced me to a shuffle. I'm not sure what a "fit" person aught be able to do.

For those who don't run or bike for your aerobics, how would you quantify your aerobic health?
Once again I think it comes down to what our own personal ideas, thoughts and opinions on exactly what 'fitness' is. My fitness gold may be another persons trash. Much confusion I believe comes from regular folks conflating fitness ideas related to the higher level aerobic activities of elite athletes vs the general populace.
Then there's 'us', kettlebellers seeking a higher level of fitness after looking at fitness 'Gods' such as Pavel and other high level figures in the industry. I like most people would love to achieve something special with fitness but I'm also a realist, I have a life to live and loved ones to look after and can't devote everything to only myself. The best I can hope for is to be able to live life with physical ease and maybe the LGN part of it is a good bonus. I know I'll have some 'wins' here and there but in the end my expectations are tempered.
To answer the question on aerobic health you could do a VWC session to see how far you can go without falling down in a heap, but that's a pretty extreme example. Snatch test would be another or an AMRAP swing session for time. On the other side going for an extended hike up a mountain trail or something similar, riding a bike or rowing will also give an idea though you said it was a problem with the heel spurs.
So then we come back round to personal perception of fitness and how you compare yourself to the 'rest of the world'. In the end I have to say I don't know anything for sure, all I can do is follow my gut.
 

WhatWouldHulkDo

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
For those who don't run or bike for your aerobics, how would you quantify your aerobic health?
I do run... but I've always thought, if I can go out on any given day and pass, say, the army PFT, then I'm probably doing OK.

Resting heart rate is probably a good indicator too.

Past that, see your doc regularly, make sure they're happy.
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
I would say with near certainty that it is important to hit all aspects of the fitness spectrum in terms of longevity.
I believe Pavel has stated on many an occasion that S&S is GPP. It shouldn't come as a shock that it doesn't improve markers specific to the chosen task after a reaching a a certain threshold.

What S&S plus nice, easy, tonic walking does for you is hit both ends of the spectrum - alactic/aerobic - for optimal health. Also, I think there is a large difference between easy walk/rucks vs dedicated "cardio" or aerobic sessions. When I walk I don't care what my heart rate is. It's probably zone 1. Do I care? No... I likely get good cardiac adaptations from it (see Rif's comments on different types of heart muscle adaptation from cardio vs RT), and my swing/snatch sessions allow me to maintain my VO2 at an above average age related level. I have no further endurance goals, why push that side when I can walk carefree with the dog for as long as I want?
I agree 100% with you. You nailed it!
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
For someone that does not include aerobics as a formal part of their training, what would a rough test of carry-over be?

I don't run, and have all but stopped doing jumprope for fears of aggravating my heelspurs. Roughly ran a 5k in 36 minutes, HR unknown but I felt like I could not have gone much if any faster - had maybe another mile or so in the tank before HR would have reduced me to a shuffle. I'm not sure what a "fit" person aught be able to do.

For those who don't run or bike for your aerobics, how would you quantify your aerobic health?
I personally am not taking any chances. I am going for long walks several times a week forever, and I believe this will increase my lifespan and improve/maintain my good health.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Sometimes fellas... you just need to be an early bird to beat the heat.
Where I live it can easily hit the mid-40's this time of year.
It's not uncommon to ride, run, and ruck frightfully early.

That's partly why you see 0300 training activities in my log...
I was never a morning person until I became a runner, and then summer meant running early, and it's stuck with me for the rest of my life.

-S-
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Sometimes fellas... you just need to be an early bird to beat the heat.
Where I live it can easily hit the mid-40's this time of year.
It's not uncommon to ride, run, and ruck frightfully early.

That's partly why you see 0300 training activities in my log...
My problem is more geographical, if I head East to the area I can train coming back the freeway's a parking lot, and the lake is closed very early in the AM. If I head West I go 12 miles and still fight traffic and it cuts into my morning work schedule too much. I'll have to think of a local strategy or find an acceptable area not involving the traffic.
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
This is the same problem I'm having lately
think of it this way, you're really not in shape until you're in heat tolerance shape. At least that's always how I look it it. And, it's cyclical; you only have to deal with it once a year. I hate it but I know when I can do hard work in the heat, I'm in shape.
And, just like cold water training, it's mostly mental :)
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
think of it this way, you're really not in shape until you're in heat tolerance shape. At least that's always how I look it it. And, it's cyclical; you only have to deal with it once a year. I hate it but I know when I can do hard work in the heat, I'm in shape.
And, just like cold water training, it's mostly mental :)
Your right on this one, I've adapted already to VWC in the heat, I might as well stop whining and suck it up on the run/walk :D
 

Augustus F-N

Triple-Digit Post Count
I've found, after running in the heat and humidity for a few months, running once it is cooler is an absolute breeze. I've heard some folk-running-wisdom that running in the heat and humidity is akin to altitude training - you may be slower now, but in a few months once it is cooler, you'll be faster for it.
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
I've found, after running in the heat and humidity for a few months, running once it is cooler is an absolute breeze. I've heard some folk-running-wisdom that running in the heat and humidity is akin to altitude training - you may be slower now, but in a few months once it is cooler, you'll be faster for it.
I've always held that if you can make a good accounting of yourself in the harsh conditions of heat, humidity, rain, snow, bitter cold etc.; that when you get that perfect day in the fall running on leaf covered trails in dappled light it becomes almost magic...

Okay that's as mushy as Offwidth gets...
 
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