How are kettlebell swings not Cardio???

Bauer

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For me walking is the perfect addition because it is so replenishing. You get a lot of benefits without undue stress.

On the contrary, your CNS and your body can regenerate. Plus it is a great remedy against depression and great for new ideas.

Some really strong guys such as Aleks Salkin and Phill Chubb (the_mindful_mover) swear by walking as a great addition for health, regeneration, stamina and fat loss. Apparently your long walks also help you recover between sets of strength exercises. Plus it is a major OS reset.
 
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Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
As the first one to train Kenneth's Snatch Vo2 protocols after his presentation at the level 2 RKC back in 2007 I've gone back and forth with him over the years as to whether swings would be a suitable substitute for snatches in these protocols. His answer was that that were ok but not as good as the snatches because "with swings there is too much continuous tension" as opposed to the snatches where there is quite a bit of 'unloading' of tension ( and therefore the heart) during the float phases of the ascent and descent.

This unloading of tension was what makes the snatch unique as the closest one can get with resistance tools to actually cardiovascular training which always includes a relaxation phase as part of the cyclical nature of classic cardio/aerobic exercise ( i.e running, swimming, biking).

The reason ' lifting weights fast' is not true 'cardio' is just that- too much continual tension on the heart.

Will swings improve your conditioning and your hearts ability to go hard for a long period of time? Undoubtedly. Is it "true" aerobic exercise? No. But that's relatively easy to get with just fast walking ,rucking etc.

The one thing that is usually missed about KJ's max vo2 snatch training is that the goal was always to train your HR up to actually max levels ( I usually got to 185-200) during work sets. the reason this was possible is because of the 15 second breaks every 15 seconds where the HR can come down enough to allow you to continue, only to have it pushed back up after another 15 seconds of work.

I'm not sure if my max vo2 actually improved over the years I trained it but my resting hr did drop from 62 to 48 in the mornings after the first 8 weeks of training. And, over the course of a year I worked up from 35 sets of 7 with a 16 kg bell to 40 sets of 8 with the same bell. That is one very serious workout from any perspective.

this was my last workout before I did 80 sets of 8


BTW my training for the 48 kg sinister swing test ( which I accomplished although I didn't swing the bell to standard height enough reps) was much much harder just given the sheer mass of the bell.Not sure I was in better "shape" though than I was snatching the 16 :)
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
For me walking is the perfect addition because it is so replenishing. You get a lot of benefits without undue stress.

On the contrary, your CNS and your body can regenerate. Plus it is a great remedy against depression and great for new ideas.

Some really strong guys such as Aleks Salkin and Phill Chubb (the_mindful_mover) swear by walking as a great addition for health, regeneration, stamina and fat loss. Apparently your long walks also help you recover between sets of strength exercises. Plus it is a major OS reset.
I prefer rucking . I started as leg rehab after my knee replacement and it's just too cool to stop. Serious cardio and work capacity all together. I ruck twice a week with a 45 lb pack and keep track of my HR and my lap times
 

Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
It's hard to beat VWC for what it offers, things like cardio fitness, strength endurance, shoulder elasticity, torching fat, leg and posterior chain strengthening etc.. just to name a few.
When snatching in the VWC format each snatch takes me approximately 1.87 seconds, I'll just throw in a guess of .37 seconds of actual muscle contraction of a significant degree leaving 1.5 seconds recovery time per snatch.
Doing the math for the 15:15 protocol using the 16k bell @ 8 reps I try for 8 reps in no more than 15 seconds of actual work, of that 15 seconds approximately 3 seconds I would call significant muscle engagement, leaving 12 seconds of recovery even during the work set itself.
Then there is a 15 second recovery time before reengaging for the next set, so 3 seconds out of 30 being 'hard muscle contraction' equates to 10% of the entire effort of say 80 sets (40 mins ).

40 mins x 10% = 4 mins actual 'hard work'

If my assumptions are anywhere near close that's an astounding amount of tonnage 'lifted' in 4 mins.
16k (35 lbs) x 8 = 280 lbs per set or 560 lbs per min.
80 sets x 280 lbs = 22,400 lbs
22,400 lbs/4 mins = 5600 lbs per min of 'hard work'

It's no mystery the heart remains at MVO2 and out of 40 mins 'work' the 'real work' is actually 10% of the 40 mins leaving 36 mins recovery even while suffering under the massive loads you're actually lifting.

As @Rif said my RHR also went from 60 to 48 and I'm stronger, more resilient and elastic. I think the popularity of the protocol suffers due to it being very hard both mentally and physically, in that regard you get out of this program exactly what you bring to it both physically and mentally. It's kind of like computers, GIGO
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
exactly. it delivers what it promises but is tough on many levels; mentally, technically, cardiovascularly and from a power perspective as well.
 

Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
After some thought, Andrew Read is correct- swings are not cardio. Can believe it took me this long to realise this!
In the article comments section he specifies a tier system, swings being tier 3 or about 60% as effective as tier 1 activities (running, swimming etc.)
However he's painting swings with a pretty broad brush, there are methods like VWC, A+A, Clusters, HIIT etc. which are probably much more effective than just 'swings'. I would rank VWC much higher on the scale.

To say that swings are not cardio is missing the point, they are indeed cardio, just less effective than straight running for example. Using different cardio strategies with KB's can yield a much better cardio benefit than is commonly acknowledged, snatches require less TUT and are far more effective for cardio. As far as I can tell from reading many different sources the specific cardio benefits of KB strategies just aren't a large target for much serious research, with VWC being the possible exception and as I understand it Kenneth Jay has moved to more the run, row, ruck side of the equation (but has said his VWC protocol is still valid) .

I believe the reasoning behind it is the simple fact that if running, swimming etc. yield the best results why try and reinvent the wheel, in other words if you want the best cardio benefit go run or something equivalent and quit trying to hammer nails with a crescent wrench.

That being said it's hot as hell in So Cal right now and I'd rather do VWC at 95 F in the shade than run in the 100+ F hot sun. I've been doing some walk/run sessions but see no immediate relief from the heat. I'd love to go swim in the ocean but my shoulder hates it, so for now cardio is mostly VWC, Cluster sets and A+A..
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
I think many of us (myself included) fall prey to the term 'cardio'. Presumably short for cardiovascular. I will concede that swings and snatches and the like, work (train) the CV system. How could they not?
Steady state locomotive training also works the CV system, albeit in a different fashion. Different modalities... different body adaptations.

My crafts demand a much higher reliance on the latter than the former, although I train both.
 

Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
I think many of us (myself included) fall prey to the term 'cardio'. Presumably short for cardiovascular. I will concede that swings and snatches and the like, work (train) the CV system. How could they not?
Steady state locomotive training also works the CV system, albeit in a different fashion. Different modalities... different body adaptations.

My crafts demand a much higher reliance on the latter than the former, although I train both.
Agree completely, 'cardio' is defined often by it's relationship to lactate production. It seems the party line is 'less' (lactate) = 'more, better..' (cardio).

In the end it's specificity as you said that rules the day. There are far too many variables involved to say with certainty anything about cardio training. We know running is CV friendly, as nature has set it up that way. We know KB's make you stronger... Now I need to perfect 'snatching on the run', imagine the shape you would be in if you could do 1000 snatches with a 12k bell while running>>>>>>>>!!!! :cool:

Holy crap! I just walked and suitcase snatched with the 12 switching hands each one. It is do-able! :D

So now are the snatches 'ruining' the benefit of walking with extra lactate? o_O

Or is carrying a load while rucking producing more lactate and 'ruining' the effects of walking? If not where do you draw the line? o_O

This is a serious question.. seriously..

One more question, VWC keeps the HR high @ MVO2, and looking at the HR graph of a session you can see a 'steady state' HR albeit a high one. Imagine using the same protocol and dialing back the density to provoke a lower HR, say MAF level and going for 75 mins. Would it not be the same effect on the CVS? After all, the heart knows only a stimulus to replenish an O2 deficit and pumps according to need. If lactate levels were slightly elevated or the same is the CV benefit not equal no matter the method of stimulus?
 
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KIWI5

More than 300 posts
If Andrews percentages are close to reality- 60% as effective is not close enough for me. I agree with him, if you are going to train specifically for 'cardio, do it correctly.
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
Agree completely, 'cardio' is defined often by it's relationship to lactate production. It seems the party line is 'less' (lactate) = 'more, better..' (cardio).

In the end it's specificity as you said that rules the day. There are far too many variables involved to say with certainty anything about cardio training. We know running is CV friendly, as nature has set it up that way. We know KB's make you stronger... Now I need to perfect 'snatching on the run', imagine the shape you would be in if you could do 1000 snatches with a 12k bell while running>>>>>>>>!!!! :cool:

Holy crap! I just walked and suitcase snatched with the 12 switching hands each one. It is do-able! :D

So now are the snatches 'ruining' the benefit of walking with extra lactate? o_O

Or is carrying a load while rucking producing more lactate and 'ruining' the effects of walking? If not where do you draw the line? o_O

This is a serious question.. seriously..
I ruck twice a week with 45-50 lbs. Once a week is for two hours, once for one hour. My HR rarely, if ever goes above 125 so no lactate is being produced. So it is cardio. If I were going uphill however that might be different but I ruck on the flats for that and other reasons


And just because swinging and snatching is not "cardio" by definition that does not mean that there isn't significant conditioning benefit to legs and lungs. i.e better "wind". A rose by any other name ......
If I can walk longer, faster and more often from heavy rucking and I can do more total full body loading over the course of the day/week/month because of my heavy swings and fatigue more slowly, do more than I could before more easily and recover faster do I really care what it is technically called?
 

Bret S.

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Certified Instructor
If I can walk longer, faster and more often from heavy rucking and I can do more total full body loading over the course of the day/week/month because of my heavy swings and fatigue more slowly, do more than I could before more easily and recover faster do I really care what it is technically called?
I, like you, don't care so much about what it's called, I'm more interested in effectiveness. There has been much debate as to what is 'cardio', frankly the term is almost useless as it can't be defined to a useful degree.. well I suppose it can but in this realm it comes down to one man's trash is another man's treasure as everybody shapes their own 'cardio' philosophy according to their own personal POV.

My problem is with the 'cardio elites' saying in so many words, 'phhhh ... what your doing is useless' (not you @offwidth ). I'm no fool and can see/feel the difference in the CV systems I employ while at the same time completely acknowledging the benefits of LED training.

If I'm a front line operator or firefighter needing the benefits of hard KB cardio as well as LED I'm doing both without question. If I only do LED I'm gonna be a hurtin unit. Given a choice between S&S and LED I'm going with S&S first.
The crossover is not equal in my mind as a KB cardio trained guy can go LED any day and do pretty well, but take the LED guy and hand him a KB and say 'ok, go to work and kick butt' it's not going to be pretty.

In the end I have no argument with any CV training mode and wish to do both, I just get annoyed when an 'LED is the only true cardio' stuff comes my way. KB cardio training is gold and so is LED. Without KB cardio and muscle adaptation it's impossible to have strength endurance which is what I seek, LED work is the golden icing on the golden cake IMHO
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
I, like you, don't care so much about what it's called, I'm more interested in effectiveness. There has been much debate as to what is 'cardio', frankly the term is almost useless as it can't be defined to a useful degree.. well I suppose it can but in this realm it comes down to one man's trash is another man's treasure as everybody shapes their own 'cardio' philosophy according to their own personal POV.

My problem is with the 'cardio elites' saying in so many words, 'phhhh ... what your doing is useless' (not you @offwidth ). I'm no fool and can see/feel the difference in the CV systems I employ while at the same time completely acknowledging the benefits of LED training.

If I'm a front line operator or firefighter needing the benefits of hard KB cardio as well as LED I'm doing both without question. If I only do LED I'm gonna be a hurtin unit. Given a choice between S&S and LED I'm going with S&S first.
The crossover is not equal in my mind as a KB cardio trained guy can go LED any day and do pretty well, but take the LED guy and hand him a KB and say 'ok, go to work and kick butt' it's not going to be pretty.

In the end I have no argument with any CV training mode and wish to do both, I just get annoyed when an 'LED is the only true cardio' stuff comes my way. KB cardio training is gold and so is LED. Without KB cardio and muscle adaptation it's impossible to have strength endurance which is what I seek, LED work is the golden icing on the golden cake IMHO

having been on both sides of the extreme end of these games (ultra marathons and competitive powerlifting) I can agree with you as to 'one man's trash...etc". In the real world there are very few elites and those that are remain so for a very short period of time

What it boils down to most of us, for most of our lives, is being strong and enduring and resilient and physically fit for what life hands us is crucial. Balanced training is very much underrated.

Not being able to walk for more than few blocks for over 20 years I grew to greatly appreciate( and be envious of ) those able to walk run or cycle for hours with little or no ramifications. Now that I can do that I know I was right; a base line of aerobic fitness ( call it what you want) is critical to overall health and longevity.
 
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Oscar

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
When I do sets of 10 swings, I usually start the set at HR 100 and it rises to about 145, so my average hr for a swing session is about 125. If I jog at hr 145, the RPE is much lower than for the set of swings, in spite that the average HR is 20 beats higher.

I don't know exactly what this means, but I think the body is built for running and therefore it can cope with a much higher effort running than doing other things.
 

KIWI5

More than 300 posts
This brings me back to the 8 week 'base building' in Tactical Barbell- but given my age I follow the Ageless Athlete template, doing this once or twice yearly is a well proven technique for keeping the 'cardio' tank topped up. I am overdue for a Base Building cycle......
 

Matts

More than 300 posts
definitions confusing me quite a bit in this thread..."cardio" is generally applied to steady-state exercise that primarily works aerobic energy systems, mainly running, cycling, etc. done at a pace that is using at least around 50% of aerobic system.

Hard style swings done at lower rep (10 or less) sets, relying on alactic system mainly, are just not going to qualify as this type of steady state exercise. Also, the "swings" are not using the aerobic system primarily, but it's being used in the recovery phase, so the recovery is the aerobic "work." However, it appears that the combination of hardstyle swings are done in appropriate intensity using the alactic system, followed by an appropriate rest period utilizing the aerobic system to refuel and recharge, can benefit and strengthen the aerobic system over time.

So I'd say the issue is whether hard style swings benefit the aerobic system, even if they're not classified as "cardio." From my experience, and many others in this forum based on WTH posts, regimens like S&S and the A+A programs do give a lot of benefit to the aerobic system, like people going out and running 5K's, etc successfully without practicing running or whatever but only doing S&S, or having increased endurance in MA, etc. that they didn't expect just from a GPP.

Now do the benefits of these programs like S&S and A+A for aerobic conditioning directly compare to the benefits of a smart running, etc. program? I doubt if they'd come close. However, they still can and do benefit the aerobic system noticeably, which is pretty damn good for a strength and conditioning program! And, adding some walking, running, or other "cardio" to it is a win/win for that energy system.

Note: GS swings done continuously with a lighter weight and aerobic HR over a longer period of time, like 45 mins, could be called "cardio," but that's not generally what people are discussing here, and the benefits of that to the cardio system would be more like running, cycling, rowing machine, whatever as it would be a steady state exercise at that energy level.
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
definitions confusing me quite a bit in this thread..."cardio" is generally applied to steady-state exercise that primarily works aerobic energy systems, mainly running, cycling, etc. done at a pace that is using at least around 50% of aerobic system.

Hard style swings done at lower rep (10 or less) sets, relying on alactic system mainly, are just not going to qualify as this type of steady state exercise. Also, the "swings" are not using the aerobic system primarily, but it's being used in the recovery phase, so the recovery is the aerobic "work." However, it appears that the combination of hardstyle swings are done in appropriate intensity using the alactic system, followed by an appropriate rest period utilizing the aerobic system to refuel and recharge, can benefit and strengthen the aerobic system over time.

So I'd say the issue is whether hard style swings benefit the aerobic system, even if they're not classified as "cardio." From my experience, and many others in this forum based on WTH posts, regimens like S&S and the A+A programs do give a lot of benefit to the aerobic system, like people going out and running 5K's, etc successfully without practicing running or whatever but only doing S&S, or having increased endurance in MA, etc. that they didn't expect just from a GPP.

Now do the benefits of these programs like S&S and A+A for aerobic conditioning directly compare to the benefits of a smart running, etc. program? I doubt if they'd come close. However, they still can and do benefit the aerobic system noticeably, which is pretty damn good for a strength and conditioning program! And, adding some walking, running, or other "cardio" to it is a win/win for that energy system.

Note: GS swings done continuously with a lighter weight and aerobic HR over a longer period of time, like 45 mins, could be called "cardio," but that's not generally what people are discussing here, and the benefits of that to the cardio system would be more like running, cycling, rowing machine, whatever as it would be a steady state exercise at that energy level.

the difference in heart rate increases done with resistance training and traditional cyclic exercises is that with resistance exercise there is a constant loading on the heart that is not consistent with the expansion of the left ventricle and builds less of a pliable and elastic heart and more of one with thicker walls, that is not as conducive to good heart health

This is my understanding of it and why I do traditional aerobic exercise in addition to my heavy kb and barbell work
 

Bret S.

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
What it boils down to most of us, for most of our lives, is being strong and enduring and resilient and physically fit for what life hands us is crucial. Balanced training is very much underrated.
++^^This^^++

I don't know if anyone has used this but I'm calling it 'Strongevity', or the 'art of remaining strong your whole life'.

My goals for life:
- Strength endurance
- Healthy strong CVS
- Great mobility
- Strength through the entire ROM
- Never to be on a prescribed drug
- To always be able to rip lids off jars without thought
- LGN
- Go out on my feet
 
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