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Kettlebell Is a big upper body pull a deficiency in S&S?

Jeff

Level 6 Valued Member
As far as being ”all around “ does S&S fall short in regards to upper body pulling strength?
 

tomstranger

Level 6 Valued Member
My short answer would be no. Longer answer is that it depends on your goals, recovery, etc and that you can certainly add in other work if you feel it’s needed. There have been numerous suggestions for tweaks such as adding pull-ups both here on the forum and in articles.
 

james_1127

Level 5 Valued Member
No b/c like the barbell DL the swing (especially 1H) use the lats isometricly in order to keep the shoulder stable so you have some upper body "pull" somewhat

I usually add in some trx pulls like rows & Y's at the end of my warmup or mix them in the cooldown
 

watchnerd

Level 7 Valued Member
As far as being ”all around “ does S&S fall short in regards to upper body pulling strength?

Heck yes.

But I'm totally biased on what qualifies as good* upper body pulling strength. ;)

(*my standard for what I would call 'good' upper body pulling strength is to be able to power clean your own body weight and do 10 pull ups. No points given for 10 pull ups if your lower body is so small you can't power clean your own weight. ;))

That aside, as @james_1127 mentions, S&S is lacking a true row move for better back development.
 
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JamesPTA

Level 6 Valued Member
Years ago on this forum, @Pavel Macek made a comment that can be summarized by: “get to swinging the 32 for 100 reps daily, and let me know how your lats feel.”

Once I got there, I understood and I agree with him and his statement. Once you’re performing heavy single arm swings, you really have to use your pulling muscles to keep that bell from flying away. Also, heavy over speed eccentric swings can light your back up well
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
What's it with all the lats talk? Are the lats the only back muscle we're supposed to be concerned about?

I don't mean to point any fingers in this thread but it's something I've seen through the years and I guess I wanted to finally know what it's all about.
 
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Stefan Olsson

Level 5 Valued Member
As far as being ”all around “ does S&S fall short in regards to upper body pulling strength?

Max Shank says:

One of the major misconceptions with regard to kettlebell training over the past several years has been the idea that swings and get-ups will fix/cure/heal anything and be a well-rounded training program.

This is absolutely not the case. This is more a case of "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

When you get right down to it, swings and get-ups are EXCELLENT exercises, but only doing them is massively shortsighted.

When it comes to programming, simple is often better, but too simple can be just as bad as too complicated.

With kettlebell training there is a tendency to have a hyper-focus on kettlebell-specific exercises, while disregarding tried and true basic truths of general strength and athleticism training.

Because it makes the most sense to train full-body workouts for non-bodybuilders, let's look at what a potential training session could look like:

1 Get-up per side, 10 swings. Repeat 10 times. Go home.

Simple? Yes. Burn some calories? Sure. Enhance general movement? Yeah that too. But to call it well-rounded is a huge mistake.

Master RKC Max Shank Kettlebell Swing

Learning to categorize exercises is an important skill when it comes to programming training sessions. The meat and potatoes of movements are:

Upper Push
Upper Pull*

Lower Push
Lower Pull*

Mobility*

*These areas are most critical for improved posture relative to our sitting-in-a-chair dominant culture. Any lack in these areas is going to compound movement dysfunction and increase injury risk.

Here's a great way to improve your swings and get-ups workout session:

1A) Get-Up x 1/side (upper push)
1B) Swing x 10 (lower pull)
1C) Hip Flexor Stretch x 10 breaths/side (mobility)
Repeat 5 times

2A) Row x 8 (upper pull)
2B) Reverse Lunge x5/side (lower push)
2C) Thoracic Bridge (mobility)
Repeat 5 times

By adding these extra movements and dialing back on the swings and get-ups, you are going to have a much more well-rounded training session.

No extra time investment, just smarter planning and more bang for your buck.

Don't make things too complicated, but don't make them too simple either; make a training session checklist and make sure you are hitting all of the above categories--you'll be stronger, more flexible, and stay in jury-free

Max is not talking about S&S specificly (with its programing, frequency etc.) but just the doing the Swings and Get-ups. By the time he wrote this article he was also releaseing his then new book. So its hard to decide wether this is genuine or a sales pitch.
 
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jozko

Level 5 Valued Member
For me personally, yes. I have a sedentary job and S&S only is not enough to make my back happy.
As @Antti said, there are other important muscles apart from lats. I can have lats like flying squirrel and I can do 15+ pullups at 80kg of weight without specifically training them, but I just need horizontal rowing if I want painless back.
 

Stefan Olsson

Level 5 Valued Member
For me personally, yes. I have a sedentary job and S&S only is not enough to make my back happy.
As @Antti said, there are other important muscles apart from lats. I can have lats like flying squirrel and I can do 15+ pullups at 80kg of weight without specifically training them, but I just need horizontal rowing if I want painless back.
Sounds like you should check out DMPM (Dan Martin Program Minimum) If you haven't?

Its based on what excercise section and rep ranges that Dan John thinks "everyone else" (normal people) can/should do (near) daily.
 

Ege

Level 5 Valued Member
I am a new bee to SF, not an expert on SF principals and definitely not a fan boy. Too old for that thing.

S&S has many more movement patterns covered than NW.

I have been on NW for the last week.

I can say NW is a very well rounded program that covers full body.

Perfect form push ups and squats (or trying to do perfect form of pushups and squats) do more to my back then half heartedly done pull ups. My half hearted pull ups, was half hearted according to SF pull up. They were from full dead hang position with a brief pause at very top and at end.

If my hectic life continues :) if I can’t find the time and means of having a proper “program” :)) for a few more months, I will double my overall strength :))
 

Ege

Level 5 Valued Member
Ps: Excuse me if I sound arrogant or ignorant. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone and anyones special conditions. I am not an expert at all on SF programs. I am just learning, and the more I learn the happier I become. Here I am seeing some members, who genuinely does S&S or NW and strong like hell versus I see people at the gyms struggling to show any progress despite the fact that they cover all angles of their body.

Dan John is a great coach, he recommends “hangs” to improve pull ups.

Let’s take a person who does S&S and does hangs for time almost daily.

What will happen to his/her pull up strength after a year? This is an overseen aspect of S&S I am afraid.
 
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ShawnM

Level 8 Valued Member
For me personally, yes. I have a sedentary job and S&S only is not enough to make my back happy.
As @Antti said, there are other important muscles apart from lats. I can have lats like flying squirrel and I can do 15+ pullups at 80kg of weight without specifically training them, but I just need horizontal rowing if I want painless back.
If you can get any type of suspension trainer like a TRX or whatever and do rows, as many as you want, 2-3 days a week. I'm not a get up fan so I add in push-ups or pull-ups after my swings for a set amount of reps (100 push-ups/25+pull ups) and it fills the gaps nicely. I started doing Alligator crawls for X-amount of minutes and discovered back muscles that I didn't know existed.
 

Nate

Level 6 Valued Member
As always, a more nuanced "it depends" is the right answer. Some say Squat, Deadlift & Bench lack a pull. But for many people, yes, its enough. I've had solid back DOMS from swings which is an easy way of showing the muscles are getting work. After Simple, pullups felt easier even though I've never struggled with them. And I had a climber who went from a few pullups to 3 easy muscle ups with only S&S, not even to Simple standard. So it can, but some may want full ROM pulls too.
 

John K

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
As far as being ”all around “ does S&S fall short in regards to upper body pulling strength?
I think it depends on what you interpret "all around" to be. A bodybuilder wants every muscle group trained in a more reductionistic way - calves need a calf exercise, lats need a lat exercise, etc.

The "problem" with minimalism is that some things are not trained directly. A snatch only program or a swing and getup (or a swing and pushup) only program or a clean and press only program invariably do not hit everything (however you define that) equally, or in ways that will develop every pattern or muscle group.

So the question is why are we doing a minimalistic program? What are our goals, and does the program progress us towards them?

This is why I don't get all crazy with all the WTH effects - it is talked about so much that people come to expect them and then when they don't improve something specific that they weren't training for they get upset. A common example is the getup and the bench press - "I did getups and got up to X weight but when I tested my bench press it was worse than it was 6 months ago!" or "I did a C&P only program for 6 months but my max pull-ups went from 12 to 8!"

If we read in the very beginning of S&S:
1. Do more with less - widest range of benefits with the fewest moving parts
2. Simple to learn and safe to execute
3. Leave you with plenty of time and energy for non-training activities

I think this is why S&S-style sessions can easily be integrated into other programs - such as in Simple Strength for Difficult Times or Novocaine. It builds a "GPP Base" by training an explosive hip hinge (and a good posterior chain), developing a good squat, and improving shoulder and thoracic mechanics, things a lot of people today struggle with.

Rowing and pull-ups could be a good addition. There are a lot of things that could be a good addition. But that's more about what YOU want than it is "improving" the program.
 

Jeff

Level 6 Valued Member
What's it with all the lats talk? Are the lats the only back muscle we're supposed to be concerned about?

I don't mean to point any fingers in this thread but it's something I've seen through the years and I guess I wanted to finally know what it's all about.
At SF, lats have been called the super muscles, so you have that.

And who among doesn’t want something to take to the gun show?
 

TimothyGander

Level 5 Valued Member
A beginner program must be scalable. An average untrained person cannot do even a single good chinup. Sure, you could try some monkey business with bands and forced negatives and hanging for time and assisted pullups and lat pulldowns and whatnot... but then you are no longer doing a minimalist GPP program, but a pullup specialization one. As for various rows, Pavel was never a fan and for good reason: most of them either create lots of unproductive back stress or require additional equipment.
 
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