My Kettlebell "Strong" Results

krg

Level 5 Valued Member
Just finished up Phase 1 of Strong.

I'm doing double clean and press with 2 x 24 kg bells. I started phase 1 just being able to get 5 reps. After 8 weeks I got 9 reps with good form. I put on a kilo in weight which wasn't intentional but it seems to be mostly on my arms and shoulders.

Up till now I've been adding a couple of front squats onto the end of each set. I'm going to drop that for Phase 2 so I can focus better on recovery.

It's a great programme so far. Very simple programming but like all of Geoff's programmes I have tried the progressions and instructions on starting weight are perfect.
 

krg

Level 5 Valued Member
Getting close to the end of Phase 2 - had a few weeks off in the middle due to injury.

Just wondering what results folk have seen with Phase 3?

I am in two minds whether to do Phase 3 - it is pretty much the polar opposite of how I like to train.
 

John Grahill

Level 6 Valued Member
@krg ... I never made it to phase 3 with the double 36s. I switched after doing phase 1 and phase 2 (slow and steady) with them. Frankly, I was a little burned out!

I have since run phase 1 with double 40s and did ok with it but I couldn't maintain my form to successfully complete phase 2 with them in good form and shortened rest.... (tried twice, walked away injured. Resulted in my using my 53 year old head and retreating from it)....

I'm thinking of running through " Strong " again with the 36s using phases 1 to 3. With respect to phase 2 I'd consider doing the short course this time and then phase 3. If the rest periods get too demanding I'd consider some Mr. Neupert suggested a while back privately in an email....keep the rest periods the same but drop back on the reps when and if you need to in order to maintain proper form. You still keep at 60 overall reps which means more overall sets than 10.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
@krg How did phase 2 go, generally? I see you went from 5 to 9 in phase 1, did you test RM after phase 2 (or test a heavier pair)?

Did you do separate conditioning during phase 2? If not, do you think phase 2 kept (or got?) your conditioning high?
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 6 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
@krg ... I never made it to phase 3 with the double 36s. I switched after doing phase 1 and phase 2 (slow and steady) with them. Frankly, I was a little burned out!

I have since run phase 1 with double 40s and did ok with it but I couldn't maintain my form to successfully complete phase 2 with them in good form and shortened rest.... (tried twice, walked away injured. Resulted in my using my 53 year old head and retreating from it)....

I'm thinking of running through " Strong " again with the 36s using phases 1 to 3. With respect to phase 2 I'd consider doing the short course this time and then phase 3. If the rest periods get too demanding I'd consider some Mr. Neupert suggested a while back privately in an email....keep the rest periods the same but drop back on the reps when and if you need to in order to maintain proper form. You still keep at 60 overall reps which means more overall sets than 10.
Can you fill me in on his recommendations?
 

krg

Level 5 Valued Member
@krg How did phase 2 go, generally? I see you went from 5 to 9 in phase 1, did you test RM after phase 2 (or test a heavier pair)?

Did you do separate conditioning during phase 2? If not, do you think phase 2 kept (or got?) your conditioning high?
I've got the last two taper sessions to go before retesting.

In terms of conditioning, I cycle to work most days and I do a bit on the rowing machine. Strong on its own would not fulfill my conditioning needs.
 

krg

Level 5 Valued Member
OK Strong Phase 2 slow and steady with 2x24 kg bells is complete.

Results
Start
of programme - max was 5 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.
End of Phase 1 - max was 9 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.
End of Phase 2 - max was 10 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.

Test with 2 x 28 kg - couldn't do it at all at the start. Could do 1 good rep after Phase 1 and 4 reps after Phase 2.

So I would say it works as advertised - Phase 1 for strength, Phase 2 for work capacity.

Part of me thinks that's a pretty small increase for so much work. But hopefully as it is such a long programme the effects will be long term as well. It's also well worth noting that I've been dieting hard - over the timeframe of Phase 2 I've lost 7.5 kg, so any increase in strength is real progress.

In terms of other results - waist and chest are smaller, arms and thighs slightly bigger.

I have no doubt that a skinny 21 year old (or any age) would get stronger and put on useful muscle with the programme if eating well with it.

The 4 reps for double 28s mean I could cycle straight back in with those bells for another round, and I may consider that in the autumn. I won't be doing Phase 3 which calls for compressed rest periods - it's just not how I like to train at all.

I have to say this is probably my favourite KB programme - simple, builds load gradually and I found the slow and steady version very survivable - and you get to lift things over your head. Each session is only about 30 minutes and it's 3x a week. In contrast when I did right of passage with 24 kg the later weeks really dragged and I abandoned a run through with 28 kg because it just crushed me once the ladders got to 5 rungs.

It also has a destination and a finish point.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 6 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
OK Strong Phase 2 slow and steady with 2x24 kg bells is complete.

Results
Start
of programme - max was 5 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.
End of Phase 1 - max was 9 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.
End of Phase 2 - max was 10 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.

Test with 2 x 28 kg - couldn't do it at all at the start. Could do 1 good rep after Phase 1 and 4 reps after Phase 2.

So I would say it works as advertised - Phase 1 for strength, Phase 2 for work capacity.

Part of me thinks that's a pretty small increase for so much work. But hopefully as it is such a long programme the effects will be long term as well. It's also well worth noting that I've been dieting hard - over the timeframe of Phase 2 I've lost 7.5 kg, so any increase in strength is real progress.

In terms of other results - waist and chest are smaller, arms and thighs slightly bigger.

I have no doubt that a skinny 21 year old (or any age) would get stronger and put on useful muscle with the programme if eating well with it.

The 4 reps for double 28s mean I could cycle straight back in with those bells for another round, and I may consider that in the autumn. I won't be doing Phase 3 which calls for compressed rest periods - it's just not how I like to train at all.

I have to say this is probably my favourite KB programme - simple, builds load gradually and I found the slow and steady version very survivable - and you get to lift things over your head. Each session is only about 30 minutes and it's 3x a week. In contrast when I did right of passage with 24 kg the later weeks really dragged and I abandoned a run through with 28 kg because it just crushed me once the ladders got to 5 rungs.

It also has a destination and a finish point.
here's another interesting idea you could consider..

use the same bells, run day 3 of "the olympic" as a chain but follow the programming of ph2 of "strong"
 

Tirofijo

Level 5 Valued Member
Results
Start
of programme - max was 5 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.
End of Phase 1 - max was 9 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.
End of Phase 2 - max was 10 reps Double C+P 2x24 kg.

Test with 2 x 28 kg - couldn't do it at all at the start. Could do 1 good rep after Phase 1 and 4 reps after Phase 2.
I think it was interesting that your rep max increased modestly from 9 to 10 during Phase 2 with the 24s but increased from 1 to 4 with the 28s. (I wouldn't call going from 1 to 4 modest at all.)

That wouldn't have expected that.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
I think it was interesting that your rep max increased modestly from 9 to 10 during Phase 2 with the 24s but increased from 1 to 4 with the 28s. (I wouldn't call going from 1 to 4 modest at all.)

That wouldn't have expected that.
What would you expect (or what was your experience) for 24’s in phase 2?
 

Tirofijo

Level 5 Valued Member
What would you expect (or what was your experience) for 24’s in phase 2?
I'm less than a quarter of the way done with of Phase 2 using 26kg.

I didn't have quite as big improvement as @krg at the end of Phase 1. I went from 4 reps with the 26s to 7 reps. Still good, though.

As far as Phase 2, which is 48 workouts over 16 weeks, frankly, I will be disappointed if I only get a one-rep increase with the 26s.

However, if I got an extra 3 reps with double 30s (KRG tested his 24 and 28s, which is similar to 26 and 30s for me), that wouldn't be so bad. (I didn't test myself with 30s, so I'll never know.)


To answer your question - in KRG's case, I'd say the number of reps with the 28 bell, since it is heavier, is a better expression of max strength than the number of reps with the 24kg. And the 24kg, while not being strictly speaking "strength endurance", it's more strength endurance than the 28kg.

And since the goal of Phase 2 is "work capacity and/or hypertrophy" and you are working with bells that are now a smaller percentage of your 1 rep max than it was in Phase 1, I would have been less surprised if KRG had reported "I didn't get many extra reps with the heavier 28kg bell, but my rep max with the working 24kg bell went up."

It's as if he gained max strength, but maybe didn't gain as much work capacity or strength endurance.

(However, work capacity may be harder to measure and define. I'm sure that the 10x3 workout that ends Phase 1 was a lot easier at the end of Phase 2 - so is that work capacity? But I'm still surprised that it didn't translate to more reps.)

I hope this makes sense.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
@Tirofijo I’m with you.

It is indeed surprising that 28 went from 1 to 4 in phase 2. One possible explanation is that the hypertrophy of phase 2 (with now-lighter weight due to phase 1) contributed to a max strength test effort. Bigger muscles can move more weight (or a given weight more times), after all. I may be wrong but it sounds like he did the short version of phase 2.

It’s interesting how everyone is different with rep-maxes at different weights.
 

krg

Level 5 Valued Member
it sounds like he did the short version of phase 2.
I did the slow and steady version of Phase 2.

I actually think the double clean and press is a hard lift to compare rep maxes in because it is a lift of 2 parts - the clean - which is not the limiting component - and the press - which is the limiting component.

If I use a rep max calculator from 531 where 1RM = wt + (wt x reps x 0.033)

Then 10 reps at 48 kg = 1RM of 64 kg and
4 reps at 56 kg = 1RM of 64 kg - so these results are consistent.

What it probably suggests is that I should have had more confidence testing with double 28s after Phase 1 and squeezed out at least another rep. As it was the first time I'd got them overhead it was probably a mental block as much as anything.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
Been thinking more about this.

My hunch is that if you want to "lift more weight", just keep repeating phase 1 with heavier bells. E.g. I am nearly done with phase 1 with 24kg, starting RM of 4 maybe 5. I am hoping at the end to be able to 2 reps with 2x32, which will allow me to do phase 1 again with those weights (will probably require longer rest, 3-5 minutes, than I'm doing now, 1-3 minutes). A heavy weight (5RM or heavier) with progressive overload (measured in session tonnage) via volume (kettlebells) or intensity (barbell), builds strength, no doubt.

If you want to "lift a weight more", phase 2 will get you there, but repeating with phase 1 might too! So 10 sets of 3 to 10 sets of 6 (in as few as 6 weeks) is twice the work in either the same or less session time. Work capacity? Check. Moderately heavy weight for volume = hypertrophy? Check. Might that translate into more limit strength? Maybe, maybe not - everyone is different (perhaps the more under-muscled you are, the more effect added muscle mass will have on strength gain?).

Somewhere after 5RM, a rep-max performance/test becomes a "strength endurance" feat and leaves the realm of limit strength feat, IMO. The guy who can press 2x24 for 10 is stronger than the one who can press 2x24 for 5; but I also think our 10-rep guy won't continue to get much stronger (measured by, say, RM with 2x28 or 2x32) training with that now-10RM bell, nearly as fast as he did when that pair was his 3RM or 5RM. Why not go back and lift singles and doubles with a 2-3RM bell and get that up to 5+RM? Then he could press 2x24 all day long.

I'll caveat all this by saying: I agree/believe phase 2 delivers what it says, when people say they gained muscle/experienced positive body composition changes, and improved their work capacity - could you have done 10x6 at the start of phase 2? If not, it worked, because now you can!
 
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Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
@John Grahill Any ideas on where it can be acquired in full? I have the programming section but haven’t been able to find it anywhere. I should’ve picked it up when it went on a deep sale here right before it disappeared from the internet (apparently). Who owns the copyright and why aren’t they making it available?
 

Jeremykots

Level 4 Valued Member
Planning on restarting this next week after taking sometime off to recoup from being banged up in a car accident
 

Jacques van der Merwe

Level 3 Valued Member
Coming in late to this party. Trying to find Geoff's content online is like looking for hen's teeth (as they say).

I'm looking for a copy of KB Strong! If anyone has a spare, or can help me locate one I would be most appreciative.

Thanks and happy Hump-Day!
 

John Grahill

Level 6 Valued Member
@Sean M, I have no idea! I have the programs committed to memory (somewhat) as I have misplaced my copy during a recent move!
I have my old training note pad which outlined the "slow and steady" phase two....however I di not have the "one" program committed to memory at all.
 

John Grahill

Level 6 Valued Member
I really am glad I'm not the only one who likes "Strong"....Geoffs programming was/is awesome. I remember going through it initially thinking it's not enough work so I'll have to add this or that......then the volume increased!!!

Another thing to consider, just for the heck of it, is going through again with a previous weight(s) but with better form!

My first time through with the 40s I feel was too "iffy" if thats the word? Too much body english, too many shaky reps toward later sets/rounds, etc. Was much better the second time through (just talking phase one here)....
 
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