My S&S Swing and heartrate

Pnigro

Triple-Digit Post Count
@Pnigro when you started using 32kg, did you start with 2-handed, and then switching to 1-handed? or was it all 1-handed from the beginning?
Always 2-handed first

After I get used to the weight, I introduce 1 handed swings.

Can you expand on this? What did your longer term progression look like? How many months?
Sup Al,

I started S&S on October last year.

Never did kettlebells before in my life.

First month I did swings with 16kg to get used to the movement.

The next 7 months I did swings with 24kg with long rests and taking it very easy. I was able to improve my technique and the swings got easier, but everytime I tried the 5 minute test I couldn't make it. I think 5:47 was my personal best.

First few months I was doing S&S 3 times a week and then lately increased it to 4 times a week.

I suspect that had I done S&S 6-7 times a week I probably would have reached the 5 minute mark with the 24kg easily.

Currently I'm doing 5x10 swings with the 32kg, taking it easy. Will add more sets once it feels comfortable enough to do it.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Pavel, thank you very much for the very thorough explanation!

Al, I am mostly offline for the next 24 hours due to the Jewish holiday, but I will give this some thought. Another forum I'm on has a section for workout logs, with one thread per person. We could do that here pretty easily. If anyone wants to start such a thread here and now, please title it

<forum handle> workout log

And I will move those threads into the new section in a day or two. I recommend we allow anyone, whether following S and S or not, to keep such a thread, and each person can include a comment at the top that says if they're doing S and S - more on that another time.

-S-
 

BladesFanUK

Double-Digit Post Count
Pavel,

Could you please direct me towards some of that acidosis literature, even if it is in russian? I would be interested to see it.
I dispute that even excessive HIIT can result in this kind of acidosis. Once again, acid-base balance is restored very rapidly after exercise. Unless you are re-starting HIIT before it has restored, this is not a problem. But to do this would mean never sleeping. I am not doubting that there are significant downsides to excessive HIIT, but acidosis as the mechanism seems sketchy. Unless someone can at the least provide some evidence, which for some reason seems like an unreasonable request around here.

I would say mitochondrial biogenesis in newbies does contradict this acidosis hypothesis actually. If anyone would be ill-equipped to deal with a rapid increase in lactate levels, it would be newbies. Given that they are generating mitochondria, this is clearly not happening. I know you are going to say it is a long-term thing from over glycolytic-training, but as I outlined above, it seems a bit implausible that long-term acidosis occurs in that way.

If strongfirst really wants to talk about the biochemistry underlying this response to exercise then please, I implore you, actually collaborate with a reputable biochemist and explore it further. This would be a fascinating and progressive thing to do. I think many biochemists would love to think about something like this. Otherwise, please, please, please just leave out the biochemical explanations for why these training programmes work, you do not need them. Speaking as someone in the early stages of a scientific career, I do not think you realise how hard it is to come along, properly and critically understand the literature and make big mechanistic explanations. People will always, rightly question them relentlessly. It is very difficult to say these things with any confidence. Please just be open with how unknown and unproven some of these explanations are. You are fine, fine strength coaches, that is why I come here. But biochemists, you are not. It takes years and years of training and relentlessly harsh feedback to be able to speak with any authority. If an exercise programme works, that is enough. Noone understands these things well.

Just to be clear, I am not questioning the value of empirical observations on exercise programmes or exercise programmes not based on scientific studies at all. What I am questioning is the need to back up these empirical observations with questionable physiology from people without a scientific background.

And please don't take being challenged personally. I have great respect for you all. I wouldn't be reading this website if I didn't. My strength has improved tremendously thanks to what I have learnt from you.
 
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Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
If strongfirst really wants to talk about the biochemistry underlying this response to exercise then please, I implore you, actually collaborate with a reputable biochemist and explore it further. This would be a fascinating and progressive thing to do. I think many biochemists would love to think about something like this. Otherwise, please, please, please just leave out the biochemical explanations for why these training programmes work, you do not need them. Speaking as someone in the early stages of a scientific career, I do not think you realise how hard it is to come along, properly and critically understand the literature and make big mechanistic explanations. People will always, rightly question them relentlessly. It is very difficult to say these things with any confidence. Please just be open with how unknown and unproven some of these explanations are. You are fine, fine strength coaches, that is why I come here. But biochemists, you are not. It takes years and years of training and relentlessly harsh feedback to be able to speak with any authority. If an exercise programme works, that is enough. Noone understands these things well.
I whole-heartedly agree with this. I personally am trying to use the science to explain what I have observed, and direct future protocol experiments. Even if I am dead wrong about the biochem/physiology, the results of the training still stand. The results are much more important than the theory... the discussion is interesting, however.

Could you please direct me towards some of that acidosis literature, even if it is in russian? I would be interested to see it.
I dispute that even excessive HIIT can result in this kind of acidosis. Once again, acid-base balance is restored very rapidly after exercise. Unless you are re-starting HIIT before it has restored, this is not a problem. But to do this would mean never sleeping. I am not doubting that there are significant downsides to excessive HIIT, but acidosis as the mechanism seems sketchy. Unless someone can at the least provide some evidence, which for some reason seems like an unreasonable request around here.

I would say mitochondrial biogenesis in newbies does contradict this acidosis hypothesis actually. If anyone would be ill-equipped to deal with a rapid increase in lactate levels, it would be newbies. Given that they are generating mitochondria, this is clearly not happening. I know you are going to say it is a long-term thing from over glycolytic-training, but as I outlined above, it seems a bit implausible that long-term acidosis occurs in that way.
In this case, could you share your opinion of the physiologic happenings?

And please don't take being challenged personally.
Not at all.
 

Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
I started S&S on October last year.

Never did kettlebells before in my life.

First month I did swings with 16kg to get used to the movement.

The next 7 months I did swings with 24kg with long rests and taking it very easy. I was able to improve my technique and the swings got easier, but everytime I tried the 5 minute test I couldn't make it. I think 5:47 was my personal best.

First few months I was doing S&S 3 times a week and then lately increased it to 4 times a week.

I suspect that had I done S&S 6-7 times a week I probably would have reached the 5 minute mark with the 24kg easily.

Currently I'm doing 5x10 swings with the 32kg, taking it easy. Will add more sets once it feels comfortable enough to do it.
So, at 3-4 sessions per week with the 24kg, in only 7 months of training you almost made the 5min swing goal without pushing the envelope? Am I hearing this correctly?

And what are the relevant changes, if any, that you noticed in your daily life? Standing taller, physical work is "easier" (or harder), less (or more) pain, not getting winded when performing typical tasks, etc... why are you omitting this very important information?
 

BladesFanUK

Double-Digit Post Count
I agree with you the discussion is very interesting, I am happy people are talking about it and thinking about it and hope people continue to! I do not mean to sound discouraging.

Given everything I ranted about earlier, it would be hypocritical of me to claim to have confidence in any idea what goes on at the physiological level.. it is highly possible that I am wrong and acidosis does play a role. As Pavel mentioned the hormonal impact of high intensity exercise may play a key role. There are presumably many factors. Hopefully over the coming years the science catches up and can better explain the empirical observations!

I realise I could have communicated this a lot better from the start, sounded like less of a d@#$, and saved everyone a lot of bother. My apologies everyone!
 

Jim Lauerman

More than 300 posts
Al,

For me, the explanation you posted above is the single most helpful thing I have ever read on this forum. I think I get it now, it's "context".

Jim
 

Matts

More than 300 posts
I've been fortunate to belong to some excellent gyms (real gyms, not "health clubs" haha) over the years, and I wouldn't trade the knowledge learned in them for a truckload of scientific studies. Especially since we live in an age of junk science and "studies," and hucksters who extrapolate them into schemes to separate the needy from their money. There are some beneficial studies done by savvy people who are tied into the practical side of the world as well, but they are very few. Many of them were Eastern Bloc, since they were tasked to produce results, not support a new commercial workout regimen. Most good knowledge is passed on by word of mouth and mentorship, and many are lucky to have this forum as a resource for that. Especially since Al C. and others are willing to share so much actually good info and training resources here- even in response to some posts that seem purely antagonistic. Class!

On the aerobic/anaerobic issue, sometimes the obvious need dictates a strategy. I'd heartily recommend lots more aerobic-style work for those who posted some of the very high HR increases after a set of 10 swings. Doesn't take any science, just enough common sense to know it's smart to work on the weak link. Or knowing someone who dropped DRT with a heart attack.... If they were skinny marathon runners with nothing but a pump and several miles of capillaries, then doing some heavier weights in a different style would be called for.
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Master Certified Instructor
Pavel,

Could you please direct me towards some of that acidosis literature, even if it is in russian? I would be interested to see it.

Blades, in a couple of months I will get them out in some manner—a post, an article, etc.

I dispute that even excessive HIIT can result in this kind of acidosis. Once again, acid-base balance is restored very rapidly after exercise. Unless you are re-starting HIIT before it has restored, this is not a problem. But to do this would mean never sleeping. I am not doubting that there are significant downsides to excessive HIIT, but acidosis as the mechanism seems sketchy. Unless someone can at the least provide some evidence, which for some reason seems like an unreasonable request around here.

The mechanism is: mitochondria are buffering H+; they swell with water and literally blow up.

I would say mitochondrial biogenesis in newbies does contradict this acidosis hypothesis actually. If anyone would be ill-equipped to deal with a rapid increase in lactate levels, it would be newbies. Given that they are generating mitochondria, this is clearly not happening. I know you are going to say it is a long-term thing from over glycolytic-training, but as I outlined above, it seems a bit implausible that long-term acidosis occurs in that way.

A lot of surprising adaptations are seen in untrained subjects—not to be seen later.

If strongfirst really wants to talk about the biochemistry underlying this response to exercise then please, I implore you, actually collaborate with a reputable biochemist and explore it further. This would be a fascinating and progressive thing to do. I think many biochemists would love to think about something like this. Otherwise, please, please, please just leave out the biochemical explanations for why these training programmes work, you do not need them. Speaking as someone in the early stages of a scientific career, I do not think you realise how hard it is to come along, properly and critically understand the literature and make big mechanistic explanations. People will always, rightly question them relentlessly. It is very difficult to say these things with any confidence. Please just be open with how unknown and unproven some of these explanations are. You are fine, fine strength coaches, that is why I come here. But biochemists, you are not. It takes years and years of training and relentlessly harsh feedback to be able to speak with any authority. If an exercise programme works, that is enough. Noone understands these things well.

As mentioned, all we have are degrees of uncertainty. There are many questions and inconsistencies. Yet this biochemically driven approach has produced tremendous results for top Russian athletes. But the hypothesis behind these results could very well be wrong.


Just to be clear, I am not questioning the value of empirical observations on exercise programmes or exercise programmes not based on scientific studies at all. What I am questioning is the need to back up these empirical observations with questionable physiology from people without a scientific background.

The physiology we are discussing may be questionable—but it comes from the highest echelons of Russian science.

And please don't take being challenged personally. I have great respect for you all. I wouldn't be reading this website if I didn't. My strength has improved tremendously thanks to what I have learnt from you.
None taken.
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Master Certified Instructor
Blades, please "click to expand" my answer above; I did not use the quote function correctly and my answers are imbedded.
 

simon0596

Double-Digit Post Count
I'm always comforted when people quote Feynman

My fave RPF quote applies here: If it disagrees with experiment, it's wrong.
 

Baron von Raschke

Triple-Digit Post Count
I also never tire of hearing quotes from Feynman, he's a favorite of mine. Being 46 years old with two kids I'd like to make sure my heart doesn't explode. Bad for me, bad for the kids. I've very much appreciated this thread and all of the contributors and thank Abdul Rasheed for starting it because I was having similar questions regarding my body's reaction to initiating this program. I've taken Harald's suggestions (I think they were his initially) and reduced reps per set to keep HR from peaking so high. Also following Al C's great summary later in the thread, I now understand why a strong aerobic base is important to have first (and how to improve it), because then my system will be better able to handle it when I decide to kick in the turbos and go anaerobic, as Pavel stated. All this makes perfect sense now and I have what I need to tweak the program, just a bit.

I think Dr. Feynman would be happy reading this discourse, especially the passion that has punctuated much of it. It's all part of scientific inquiry, the scientific method in action, using hypotheses, experimentation, and seeing if the resulting empirical data fits the hypothesis. If not, there's probably something wrong with the hypothesis. Then having peer review to doublecheck and triplecheck and, if the hypothesis is sound, the results of experimentation should be repeatable by others. That's how theories come to be. The more tests the theory survives, the more rock solid it becomes. Threads like this benefit us all.

Cheers, everyone!
 

Lew

Triple-Digit Post Count
Hello All,

Something about me:
Training history: Swinging since Jan 2015. S&S since March/April 2015. No weight training before that. But, I used to run a bit. Play tennis a bit.
Injury history: 'Frozen shoulder' (adhesive capsulitis) on my right shoulder that is cured on its own by Mid-2014). Slight niggle on my left shoulder (that is cured within a month after started doing my KB Military Presses :))
Sports history: I used to be play amatuer volleyball a lot when I was younger.
General health: Pretty good
Demographics: 43 years, Male, 6'1'', 187lbs, generally lean with a bit of fat around the waist, but not too much.
Goal: Achieve simple goal within a year.

My 1H Swing:
I am using 16kg for my 1H swings since last four weeks or so. I was doing 24kg before but brought down the weight to make my swings much more crisper. Also after reading that lengthy awesome thread (Using a heart-rate monitor ... for the data-averse) I have purchased a heartrate monitor and started applying the Maffetone's formula to stay within the aerobic zone. I noticed two things 1) my heart is really shooting up high 2) and that it is taking a long time for it to come down.

1. After my warmup round (halos & goblet squals using 16 kg), heart rate shoots up to 145-150
2. After first 10 reps (right hand only) heart rate shoots to 160
3. If I do 20 reps (right hand and then left, immediately after) heart rate reaches 170.

Questions:
1. How low should the heartrate be before I start my next rep? For me it is taking forever for it go down below 100. This will make my training really longer. That is a concern for me.
2. My target rate is 180-43 = 137. Should it never ever go beyond this? It look impossible perhaps unless I lower the weight to 12kg which is too low for me. Also I feel like I can go for another set but my heart rate is still hovering around 120-130 after 2-3 minutes of wait. Wait longer? This will make my training session longer.
Edit: I have to add that I am ready to do the next set of 10, not breathing heavy etc. but my heart rate is still up.

Your thoughts, suggestions.

Thanks.
Abdul,

I really appreciate yours as well as everyone else's contribution to these posts and threads.

I looked for your training log and didn't see it yet.

There is something I have discovered as a newbie.

Time of day seems to affect my HR values and recovery time between swing sets.

In the morning when I first get up and before I eat it takes about 1:30 between sets to get from ~125bpm to 110bpm.

Then 10 swings (16kg) takes me back to ~125bpm.

Around set 7 my HR is ~128bpm and my time to 110bpm is about 2:00.

Twice I have done S&S in the afternoon.

My HR goes up to ~132 and then takes 4+ minutes to get back down to 110bpm.

Time of day is affecting my recovery times.

In the morning my warm-up and swings take me ~32:00.

The other afternoon, warm-up and swings took 53:00.

Maybe an early practice of S&S would help your recovery times and shorten your practice.

Besides, after S&S in the morning, I feel amazing!
 

Al Ciampa

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Time of day absolutely affects how your heart responds to exercise, especially if you have had a stressful day.
 

Kettlebelephant

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
What about nutrition timing? For example training fasted vs. small meals/snacks in the time before WO and main meal(s) afterwards vs. main meal(s) before WO.
I know the results will be different for everyone, but can it have a significant impact on HR?
 

Abdul-Rasheed

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Thanks @Baron von Raschke.

Thanks @Lew . Excellent observation on switching the practice to the morning. I really want to do that. I know this is best. Currently I do it in the night, for lack of discipline, and it is wrong time to crank up my system, which potentially is affecting my sleep. I will do it in the morning this weekend and post my observations in the training logs. I have it written down some of my sessions with detailed account of my HR, I will post those too.

@Kettlebelephant if you are working out in the morning, IMO, it is best to do it without eating any thing (you'd have fasted all night). As you know, fasting is food for you; exercise is good for you and both are ant-inflammatory. So you would be doing both at the same time. Eat some carbs sometime (30 or 60 mins?) after the training though, as body needs it after the training lest you lose your muscle tissues. But, I don't know how it will affect HR.
 

Lew

Triple-Digit Post Count
@KBE
Food absolutely affects my HR and S&S practice. This may be because of my 266lbs on 6' frame.

Just for the record, I am NOT overweight. I am under-tall. For my weight I should be like, 6'10" tall...;):D

I have found that my best practice is when I have not eaten in at least 4 hours. My stomach is mostly empty and my body is not distracted digesting food.

@Abdul
I was so upset with myself that I didn't get out of bed to practice one morning that I came home and did it after work. Then I did that a few more times and realized my practice is so much easier and fluid in the morning.

I know I don't have any self-discipline, that's how I got to 53yo and 70lbs overweight. But other than that, I really struggle to get up from my soft, warm bed-buddy.

All I can say is, once you make the change, you may be very happy with the results.

Good luck with that.
 
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