Question S&S: Doing it right

Steve Rogers

Triple-Digit Post Count
Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since I posted. I am 32, 5’ 7” 160lbs. I had Rhabdo last year in August which put a stop to my training for Simple. I have fully recovered from Rhabdo. Now my goal is to complete S&S but to do it with perfect technique. I don’t have the money to train with an SFG right now so I was wondering if you could coach my form on here. If this is not the proper place to post can you please point me in the right direction? Thank you for your time.
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I think there's lots of people here who would give you form advice but they will certainly ask for a video of your goblet squat, swing, and TGU
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Hi @Steve Rogers

While we want to put you working with an SFG in person as a first choice, if that's not an option for you right now, we are happy to help.

You could post a quick form check -- upload videos to YouTube or somewhere else and paste the link here.

Or you could start a Training Log, and tag me or someone else if you'd like a form check or questions answered there.

And sorry to hear about the Rhabdo. If you feel like telling the story, would be fascinated to hear about it...
 

Steve Rogers

Triple-Digit Post Count
Thanks for the quick response!

@Anna C : Here is the link for my Swing form.

As far as the Rhabdo story it isn’t that good... I used to be in great shape in the military and one of my warmups was the MARSOC short card. I had just been running up to that point, and had just run a half-marathon with my wife a few days before. Well some 19 year old wanted to workout with a “big tough Marine” and I got cocky. I suggested we do the MARSOC short card and I tried to beat him. It turns out he was in terrific shape and I hit extreme muscle failure after my second set of push-ups. But I refused to quit (like an idiot). I hadn’t been eating right or drinking any water (thinking I was tough), and I didn’t listen to my body. When I couldn’t pick up my daughter with my arms the next day I realized that something was wrong. This lasted a whole week before I went to my doctor. I had shredded the muscles in my arms so badly that I got Rhabdo. Not sure if running the half-marathon contributed to weakening my body, or if it was the lack of proper nutrition/hydration or both. But I learned my lesson. Now I listen to my body and rest when it tells me to.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
MARSOC short card... well I learned something today, looking that up. It looks like a workout that would surely do in most mere mortals! Thanks for sharing the story -- it holds some important lessons. I work as a part-time trainer on a military base and we get all kinds. Might need to bring someone back to sanity someday if I see them overdoing it to an extreme.

Your swings look good! Definitely no safety issues. Nice flat back, shoulders are packed, stance looks good, setup looks good. Two minor things you can work on: 1) sitting back/down into the hinge a bit more (as most people need to work on; just a "deeper hinge"), and 2) keeping the head and neck more in line with the spine; looking up a little less at the bottom of the swing, and standing taller at the top of the swing with the head not forward of the torso.

Keep up the good work and keep us posted.
 

Steve Rogers

Triple-Digit Post Count
Perfect! @Anna C . I will work on those. Can you give me an example of sitting back down into the hinge? I would confuse it by squatting more but I know you aren’t supposed to squat in the swing. It’s all in the hinge right?

Not to get too far off topic. Most guys wanting to do some type of Special Operations job will bite off much more than they should. My problem with my Rhabdo experience was being able to push past pain and muscle failure and just keep going. That’s a great thing in combat. But it can destroy someone in training.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Can you give me an example of sitting back down into the hinge? I would confuse it by squatting more but I know you aren’t supposed to squat in the swing. It’s all in the hinge right?
It is all about the hinge, yes. You've got the right emphasis. It may feel like you're moving a tiny bit towards squatty when you add a little more knee bend, but here are some subtle differences -- 1) a squatty swing will project power up on the upswing, where a correct hinge will project power forward on the upswing (as you are -- so just make sure to maintain that aspect as you bend the knees a little bit more and sit back into it), and 2) a squatty swing has the kettlebell kind of passive at the bottom, whereas a loaded hinge feels like you are compressing a spring to store power and for release on the upswing. The stored power is in your stretched and loaded hamstrings, AND your stretched and loaded arms from reaching your hands back and your chest forward at the bottom of the swing. Hope that makes sense. I'll keep an eye out for your log.

My problem with my Rhabdo experience was being able to push past pain and muscle failure and just keep going. That’s a great thing in combat. But it can destroy someone in training.
Yes, that was my understanding of how it usually happens -- getting to failure, not just one set failure, but muscle exhaustion failure, and then continuing on somehow anyway.

How long did it take you to recover, and do you still feel that there are some lingering effects?
 

Steve Rogers

Triple-Digit Post Count
@Anna C Ok good. That clarifies a lot for me thanks!

Recovering from Rhabdo probably took me 3 months. I think I got it about this time last year, and I couldn’t move my arms for a few weeks... Probably for a month. Then I took another two months before starting back slowly.

I don’t feel any lingering effects, but that could be because I took my time getting back into working out. Right now I did the short card with a 45lb pack on and was able to do all 4 sets of push-ups and burpees. It smoked me, but I never hit muscle failure. I also don’t push my body to muscle failure anymore. Just muscle fatigue.
 

Steve Rogers

Triple-Digit Post Count
My problem was after I hit muscle failure: i.e couldn’t do another push-up. I would just keep trying until I was physically unable to do one more push-up. Then I would rest just long enough to do one more push-up and never gave myself time to really recover. Now I back off on the number or the rest periods, or I stop that workout entirely.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Thanks... Amazing what the body can do... and rebuild! Really glad to hear you feel fully recovered.
 

Evan

My Third Post
What would anyone recommend for my S&S training program with my current schedule?

Current Schedule:

Workout Monday, Wednesday for 1 hour and 30 minutes

First 45 minutes consist of running with a 45lb pack and doing pushups, squats, curls, overhead presses, and bent over rows with the pack. Also sometimes feature heavier weights such as 60lb sandbags in addition to pack weight.

Next 45 minutes are bodyweight workouts: pushups, situps, squats, lunges, burpees, etc.

Friday workout:

An all ruck event for 1 hour and 30 minutes. basically an extended - more intense version of the 45 minute ruck workout. Usually end up carrying a weight that is 150lbs in addition to pack weight and carry up a hill or for a football field.

My plan/goal would be to include S&S and do it everyday in addition to the above workout. HOWEVER, I have overtrained many times in the past, and I am fine with moving (or losing) some workouts around in order to not compromise on a full S&S program.
 

Patrick O'Keeffe

Double-Digit Post Count
I'm no expert, but the book was straightforward and what I got from it was this......

Sure, there is nothing stopping you from doing S&S daily on top of your workouts and you may be quite capable of it and get some benefit from it..... but it ceases being S&S.

S&S is about training very moderately (20-30 mins) on a daily basis. The actual "physical activity" is probably only about 13 minutes in total!!!.....10 mins in the get ups about 150 seconds of actual swinging.

It is also called simple because it only involves 2 exercises and it promotes you to explore and master those two movements with the appropriate weights.....and the appropriate weight could mean reaching 48kg (sinister) or 32kg (simple) in doing so. But even when the weight is sinister, the program itself will still always be classed as "Simple" because the simple fundamentals of training the S&S way will still always apply........training moderate (20-30 mins) with good rest and on a daily basis, no matter what the weight.

Also what I like about S&S is that this moderate training formula "gears" it towards you staying injury free. So its simple, sinister and also relatively safe! It was all these qualities that attracted me to taking up kettlebells to do it. So this is S&S in a basic nutshell.....anything else that a person might conjure up isn't it.

Now look at what you plan on doing. Three of your workout days will still be 90 minutes long with about about 6-8 exercises involved in it. That is triple or quadruple the S&S exercises and duration. So your planned training method will be as far away from "S&S" as one can imagine.

There is one way you can do it according to the S&S book. You can use S&S like a "supplement" or secondary program to your other "main" program. But it recommends you to do S&S only about 2 days a weeks on your rest days from your main workouts. I think you could look at it like having 2 deload days in essence using S&S protocol, So that is not the "full"S&S package either. The full S&S package is what I have described above. Abd as I said earlier, you can add to it and tweak it to your own liking.....once in doing so that you do realise that you have deviated from S&S as per laid out in the book.
 
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ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
S&S is indeed an adaptable little thing and can be used in a number of ways. To really know about its adaptability it would be a good idea to get to know it, spend some time immersed in it, almost daily practice. In doing so you will learn about you, your recovery ability, how it all feels, how to gauge the loading on a given day, when to push it along a little, when to back off a little or a lot. All at the same time practicing the movements. This sets you up, gives you a great foundation to mould the practice to suit you should you do other things with it, as it says in the book, a 2 day week with other pursuits.
The general guide is to get to simple. There is a definition issue here....get the standard or own the standard...and I don't know if there is a right or wrong.
I got to simple, maybe 18 months ago, done other things, go back and forth with S&S and I've stayed at the 32 bell. I see it as a good thing. Partly as I don't have a 40 yet but also my swing form is so so much better milking it with getting max power from my swings. I feel confident certainly to move to a 40 and I will do the next time I go for full S&S immersion. At the moment, or soon anyway, I'll use S&S with sprinting, the focus on sprints and S&S is perfect.
So for you, I'd either drop everything and focus on S&S. IF, IF you want to use it with other stuff. Absolutely do swings and get ups if you want to with the things you are doing but that isn't S&S. It isn't jut swings and get ups.
It is a simple programme but it is also a serious piece of athletic technology. You will learn a lot about you and what moderately hard daily practice can do for you. And you will be a well balanced powerful athlete because of it. If that's your goal, of course.
 

Patrick O'Keeffe

Double-Digit Post Count
Ali mentioned one other great point there........you can also drop everything and do S&S until you achieve either the simple or sinister goals and then go back to your "normal" training. Some people have experienced improvements in certain exercises when they went back to them afterwards.
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
What would anyone recommend for my S&S training program with my current schedule?

Current Schedule:

Workout Monday, Wednesday for 1 hour and 30 minutes

First 45 minutes consist of running with a 45lb pack and doing pushups, squats, curls, overhead presses, and bent over rows with the pack. Also sometimes feature heavier weights such as 60lb sandbags in addition to pack weight.

Next 45 minutes are bodyweight workouts: pushups, situps, squats, lunges, burpees, etc.

Friday workout:

An all ruck event for 1 hour and 30 minutes. basically an extended - more intense version of the 45 minute ruck workout. Usually end up carrying a weight that is 150lbs in addition to pack weight and carry up a hill or for a football field.

My plan/goal would be to include S&S and do it everyday in addition to the above workout. HOWEVER, I have overtrained many times in the past, and I am fine with moving (or losing) some workouts around in order to not compromise on a full S&S program.
Sounds like a lot...
What are you training for? Goals?
You mentioned overtraining in the past... do you have any injury history?
What is your 'day-job'? Physical? Stress level?
What is your recovery availability?

Lots of questions to answer prior to framing a suitable answer...
 

Steve Rogers

Triple-Digit Post Count
@offwidth

My training goal is to complete a GORUCK tough. It’s a 12-14 hour endurance event that involves a lot of heavy lifting and calisthenics with a 30lb ruck on.

The reason I want to do S&S mainly is to get stronger. I already have 16 and 24kg kettlebells and I love the idea of training smarter not harder. When I am carrying 150lbs on top of a 45lb pack, or curling my 45lb pack - I think S&S can help me immensely.

I had Rhabdo last year because I took on an intense workout with no training up to that point. I had two hernias, but that was back in 2005. I don’t have any injuries right now.

My day job is light to medium labor intensive. I am pushing heavy wheelbarrows around, or carrying heavy lumber.

I have a lot of stress - full time job, full time school, wife and daughter, financial stuff - your typical stressors.

Not sure what you mean by recovery ability. Right now I’m resting from working out on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. I work Monday- Saturday. If I supplement a modified S&S plan I was thinking about doing S&S Tuesday and Thursday.
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
I applaud you on your GORUCK training goal.

I guess what I meant by recovery ability includes things like diet, sleep, active recovery, and de-stressors.

Diet: a high quality diet with ample macros and micros to support your training. And adequate hydration.

Sleep: Both quantity and quality. This can be a really impactful 'supplement' but often times difficult to achieve especially for a busy family man

Active Recovery: Some easy LSD cardio days. MAF, or Z1 heart rate stuff

De-stressors: Things like meditation, yoga, tai-chi, massage, etc. These activities also can pay huge dividends, but also take time away from other training and/or other life obligations.

Honestly... you appear to have a lot going on with your physical job, and your specific GORUCK training. You might need to make a real critical self-assessment of your goals.

Another thought... we didn't discuss age. Age plays a big part in recovery. I'm ancient. I can still go pretty darn hard, but man o man, I can't do it too many days in a row...
 

Steve Rogers

Triple-Digit Post Count
I’m not very old - 32 years young!

I don’t get much sleep. Maybe 6-4 hours a night. BUT when I do sleep it’s deep REM. I don’t eat terribly bad... eggs for breakfast, turkey sandwich for lunch, nuts, fruit, or clif bars for snacks. Power aid after a long workout to replenish electrolytes and put some carbs in me. My wife cooks dinner which is usually healthy- pasta, lean meats, salmon and quinoa. We eat out once every two weeks.

Can you tell me more about active recovery? Is the MAF method the Maffetone method where I use a heart rate monitor?

I meditate about 30 minutes every morning and sometimes I can get an extra 30 minutes during the day. Last week I did not do this which didn’t help my stress, but I find that when I meditate I am calmer.

As far as all my training... None of it is written in stone. Especially if my body begins to protest.

My thoughts are to drop my ruck weight down to 20lbs again and only ruck 1:30 on Friday’s.

I can still workout doing calisthenics Monday and Wednesday, and start a modified S&S plan with a heart rate monitor Tuesday and Thursday. My hope is that my Swings and Getups will keep gas in the tank for Friday ruck runs AND build strength/endurance.
 
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