Question S&S frequency and weight

Nacho

Level 5 Valued Member
One of the reasons I like S&S is that its so simple and almost daily frequency becomes a nice habit. Its also very flexible and if during a a busy week you manage to get in just a couple of sessions, its ok.

Im at timeless simple and I did my first get up with a 36kg a week ago. While I understand its worthwhile to keep progressing in some way, Im not sure which way is the best for my situation. My weeks are very different. One week I might have lots of time and I could do 6 sessions and allow myself to recover nicely. Next week I might have a golf competition and I also want to practise, so Im struggling to get in 3 sessions and still be fresh to play.

So, If person a) does S&S session with 32kg bell 2-6 times a week and lets say the average is 4,5 times a week and person b) does S&S with a 40kg bell 3 times a week, what pros and cons would you say each method has? The one who is using 40kg has gotten stronger, but what if the one using 32kg also strong enough for hes/her needs, but has other benefits because of more frequent training? I wonder if there is sort of a sweet spot where one can use as heavy bell as possible while keeping the frequency as high as possible... ? Any thoughts?
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Nacho
a) does S&S session with 32kg bell 2-6 times a week and lets say the average is 4,5 times a week and person b) does S&S with a 40kg bell 3 times a week, what pros and cons would you say each method has?
In your first option, recovery is not really an issue. This means you can perform your daily activities. There is no programming involved. If this strategy is maintained long enough, you will build some kind of "strength" reserve, which means that you can
- occasionally perform a heavier session or
- switch to do always heavier (more intensity) but with less frequency (3 times a week instead of 4+)

This leads to your second option. IMHO, once you get Simple, programming may become a topic. Indeed, intensity will be slightly higher so if you have other activities, you'll need to reduce frequency, to avoid overtraining. Of course, you can be considered as "stronger" because you lift more, however, you are not at 100% everyday.

The one who is using 40kg has gotten stronger, but what if the one using 32kg also strong enough for hes/her needs, but has other benefits because of more frequent training? I wonder if there is sort of a sweet spot where one can use as heavy bell as possible while keeping the frequency as high as possible... ?
I think we are never "too strong". Nonetheless, everything comes with a cost. In general, this is difficult to maintain an almost daily practice beyond Simple. This may come with fatigue on the long term, or a decrease in performance in other fields (sport, daily life, etc...). Simple is some kind of nice addition to daily life, but does not tax at all.

It can be interesting to chase Solid / Sinister but it requires proper programming.

A lot of folks who get Simple also "have":
- a roughly 2x bdw deadlift
- 10-15 strict pull ups
- acceptable amount of cardio vascular endurance (LSD for 45minutes to 1h for instance)
- a drastic improvement of their performance in sport without thinking about the recovery

Assuming the above, if there is no real incentive (work, sport, etc...) to chase heavier that Simple, then... Maybe a daily 36 can be doable on the long run.

Like you, I am beyond Simple, but not in Solid. My GU are @36 and my swings are @40. On a daily basis, it seems fine but due to the lockdown, this is my main physical activity. Otherwise, I walk a lot, run, play boxing, so I have a lot of physical expenditures. When things will get back to normal, I think I'll scale back because I do not want to overthink programming. My practice is like brushing my teeth or taking a shower, I do not even think about it, I simply do it.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Papa Georgio

Level 5 Valued Member
Your example is like comparing apples and oranges, because these are 2 different strength levels.

There is a sweet spot, but it's very much individual. Pavel recommended decreasing the frequency as you move up from the 32kg for gentlemen. It's a general recommendation that works good with most guys. If you don't want to think too much a get good results, follow his advice.

Some guys are capable of maintaining high frequency as they move up from 32kg. As long as you move up slow and steady in your advancement and pay attention to what your body tells you, then you may find your sweet spot. (the caveat is that to find your sweet spot, you will have to bump up against the ugly a little)

For instance, if you were comfortably doing 32kg 5 days a week, and you started adding in sets of 36kg at the rate in the book, you might be able to maintain 5 days a week no problem. There will eventually come a day, where you'll realize you are not functioning like you want. (maybe at that point you'll be doing 80% of your reps with 36kg, or all of your reps with 40kg, who knows, this is the part that individual) This is where you either can start to back off on frequency, or replacing a working day with a light day, etc. In your case, you could start feeding in sets of 36kg using your same schedule. If you can get in 10 sessions with the 1 set of 36kg with the same schedule, then try to honestly evaluate it. Do you need to back off? Do you need to maintain for a few more weeks? Can I add another set?

It sounds easier than it is. A lot of times your mind wants to give up way before your body does. This is where experience helps.

This is a long-winded way of saying: Try to stay with the book recommendations, but if you want to test the waters, do it slowly over time.

Good Luck!
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
So, If person a) does S&S session with 32kg bell 2-6 times a week and lets say the average is 4,5 times a week and person b) does S&S with a 40kg bell 3 times a week, what pros and cons would you say each method has? The one who is using 40kg has gotten stronger, but what if the one using 32kg also strong enough for hes/her needs, but has other benefits because of more frequent training? I wonder if there is sort of a sweet spot where one can use as heavy bell as possible while keeping the frequency as high as possible... ? Any thoughts?
That's an interesting question. I'll muse on it a bit... Just offering my own thoughts/opinions.

In the beginning, for an untrained person, S&S serves as an excellent general stimulus for increased fitness.

In the beginning, for a trained person (someone who does other sports or training disciplines, but is new to kettlebells), S&S serves as an excellent alternative stimulus for continued fitness: movement quality, slightly different strength, power, stability, etc.

After a few weeks or months, both are partway to Simple or Timeless Simple (the previously trained person probably moving faster to this point). Daily or near-daily practice is best, if this is their only training. But in the context of other training like the trained person's other sport, 2-4x/week is enough for continued progress, because they're getting additional activity and training elsewhere.

At this point, why is the originally untrained person getting stronger and fitter at S&S? Mostly because doing anything consistently will make you stronger and fitter overall. This is an excellent routine that has it all. Why is the trained person getting stronger and fitter at S&S? Because they are practicing a new specific skill. They already were reasonably strong and fit.

A few weeks or months later, both have made enough progress to Timeless Simple, or Simple to the time standards if they focus on the conditioning and more glycolytic aspects for a few weeks.

Now, progress beyond Simple is a little different. It's more of a specific adaptation than a general one. More of a specific strength, specific skill, specific expression of power. Not to say that won't carry over to other things -- it will. But the programming it takes to progress with S&S becomes a little more like an intermediate strength program. Stress/recover/stress/recover, maybe vary the stress a bit. These are the techniques often seen to stimulate progress in intermediate programs.

Pre-Simple, the activity is driving the improvement. Post-Simple, the load is driving the improvement. The activity is still important, but the load management becomes the bigger factor.

Now more specifically to @Nacho's question...

person a) does S&S session with 32kg bell 2-6 times a week and lets say the average is 4,5 times a week
person b) does S&S with a 40kg bell 3 times a week

what pros and cons would you say each method has? The one who is using 40kg has gotten stronger, but what if the one using 32kg also strong enough for hes/her needs, but has other benefits because of more frequent training? I wonder if there is sort of a sweet spot where one can use as heavy bell as possible while keeping the frequency as high as possible... ?


Person A is still using the activity to drive progress. The degree to which this "works" slows down past Simple. So the pros: he gets to continue simple programming, he will get better and stronger eventually, he's getting a lot of benefit from doing that volume of work in a week (general fitness and health). The cons: it's not the best stimulus for increased strength and power.

Person B is more effectively using load to drive progress. Because it's a higher intensity (percent of his 1RM, or the most he can possibly do), he can't do it daily. He needs to do it one day, recover the next. This is an effective strength-building approach. So the pros: he gets stronger faster, he can do less training overall. The cons: if he doesn't do some other activity, then the reduced training volume will be less effective in maintaining his general fitness and health, as compared with Person A. But he could counter that by adding some easy walk/jog time, or many other good options.

Most people take an approach somewhere between these two, which is fine. That is basically the book's guidance. But perhaps thinking through what is driving progress for you as an individual can help inform your choice.
 

Oscar

Level 6 Valued Member
Great post by @Anna C, you can use those guidelines to customize S&S to your specific needs.

For instance, the weeks you dont play golf, you could do S&S with the 40 to increase power and strength. Then the weeks you do play, use the 32. Or, if you play on the weekend, you could do heavy S&S on Monday and Tuesday, and use the 32 on Thursday.

In my experience, S&S with the 32 done 5-6/week is pretty taxing. However, if you reduce frequency to make it less taxing, you can get away with using a heavier weight and recover well anyway. So to me, using the 40 kg makes more sense. The free days you can practice golf, learn to snatch, or go for a walk.
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Nacho
You can also use a "roll the dice strategy", to wave both the volume and intensity (weight):

A. For the swings:
Roll 1: weight (32 or 36)
If this is 1, 2 or 3 you use the 32. If this is 4, 5 ou 6 you use the 36.
Roll 2: Volume
If this is 1-2, 60 reps. If this is 3-4, 80 reps. If this is 5-6, 100 reps

B. For the get ups
Roll 1: weight (32 or 36)
If this is 1, 2 or 3 you use the 32. If this is 4, 5 ou 6 you use the 36.
Roll 2: Volume
If this is 1-2, 3 reps. If this is 3-4, 4 reps. If this is 5-6, 5 reps

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

Nacho

Level 5 Valued Member
Thanks for awesome replies so far! I have learned a lot.

Your example is like comparing apples and oranges, because these are 2 different strength levels.
Sorry for not being clear here. I meant these would be sort of goals instead of something one could just choose to start doing. So if I for example can do 3-4 sessions a week with a 32kg at the moment, can I have a goal of being able to handle 32kg "almost daily" instead of keeping the frequency at 3-4 and going heavier, and what are the pros and cons in the results.

Overall like many of you say, S&S gets a bit more advanced and maybe a bit less simple after simple standard. For me, that kind of dispels some of the reasons I like to program so much. But to be honest, I still am tempted to go heavier as well. :) So I guess what @Anna C mentioning that most people take the approach between the two options is where I need to find my path. Your ideas also @Oscar and @pet' continued the same philosophy, but the problem with your option for me pet` is that I would like to learn how to wave the load based on my other stressing factors of life instead of the dice method. I dont want to roll 6`s on a wrong week. :D Maybe the heavier bell could be sort of a guest every now and then when I feel like it, while not having any mental stress of absolutely needing to go heavier than 32kg.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 6 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Hello,

@Nacho
You can also use a "roll the dice strategy", to wave both the volume and intensity (weight):

A. For the swings:
Roll 1: weight (32 or 36)
If this is 1, 2 or 3 you use the 32. If this is 4, 5 ou 6 you use the 36.
Roll 2: Volume
If this is 1-2, 60 reps. If this is 3-4, 80 reps. If this is 5-6, 100 reps

B. For the get ups
Roll 1: weight (32 or 36)
If this is 1, 2 or 3 you use the 32. If this is 4, 5 ou 6 you use the 36.
Roll 2: Volume
If this is 1-2, 3 reps. If this is 3-4, 4 reps. If this is 5-6, 5 reps

Kind regards,

Pet'
Surprised you didn't use the delta 20 principle but this is a good guideline
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@Mark Limbaga
Actually, it depends. If I have a very specific goal, I will tend to use a specific program.

On the other side, if I am not chasing something, I go more by feeling and do not use a clear rep / set frame (for instance I roll the dice or even GTG). This approach is also true when I want to maintain an ability while building something else .

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

BHS83

Level 5 Valued Member
I thought this was covered in the book S&S 2.0 in that, post Timeless Simple, your training frequency would drop to 2-3 sessions plus the glycotic test day, which would be with the 24kg initially. So it sounds like you are fine.
 

Nacho

Level 5 Valued Member
Its been few months now and I read through everyones great posts again. During summer, I did S&S 3 times a week on average. Played lots of golf and had other stuff to do. But now the golf season is pretty much over and I have time and energy to train more.

I could start to introduce a heavier bell and train 3-4 times a week, but honestly I really miss the near daily training I did last winter. So, now I have done 8 days of S&S in a row with couple of light days. (32, 32, 24, 32, 32, 32, 24, 32)

Few reasons I like to train every day:
-I tend to get quite sedentary during winter with an office job
-I feel my best with daily training
-I like to eat :)
-I sleep better
-Its nice ”reset” mentally
 
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