Other S&S working weights and progressing

Papa Georgio

Level 5 Valued Member
A post I made earlier today got me thinking about the perpetual discussion on weights and progressions to use in S&S. Everyone’s brain works differently and takes in information differently, so I can understand that everyone may have different interpretations of how the program is laid out in Pavel’s books. The following is based on my opinions, interpretations and my personal experiences. If you are just starting out and this helps clarify things, then great. If you totally disagree, and have had totally different experiences than me, then that’s OK too. Feel free to take potshots.

First, for this discussion, I need to classify and categorize “weight”, based on the combination of weights that make up the daily minimum effective dose of 100 swings and 10 get ups done in the context of an S&S session. For instance, a particular person’s “everyday” weight might be 32kg across the board, another person’s “everyday” weight may be 24,28,24,28,24 in swings, but only 24kg on all getups, and so on.

Level-5: Max weight/s
This is your 1 or 2 rep max. Best used for padding your ego and making instagram posts. You can't do an entire session (100 swings & 10 getups) with it. Approach with caution.

Level-4: Challenge weight/s
This is the weight/s where you are capable of doing a whole session (100 swings & 10 getups), but you can't do it all the time. You will need some recovery time. You might be able to do 3 sessions a week. This is where a lot of people want to operate, but they may quickly stall out and then claim its due to boredom or burnout. (Can be used in situations for specialized programming, like Sinister)

Level-3: Everyday weight/s
This is the weight/s where you can do your full session (untimed, talk test, etc), and do it darn near every day. Once your weekly volume is established, you don't get sore or too wore out. If you would happen to throw the talk-test out, and with full exertion, you may or may not be able to hit time standards. If you do, it’s gonna suck bad.

Level-2: Test (or deload) weight/s
This is the weight/s where you can do a successful timed test session at about 85-95% RPE. Not fun but doable every 1-4 weeks. Also, a good weight for untimed, deloading sessions.

Level-1: Owned weight/s
You could hit timed test any or every day of the week if you wanted. Timed test only takes about 70-85% RPE. Timed session of this is great for active recovery.

Weight selection: Again, This is my context of near daily practicing S&S to hit simple or beyond for GPP. (not for specialty Sinister goal.) The S&S program was to be intended as an “easy strength” type program to be used near daily. When using the correct weight levels (I'm suggesting level-3, everyday weight), the daily volume IS NOT VERY HIGH. If you are struggling with getting your daily volume in, you are going too heavy. If you only have 3 days available to exercise, that’s one thing, but if you have more days available but you can only manage 2 or 3 days because you need the recovery, then back off the weight. In the beginning, it will be easier to establish higher frequency (more days a week) when the weight is light. It may suck for a week, but just like Pavel compares it to boot camp, your body will adapt and get used to it. If you’ve already been at the program for a while and you want to increase frequency, then either do it slowly, or back down the weight until your frequency is established.

Deloading/off days: Pavel also puts a lot of emphasis on getting in your daily volume (because it’s not a lot), and he recommends backing down the weight if you’re dragging your tail. It’s better to have a light day, than a day off. But, if you find yourself constantly deloading or taking days off because you’re not feeling it, then you may be trying to go too heavy for your regular sessions.

V1.0 methodology: In V1.0, the program revolved exclusively around level-3 (everyday) weights. You would build up your volume by practicing most days and use the talk test to dictate rest times. Progress was indicated by the quicker recovery between sets of your daily, talk-test driven sessions. Once every week or two, you would push your session and compress your rests to eventually hit test times. When you hit the test times, you started to feed in sets of a heavier bell in your regular sessions. So, in essence, you stuck with your level-3 (everyday) weight until you turned it into your level-2 weight before you started moving up. The goal of the V1.0 program was to progress until you at least made the “simple” weight/s your level-2 weight/s. You would be on the borderline of owning the simple bell.

V2.0 methodology: I can only speculate what drove the changes for V2.0, but I believe one of the reasons was meant to make you stronger in a less strenuous manner. You still focus on performing your level-3 (everyday) weight almost daily using the talk test. To progress, you would use step progressions to slowly inch up your level 3 weights. When you progressed to the “simple” sized bell as your level-3 weight, you can start using “do but die” test sessions using your level-1 weight once a week. So, then the goal of V2.0 would be to progress your level-3 weight until you get your level-1 test weight to the simple level. At that point, you would fully own the simple size bell. So naturally, achieving the simple timed standard using V2.0 methodology can yield a higher level-3 weight/strength than using V1.0

Differences: This comparisons between V1.0 & V2.0 are generalizations and do not detail the intricacies of all the changes between the different versions. Each version has its own advantages. V1.0 is the most minimalistic in terms of instructions and number of bells needed to hit a specific timed target. V2.0 methodology has more layers of instruction, and more bells will be needed to practice regularly between the level-1(fast) and level-3(working) sessions. For instance, if simple time standard is goal, you will need heavier bells than simple to achieve the standard.

The pursuit of "timeless": It seems like many people are doing the S&S V2.0 to chase some “timeless” weight exclusively, and in doing so, miss out on many benefits of the program including total strength and hitting all 3 energy systems of the body. For instance, if you’re a guy with the main goal to hit “timeless” with 40kg, (this may become your level-4 weight) you aren’t guaranteed to ever hitting the simple goal (timed w/32kg) and it would be a daunting task to try if you have little or no glycolytic conditioning or good recovery breathing. You might be kind of like the power lifter who gets winded from going up a couple flight of stairs (well probably not, but you get the picture). To keep the program balanced and in the realm of GPP, I would suggest taking up your weekly “die but do” sessions as soon as you can, while the weights are light. They don’t get any easier. For all you frog leg connoisseurs, S&S testing is like boiling a bullfrog. You can’t throw a bullfrog in boiling water because it will jump back out. You have to put him in some luke warm water and then heat it up slow and steady. Anyway, now I’m hungry, and it’s about lunch time, so I’ll end this posting here.

These are my opinions. If I botched something or totally misrepresented something feel free to comment. Most of you aren’t shy about it. I am also not the most eloquent person when it comes to writing, so feel free to jump in to help clarify.

Hope this helps, if not, please disregard
 

Bauer

Level 6 Valued Member
Very interesting train of thought.

In S&S 2.0 the level actually changes during each step, going from, say, level 3.5 down to 2.8 or so (from a bit challenging to rather easy in a steady state cycle).

Personally I use an unconventional wavy, low-volume approach to S&S and it works great so far. I am doing about 280 swings reps per week, split over 4 sessions and waved with the delta-20 principle.

This means, in your terminology, that I probably use a level 4 or level 3.5 weight and use a rep scheme that makes it more level 3-ish. I do this because I want to get strong first... and because my busy life as a father (with poor sleep and poor recovery) makes it hard to do the same 100 + 10 reps every day. They just feel so different depending on my sleep and stress levels. So I just stick to the S&S 2.0 weight progression and use whatever rep scheme that feels right on any given day. Like 10x7 or 6x10 or 16x5 or whatever.

Maybe I should find my level 3 weight. But then again my current programming works remarkably well and is pretty efficient :)

Thanks for starting this thread @Papa Georgio
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
I think the lesser categories of S-, S, and S+ weights categorize well. However, I think the progression strategies from one to the next could be expanded upon. There are many ways to conduct progressive overload. The talk test I think could be structured a little better to force some adaptations whether they be physical or psychological.

S- (Level 2 for small jumps, level 1 for large jumps)
Owned weight. A weight that can be performed within time limits. This weight is used for AMRAP sets and high volume training to increase the volume for hypertrophy and technique.

S (Level 3)
Working weight. A weight you can do timeless with.

S+ (Level 4 for small jumps, level 5 for large jumps)
Target weight. A weight you can do some quality reps with but cannot maintain quality form and power for the entire 10/10 and 1/10.

For progressions, I think progression can occur multiple ways from weight, reps, movement, rest, or any combination. Some work better with small weight jumps between S-, S, and S+ and others work better for large jumps between weights. Some work better with longer monthly steps, others work better with shorter weekly steps.

Large jumps
Better with monthly steps, movement variation such as progressing from 2h to 1h.

Small jumps
Better with weekly steps and progressing reps.

The lower the weight, the faster progression can likely occur. As the weight increases, the rate of progress should likely be reduced. Depending on where someone is might dictate the appropriate progression method.

Levels of possible progressions from beginner to advanced or hardest to easiest depending on how you look at it.
  1. Weekly, large weight jumps
  2. Weekly, small weight jumps
  3. Weekly, large weight + rep progression
  4. Weekly, small weight + rep progression
  5. Weekly, movement + rep + large weight
  6. Weekly, movement + rep + small weight
  7. Monthly, large weight jumps
  8. Monthly, small weight jumps
  9. Monthly, large weight + rep progression
  10. Monthly, small weight + rep progression
  11. Monthly, movement + rep + large weight
  12. Monthly, movement + rep + small weight
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Quique

First Post
great information. I have been struggling with going up in my swing weight. 16 kg swing im able to the pass test however with 18 kg I am struggling to get it under 5 minutes. I am at 28 kg with TGU and I started at 12 kg with both. I am looking forward to applying some new training methods based on your article.
 

Bauer

Level 6 Valued Member
great information. I have been struggling with going up in my swing weight. 16 kg swing im able to the pass test however with 18 kg I am struggling to get it under 5 minutes. I am at 28 kg with TGU and I started at 12 kg with both. I am looking forward to applying some new training methods based on your article.
Welcome! Get the second edition of the S&S book, it is worth every Penny! You need not wait to pass the test at a given weight to step up. On the contrary, it is advised against. Use the new step progression. The second edition is much more clear and streamlined.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 6 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
You can also wave back and forth given weights based on how you feel..

The lighter weights also give you lessons if you're not aligned properly, using too much force to name a few..
 

IMayAgainKnowChris

Level 5 Valued Member
I was just going to ask if anyone goes back and uses lighter bells. It seems everyone is chasing to the next bell or goal, but sometimes taking a step back is what is needed
Since starting 4am training I’ve dropped a bell size a few times just because I felt tight or not up to speed that day. It’s nice in the way that you can compress rest periods, hit it hard and still feel like you learned something. It still feels like a small step backwards but I think that’s just mental.
 

Quique

First Post
Welcome! Get the second edition of the S&S book, it is worth every Penny! You need not wait to pass the test at a given weight to step up. On the contrary, it is advised against. Use the new step progression. The second edition is much more clear and streamlined.
Thank you I bought the book and am doing the program like it’s outlined. I found new edition easier to understand.
 

mar2safety

Level 5 Valued Member
I was just going to ask if anyone goes back and uses lighter bells. It seems everyone is chasing to the next bell or goal, but sometimes taking a step back is what is needed
I was doing Timeless Simple in May, then switched to different programming for a few months. A few weeks ago started S&S again, but dropped down to the 24 with the goal of adding heavier bells more intuitively than written in 2.0. The step back has been great and I've really been laser focus on form, especially putting longer pauses at each step of the get up.

Q&D has a different bell size for 1HS and 2HS, so I've incorporated that into my S&S sessions. 24 for 1HS, 32 for 2HS and progress them independently from each other. I alternate 1HS and 2HS from day to day, which add a little variety.
 

Misabi

Level 5 Valued Member
Pavel also puts a lot of emphasis on getting in your daily volume (because it’s not a lot), and he recommends backing down the weight if you’re dragging your tail. It’s better to have a light day, than a day off. B

This is a good reminder, thanks!

I read the original S&S a few years ago now, starting and restarting the program several times since then. Each time only getting as far as maintaning a solid test standard with 24kg (45yo male at a bodyweight between 70kg & 73kg at the time), before having to take a break for training due to unrelated injury, illness or surgeries. In only one previous attempt of at the program did I get to the point of starting to try to work in the 32kg for 1 handed swings.

April this year I decided to get back into it, along the lines of the MAF method (ie. trying to keep my HR below 145 bpm - tracked in the attached) and have been practicing consistently since, or so I thought. Reading your post has highlighted, however, that I haven't been training as consitently as I should have due to taking days off here and there to recover. I realise now I've probably been pushing it a little harder than I should have and missing practice instead of just deloading back to a lighter KB.

I am struggling with working the 32kg into the TGU. The 24kg is more than comfortable even doing 5 reps non-stop on each side before switching sides, but I have nothing in between. I've added 10 second pauses at each transition, and starting to add in a press there too, which I found useful to transition up from the 16kg to 24kg.
 

Attachments

  • 100 swings.JPG
    100 swings.JPG
    97.6 KB · Views: 9

Molson

Level 5 Valued Member
This is a good reminder, thanks!

I read the original S&S a few years ago now, starting and restarting the program several times since then. Each time only getting as far as maintaning a solid test standard with 24kg (45yo male at a bodyweight between 70kg & 73kg at the time), before having to take a break for training due to unrelated injury, illness or surgeries. In only one previous attempt of at the program did I get to the point of starting to try to work in the 32kg for 1 handed swings.

April this year I decided to get back into it, along the lines of the MAF method (ie. trying to keep my HR below 145 bpm - tracked in the attached) and have been practicing consistently since, or so I thought. Reading your post has highlighted, however, that I haven't been training as consitently as I should have due to taking days off here and there to recover. I realise now I've probably been pushing it a little harder than I should have and missing practice instead of just deloading back to a lighter KB.

I am struggling with working the 32kg into the TGU. The 24kg is more than comfortable even doing 5 reps non-stop on each side before switching sides, but I have nothing in between. I've added 10 second pauses at each transition, and starting to add in a press there too, which I found useful to transition up from the 16kg to 24kg.
Well done. I think you just need to start incorporating partial get-ups with the 32kg. Just work on the roll to elbow and back. Every next heavier bell teaches one that it’s more about rolling, sliding to the side, rather then sitting up, when initiating the movement.
 

Molson

Level 5 Valued Member
I was doing Timeless Simple in May, then switched to different programming for a few months. A few weeks ago started S&S again, but dropped down to the 24 with the goal of adding heavier bells more intuitively than written in 2.0. The step back has been great and I've really been laser focus on form, especially putting longer pauses at each step of the get up.

Q&D has a different bell size for 1HS and 2HS, so I've incorporated that into my S&S sessions. 24 for 1HS, 32 for 2HS and progress them independently from each other. I alternate 1HS and 2HS from day to day, which add a little variety.

It’s good to do the 2Hs from time to time to let your grip rest and remind the hips of full power production. I would risk saying that it’s not pure S&S if you do 2Hs every other session and aim to progress it as much as possible. From my own experiences. If I focus on progressing 2Hs too much, it takes away from progressing 1Hs, which is not the goal of the program. I’d suggest to Keep the goal the goal. And keep in mind that, due to kettlebells unique center of gravity, you can really get a lot out of just swinging the 1Hs lighter/medium bell just more powerfully, even over speed eccentrics, to prep your grip and hips for the heavier bell 1Hs.
 

Misabi

Level 5 Valued Member
Well done. I think you just need to start incorporating partial get-ups with the 32kg. Just work on the roll to elbow and back. Every next heavier bell teaches one that it’s more about rolling, sliding to the side, rather then sitting up, when initiating the movement.

Thanks, and good suggestion on the partial getups. I gave that a go a couple of weeks ago and could barely press the 32 even once. Tonight I managed to do 5 presses followed to a roll to an arm-bar like position. Not exactly easy, but certainly doable. I didn't feel like I'd be able get up to the elbow for now though, so I guess I'll be playing with these for a while :)
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
April this year I decided to get back into it, along the lines of the MAF method (ie. trying to keep my HR below 145 bpm - tracked in the attached) and have been practicing consistently since,

I don't know of anyone currently recommending to stay below MAF HR for S&S swings.

The best thing the HR monitor can do for you is help guide you to find full recovery between sets. But I wouldn't worry about high your HR goes. That can lead you hold back on tension and power, which is not in line with the program guidance. (If that doesn't describe your method then I wouldn't worry about it).
 

Misabi

Level 5 Valued Member
I don't know of anyone currently recommending to stay below MAF HR for S&S swings.

The best thing the HR monitor can do for you is help guide you to find full recovery between sets. But I wouldn't worry about high your HR goes. That can lead you hold back on tension and power, which is not in line with the program guidance. (If that doesn't describe your method then I wouldn't worry about it).
Thanks for your thoughts.

To clarify; I'm only watching my HR in between sets, so it doesn't change what I do while I'm swinging. What it does do though is let me know how low I need my HR to drop before hitting the next set.

Ie. Longer breaks required at heavier (for me) to slow my HR down to approx 125 seems to enable me to keep my max HR down.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 6 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
This is a good reminder, thanks!

I read the original S&S a few years ago now, starting and restarting the program several times since then. Each time only getting as far as maintaning a solid test standard with 24kg (45yo male at a bodyweight between 70kg & 73kg at the time), before having to take a break for training due to unrelated injury, illness or surgeries. In only one previous attempt of at the program did I get to the point of starting to try to work in the 32kg for 1 handed swings.

April this year I decided to get back into it, along the lines of the MAF method (ie. trying to keep my HR below 145 bpm - tracked in the attached) and have been practicing consistently since, or so I thought. Reading your post has highlighted, however, that I haven't been training as consitently as I should have due to taking days off here and there to recover. I realise now I've probably been pushing it a little harder than I should have and missing practice instead of just deloading back to a lighter KB.

I am struggling with working the 32kg into the TGU. The 24kg is more than comfortable even doing 5 reps non-stop on each side before switching sides, but I have nothing in between. I've added 10 second pauses at each transition, and starting to add in a press there too, which I found useful to transition up from the 16kg to 24kg.

A few things you can add as you progress and aspire to progress..

1. Add more power to your swings.. work up to comfortably swinging to shoulder height for all sets still with talk test governed rest periods.

2. Do the getups especially the segment up to standing extra slow (each phase takes about 3-5 seconds) these will get you stronger and better conditioned
 

mar2safety

Level 5 Valued Member
It’s good to do the 2Hs from time to time to let your grip rest and remind the hips of full power production. I would risk saying that it’s not pure S&S if you do 2Hs every other session and aim to progress it as much as possible. From my own experiences. If I focus on progressing 2Hs too much, it takes away from progressing 1Hs, which is not the goal of the program. I’d suggest to Keep the goal the goal. And keep in mind that, due to kettlebells unique center of gravity, you can really get a lot out of just swinging the 1Hs lighter/medium bell just more powerfully, even over speed eccentrics, to prep your grip and hips for the heavier bell 1Hs.
I'm not so concerned with pure S&S. I really enjoyed working my way up to Simple Timeless, but now I'm using the S&S programming more for athletic performance. I play ice hockey and I've found that 2HS, incorporating a heavier bell, works well to increase skating speed.

I followed S&S 2.0 by the letter until Simple Timeless. At the moment I have no desire to chase Sinister. I am Keeping the Goal the Goal, in that I'm using S&S to enhance other pursuits, namely ice hockey and endurance running.
 
Top Bottom