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Kettlebell Talk Test demonstration?

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Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
The “talk test” as a short-hand way of evaluating power drop-off and the cue to terminate further sets is mentioned in Simple & Sinister, elaborated on in follow-up articles, and I believe is a cornerstone of Strong Endurance protocols.

Are there video demonstrations out there of what this looks like? Someone doing repeats of 5 snatches or 10 one-arm swings on the minute and we get to see and hear the point where they fail the test? Pointing out what is close to it, at the point of needing to call it off, and what it looks like to push beyond (which may be appropriate in a peaking cycle)?

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this would be very beneficial.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
It's not difficult to do. You will either be able to speak in normal sentences, or not. If you find yourself looking for the shortest way to answer a question or express a thought, you've gone a little too far, and if you find yourself only able to utter a word or two at a time between breaths, you've gone more than a little too far.

If you want to try it for yourself, pick a paragraph to read, and read it after every set. (At the recent Chicago Strong Endurance, Pavel suggested reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, since most of us know it by memory. My sister memorized the Gettysburg address in middle school - you get the idea.)

-S-
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
@Steve Freides Do you test in the 10-20 seconds remaining in the rest period? In other words for a set of 10 swings on the minute:
  • 0:00-0:20 swing
  • 0:20-0:40 breathing, fast and loose
  • 0:40-0:55 talk test (Pledge, a psalm, song lyric, full name and birthday of family members, etc)
  • 0:55-1:00 set up for next set (if passed)
Generally? Not to get too pedantic about it. I want to both not fool myself into thinking I’m ready when I’m not, but also not resting longer than I should to make progress.
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
when running, it means you can banter and tell jokes with your buddies while you're running together. It's a level of exertion where you're switched on with some deep steady breathing, maybe a light sweat, but you're primarily aerobic. Should be a definite switch from heavy, fast breathing, gasping to catch up. Do any of the above, or talk to someone periodically (tell someone how great your swings were!), talk back to the tv, talk to pets, practice asking for a raise, practice any other personal encounter that may be challenging,

Once you realize the shift in metabolism occurring, which is really why you're doing the talk test, you'll be able to do it silently!
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Sean M, I'd say swing, put the bell down, take 2 or 3 breaths, and see where you are for the talk test. If you can't pass it then, you likely also won't pass it after another 15-20 seconds of recovery, either.

-S-
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
@Sean M, I'd say swing, put the bell down, take 2 or 3 breaths, and see where you are for the talk test. If you can't pass it then, you likely also won't pass it after another 15-20 seconds of recovery, either.

-S-
I thought the idea was to rest until you could pass, not stop training session when you can't pass? Doing A+A snatches, sets of 5, it will take me longer than 2-3 breaths but I am back to easy conversation or singing before start next set. With that I can do 20 sets in about 21 minutes or 30 sets in about 42 minutes. Am doing this incorrectly? I know A+A and S&S are not the same but that is also what I was doing w/ S&S when I was doing that.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@GeoffreyLevens, there is training and there is testing. Sometimes, we do a session where we know we might be pushing our limits, and we need to test. You are correct - rest until you know you could pass the talk test is the norm for training. Simple and Sinister is a form of A + A - these are all related.

The S&S idea is that, over time, you will come to own a particular weight, which means you'll be able to shorten the rest periods.

-S-
 

GeoffreyLevens

Level 6 Valued Member
Thanks Steve. That does match my understanding. And indeed, with both protocols, my rest periods at a given weight have gotten shorter and shorter over time.
 

Smile-n-Nod

Level 5 Valued Member
When trying to pass the Simple standard per time and weight, does anyone pass the talk test during the 12-second-or-so breaks between swings, or is passing the talk test only expected while not trying to meet the standards?
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
When trying to pass the Simple standard per time and weight, does anyone pass the talk test during the 12-second-or-so breaks between swings, or is passing the talk test only expected while not trying to meet the standards?
The latter - talk test is only for regular practice. I think the idea is you work up to getting close with talk test (like 5:30/6:00 for swings) then push it once a week or when feeling strong.

I think the idea is you may only be able to do 5 swings and 1:00 of rest at first, and over time can do 10 every :40 relatively easily (talk test) and then you’re ready to push it down to 10 on :30 for a test.
 
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