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Kettlebell Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water: Have we taken AGT too far?

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piratebum

Level 6 Valued Member
First let me say that I have read all of the AGT articles, I appreciate the research that went into them, and they have had an impact on my training. However, I don't "worry" about whether or not I am in the aerobic zone or glycolitic zone. I don't have the patience to monitor my heartrate. My wife is the opposite - she actually had a blood lactate test done and trained with a heartrate monitor and all that. Maybe I'm lazy, but when I train I want some element of fun. For me it's simple. I do strength work, conditioning work which includes prowler pushing and kettlebells, and "cardio" which is running or riding my bike. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm running or riding my bike I am "aerobic." I have no doubt that there are times during a run or bike ride where I likely pop into the glycolitic zone, but I don't worry about it.

And that folks we call real life
 

KIWI5

Level 4 Valued Member
I often wonder how many (if any) military organizations train using AGT techniques? I am speaking of more specialized units, not rear echelon.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 8 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
@Steve W. My thoughts exactly.

What is initially mildly to moderately glycolitic can be progressed to becoming aerobic.

So, using the snatch test as an example, you practice to be able to keep 60-70 at the gate of glycolisis so you have a lot left in the tank and are not too spent after the task
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I not only don't worry about training glycolytic, I am more concerned about not getting into this zone often enough to acquire and maintain some of the better adaptive responses - improved lactate clearance rates, improved mitochondrial utilization of pyruvate, metabolic triggers for hypertrophy.

I just don't have enough free time, concern about overtraining is a luxury.
 

Maine-ah KB

Level 7 Valued Member
Thanks Craig!this is very interesting! Thanks for sharing. That protocol you mentioned with swings and a few sets of presses sounds interesting. Any chance a plan strong book will be released?
 

simon0596

Level 6 Valued Member
On the off chance my little blurb yesterday precipitated this, I can't decide if I feel guilty or proud for incurring your intellectual wrath

I'm interested in trying to increase intensity to my snatches eventually. However, I have a race coming up. The KB work allows me to just
keep the engine going while letting my legs recover. As a corollary, I did 3 miles yesterday and upped the pace a little and wasn't fatigued
at all. My mileage hasn't been what it should be, so the only logical explanation is the snatch work I've been doing.

We'll see what this weekend holds.
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
To everyone who liked my comment, thanks. To those who may not have liked my comment or who thought I was criticizing them, that was NOT my intent. To the contrary, I actually admire those endurance folks who train with a heartrate monitor or use a power meter on their bike. They have taken their training to the next level and are serious about it. They have also reached the level where more advanced methods are needed. Back when my wife and I dabbled in triathlons, I was overweight and out of shape although less than I am now. My training plan was simple: just get the miles in so you can finish the d*mn race and, with a bit of luck, not finish butt nekkid last. I was in a perpetual state of "aerobic base building." As the miles increased, my pace naturally slowed down. The body has a way of working things out - you can't ride your bike for 2 hours and be in the glycolitic zone.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
The body has a way of working things out - you can't ride your bike for 2 hours and be in the glycolitic zone.

But... you can.

This is one of the reasons I've always disliked the descriptions of the systems such as "PCr for 15 seconds, glycolytic for 2 minutes, aerobic after that." It's just not like that. I used to do it all the time on bike rides, but I'll give a clearer example - the last half-marathon I ran, two years ago. Here is the HR on Garmin Connect. My MAF HR was 132 and I did much of my training at that HR, running at a slower pace. But for the event, I ran at the fastest pace that I could sustain for the duration, so for 2 hrs 15 minutes my HR was right about 160 or just under it almost the whole time, with a slower pace in the very beginning and then a few dips where I slowed down very briefly to drink water or whatever. It was hard, but I felt fine. I'm sure that my aerobic system was working at full capacity the whole time, supplemented by the glycolytic system. What other explanation is there?
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
That said, there are a lot of differences in energy system usage in endurance events vs. AGT or A+A kettlebell training. So I suppose it may be taking things off on another tangent to go there. I will say it's relevant to me in that I know I can spend large amounts of time in a glycolytic state and my body handles it just fine, so I don't worry about it when I go there sometimes with kettelbell training. Then again, I found great success with A+A style training and I beleive it's a great method for building muscular endurance and so many other qualities while keeping the training low-stress. I agree with @Steve W. though that "anti glycolytic" isn't a great term... I don't beleive we are really not using the glycolytic system, and I don't beleive that there's any harm in using it if we do. But yes I do believe there are some benefits to minimizing its use in the majority of training. Hope that was sufficiently confusing as to count as my opinion on the matter. ;)
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
@Anna C and @offwidth You are both correct. What I should have said is that for steady state cardio lasting 2 hours (as opposed to intervals or a sport that is stop and go like football) it is not likely that your body will derive the bulk of its energy using glycolysis. But given that many endurance athletes drink sugary sports drinks or use those sugary energy gels, I may be wrong about this as well.

As this chart shows, there is always going to be some overlap among the energy systems. I was surprised that even in distance running the ATP-PCr system contributes 10%.

xenergy_systems_sports.jpg.pagespeed.ic.qTpgUUXqVb.jpg
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
Interesting chart... and definitely illuminating. But of course, two things matter a great deal within each of the sports listed:

1) the relative intensity (for example, distance running at MAF HR vs. distance running as with my half-marathon example above)
2) the condition of the individual, because:
a) the bigger the aerobic base, the more energy will be supplied by the aerobic system, and
b) the bigger the aerobc base, the more easily the stress and byprocuts of glycolytic training can be absorbed.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Interesting chart... and definitely illuminating. But of course, two things matter a great deal within each of the sports listed:

1) the relative intensity (for example, distance running at MAF HR vs. distance running as with my half-marathon example above)
2) the condition of the individual, because:
a) the bigger the aerobic base, the more energy will be supplied by the aerobic system, and
b) the bigger the aerobc base, the more easily the stress and byprocuts of glycolytic training can be absorbed.

I'll add that studies have shown mitochondrial adaptations to training steady state glycolytic, that are also part of improved high intensity endurance.

If you train intelligently, you get the adaptations you train for.
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
Interesting chart... and definitely illuminating. But of course, two things matter a great deal within each of the sports listed:

1) the relative intensity (for example, distance running at MAF HR vs. distance running as with my half-marathon example above)
2) the condition of the individual, because:
a) the bigger the aerobic base, the more energy will be supplied by the aerobic system, and
b) the bigger the aerobc base, the more easily the stress and byprocuts of glycolytic training can be absorbed.

Which is probably why Brian MacKenzie, who developed Crossfit Endurance, has never finished an endurance event. Or so I've read. You'll actually find lots of positive reviews about CF Endurance, but they usually start like this: "After years of doing long, slow distance work..." Sure, if someone with a big aerobic base adds intensity they will improve. But the reverse is not true: intensity can have some positive effects on aerobic capacity but it will not build an aerobic base.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Which is probably why Brian MacKenzie, who developed Crossfit Endurance, has never finished an endurance event. Or so I've read. You'll actually find lots of positive reviews about CF Endurance, but they usually start like this: "After years of doing long, slow distance work..." Sure, if someone with a big aerobic base adds intensity they will improve. But the reverse is not true: intensity can have some positive effects on aerobic capacity but it will not build an aerobic base.

---"The background on Mackenzie further illustrates periodization and how training design works. Before he developed CrossFit Endurance, he was a triathlete. And not just any triathlete: an Ironman triathlete (though to be honest, he wasn’t very fast).

So what happens when an athlete builds a base over years of cycling, swimming, and running and then focuses on the intense work like CFE? They get faster!

He had a good year in 2006, finishing two ultramarathons. Mackenzie uses his finishes at the ’06 Western States and one another ultra (I forget offhand) as proof that CFE works. But then look at his progress after 2006…

This is a long-term example of a taper. But you can’t taper forever. And Mackenzie’s history of DNFing at endurance events is indicative of just how successful CFE can be for runners."---

You'll improve VO2 max, and improve lactate clearance, but you won't automatically gain endurance.

Specificity...

Edit to add:
If you train CF you get better at CF. An average marathon runner might not make it 15 minutes if tossed into a hardcore CF WOD. If you're only training for GPP or for some other non specific reason the details are not as important. Is in the competitive realm that periodizing systems becomes increasingly serious, but then so to the strategy of peaking.
 
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offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
You might marginally improve VO2 max if you are an under-trained individual. Otherwise what you will do is increase your fractional utilization of your VO2 max...
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
From a pretty good meta:
VO2max Trainability and High Intensity Interval Training in Humans: A Meta-Analysis

---"While the observation that more intense training results in greater increases in cardiorespiratory fitness is not surprising, our analysis suggests that longer intervals combined with high intensity continuous training can generate marked increases in VO2max in almost all relatively young adults."---
 
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