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

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offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Yes. This is true. I should have added that bit. Relatively young being operative here. A seasoned highly trained athlete is a different matter.
 

Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
A lot of great comments in this thread.

Make sure you cite sources for all the enumerated claims.

Trouble at the lab

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

To my knowledge, many individuals do but it has not been adopted by larger groups.

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.

I do not understand how you do not have 5-10min, 2-3x/wk for HIIT, but you have the time to read through and comment on these threads. Perhaps prioritize?

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."---

But since you can't divorce VO2max from an activity, I don't understand why we keep mentioning it as meaningful thing.

I also find it funny (ironic?) that PLOS was one of the journals specifically mentioned in the article I linked above.
 

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
@aciampa

Here are a couple of articles about the state of science that you may find interesting from fivethirtyeight.com.

The first one discusses the "reproducibility crisis" and some counterintuitive ways to think about it.

Key quotation:
"There are good reasons why real effects may fail to reproduce, and in many cases, we should expect replications to fail, even if the original finding is real."​

Failure Is Moving Science Forward

The next article is ultimately a defense of science, but discusses some of the significant and widespread problems that lead to bad, incorrect and fraudulent science being published:

Key quotation:
"...headlines like these might suggest that science is a shady enterprise that spits out a bunch of dressed-up nonsense. But I’ve spent months investigating the problems hounding science, and I’ve learned that the headline-grabbing cases of misconduct and fraud are mere distractions. The state of our science is strong, but it’s plagued by a universal problem: Science is hard — really f****** hard.

If we’re going to rely on science as a means for reaching the truth — and it’s still the best tool we have — it’s important that we understand and respect just how difficult it is to get a rigorous result."​

Science Isn’t Broken
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I do not understand how you do not have 5-10min, 2-3x/wk for HIIT, but you have the time to read through and comment on these threads. Perhaps prioritize?

My participation on this forum is mostly while I'm chained to my workstation. Once I'm off the clock I limit most of my comments to my training log and a quick look around. But certainly if it were important I'd fit in some HIIT. Or I might prioritize in a different way - increase intensity overall, periodize a little. Have solid workouts that still fit between taking my daughter's hamster to the vet, getting my boy to his Cub Scout meeting, and not give a moment's thought to my lactate levels.

But since you can't divorce VO2max from an activity, I don't understand why we keep mentioning it as meaningful thing.

You could say the exact same thing about 1RM efforts. Individually they might be meaningless, but combined they're all part of the measurable picture. Theoretically can be used to determine progress or predict performance on related or unrelated activities. Or we can just go by how we feel, which is probably a better metric anyway for people not engaged in competitive sports.
 

Bryant W

Level 6 Valued Member
Trouble at the lab

What are you implying? That reporting on evidence is no longer necessary since there is "trouble at the lab"? What would you recommend instead?

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.

I don't understand how to divorce improving aerobic capacity from improving the aerobic base. Isn't the definition of aerobic capacity, depending on your source, along the lines of "the ability of the organism to take in and use oxygen." How does improving this not improve one's aerobic base?

@Steve W. Excellent post. Sure, there are issues with science as it grows in breadth/scope/quantity, but these issues are recognized within the scientific community (Daniel Kahneman, for instance, who is referenced in @aciampa posted article, is, after all, a scientist who publishes research), with ideas on how to address them. The method and means of science may not be perfect, but they will improve. And new issues will arise. But as long as it is rigorously documented and analyzed, it is still better than relying only on anecdote (although anecdote too has its place), which is even easier to misunderstand and abuse than science.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I think what most of us would most like to see is some sort of evidence that "acidosis", causing the negative effects listed in items 1-5 in Craig Marker's original post, actually occurs to the degree that it causes these effects (inhibits ATPase, blocks muscle contraction, affects calcium from being reabsorbed, and the biggie... damages mitochondria) when ordinary people perform exericises that the masses are out there doing -- such as CrossFit metcons, specific glycolytic conditioning programs, HIIT, P90X, Insanity, running/cycling at a heart rate above MAF, doing S&S swings in 5-minutes, etc.
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
I don't understand how to divorce improving aerobic capacity from improving the aerobic base. Isn't the definition of aerobic capacity, depending on your source, along the lines of "the ability of the organism to take in and use oxygen." How does improving this not improve one's aerobic base?

This article sums it up. Scroll down to the paragraph that begins "Physiology of Base Training."

Aerobic base training: Going slower to get faster

The analogy would be training for strength-endurance. Does increasing your max strength increase strength-endurance? To some extent, yes. But there is a reason why kettlebell sport athletes don't spend all of their time trying to increase their maxes on the powerlifts.
 

Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I think what most of us would most like to see is some sort of evidence that "acidosis", causing the negative effects listed in items 1-5 in Craig Marker's original post, actually occurs to the degree that it causes these effects (inhibits ATPase, blocks muscle contraction, affects calcium from being reabsorbed, and the biggie... damages mitochondria) when ordinary people perform exericises that the masses are out there doing -- such as CrossFit metcons, specific glycolytic conditioning programs, HIIT, P90X, Insanity, running/cycling at a heart rate above MAF, doing S&S swings in 5-minutes, etc.

Acidosis, ROS, and elevated stress hormones ride together. The bottom line is that we know that too much high intensity work will turn you in the wrong direction. If your clothes smell like amonia, day after day-no bueno.

I think that a novel way to look at this is to ask, what is protective about a robust aerobic system? Extra MT, capillaries, slow fibers... they use more H+ in the course of function. Less ROS production overall. Less stress. More substrates moving. So, what is it? More fast fiber recruitment, overworking oxidative respiration?
 
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Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
What are you implying? That reporting on evidence is no longer necessary since there is "trouble at the lab"? What would you recommend instead?

Though mostly meant to stir the pot, the implication is stated in the article. Read past the title.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Acidosis, ROS, and elevated stress hormones ride together. The bottom line is that we know that too much high intensity work will turn you in the wrong direction. If your clothes smell like amonia, day after day-no bueno.

Always the voice of clarity. Of course this makes sense.

ROS is basically, oxidative stress?

It's clear to see why the whole topic is confusing... because as Craig said quite well in the original post (and thread title) - it's not all bad. Don't throw the baby (the benefits of properly dosed glycolytic training) out with the bath water (overusing glycolytic training, or "clothes smell like amonia, day after day").

Since I'm attending Strong Endurance next month, this is all quite interesting, and I look forward to learning more...
 
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Bryant W

Level 6 Valued Member
This article sums it up. Scroll down to the paragraph that begins "Physiology of Base Training."

Aerobic base training: Going slower to get faster

The analogy would be training for strength-endurance. Does increasing your max strength increase strength-endurance? To some extent, yes. But there is a reason why kettlebell sport athletes don't spend all of their time trying to increase their maxes on the powerlifts.

I understand the rational of focusing on low intensity work for improving aerobic capacity. I was more curious as to your statement that high intensity work can have some positive effects on aerobic capacity but not improve aerobic base. Aerobic base training is the development of aerobic capacity, so if high intensity work improves aerobic capacity, it develops the aerobic base. I don't mean by this that one should not include/bias towards low intensity work when building a base, but that including high intensity is necessary for complete base building development. There is no reason base building can not incorporate speed components/high intensity components, often in the form of short stride outs or fartlek runs.

I've developed a bit of skepticism with being too dogmatic about base building, especially when discussing running. I think for people who are fit enough to run a mile with a good stride pattern, low intensity over-distance runs are terrific. But if you are starting out at a 10 or 11 minute/mile shuffle, your stride pattern is significantly altered. The example in your article, for instance, talks about someone running a 7:30 mile aerobically. Look at the stride pattern of 7:30 and 11:00 minute miles. Totally different. How do you stimulate mitochondrial development/capillarization in the muscles of running if you are barely engaging in any knee lift/hip extension etc, not to mention the spring mechanism. I've seen a lot of beginning runners, adhering to a slow base building approach, shuffle along for years at 10 minute miles for an hour or two at a time, where if they just started simply, with a gradual build of short 100 meter strides (strides and not sprints), building up a volume of good strides, and progressing the length of intervals over time, they would be better at running. Are they intervals? Yes. But not in the sense that should be objectionable from an acidosis perspective. But many people would object to this on the grounds that it is "interval" training, despite the fact that the intensity (less than 70 %) muscular effort, duration (short to prevent acidosis), with rest (enough to prevent acidosis) make it an easy aerobic workout. I haven't invented this by the way. This is how young swimmers develop their base. In track and field, Mihaly Igloi achieved great success as a coach with this method, followed by Bob Schul and Johnny Gray as both athletes and coaches. But it seems in fitness circles to be the type of training that has been thrown out with the bath water, so to speak.

@aciampa It was a terrific article. As a response to Mr Bill Been's call for evidence, without commentary, I wasn't sure where you were going with it. But if it was to stir the pot of the more notorious pot stirrer...well, then I offer my applause.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Hmmm...ROS signalling is important to muscle growth and adaptation, including mitochondrial growth.

I'd agree about one's workout clothes smelling like the cat box after sitting for a day. There are definitely limits but plenty of room to work with under them.
 

ali

Level 6 Valued Member
The problem here is isolating exercise science from the thing we call life and its many stressors. You could argue that if this was a mortgage forum we could discuss the pros and cons of endowment policy v interest only. Depending on interest rates overtime, each have risks but both affect the stress of the economic necessity of paying for the damn thing. Having a mortgage is a stress, regardless of the mechanism of payback. It is a good stress if you choose the cheaper option......the one that is less costly, to you. If you are making hay whilst the sun shines, then who cares if you lose a few dollars in your decision making? Yet under different circumstances the same choice may cost you. And so with exercise........it is both good and bad, depending on the circumstances, the variables.
I see Agt, A&A, s&s, maf etc as utilitarian approaches to exercise. It's a good fit for most people most of the time. It is less costly. A safe bet, well a safer bet.
Sometimes you've got to take risks, to speculate to accumulate, add to those gains. Sometimes you gotta stick and recognise that time is just not right or appropriate. Viewing exercise, sport and performance as a stress equal to or greater than any other stressor in our modern western lifestyle is the biggest take away for me with adopting a consistent moderately hard training approach.
As much as acidosis, mitochondria, etc is interesting it is the systemic effect of stress that governs positive or negative adaptation. That very hard 6 week block of deep glycolytic training may have given good results when mortgage free and no kids with a safe job it may not with financial difficulties, redundancy and 3 kids under 5 as a single parent. That's the problem with exercise science. Doing x is great for hypertrophy.. ...no it isn't, if you are homeless. Getting a roof over your head is better for hypertrophy.
So, regardless of circumstance, a moderate approach as a baseline is a good thing, more room to negotiate .....push more when appropriate, stick or dial back if needed. Pragmatic, sensible and effective overtime.
 

guardian7

Level 6 Valued Member
Based on this understanding, with a traditionally very glycolytic activity like boxing, what do you think would be a good protocol for Muay Thai or Boxing workouts on a heavy bag?

30 seconds is very difficult for an all-out effort to sustain for repeats. Most people work in 2 min rounds but performance can drop off rapidly after a minute. It is harder to sustain than swings, but easier than bodyweight exercises or heavy grinds, so I think it is an interesting case.

10-20 repeats?
15-30?
20-40 repeats?

Add 5-10 seconds or so rest as performance starts dropping? Rest between rounds an additional 30 seconds? Two minute rounds are common worksets in a boxing gym with three rounds of bagwork surprisingly effective and few people going more than ten minutes consecutively.
 

Bret S.

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I'd agree about one's workout clothes smelling like the cat box after sitting for a day. There are definitely limits but plenty of room to work with under them.[/QUOTE]

I always wondered why some people I trained martial arts with had uniforms that smelled like cat p**s.. :cool:
 

Bret S.

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Training for my first 15 yrs martial arts (karate) I trained 3 days/wk, then for the next 15 years was 2 days/wk became the norm. I had to drop back volume because the cost of adaptation was too high. Every class ended with my heavy uniform soaked with sweat, standing at attention with sweat dripping from my fingertips.

Obviously a very glycolytic effort every time. Doing building/contracting daily also has a cost both physically and mentally. I was the sole provider for a family of 5 with a huge monthly overhead (Southern California). Cutting back training came out of necessity and was not planned, it happened naturally. I learned to get more out of my training and progressed better on 2 sessions per week.

Now that I'm nearly 60 my desire for GT is minimal at best. Occasionally I do it but for punch the clock daily training I'll take AGT almost every time. So for me AGT is more of a necessity than a choice, as recovery and living to fight another day trumps the high of GT.
 
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Bret S.

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Based on this understanding, with a traditionally very glycolytic activity like boxing, what do you think would be a good protocol for Muay Thai or Boxing workouts on a heavy bag?

30 seconds is very difficult for an all-out effort to sustain for repeats. Most people work in 2 min rounds but performance can drop off rapidly after a minute. It is harder to sustain than swings, but easier than bodyweight exercises or heavy grinds, so I think it is an interesting case.

10-20 repeats?
15-30?
20-40 repeats?

Add 5-10 seconds or so rest as performance starts dropping? Rest between rounds an additional 30 seconds? Two minute rounds are common worksets in a boxing gym with three rounds of bagwork surprisingly effective and few people going more than ten minutes consecutively.
I think it is what it is. You can't change the nature of the boxing effort without compromising it. Any more than you can change an apple into an orange. Possibly cutting volume and increasing quality of training would help..
 
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